Press Release - A chemicals management monitoring and evaluation project in Kiribati has been completed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

Kiribati received funding in 2008 to review and update their chemical profile and determine their national chemical management priorities. The Quick Start Programme (QSP) of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) approved funding of the project, which also included undertaking an assessment of their national SAICM capacity and the staging of a chemicals priority-setting workshop.

A national chemical profile outlines their current status when it comes to chemical management in Kiribati. Inventory of chemicals, along with assessing the institutional arrangements for chemicals was carried out and it was from this that Kiribati could outline their needs for a sturdy strategic approach to chemicals management

Kiribati requires strong capacity to manage and address chemical issues. Chemical spillages, misuse and understanding chemical properties were some of the areas identified for strengthening of institutional arrangements

SPREP's Pollution Prevention and Waste Management Adviser Dr Frank Griffin recently spent a week-and-a-half in Kiribati carrying out the monitoring and evaluation component of the project. This component also involved meeting with the National Chemical Coordinating Committee.
"From all the documentation, Kiribati is well on their way to successfully completing the project. This will put them in a good stance as it allows them to apply for more funding to help with the remediation process of the gaps that currently exist in their system," Griffin said.

The monitoring and evaluation process of the project is one of the final components. Griffin studied the project background materials and general national chemicals management information, met with relevant stakeholders, and also held interviews and conducted questionnaires

Kiribati's success with this project should help open doors for other Pacific islands countries and territories to embark on similar projects in the region.

"I think Kiribati has done a very good job of it, they are the first country in the region to access funding under the SAICM QSP process. Samoa and Palau are the other two countries in the region that have secured funding under the same process. This now paves the way for other countries to be able to seek funding and Kiribati can now try to mainstream their identified chemical management needs into the development plans. If it is shown to be a national priority then funding agencies will show stronger interest," Griffin explained.