SAICM Enabling Activities

Integrated National Programmes

Information Exchange/Website Development

Overview

Chemicals management at the country level often involves a wide range of activities conducted by ministries, stakeholders, and other institutions. Often, national chemicals management experts and civil servants lack knowledge of activities that are conducted by different national institutions due to inadequate information exchange. In support of country-based efforts UNITAR, in cooperation with UNEP and other partners, has developed guidance for strengthening information exchange at the national level. UNITAR's SISEI Programme is also a key contributor to this work.

Activities

Preliminary guidance has been developed by UNITAR and has been pilot tested. In addition, UNITAR was a partner in an August, 2001 UNEP/USEPA-sponsored workshop in Senegal aimed at the development of an Information Charter and other key tools. Similar workshops in other countries are planned. A joint UNITAR-UNEP guidance document on this topic is also under development and will be available in draft form by end-2003.

A Thematic Workshop on the topic of Strengthening National Information Systems and Information Exchange for the Sound Management of Chemicals, held in Geneva in 1998, discussed innovative approaches and provided practical guidance to countries on how to strengthen national information systems for chemicals management in a systematic manner.

Policy Recommendations

During its Third Session in Bahia, Brazil, October 2000, the IFCS recognized that "there are many barriers to timely and effective information exchange. Forum III recognized that resolution of communication gaps must assume a very high priority in the near term".

In Priorities for Action beyond 2000, Programme Area C, the Forum recommended that "All governments should be encouraged to identify and/or to establish arrangements for the timely exchange of information on chemicals. Through the effective operation of such arrangements, barriers to information exchange would be more easily overcome".

Forum III also "Agreed to support a global effort to assure that government officials responsible for the sound management of chemicals have access to the Internet (email and Web) in the near term (e.g. 1-2 years), and the training to make effective use of it".

Guidance

UNITAR has developed the following guidance - Information Exchange for Sound Chemicals Management, Guidance Note - Working Draft (2001).
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