Viet Nam News
HCM City — Facilitating risk reduction and sound management of chemicals across APEC and contributing to implementation of the bloc’s Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) are among the objectives of the Committee on Trade and Investment’s Chemical Dialogue Regulators’ Forum that began in HCM City yesterday.
Its other objectives include sharing information and knowledge on chemical management in the region with increased and direct involvement of regulators; bridging principles and practice - sharing tools and experience with best practices and plan opportunities for collaboration to address common concerns; and discussing the nexus between chemical management and competitiveness, including at SMEs, to facilitate trade in concert with protecting human health and the environment.
“I think the regulator forum is a really unique place, so we have this really great organisation in APEC that brings together economies from across the region, with different needs and different challenges, and from a regulator standpoint, a government standpoint, such meetings are really valuable,” Alexander G. Metcalf, international programmes analyst, Office of Chemical safety and Pollution Prevention of the US Environmental Protection Agency, and chair of the forum, told Việt Nam News.
“They allow us to learn from each other, share our experiences, and we heard some of the challenges that people face, the updates on what different countries are doing, and I think that’s the biggest benefit -- that we can learn from each other and make contacts -- and hopefully we take this home and develop relationships, and over the next months or years if we wind up having the same problem, we can call somebody up and share information that we need.
“This does not happen very often, and there are only a few forums like this, and this one is unique in that it has a wide range of capacity of economies and the differences that we all have in regulating our market places.”
To achieve these objects, the forum must provide updates from economies on chemicals management and more detailed information exchanges on domestic, regional and international issues of interest, engage in dialogue and on specific chemicals management topics or challenges to help share information, tools and approaches across the region more broadly, facilitate compatible approaches, and facilitate trade, he said.
“Conducting outreach and providing feedback across regulators, industry and other stakeholders, helping implement relevant chemicals management best practices and identifying priorities for co-operative action and capacity building are the other works of the forum.”
Besides, acting as a technical and regulatory resource network in the region on specific topics or needs as identified or requested by participants and developing and, where possible, supporting project proposals and other training, seminars and exchanges on regional and member-economy chemicals management priorities and needs will be discussed at the forum.
Also on the agenda are providing advice to the CD on matters related to the co-ordination of member economies and leveraging and promoting related activities in APEC and elsewhere towards a common chemicals regulatory forum. — VNS