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Countries harp on science-based action for hazardous wastes elimination

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The Programme Officer, UN Environment, Mrs Kei Ohno-Woodall (left); Representative, Minister of Environment, Mr Olubunmi Olusanya; Chief Science and Technical Assistance Branch, UN environment, Ms Abiola Olanipekun, and Executive Director, Basel Convention Coordinating Centre for Training & Technology Transfer for the African Region, Prof. Percy Onianwa during the sub-regional workshop in Lagos

Faced with the dangers of hazardous chemicals, representatives of about 11 African countries have canvassed for improve capacity and interface between science, policy, and industry towards eliminating the scourge of chemicals and wastes that impede human survival.

They sought scientific foundation for decision-making and policy formulation in the sound management of chemicals and wastes at the national and regional levels. The regional experts also urged countries to develop proper understanding of the impacts of wastes to the environment, human health and improve awareness for informed decisions.

Speaking during a workshop organised by the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS), conventions in cooperation with the Basel Convention Coordinating Centre for the Africa Region, Nigeria (BCCC Africa), in Lagos, the programme officer, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholms Conventions, Dr. Kei Ohno Woodall said the region need to take decisions on the basis of science to curb the risks posed by wastes and chemicals to the people.

The training exposed representatives to presentations, group discussions, simulation exercises and sharing of experience and practices related to the national capacity to review and assess scientific and technical information for decision-making and implementation of the conventions.

Countries represented at the forum include Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, UNDP, Tanzania, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Gambia, South Africa, and host- Nigeria.

Woodall alluded that decision-making at the national level could be imparted by many elements, which include, economic, social, health and environment that should be based on science.

She charged Countries that have ratified the conventions to review the current situation, improve it, and adjust it in order to address new situations.

The Executive Director, Basel Convention Coordinating Centre for Training & technology transfer for African Region, Prof Percy Onianwa observed that science and policy as a major subject matter in international chemical and waste management came up first at the 2015 conference of parties of the three conventions at which it was stressed that parties should begin to strengthen their capacity to access and make available science information and use these in implementing the three conventions in particular for making policy.

“Creating awareness is a very critical element needed for everybody to understand the hazardous materials in society and engage the community and other stakeholders in solving the problem.”

On his part, Nigeria minister of the Environment, Dr. Mohammad Mahmoud Abubakar represented by the deputy director, chemical management of the ministry, believed that the implementation of the chemicals Multilateral environmental agreement in developing countries has to a large extent not been effective because of a serious disconnect between scientific knowledge/research and policy formulation. He called for urgent steps to reverse the trend.


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