TW1: Strengthening National Information Systems and Information Exchange for the Sound Management of Chemicals

The thematic workshop on Strengthening National Information Systems and Information Exchange for the Sound Management of Chemicals was the first in a Series of Thematic Workshops on Priority Topics of National Chemicals Management Capacity Building and took place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 2-4 September 1998. It was organised in the context of the UNITAR/IOMC Pilot Programme to Assist Countries in Implementing National Action Programmes for Integrated Chemicals Management (1996-99) in which Argentina, Ghana, Indonesia, and Slovenia participated. The event brought together 30 representatives from national governments, international and regional organisations, industry associations, labour organisations, and public interest groups.

The aim of the thematic session was to provide a forum for countries and experts to exchange experiences, discuss innovative approaches and provide practical guidance to countries on how to strengthen national information systems for chemicals management in a systematic manner. Given the potentially wide scope of the topic of “national information systems for chemicals management” and the varied challenges which countries are facing in this context, the core question around which the thematic workshop centred was: “How can countries best organise themselves to ensure that the right information gets to the right users at the right time?”

The workshop concluded that in many countries, knowledge about the existence of, and access to, certain chemicals information is weak, and the flow of information between different levels and groups in society is often inadequate. Similarly, there is often reluctance by national stakeholders to co-operate and share available information. A more coordinated and integrated approach to information systems for chemicals management appears to be warranted. A number of key themes were identified which were considered to be of key importance towards the strengthening of national information systems. These included: improving the exchange and flow of information among national stakeholders; ensuring that national information systems address countries' needs and realities; and strengthening national information systems in a systematic way.

Workshop Report.  Download