12 Oct 2018 Story Chemicals & waste

Tracking chemicals and reducing risks in Benin

Benin is eager to put behind it a past of chemical mismanagement. Numerous cases of toxic poisoning and pesticide-related deaths have been reported since the 1990s. At its peak, a study carried out from January 2001 to July 2003 by PAN UK in cooperation with PAN Africa and the Benin Organization for the Promotion of Organic Agriculture (OBEPAB), reported 347 cases of toxic poisoning due to pesticides, of which 53 resulted in death. Benin has since become a Party to the Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm, and Minamata Conventions and has worked to protect both its people and the environment. However, as one of the world’s least developed countries, Benin faces multiple challenges. Inadequate institutional capacity, technological barriers, and economic problems continue to threaten Benin’s ability to manage chemicals, in particular pesticides, and waste.

Funded by the Special Programme Trust Fund in its inaugural round of applications, a project to support legal and institutional capacity was launched in 2017 to strengthen Benin’s will and ability to address these issues. Benin is working to establish a database on chemical substances and systematic control procedure of chemicals and waste, update its chemicals’ monitoring system, and increase public and stakeholder awareness of chemical-related risks. Furthermore, the government is working to develop regulatory measures on imported chemicals, strengthen national legislative frameworks on waste management, and establish national budget provisions for the implementation of chemical management policies. These actions will help Benin implement its obligations towards chemicals-related multilateral environmental agreements and strengthen its ability to address the pressing challenge it faces in managing chemical pesticides.

October 2018 project update

In the context of the project funded by the Special Programme Trust Fund, a deep scanning of actual legislative, regulatory and institutional framework has been carried out. The outputs of the work allowed for the elaboration of a draft law specifically related to chemicals and their wastes. The draft law is on the way to being submitted to parliamentarians for their validation and endorsement.