The “Uganda/UNDP/UNEP Initiative for the implementation of SAICM” was officially launched by the Ugandan Minister of State for Environment, Mrs. Jessica Eriyo, at the Project’s Inception Workshop, which was held in November 2007 in Kampala. Funding was provided by the SAICM Quick Start Programme Trust Fund.
Seventy-six representatives from Ministries such as Health, Environment, Planning and Finance, as well as industry associations, NGOs, universities and chemicals-related institutions, responded to the invitation of the Ugandan National Environmental Management Agency (NEMA) to support the project and to work towards the main objectives of the Partnership Initiative.
Uganda’s Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP), which is Uganda’s comprehensive development framework, was expiring in 2008. The expiry of the PEAP offered an opportunity to review the gains realized and the challenges and constraints faced during its implementation, as well as emerging issues, opportunities and new challenges. The revised PEAP is now transformed into the New Five Year National Development Plan (NDP). One of the working papers that will inform the new plan is a sector paper on Environment, Natural Resource and Climate Change.
The stakeholders at the workshop recognized and agreed that it would be extremely important for this project to contribute to the review process of the PEAP and try to mainstream known national chemical management priorities into the revised PEAP - in order to influence the new National Development Plan and meet SAICM objectives. The project’s stakeholders agreed to two parallel processes for mainstreaming:
i) A “fast track” process to meet the deadline of the PEAP review that would focus on mainstreaming of short term priorities; and,
ii) A “normal speed” mainstreaming process that would focus on mainstreaming of medium and long term priorities.
The “fast track” process: In order to incorporate chemicals management issues into the revised PEAP, a sub-sector working paper on chemicals management has been finalized. Information from this paper will be incorporated into the sector paper on Environment, Natural Resource and Climate Change, which in turn will inform the new National Development Plan. The project team reviewed the draft sector paper and made detailed comments on priorities for Sound Management of Chemicals (SMC).
The “normal speed” process: National sector teams were formed which, under the guidance of a core group constituted of an economist, environmental health expert, and NEMA environmental expert, have finalized Uganda’s national situation report on chemicals. The analysis of the national situation has defined the high priority chemicals issues relevant to Uganda’s national development objectives, and this has been presented to the national Inter-agency Coordinating Mechanism on SMC. Pre-meetings were held with the finance and planning ministries.
In the meantime, Phase 2 of the project has begun with an economic cost-benefit analysis of the need to restructure legislative and institutional governance mechanisms for SMC in the Government of Uganda in order to improve effectiveness and efficiencies. A strategy to address gaps in the legal regime was also initiated in the first quarter of 2009.
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