17 Oct 2019 Story Chemicals & waste

Ecuador to strengthen and control national hazardous materials

Ecuador has various institutions supporting the sound management of chemicals and waste in a sustainable manner. It is one of two countries in Latin America that implemented the Globally Harmonized System for the Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. Furthermore, in 2010 all pesticides that were classified as extremely or highly hazardous by the World Health Organization were banned in Ecuador.

In an effort to further promote the sustainable sound management of chemicals and waste, Ecuador established in 2018 the Fund for Investments in Environmental Sustainability (Fondo de Inversion Ambiental Sostenible) with support from the United Nations Development Programme. The objective of the fund is to reinforce national environmental management and actions for mitigation and adaption to climate change.

This financial mechanism will be an opportunity to mobilize national and international resources for the country’s environmental challenges. Local organizations, autonomous estates, indigenous peoples, and other local stakeholders will be supported in terms of environmental management. Some important projects related to special waste and hazardous chemicals management, especially those listed on the Rotterdam, Stockholm and Minamata convention, will be supported alongside afforestation, reforestation, and marine conservation.

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The National Environmental Authority issued regulations and established a system for the management of hazardous materials. But the lack of inventories of chemicals and wastes managed in the country makes it difficult to implement the Basel, Stockholm, Rotterdam and Minamata conventions. The national transportation of hazardous chemicals and waste is also not fully regulated and there is insufficient communication related to materials risk through labels. These gaps increase the risk of contamination and unnecessary exposures. The main approach will be to regulate the use of persistent organic pollutants such as pesticides or mercury, and the internal transport of these substances in the territory.

The project under the Chemicals and Waste Programme, also known as the Special Programme, is entitled “Strengthening of the National Control System for the Management of Dangerous Materials in Ecuador”. The aim of this project will be pursued by directly enforcing the environmental regulations and the control mechanisms in the technical and legal aspects.

The first phase of the project will focus on assessing the national capacity in the hazardous materials management and develop a system that embraces this management. The second phase will set out to update the regulatory and IT control mechanisms. Finally, the third phase of the project will seek to develop awareness-raising and training programmes for the management of chemicals and wastes.

The Chemicals and Waste Programme project and Ecuador’s recent access to new financial opportunities with the creation of the Fund for Investments in Environmental Sustainability brings hope for an improved management of hazardous chemicals and waste.

 

For further information please contact the Special Programme Secretariat at [email protected]