07/12/2023 – From 5-7, December 2023, the OPANAL Course on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons was held at the Diplomatic Academy of Ecuador “Galo Plaza Lasso”. The opening ceremony was attended by the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Carlos Larrea, and the Director of the Diplomatic Academy, Ambassador Alejandro Suarez.
The course was attended by 26 officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility – Diplomatic Academy, Undersecretariat of Multilateral Affairs; Ministry of Energy and Mines; Ministry of Defense; as well as higher education institutions such as the National Polytechnic School, University San Francisco de Quito, International University of Ecuador, University of the Armed Forces, Joint Military Defense Academy; and representatives of the diplomatic corps in Ecuador – Embassy of Peru, Embassy of Chile and Embassy of the Republic of Korea.
The Secretary General of OPANAL, Ambassador Flávio Roberto Bonzanini, through a video message, thanked the Government of Ecuador for its interest and support in hosting this course. He recalled Ecuador’s pacifist tradition, as well as its historical commitment to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, reaffirmed through its active participation in OPANAL.
During the three-day course taught by the Secretariat of OPANAL, the participants became familiar with the international regime on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament; the main international instruments that comprise it, such as the Treaty of Tlatelolco, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Particularly, participants were able to learn more about Ecuador’s role and historical participation in the process that gave rise to the Treaty of Tlatelolco and OPANAL, as well as about the two Secretaries General of Ecuadorian origin who headed the OPANAL Secretariat: i) Ambassador Leopoldo Benítez Vinueza (1971) and ii) Ambassador José Ricardo Martínez Cobo (1981-1985).
Also, with the support of the International Committee of the Red Cross, a presentation was given on International Humanitarian Law and the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons. On the last day of the Course, an official ceremony was held to award certificates to all participants who completed the training.
The OPANAL Course on Nuclear Disarmament and Nuclear Non-Proliferation is one of the Agency’s initiatives in the field of Disarmament Education, aiming to prepare professionals in Latin America and the Caribbean on disarmament matters, in accordance with the resolution CG/Res.07/2023 adopted by the XXVIII Session of the General Conference and in line with the United Nations General Assembly Resolution on “Study on United Nations Disarmament Education and Non-proliferation.” Since 2017, seven editions of the OPANAL Course on Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation have been conducted.