Partnership-based approach to
national chemicals management
Case study from Australia: NICNAS
Community Engagement Charter
Presentation by
Dr. Liz Hanna
NICNAS Community Engagement Forum
[email protected]
Australia’s Chemical Management Framework
Chemical
Category
Industrial
Therapeutic
Agricultural &
Veterinary
Food &
Contaminants
Industrial: paints
cosmetics,
antibacterial skin
cleansers
Medicines:
Agricultural &
Veterinary: insect
repellents
Foods & food
additives
NICNAS
(National
Industrial
Chemicals
Notification &
Assessment
Scheme)
TGA
APVMA
Agricultural &
Pesticide
Management
Authority
FSANZ
Food Standards
Australia New
Zealand
Legislative role
ASSESS ONLY
ASSESS &
REGISTER
ASSESS &
REGISTER
ASSESS &
APPROVE
Portfolio
(Office of Chemical
Safety within TGA)
 HEALTH
 HEALTH
 AGRICULTURE
 HEALTH
Lead Agency
Therapeutic
Goods
Administration
The Australian National Industrial
Chemicals Notification and Assessment
Scheme (NICNAS)
• Operates under Commonwealth legislation - Industrial
Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Act 1989
• Reports to Minister for Health and Ageing via the
Parliamentary Secretary
• Goal is for safe and sustainable use of industrial
chemicals in Australia
• Operates under cost recovery (registration fees)
Objectives of the NICNAS Act
• Determine risk to workers, the public and the
environment associated with import, manufacture
and use of industrial chemicals
• Provide information and make recommendations to
Commonwealth, State/Territory regulatory authorities
• Give effect to Australia’s obligations under
international agreements
• Collect statistics on chemicals
Scope of NICNAS
• Chemical entity scheme (not product registration)
• Broad coverage of chemicals and sectors
– from cosmetics to cement, and includes paints,
solvents, plastics (including for domestic use)
– public health, worker safety, environmental protection
• Covers new and existing chemicals
Community Engagement Forum
• 6 Community representatives drawn from civil
society representing:
environmental protection (2),
public health (2), and
worker health and safety (2)
• Assists NICNAS on ensuring interested people have
input into policy & decision making process in
chemicals regulation
What Guides NICNAS?
NICNAS Engagement Charter
– Developed by CEF
– Set of principles the Regulator is
accountable to
– Better communication
– Better policy and decision making
leading to safer chemicals and use
– http://www.nicnas.gov.au
Case Study: Existing Chemicals Review
• NICNAS established 1989
• 38,000 chemicals “in use”
listed on AICS
– continued usage permitted, NICNAS to assess
• By 2005, only 125 ‘existing chemicals’ assessed
• Process of assessing existing chemicals required review
NICNAS & CEF embark on process to fully engage
community to input into this process
Community engagement
Task at hand
• Review NICNAS key operational strategy
Participatory approach
•
•
•
•
Engage CEF in all phases
Adopt CEF recommendations
Involve whole of organisation
Fully resource engagement process
Maximising opportunities for effective
engagement about industrial chemicals
NICNAS is keen that representatives of civil society have maximum opportunity to
participate when decisions are made and policies are developed about the safe use of
chemicals.
Each of NICNAS’s community engagements is carefully planned, and involves:
•
definition of the aim and objectives of the engagement - & express / negotiate these
•
review of past examples and experiences
•
development of guiding principles, objectives and protocols – in collaboration
•
description of the scope and/or affected geographical area – in collaboration
•
identification of key stakeholders – in collaboration
•
explanation of the demographics covered by the issue – in collaboration
•
setting of budgetary limitations – with discussion of requirements
•
outlining of information requirements/ information flows and capacity-building needs - IC
•
splitting of the process into achievable and defined units – in collaboration
•
establishment of realistic timeframes, and – in collaboration
•
development and confirmation of review, monitoring and feedback processes. - IC
Supports community’s right to know
about industrial chemicals
In recognising the community’s ‘right to know’, NICNAS is committed to:
• improving public access to chemical safety information
• addressing aspects of the community’s ‘right to know’ in relation to the
control and use of industrial chemicals, and
• enabling representatives of civil society – interested persons,
organisations and key stakeholders – to have effective input into
policy and decision-making processes regarding the safe use of
chemicals.
• Upholding the principles of community ‘right to know’ as identified in
the Bahia Declaration 2000 of the Intergovernmental Forum on
Chemical Safety.
Engage with civil society
• We (NICNAS) work with representatives
of civil society, seeking:
• to draw on their expertise and local
knowledge of industrial chemicals
(including hazards, exposure, controls and
use), and
• to ensure their equitable involvement in
chemical decisions that affect them.
The Test
How did NICNAS perform when applying
its Community Engagement Charter to
the Existing Chemicals Review??
Process and Participation
• NICNAS Community Engagement Forum
(CEF) participated in Review Steering
Committee
• Technical workgroups met sequentially:
WG1 …. capturing concerns
TO NICNAS
WG2 …. responses
FROM NICNAS
WG3 …. regulatory framework required
38,000 chemicals (AICS) available for use- what needs assessment/action?
