National Security, Dangerous chemicals, nuclear substances, International Organisation and Security, weapons
Edu type:
Course or training
The Hague
Bachelor (EQF 6), Doctorate/PhD (EQF 8), Master (EQF 7)
Start date:
Study Load:
44 hrs
5 days
More information


The global non-proliferation norms regarding the use and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction are under pressure. The threat posed by nuclear, chemical and biological weapons has reached levels of urgency not seen since the Cold War. Consequently, there is a growing demand for professionals with the necessary legal, technical and policy expertise to tackle the challenges of today’s non-proliferation and disarmament agenda. Register now for the fourteenth training programme on disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, co-organised with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on 18 to 22 September 2023 in The Hague.


During this intensive training programme, you will receive a comprehensive overview of the international non-proliferation and disarmament framework. You will learn from renowned experts and practitioners in the field and engage in active discussions about key topics and current debates. The programme also provides you with the opportunity to build your professional network with experts in the field, as well as with your fellow participants.


Info session on WMD programme
Interested in the programme, but you want to know more? Join us for a live Zoom chat with the coordinator 25 May 2023 at 15:00 CEST. It is the perfect opportunity to ask questions about the content and get a good understanding of what you can expect during the course.


Registration is open. Please ensure to carefully read the Terms and Conditions before registering.

The registration fee includes:

  •        Engaging lectures with leading academics and practitioners from various areas of arms control
  •        Study visits to Nuclear Reactor Institute Delft, the OPCW Laboratory and Equipment Store, and the OPCW headquarters
  •        Study materials
  •        Lunches and water/tea/coffee during working days
  •        Networking dinner
  •        Networking reception

It does not cover international travel costs, domestic travel to and from airports, accommodation, insurance, or other expenses.


All activities during the programme are conducted in English. Participants are therefore expected to have a good oral and written command of this language.


The proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (biological, chemical and nuclear weapons) pose an incalculable risk to national, regional and global security, as well as human and health. With heightening geo-political tensions, Weapons of Mass Destruction are again centre stage on the international security agenda. The war in Ukraine has highlighted the importance of maintaining the prohibition norm against the use of biological and chemical weapons and robust international mechanisms, including arms control measures, to prevent nuclear escalation during conflicts.


Nuclear Weapons
The increased threat from nuclear weapons comes as nuclear arms control and non-proliferation regimes are disintegrating, nuclear-armed states are developing new weapons systems and increasing nuclear stockpiles, and conflicts involving nuclear-armed states continue. The failure to agree on an outcome document at the 10th Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in August 2022 reflects the continued deterioration of the international security environment, and they need for fresh approaches to promoting disarmament and non-proliferation while enabling peaceful uses of nuclear energy.


Chemical Weapons
Meanwhile, despite considerable success in curtailing chemical weapons proliferation and destroying stockpiles in recent decades, the increasing number of incidents involving chemical weapons is a matter of grave concern. Moreover, recent incidents and conflicts have been accompanied by disinformation campaigns to evade attribution and accountability or to justify aggression. Questions on the possible erosion of the norm against the use of chemical weapons, how future use can be deterred, and how to strengthen the capacity of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) remain of crucial importance.


Biological Weapons
Moreover, while the COVID-19 pandemic was a natural phenomenon, it serves as a grim reminder of the risks posed by the spread and use of biological weapons. Innovations in biotechnology is making the production of increasingly dangerous pathogens easier. Scientific and technical advances enable both states and non-state actors to synthetically produce novel bioweapons, to amplify the virulence of disease-causing organisms, and to weaponise the spread of harmful genes in the environment. More than ever, the international community needs to strengthen the norm against biological weapons, and to promote responsible science and innovation.


Emerging Technologies
Finally, the rapid development of emerging and potentially destabilising technologies, such as drone technologies, hypersonic ballistic missiles and AI-enabled weapon systems, present new challenges to the existing global non-proliferation, disarmament and arms control regimes. Often emerging technologies fall outside existing legal regimes, or blur the line between conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction. It is necessary to bring emerging technologies into the ongoing debates about arms control in order to mitigate the security risks from technological innovation.  


Participants will gain:

  • In-depth knowledge of the diplomatic, legal and technical aspects of disarmament and non-proliferation;
  • Insight into the work of key professionals in the area of WMD, seasoned with their personal experiences; and
  • Unique networking opportunities with speakers and participants from diverse backgrounds.

Field Visits

Lecture the Asser Institute will be complemented by field visits to the Nuclear Reactor Institute Delft, the OPCW Laboratory and Equipment Store, and the OPCW headquarters.


Speakers List

  •        Thilo Marauhn (Professor of International Law, Asser Institute; Justus Liebig University Giessen)
  •       Niels van Willigen (Associate Professor of International Relations, University of Leiden)
  •        Oliver Meier (Senior Researcher, Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy, University of Hamburg)
  •        Michal Onderco (Professor of International Relations, Erasmus University Rotterdam)
  •        Ionut Suseanu (Head of the Non-Proliferation and Policy-Making Section, International Atomic Energy Agency)
  •        Sibylle Bauer (Director of Studies, Armament and Disarmament, SIPRI)
  •        Daniel Feakes (Chief, Implementation Support Unit of the Biological Weapons Convention, United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs)
  •        Alex Lampalzer (Deputy Chief, Implementation Support Unit of the Biological Weapons Convention, United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs)
  •        Una Jakob (Senior Researcher, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt)
  •        Remco Breuker (Professor of Korean Studies, Leiden University
  •        Jonathan Herbach (Legal Officer, International Atomic Energy Agency)
  •        Eirini Giorgou (Legal Advisor, International Committee of the Red Cross' Arms and Conduct of Hostilities Unit)

Thilo Marauhn
Professor Thilo Marauhn holds the Special Chair of Arms Control Law at the Asser Institute/University of Amsterdam. Situated in the research stand Regulation in the public interest: Disruptive technologies in peace and security. Additionally Professor Marauhn Professor of Public Law and International Law at the Justus-Liebig University Giessen and at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt in Germany. Since 2016, he has been President of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission


Thea Coventry
Thea Coventry is a researcher in the ‘Regulation in the public interest: disruptive technologies in peace and security’ research strand. Thea is completing her PhD investigating the evolution of the international legal framework governing State criminal jurisdiction, and works as an ad hoc lecturer, at Leiden University. Her research interests include international arms control law, State jurisdiction, maritime security, and transnational criminal law.


Key topics: Chemical weapons, nuclear weapons, biological weapons; arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament agreements; export controls and verification mechanisms; international law and diplomacy; geopolitical developments; and emerging technologies.


Target group: The training programme is designed for early- to mid-career professionals working for governments, for example, national export control bodies, national authorities for the implementation of WMD-related treaties and agreements and national nuclear agencies. Individuals working for non-governmental organisations, think tanks addressing WMD issues and research centres in related disciplines are also invited to apply. Newly arrived diplomats in The Hague are especially encouraged to sign up for the training programme.


Course aim: The WMD training programme offers participants the chance to discuss various aspects of the issue with experienced experts in an interactive and multi-disciplinary way. Participants will leave the programme with a greater understanding of disarmament and non-proliferation efforts and the international legal challenges faced by practitioners in the field.