National Profile Development

Policy Recommendations

Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management

Three important SAICM documents - the Overarching Policy Strategy (OPS), the Global Plan of Action (GPA) and the ICCM Resolution that sets out the strategic priorities of the Quick Start Programme - endorse the development or updating of National Profiles for SAICM implementation.

Paragraph 22 of the OPS (Implementation and Taking Stock of Progress) states that "Implementation of the Strategic Approach could begin with an enabling phase to build necessary capacity, as appropriate, to develop, with relevant stakeholder participation, a national Strategic Approach implementation plan, taking into consideration, as appropriate, existing elements such as legislation, national profiles, action plans, stakeholder initiatives and gaps, priorities, needs and circumstances."

The GPA cites National Profiles a number of times among its list of activities and work areas linked to SAICM implementation, including:

  • Item #1 Development of national profiles.
  • Item #165 Have in place multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder mechanisms to develop national profiles and priority actions.
  • Item #166 With regard to the implementation of national programmes: "Develop comprehensive national profiles."
  • Item #207 Provide assistance and training for the development of national profiles.
  • Item #211 Promote programmes to develop chemicals-management instruments (national profiles, national implementation plans, national emergency preparedness and response plans). 

ICCM Resolution I/4 to establish the Quick Start Programme for the implementation of Strategic Approach Objectives, states that the strategic objectives of the QSP include as its first objective "Development or updating of national chemical profiles and the identification of capacity needs for sound chemicals management."

Intergovernmental Forum for Chemical Safety

At its inception meeting in Stockholm in 1994, the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS) recommended that "National Profiles to indicate the current capabilities and capacities for management of chemicals and the specific needs for improvements should be elaborated as soon as possible and no later than 1997." The profiles were recognised as one of its "Priorities for Action" to implement Chapter 19 of Agenda 21.

Two years later, the Second Intersessional Group of the IFCS (ISG-2) invited countries to "...commit to the preparation of a mini or comprehensive National Profile... using the process in the revised UNITAR guidance document."

During its Second Session in Ottawa, Canada, February 1997, the IFCS issued a statement which "encourages countries to prepare and continuously update national profiles, using the UNITAR/IOMC guidance document, with the involvement of all concerned parties, and to use conclusions based on these assessments to define priorities to be addressed through national action programmes for strengthening chemicals management..."

The Intersessional Group Meeting (ISG 3) of the IFCS, Japan, December 1998, called on "IFCS Vice-presidents to continue their efforts supporting the completion of countries' National Profiles, with the purpose of both improving the sound management of chemicals in each country and with the view towards compiling a regional profile. ISG3 encouraged those countries that have not prepared their National Profile to do so before Forum III, and requested donors to support governments and UNITAR/IOMC activities in this area".

At the Third Session in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, October 2000, the IFCS committed, with the support of donor countries and international organisations, to achieve the following goal: "By 2002: Most countries, through a multi-stakeholder process, will have developed a National Profile on chemicals management, ensured national coordination for the sound management of chemicals and designated an IFCS National Focal Point" (IFCS/FORUM III/23W). 

Global Environment Facility

In May 2001, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) was selected as the interim financial mechanism for the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. At the May 2001 meeting of the GEF Council, countries approved a set of initial guidelines for "enabling activities" for the Stockholm Convention. These guidelines recommend the "preparation of a National Profile (or core sections thereof as they related more specifically to POPs)" and call for a "National Profile (or core sections thereof)" as a key output of the process to prepare a Stockholm Convention National Implementation Plan (NIP). Moreover, the document suggests, "Countries which have not prepared a National Profile are encouraged to do so (using UNITAR/IOMC guidance). Focus should be on those sections of National Profile which are of particular relevance to POPs".

International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations

Excerpts of Resolution 4 on National Profiles adopted by the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF) Agricultural Trade World Conference 1998:

"...Welcoming this internationally co-ordinated effort to develop country driven National Profiles as part of the implementation of UNCED Agenda 21, Chapter 19 on the environmentally sound management of toxic chemicals".

"This conference urges affiliates to participate in the respective National Co-ordinating Team developing the National Profile to Assess the National Infrastructure for Management of Chemicals plus any relevant Action Programme(s) resulting from the Profile. This will help to ensure that the National Profile reflects the problems facing agricultural workers, their families and communities, and that measures are taken by the government, and other relevant stakeholders, to tackle the problems highlighted by the National Profile".