Integrated National Programmes

Overview

The importance of developing an integrated and coordinated approach to national chemicals management is one of the key messages of SAICM. This can be achieved, as the SAICM outcomes suggest, through the development of a national programme for the sound management of chemicals and chemical waste. Such a programme can facilitate, inter alia, interministerial coordination, access to and exchange of information, stakeholder participation, coordinated priority setting, and integration of chemicals management activities into national development planning processes.

This UNITAR/IOMC Programme Area supports specific activities and human resource development in partner countries, which have the potential to contribute significantly towards the development of an integrated national programme.

Starting in September 2006, with the support of the Government of Switzerland, UNITAR, in cooperation with all seven Participating Organisations (POs) and observers of the Inter-Organisation Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC) including FAO, ILO, OECD, UNEP, UNIDO, UNITAR, WHO, UNDP, and the World Bank, as well as the Secretariat of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the Secretariat of the Basel Convention (SBC), will collaborate with Belarus, Pakistan, Panama, and Tanzania to develop an Integrated National Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste with a focus on governance, stakeholder participation, and partnerships to support national SAICM implementation (National SAICM Pilot Projects). Country projects will take place over a period of three years, from approximately September 2006 to August 2009. A fifth country, Mongolia, was added in 2008, building upon the SAICM-enabling activities project funded through the SAICM Quick Start Programme Trust Fund (QSPTF), to participate as an additional full pilot country. The project comprises a contribution to the SAICM Quick Start Programme. and is implemented through cooperation of all seven Participating Organisations

Key project activities include, inter alia: development of a national governance structure for SAICM implementation; preparation of a National SAICM Capacity Self-Assessment; organization of a National Forum on Priority Setting; and implementation of two partnership projects through involvement of government, industry and public interest NGOs. In addition, the project seeks to “mainstream” sound chemicals management issues into the national development planning process in participating countries.

Some 44 countries applied to participate in the pilot projects, but currently available resources allowed sponsorship of only four countries. UNITAR will work with countries and potential donors to explore opportunities for additional support.

Policy Recommendations

SAICM's Global Plan of Action includes "Implementation of integrated national programmes for the sound management of chemicals at the national level in a flexible manner" as a key work area. It states "With regard to the implementation of national programmes: Develop comprehensive national profiles; Formalize inter-ministerial and multi-stakeholder coordinating mechanisms on chemicals management issues,including coordination of national Government and multi-stakeholder positions in international meetings; Develop national chemical safety policies outlining strategic goals and milestones towards reaching the Johannesburg Summit 2020 goal; Develop national chemicals safety information exchange systems; Develop national strategies to mobilize national and external resources and to raise the importance placed on chemicals management within national sustainable development frameworks; Develop policies of systematic stakeholder involvement, bringing synergies from related initiatives on chemicals management."

During its Third Session in Bahia, Brazil, October 2000, the IFCS recommended that "countries should increase their efforts to systematically develop an integrated and coordinated approach to manage chemicals safely. Countries should therefore prepare and regularly update national profiles, identify capacity building priorities, and develop sound national action plans for them."

During its Second Session in Ottawa, Canada, February 1997, the IFCS encouraged countries to "...define priorities to be addressed through national action programmes for strengthening chemicals management and invites UNITAR/IOMC Participating Organizations and countries to report back on progress to ISG3."