Guyana recognized for its progress in sound chemicals management

Guyana has established itself as a country which has fulfilled its obligation in the fight to promote Sound chemicals management, International trade of chemicals and organic pollutants.

In fact, the country is being represented at the 2017 Triple Conference of the Parties (COPs) in Geneva, Switzerland which provides a unique opportunity for countries to shape future policies and nurture partnerships in pushing for stronger chemicals management.

The conference which runs from April 24-May 5, 2017  and attracted over 1600 participants from government, the private sector, civil society and academia looked at ways to “Detox our Planet”.

Agriculture Minister, Hon. Noel Holder who departed Guyana on Tuesday in a telephone interview stated that the decisions made during the Conference are intended to protect human health and the environment from the harmful effects of toxic substances.

” Chemicals constitute the building blocks of modern life. But without ensuring the environmentally sound management of chemicals and the phase-out of especially hazardous substances, we will continue to see more lives lost to poisoning, contamination, and pollution,” the Minister said.

Decisions made during the conference will also contribute to the sustainable develop goals to further strengthen the three international treaties contributing to the global management of hazardous chemicals and waste.

The various parties to the conventions have since reached consensus on a range of issues. For the Rotterdam Convention (RC),  forty-seven chemicals currently make up the list of substances deemed hazardous to human health and the environment and which are subsequently subject to the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure. Among those are,  the listing of carbofuran, trichlorfon, chlorinated paraffin, and tributyltin to the RC’s “watch list” – also known as Annex III.

For the Stockholm Convention, parties reached consensus on the listing of decabromodiphenyl ether and short-chain chlorinated paraffin in Annex A for elimination as well as hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD) in Annex C which targets the reduction and ultimate elimination of the unintentional releases of the chemical.  With respect to the Basel Convention (BC), the Parties established a new partnership focusing on a major waste stream, household waste.

Other priority issues being during the two-weeks conference is the development of compliance procedures, first ever evaluation of the effectiveness of the Conventions, and the implementation mechanisms.

Registrar of the Pesticide Toxic and Chemicals Control Board, Ms. Trecia David- Garnett who is also in Geneva, Switzerland spoke of the importance the decisions will have on the operations of the Pesticide Board.

“Guyana is a party to all three Conventions and we are committed to meeting the obligations of these agreements, in an effort to ensure the protection of our environment and our people,” David- Garnett said.

According to the Registrar, successes in chemicals management can only be achieved through cooperation between sectors namely, health labour and agriculture as the Ministry of Agriculture continues to look at ways in which the adverse effect of chemicals on human health and the environment can be minimal.

The 13th of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention and the 8th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions are being held under the theme: A Future Detoxified: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste”.