Series of Thematic Workshops on Priority Topics of National Chemicals Management Capacity Building
TW2: Strengthening National Awareness Raising and Education for Chemicals Management
The thematic workshop on Strengthening National Awareness Raising and Education for Chemicals Management was the second in a Series of Thematic Workshops on Priority Topics of National Chemicals Management Capacity Building and took place from 19-21 October 1998 in Geneva, Switzerland. It brought together 20 participants from national governments, international organisations, industry, labour, and public interest groups. The event was organised as a forum for bringing together representatives from the pilot countries which participated in the UNITAR/IOMC Pilot Programme to Assist Countries in Implementing National Action Programmes for Integrated Chemicals Management (1996-99) which were working in this area, as well as experts from other interested countries and organisations, in order to exchange experiences and discuss practical approaches for carrying out effective awareness raising/educational activities in the field of chemicals management.
Among the objectives of the meeting were to identify practical steps which interested countries might take to strengthen national awareness-raising and educational programmes, building upon the experiences gained by the pilot country task forces and others, and to discuss strategies for tailoring such activities to existing national/local circumstances and the needs of individual target groups. [In addition, it is foreseen that the outcomes of the meeting will serve as an important input into the development of a UNITAR/IOMC guidance document provisionally entitled Awareness Raising and Education for Chemicals Management and Safety which will be designed to assist interested countries in addressing awareness raising and education in a systematic and integrated way.]
The workshop outlined key principles and steps to developing and implementing an effective awareness raising and education initiative. Important issues included: clearly understanding the issue to be addressed; defining the objectives of the initiative; identifying the relevant target group(s); and understanding each target group's specific needs. Determining the type and content of the information to be provided, the way in which information will be presented, and the channels of communication to be used were also highlighted by the workshop as important issues. More specifically, emphasis was placed on tailoring the message to the needs of each target group; providing practical and useful information; ensuring two-way communication; and building upon existing experience.
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