24 Dec 2018 Blogpost Chemicals & waste

Belarus builds infrastructure to effectively manage chemicals

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The Republic of Belarus only recently agreed to join the Rotterdam Convention in 2017, but the country has already started to take substantial action to revamp how government institutions and the private sector manage chemicals. With an economy that relies heavily on manufacturing and extractive industries, Belarus has decided that now is the time to build a sustainable national infrastructure to manage chemicals and implement the Rotterdam Convention.

A recent workshop, held on 19 September 2018 in Minsk, saw the participation of over 50 national stakeholders and international representatives. As part of UN Environment’s Special Programme on Institutional Strengthening for Chemicals and Waste Management, sound management of chemicals was discussed by experts, and plans were made for furthering the implementation of the Rotterdam Convention.

Funding from the UN Environment’s Special Programme will be used for infrastructure and capacity building over a period of three years. The initial goal is to protect human and environmental health by regulating the transboundary movement of hazardous substances and preventing illegal imports of chemicals, which is a major issue in the country.

In the first year, national coordinators will be selected while research on the state of chemical management in Belarus will be carried out and reported on. The second year will consist primarily of information exchange and training for people from the government and private sector. Topics will include the Rotterdam Convention and its requirements, safe use of chemicals, risk assessment, poisoning and more. The third year will focus on developing a package of proposals for amendments to existing government legislation and ensuring that the implementation of the Convention is legally binding.

The funds from the UN Environment’s Special Programme will help to ensure that over the course of the next three years, Belarus, one of the newest parties to the Rotterdam Convention, will be able to build the infrastructure necessary to completely overhaul how chemicals are managed within its borders.