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40 countries in Europe reaffirm their commitment to cooperate in preventing industrial accidents

Published: 01 December 2016

Prevention of industrial accidents and preparedness to respond promptly if they occur were at the heart of the discussions in Ljubljana this week at the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents. Parties adopted a workplan for the next two years and reaffirmed their commitment to cooperate in preventing industrial accidents from happening and being better prepared to respond promptly to accidents if they occur.

The meeting opened with a joint UNECE/OECD seminar on fostering implementation of the sustainable development agenda for industrial accidents prevention, preparedness and response. UNECE Deputy Executive Secretary Andrey Vasilyev stressed the important role of cooperation on industrial and chemical accidents prevention in contributing to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. “This event, organized jointly by ourselves and OECD, and the presence of numerous partners in the room testify to the importance of partnerships between organizations having different but mutually-supporting aims”, said Mr. Vasilyev.

The gathering allowed policymakers, first responders and researchers to discuss approaches for strengthening their cooperation in technological disaster risk reduction at a side event organized with the European Commission’s Directorate-General on Migration and Home Affairs.

Among other decisions taken at the Conference, it was agreed that the Joint Expert Group on Water and Industrial Accidents, overseen by the Bureaux of the Industrial Accidents Convention and the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, will work on the elaboration of guidance on fire water retention. This work kicked off at a side event to the main meeting on UNECE tools and approaches for preventing accidental water pollution and its transboundary consequences.

A new guidance document on land-use planning, the siting of hazardous activities and related safety aspects was presented to the meeting participants. This will be a valuable tool for countries striving for sustainable development and the avoidance of disasters that might result from bad siting of hazardous activities or poorly controlled development around existing sites. As Mr. Vasilyev noted in the seminar that kicked-off the meeting, “Addressing together land-use planning and industrial safety, a policy nexus that has, to date, often lacked coherence and where policy integration – and, more simply, better communication between sectors – can help countries to move forward with their global commitments.”

Finally, the Parties to the Convention decided to meet again in 2018. A lot of work is expected to be done until then.

Note to editors

The 1992 Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents is designed to protect people and the environment against industrial accidents. The Convention aims at preventing accidents from occurring, or reducing their frequency and severity and mitigating their effects if they should occur. To date there are 41 Parties to the Convention: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. More information about the meeting can be found at: www.unece.org/env/teia/cop9.html.

For further information, please contact:

Nicholas Bonvoisin
Secretary to the Industrial Accidents Convention
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
Email: nicholas.bonvoisin@unece.org
Tel:  +41 (0) 22 917 11 93


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