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Review of Interdepartmental Cooperation

In the Partnership program between Swedish Chemicals Agency (KemI) and South Africa (Department of Labour, DoL), five expected outcomes were identified. One outcome was to explore the possibilities of improving the interdepartmental cooperation, by presenting recommendations on co-ordination and co-operation of government institutions.

It was recommended to vitalise the NCCM Committee by improving its role and giving it the responsibility to also coordinate common inspection projects and the implementation of GHS. NCCM was involved in the project work mainly by the communication via PSC (the Project Steering Committee).

Over the last decade issues relating to chemicals management has developed strongly in a global perspective. After re-entering the international markets under democracy RSA eagerly investigated more opportunities for economic growth and sustainability. It is crucial to a sustainable development that capacity for chemicals management is in place. Chemicals in industrialized and industrializing countries are introduced and used in increasing speed, higher volumes and new manners, exposing health and the environment to risks that have not been at hand before or have not until now been considered so severe.

In the report on the South African National profile (2002-2005)1, related to the legal, administrative and technical aspects of chemicals management in the country, some major issues and conclusions were made. The chemicals management system is spread over three main types: industrial and consumer chemicals, agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals. The responsibilities for their management are spread over a number of Governmental departments. There are no formalised structures for national co-ordination of chemicals production, import, export and use. It is evident that the greatest threat to effective management of chemicals in South Africa is the lack of coordination, funds and resources. It was thus important for South Africa to invest in setting up a national co-ordination structure and make available adequate funds and resources for enforcement of legislation pertaining to chemicals management throughout the chemicals life cycle.

Institutional cooperation between authorities in this area is an important component in the development of capacity and competences. The Department of Labour (DoL) in South Africa was the contract partner for this project and was communicating with KemI. There were two coordinating bodies acting in South Africa:
• National Committee for Chemicals Management (NCCM). The NCCM was coordinating the implementation of the Stockholm and Rotterdam conventions. The relevant Departments for this project were members in the NCCM. It was proposed in this project to vitalise this Committee by improving its role and giving it the responsibility to also coordinate common inspection projects and the implementation of GHS.
• Multi-stakeholder Committee for Chemicals Management (MCCM). The MCCM consists of the NCCM, Industry, NGO:s, academics and researches. This Committee should also be informed and involved in the project work.
ORGUT was focussing on improving government co-ordination in general, and specifically assisting the Department of Labour in improving how it uses the existing co-ordination structures.

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