Swaziland addresses chemical safety challenges

2 to 3 May 2012, Mbabane, Swaziland. A National Forum on Government and Priority Setting for SAICM implementation was held on 2-3 May 2012 in Swaziland. Under the framework of a national project for the implementation of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), the forum consisted of a review of progress made to date, as well planning for the subsequent project including two partnership projects.

The workshop was attended by 29 representatives of government, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), academia, industry, as well as an expert from UNITAR. As a key project document, the draft National Chemicals Management Profile was presented for discussion and endorsement. This was followed by setting national SAICM priorities, strengthening the national governance structure for SAICM implementation, and discussion on planning and developing action plans for national SAICM priorities. Infrastructure, waste disposal, and awareness-raising were identified as the most important issues.

Swaziland workshopThe workshop also included extensive discussions on a coordination mechanism on chemicals management. Participants agreed that the Swaziland Environment Authority will develop a proposal to upgrade the existing coordination committee to an inter-ministerial high level committee, which will be finalized after the workshop. Furthermore, partnership projects were discussed and action will be undertaken to specifically involve NGOs.

During the session on the development of action plans, UNITAR guided the participants through a series of working group exercises to better understand the concepts and how to develop action plans on priority issues, including the two partnership projects. Action plans on selected priority issues will be developed after the workshop and will be discussed and endorsed at the Final Project Review Meeting.

The National Forum was hosted by the Swaziland Environment Authority, Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Affairs, with technical support provided by UNITAR, and financial support provided by SAICM's Quick Start Programme Trust Fund.