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Posted: August 19, 2010
Awareness-raising workshop for developing and transition countries on nanotechnology/manufactured nanomaterials
(Nanowerk News) Following a recommendation from the 2nd International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM2), OECD and UNITAR agreed to hold a series of "UNITAR/OECD/IOMC Awareness-Raising Workshops" in conjunction with SAICM regional meetings over the course of 2009/2010.
The ICCM2 was held in on 11-15 May 2009 in Geneva, Switzerland. During the conference, nanotechnology and manufactured nanomaterials were identified as one of the key emerging policy issues. ICCM2 agreed on a Resolution II/4 of ICCM2 regarding nanotechnologies and manufactured nanomaterials, which among other things, invited relevant international organisations, including the OECD, to engage in dialogue with stakeholders with a view to gaining further understanding of nanotechnologies and manufactured nanomaterials.
The resolution comprises (in part) the following language: "[ICCM2]...encourages Governments and other stakeholders to assist developing countries and countries with economies in transition to enhance their capacity to use and manage nanotechnologies and manufactured nanomaterials responsibly, to maximize potential benefits and to minimize potential risks" (see Report of the ICCM2, SAICM/ICCM.2/15, 27 May 2009).
Further to the decision of ICCM2, the OECD's Joint Meeting of the Chemicals Committee and Working Party on Chemicals, Pesticides and Biotechnology (June 2009), invited the OECD Secretariat to explore with UNITAR, the possibility of working together as recommended above. As a result, OECD and UNITAR organised workshops in each of the UN Regions to undertake awareness raising and other related activities in developing countries regarding the potential risks from nanotechnologies and manufactured nanomaterials (e.g. to the environment or human health) and benefits (e.g. decreased costs of low-maintenance products, or use in environmental remediation) of nanotechnology and nanomaterials.
These workshops brief participants on what is nanotechnology and manufactured nanomaterials, what are some of the potential risks from nanotechnologies and manufactured nanomaterials (e.g. to the environment or human health) and benefits (e.g. decreased costs of low-maintenance products, or use in environmental remediation) of nanotechnology and nanomaterials. It also considered some of the posible implications for developing and transition countries as nano-based or nano-containing products are traded across borders, into jurisdictions where there is little or no capacity to address them. These workshops were organised in conjunction with SAICM Regional Meetings, within the framework of the Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC). The workshops were held as follows:
Asia-Pacific Region: 27 November 2009, in Beijing, China
Central and Eastern Europe Region: 11 December 2009, in Lodz, Poland
Africa Region: 25-26 January 2010, in Abidjan, Cote d'lvoire
Latin America – Caribbean Region: 12 March 2010, in Kingston, Jamaica
Arab Sub-Region: 11-13 April 2010, in Alexandria, Egypt
In addition to the awareness-raising workshops, UNITAR and OECD are looking at opportunities for assisting developing and transition countries to develop programmatic capacities to address nano issues at the national level. Some countries will undertake pilot projects aimed to develop and/or strengthen capacities to address Nanotechnology and Manufactured Nanomaterials within their national frameworks. These projects, which are provided with funding support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), will generate experiences and lessons learned that will be transmitted for deliberation at the third International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM3), to be held in mid-2012. UNITAR and OECD will develop guidance and training materials and design training to ensure that participating countries are aware of the current state of the field, and some of the possible actions that can take place at the national level.