Overview

A growing number of international agreements dealing with chemicals of international concern, such as Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) or chemicals included in the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure, oblige countries to make national risk management decisions concerning priority chemicals. Taking into consideration experience gained through European Commission-funded pilot projects in Chile, Cameroon, Tanzania, and The Gambia, activities conducted under this programme promote the development of skills and procedures at the country level relevant to implementing risk management decision making processes and action plan development for priority chemicals. Further country-level training has taken place in Ghana and, in the context of the Stockholm Convention, in The Gambia and Mozambique. Future training is planned in India and Pakistan.

The programme area is implemented through country-based projects during which partner countries choose a priority chemical and develop a risk reduction/elimination strategy for the identified chemical through a process involving all affected and interested parties. Previous phases of the programme were conducted in cooperation with the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS).

A guidance document, developed in cooperation with UNEP and IPCS, is available in working draft form for country use. Download

Thematic Workshop

A thematic workshop on Strengthening National Capacities for Risk Management Decision-Making for Priority Chemicals, held in Geneva in 1999, reviewed the lessons learned and experiences gained through four country-based pilot projects to develop risk reduction strategies for priority chemicals that were implemented in Cameroon, Chile, Tanzania, and The Gambia. Through a series of plenary discussions and working groups, a wide range of suggestions were generated on practical ways and means to strengthen capacities in countries in the area of risk assessment/risk management decision-making.

Country-based Pilot Case Studies on Risk Assessment and Risk Management Decision-Making for Priority Chemicals

Within the framework of the UNITAR/IPCS Training and Capacity Building Programme on Chemical Risk Assessment and Risk Management Decision Making, country-based pilot case studies were initiated in January 1999 in Cameroon, Chile, The Gambia and Tanzania. Through these pilot case studies, country-based task forces comprised of relevant experts from within and outside of government gained practical experience in the development of a proposed risk reduction strategy for a particular chemical/pesticide or group of chemicals/pesticides. The substances selected by the pilot countries as the basis for this exercise were as follows: Cameroon (PCBs); Chile (Lead); The Gambia (Tetramethrin, Permethrin); and Tanzania (Endosulfan).

During the course of a 6-month period, each country worked through a step-by-step process, starting with a risk assessment exercise addressing conditions of use in the country and drawing upon internationally available assessments and tools, and culminating with the development of a risk reduction strategy which is developed through involvement of concerned and interested parties.

The primary aim of the pilot case studies was to strengthen human resource capacities in participating countries in view of the growing interest and commitment in developing countries to make risk management decisions for priority chemicals. Guidance and resource materials and a small country grant were provided to each country. In addition, external resource persons visited each country to assist the country task forces in overall implementation of the pilot case study and in the context of an "on-the-case" risk assessment workshop.

Subregional Workshops

UNITAR organised two sub-regional training and capacity building workshops on chemical risk management decision-making in 1999. The events were held in Africa and Latin America, and built upon the outcomes of the Pilot Case Studies conducted in Cameroon, Chile, The Gambia, and Tanzania as well as the results of the Thematic Workshop on Risk Management Decision Making.

Risk Management Decision Making under the Stockholm Convention

UNITAR’s POP Programme Area assisted The Gambia and Mozambique in developing management options for both POPs that are included under the Stockholm Convention at present, and for other chemicals that may be considered for nomination as possible POPs in the future. For more information, please click here.