UPDATING NATIONAL PROFILE ON CHEMICALS MANAGEMENT

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Barbados’ national profile on chemicals management is being updated and the public now has an opportunity to review the document and comment on it.

Word of this has come from National Coordinator and Director of the Environment Protection Department (EPD), Jeffrey Headley, whose agency is undertaking the revision of the information for final presentation to Government.

He said the national profile was first developed in 2004 and he urged those persons who deal with chemicals through their life cycle (importation, use and handling and disposal) to access the document.

They should download a copy of the National Profile and Comment Sheet by logging onto the website of the Environmental Protection Department, www.epd.gov.bb, and clicking on the SAICM Project link.  The completed form should be emailed to saicmproject@epd.gov.bb by January 16, 2009.

Mr. Headley explained that the work of updating the national profile was intended to be a preparatory step towards the implementation of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM).

SAICM is a policy framework for international action on chemical hazards. It supports the achievement of the goal agreed at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development, which was to ensure that by 2020 chemicals are produced and used in ways that minimise significant adverse impacts on the environment and human health.

The Director said there were several benefits to be derived from updating the national profile. “It is meant to contribute to a better understanding of any problems or potential problems related to chemicals used in Barbados  and the mechanisms that are available to address those issues.  The national profile will also help to identify important gaps or weaknesses in the existing coordinating or legislative systems as a first step in defining where further efforts may be required, or to indicate where there may be overlaps in controls or other inefficiencies which may prevent efficient use of limited resources,” he pointed out.

According to Mr. Headley, “if the issue of chemical management is to be effective, then multi-sector and multi-stakeholder participation is required.”  He said the
input of government officials and contributions from civil society and the public were necessary to ensure that the information in the profile was accurate.  No relevant data was omitted or understated, and a cross section of the society understood the environment for the management of chemicals in Barbados, he reasoned.

The Director further noted that another project, which is being funded by the SAICM Quick Start Programme, would soon come on-stream to address sound management of chemicals, in particular, Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).  One of the objectives of the project would be to enable laboratories in Barbados to perform POPs analysis.   

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