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. Global Initiative To Limit Chemical Hazards Agreed In Dubai

The initiative, known as the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), aims to implement a global strategy for the production, transport, storage, use and disposal of chemicals.
by Staff Writers
Dubai (AFP) Feb 07, 2006
Environment and health officials from more than 120 countries agreed in Dubai on Tuesday to an initiative to limit chemical hazards, the United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) director announced.

"I am delighted that governments could agree to this new chemicals initiative, which I sincerely believe will be a step change in the way we use and produce chemicals," said Klaus Toepfer.

The initiative, known as the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), aims to implement a global strategy for the production, transport, storage, use and disposal of chemicals.

Countries will be able to coordinate their risk assessment of chemicals, harmonise labeling and tackle the dangers of obsolete and stockpiled products, said Toepfer.

The initiative will also help developing nations train and educate personnel in chemical safety, including dealing with spills and accidents.

"Developing countries need help in terms of the better use, handling and disposal of chemicals," he said.

Talks on the SAICM started in Bangkok in November 2003 and were concluded in Dubai at the end of the three-day International Conference on Chemicals Management.

The conference was organised as part of a series of forums and workshops, including the 9th special session of the UNEP Governing Council and the UNEP Global Ministerial Environment Forum due to be attended by a record of more than 120 government ministers.

As part of the events, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan received on Monday the "Zayed International Prize for Global Leadership on the Environment" in the amount of 500,000 dollars.

Annan said he would use the money to establish a foundation for agriculture and women's education in his home continent of Africa.

The prize also awarded 300,000 dollars to the Malaysian organisation Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and another 200,000 dollars to be shared between Angela Cropper, a senator in Trinidad and Tobago, and Indonesia's former minister of environment, Emil Salim.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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