Currently NICNAS relies on intelligence & referrals to identify chemical of interest
Referrals
Public Nominations
Local Concerns & enquiries
New safety data
Secondary notification
RISK ELEMENTS
Hazard
Exposure
Use
Volume
Overseas actions
Emerging issues
SCREENING (internal process)
Candidate list of chemicals
SCOPE
Environment
Public Health
OH&S
ASSESSMENT PRIORITISATION & TYPE (internal process)
Information
Advice
I
N
P
U
T
S
PEC
preliminary or full
Safety Info Sheets
Other
International
reports
Regulatory Recommendations to Environment/OHS/Public Health Authorities
for implementation Eg Classification/ Controls on Use/Supply/Disposal / Restrictions / Bans
Publication of all assessment outputs but only PECs have regulatory status
P
R
O
C
E
S
S
E
S
O
U
T
P
U
T
S
Key Issues
PROCESSES:
• Filtering of inputs
• Screening & selection
of chemicals
• Enhanced information
• Screening AICSlisted chemicals
gathering
• Simplified secondary
• Surveillance,
notification
monitoring and post• Engagement &
market reporting
awareness
OUTPUTS • New types of assessment options
• Enhanced controls
• Improved uptake of recommendations
INPUTS:
• Capturing
stakeholder
concerns
Options for improvement
• INPUTS
–
–
–
–
Better capture of stakeholder & emerging issues
More screening information on all existing chemicals
Better utilisation of chemical use experience
Surveillance, monitoring and post-market reporting
• PROCESS
– More transparency in what NICNAS does and decides
– More chemicals assessed per equivalent resource
• OUTPUTS
–
–
–
–
Targeted assessments linked to level of concern
Better controls for chemicals
More powers for NICNAS to ban or restrict use / sale
Improved downstream implementation of risk management
Inviting civil society to make a difference
• Discussion paper: Promoting
safer chemical use: towards
better regulation of
chemicals in Australia
• Broadly distributed – inviting
comment
• Community forums held
across all states, capital cities
& major rural centres
• Submissions due to NICNAS by 23 June 2006
Public Engagement Forum on
the Safe Use of Chemicals
Options for community to input
•
•
•
•
•
•
Attend Forums – 2 sessions night & day
Email
Freecall telephone
Letter
Visitation by appointment
On-line via NICNAS webpage
Publicity
accessing the community
• CEF provided extensive list of names
/ organisations & contact details
• Invitation to disseminate to enable
others to self nominate
• Newspaper advertisements
• Radio interviews
Questions for consideration
Q.
Have partnership approaches for chemicals and waste
management worked well, and if so, under which conditions?
Case study of NICNAS & CEF partnership review of Existing Chemicals Program –
Yes
How? 1) By clarifying “community”, seeking true representation from key sectors
2) By fully engaging with CEF throughout process
3) By adopting CEF recommendations on how best to engage
4) By fully resourcing engagement
A.
Q. Are they relevant and likely to work in a developing country context?
A.
Challenging – but possible
How? 2) & 3) are behavioural, depend merely on willingness & commitment to process
1) – identifying key representatives may or may not present a challenge, highlights
a need for coordinated voice to advocate for these issues
4) - ?? Available resources
Questions for consideration
Q. Based on lessons learned from past experiences, what
are key principles that should be met in order for
partnership approaches to be effective and successful?
A.
Shared commitment to the process,
Accountability,
Clarity of roles and responsibilities,
Continuity,
Openness, procedural fairness and equity,
Timeliness of decision-making and information delivery and responses given,
Access to information, expertise and personnel,
Easily-comprehended information and flexible processes,
Commitment to consensus,
Feedback mechanisms,
Mutual respect, honesty, trust, patience
Understanding of difficulties facing community participants: time poor, $$, lead times
Understanding that initial overtures for engagement may result in low numbers
Questions for consideration
Q.
What is the role of public interest and labour organizations in
developing, implementing and monitoring partnerships?
A.
Source of vital knowledge of use & fate of chemicals
Source of community experts re the impact of chemicals & policy
Source of perspective from each of the stakeholder groups
- this is especially true when organizations are invited to nominate their
selected representative
- formal links allow for canvassing broader perspective
Organizations have history of engaging with chemicals regulators
- experience in identifying determinants of success
- although often fatigued & sceptical, maintain commitment to process of
community participation
Communicate to community on behalf of authority - liaison
Open partnerships build community trust
Questions for consideration
Q. What are specific areas of chemicals management and
SAICM implementation for which partnership
approaches work particularly well?
A.
Designing programs of chemical regulatory authorities
eg. Existing chemicals review
Engineering input, processes & outputs relevant to civil society
Improving public access to chemical safety information
Designing strategies for community engagement
Providing the perspective of communities served by the regulatory
authorities – necessary in all facets of operations
Thank You
Community Engagement Forum
http://www.nicnas.gov.au/Community/CEF_Brochure_PDF.pdf
Community Engagement Charter
http://www.nicnas.gov.au/Community/CEF_Charter_PDF.pdf
For further contact:
Dr Liz Hanna
Member NICNAS CEF
[email protected]
National Convenor Environmental Health
Public Health Association of Australia
[email protected]
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