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Agenda 21

The 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (also known as UNCED and ‘The Rio Summit’) has been the major impetus for chemical safety activity for more than a decade. Produced at the Summit, Agenda 21 is a blueprint for sustainable development and has guided most international environment-related initiatives ever since.

 

Governments have endorsed Chapter 19 of Agenda 21 as the international program of action for developing and implementing national chemical safety and management programs. Significant international negotiation efforts – in the form of both treaties and activities promoting increased availability and utilisation of chemicals information – are underway. The Intergovernmental Forum for Chemical Safety (IFCS) – established under Agenda 21 – drives these negotiation efforts.

 

Australia gives leadership and technical contributions to international cooperation and harmonisation programs for chemical assessment (particularly via OECD and WHO’s International Program on Chemical Safety) in the following areas:

Chapter 19 program areas
 

Area A:

Expanding and accelerating international assessment of chemicals risk

International Assessment targets achieved through international programs (OECD SIDS/SIARS, CICAD, IPCS health risk assessment programs, internationalising national documents.
 

Area B

Harmonisation of classification & labelling of chemicals

Commitment to negotiate agreement for a globally harmonised scheme (GHS) by end 2000- ILO lead; OECD "international" classificiation criteria developed
 

Area C

Information Exchange on toxic chemicals and chemicals risks

Includes PRTRs (pollution inventories); Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Treaty and implementation.
 

Area D

Establishment of risk reduction programs

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals;
Persistent Organic Pollutants, Treaty negotiations; Sustainable chemistry, Green chemistry, biotechnology
 

Area E

Strengthening national capacity and capability for management of chemicals

National profiles on chemical management, obsolete chemicals, coordination enhancement, technology transfer
 

Area F

Prevention of illegal international traffic in toxic and dangerous products

Little specific action as linked to other international agreements on chemical weapons, prohibited drugs etc.

 

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