By Ikenna Agu

Minister of Environment- Mrs. Hadiza Ibrahim Mailafia

The Federal government of Nigeria through Federal Ministry of Environment is collaborating with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Sound Management of Chemicals.

This was made known by the Minister of Environment Mrs. Hadiza Ibrahim Mailafia in the ceremony to declaring open a workshop on Mainstreaming Sound Management of Chemicals into MDG-based Development plans and Policies. She announced that Swedish Chemical will provide the financial support while UNDP will give technical support.

?We have to promote a multi stakeholders approach to discuss major gaps in the national regime for the sound management of chemicals and identifying highest priority issues that will be the subject of mainstreaming sound management of chemical (SMC) opportunities in the nation?s development planning process?.

?As a nation, we recognize that for the sound management of chemicals to be advanced significantly beyond the pre-SAICM situation, there is need for stronger links to be established with the development planning priorities, processes and plans of our country? she said.

The Minister stated that the objective of the project was to establish a strong institutional framework to SAICM implementation, strengthen national capacities and capabilities in both public and private sectors for sound management of chemicals and promote the awareness of
decision makers and other relevant actors of the relevance of chemical safety for poverty reduction and sustainable development.

?Finally, we must establish an enduring institutional process within government ministries and the wider stakeholder community to bring about sound management of chemicals, focusing on the government bodies responsible for poverty reduction and growth policies.

In his own contribution, the project coordinator Bello Hakeem Adediran described chemical as an essential ingredient of modern life adding that it plays important role in respect to development such as the production and use of life- saving medicine, purification agent for treating drinking water supplies and agricultural chemicals that boost on-farm productivity.

?Sound Chemical Management is a pre-requisite to achieving sustainable development, as poor chemical management practices pose significant risks to human health and the environment, with the world?s poorest
facing the highest risk of exposure to toxic and hazardous chemicals, due to their occupations, living conditions, lack of knowledge about safe handling practices, limited access to sources of uncontaminated food and countries where regulatory, health and education system are weak?

?The sound management of chemical is essential if we are to achieve sustainable development including the eradication of poverty and disease, the improvement and elevation of the standard of living in countries at all levels of development? he said.

Bello Hakeem stressed that developing countries like Nigeria have several developmental plans and strategies in their bid to transit to developed nations adding that chemical transition would consequently result in high amount of chemical usage.

The purpose of main streaming SMC into national development policies and plans is to pre-empt the chemical management crises inherent in development process and start taking actions before chemicals become a problem? he concluded.

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