Strengthening National and Regional Capacities for SAICM Implementation in Central America and the Dominican Republic

A project with support of UNITAR and US EPA is being implemented in Central America and the Dominican Republic to strengthen national and regional capacities towards implementation of SAICM as an integrated approach to chemicals management. Activities are executed in the following areas:

1. Mercury management

Two new pilot projects are being implemented in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, based on previous experiences with mercury projects undertaken in Chile, Ecuador and Panama. Both countries will prepare a situation analysis on mercury management. Additionally, the Dominican Republic will develop a mercury emissions inventory, based in the UNEP Toolkit for Identification and Quantification of Mercury Emissions, and a strategy to institutionalize mercury emission reporting through a national PRTR system.

2. Design of national and regional Pollutant and Release Transfer Registers (PRTRs)

Two pilot projects to design a national PRTR are implemented in Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. During the first phase of the projects, national PRTR infrastructure assessments (2009) were developed based on UNITAR’s methodology. These assessments provide information about the current status of legal, institutional, administrative and technical infrastructures relevant to the design of a national PRTR system, in both the governmental and non-governmental sectors. Relevant information is related to monitoring, estimation, collection and/or analysis of data on emission of pollutants to air, water and soil.

• PRTR Infrastructure Assessment in Costa Rica   Sp
• PRTR Infrastructure Assessment in Dominican Republic   Sp

Similar infrastructure assessments have been prepared in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua with support of Central American Commission on Environment and Development (CCAD) and USAID.

At the regional level, a PRTR system is being designed. A “Central American and Dominican Republic Meeting on PRTRs” was held on 22-23 September 2009, in San José, Costa Rica. During the meeting, participants from governmental, private and civil society sectors from the region discussed a concept document for a regional PRTR (  En, Sp), identifying key features of this system.

CCAD was proposed by the technical advisory group of the meeting as the regional intergovernmental entity to administrate the regional PRTR. Following this proposal, CCAD and the technical advisory group will present this concept document to the Council of Ministers of Environment of Central America and the Dominican Republic, under the Central American Integration System (SICA) framework. A high-level agreement by all countries would be obtained to prioritize PRTR implementation in the region.

PRTR implementation is one of the priority objectives of the SAICM Implementation Plan for Central America and the Dominican Republic (2010-2013) (  En, Sp) see next entry.

3. SAICM Implementation

Under this component, a Situation Analysis on SAICM Implementation in Central American and Dominican Republic has been developed ( En, Sp). This document provides a general overview of the first SAICM enabling activities and remaining gaps and limitations in the region.

The Situation Analysis was revised by National SAICM Focal Points during the “Central American and Dominican Republic Meeting on SAICM”, held on 30 November - 01 December 2009, in San Salvador, El Salvador. Priority areas and activities in the region for SAICM implementation and chemicals management were agreed during the meeting and a SAICM Implementation Plan for the region (2010-2013) was developed ( En, Sp).

The Plan proposes a clear path that could be followed by the region for a four-year period, towards sound chemicals management. It has a multi-sector scope and will be presented to the Regional Technical Committee on Chemical Safety, coordinated by CCAD, which includes representatives from the governmental, private and civil society sectors of all countries within the region. After approval by this Committee, the Plan will be presented to the Council of Ministers for a final high-level endorsement.

A side-event on these initiatives was held during the Second Regional Latin American and Caribbean Meeting on SAICM, on 9 March 2010 in Kingston, Jamaica.