Access to information and capacity to collect, analyse, manage and share chemical information contributes to the capability of countries to meet information exchange and reporting requirements under multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) such as the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their disposal, the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent (PIC), and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).

The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) has identified several capacity-building and technical cooperation objectives to improve access and exchange of environmental information. SAICM builds upon previous commitments, including the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, adopted in Johannesburg in 2002, which encourages countries to develop coherent and integrated information on chemicals through, for example, national pollutant and transfer registers.

During 2000-2007, the Chemicals Branch of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP Chemicals) launched the Chemical Information Exchange Network (CIEN) project. The project aimed to strengthen national capacity by removing barriers to information exchange. During this period CIEN:
  • provided skills to access technical information on chemicals using the Internet;
  • enhanced communication among national and sub-regional stakeholders through the creation of a network for information exchange;
  • promoted synergies between national agencies involved in chemicals management, and;
  • provided electronic equipment (computers, scanners, printers, etc.) to key institutions to facilitate Internet access.
On various occasions, such as IFCS meetings, CIEN regional workshops, and Stockholm Convention Focal Points regional workshops, countries have called upon UNEP to catalyse and support networks and systems that can facilitate the sharing of information and exchange of experiences. UNEP Chemicals is therefore launched an electronic forum (e-forum), which provides a platform for the exchange of information and experiences among CIEN partners and other stakeholders involved in the use and management of chemicals. The objectives of this forum are to:
  • Stimulate and catalyse discussions (on specific topics) among CIEN users and other stakeholders involved in the sound management of chemicals, and;
  • Facilitate access to information and exchange experiences at the local, national, and sub-regional levels.

I trust that this forum will be an excellent crossroad for ideas and experiences on the management of chemicals and encourage the exchange of information that will result in the environmentally sound management of chemicals and improved participation in international activities, including chemical MEAs, and in this way contribute to the protection of human health and the environment.

I am pleased to welcome you to CIEN's e-forum.

Per Bakken
Chemicals Branch
United Nations Environment Programme, DTIE