|Committee on Legal Issues and International Labour Standards||LILS|
FOURTH ITEM ON THE AGENDA
1. The United Nations Environment Programme, the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization have been cooperating in the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS) under a series of inter-organizational agreements since 1980.(1) Discussions took place during 1995 and 1996 to conclude a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the IPCS updating it and in particular taking into account developments since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Rio de Janeiro, June 1992). The result is the attached text of the revised MOU. It entered into force on 6 December 1996, the date of the third signature by an executive head, for a period of six years.
2. The overall objectives of the IPCS are to establish the scientific basis for assessment of the risk to human health and the environment from exposure to chemicals, through international peer-review processes, as a prerequisite for the promotion of chemical safety, and to provide technical assistance in strengthening national capacities for the sound management of chemicals (MOU, Paragraph 8). The revised MOU adds a reference to ethical considerations in the work of the IPCS (Para. 9). The terms of reference of the Programme Advisory Committee, which includes a Worker and an Employer member designated by the Governing Body of the ILO, remain essentially the same as under the previous MOUs.
3. The IPCS is an example of a joint programme within the framework of a broader coordinating body, the Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals concluded among the three organizations in the IPCS, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.(2)
4. Submitted for information.
Geneva, 4 February 1997.
1. For previous MOUs and their extensions, see GB.215/IO/5/7 (and Corr.); GB.228/IO/1/3; GB.241/IO/5/4 and GB.261/LILS/Inf.1.
2. The conclusion of this MOU and the text were communicated to the Governing Body in GB.264/LILS/Inf.1.
1. Within the framework of their own respective constitutional mandates, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the World Health Organization (WHO) (hereinafter referred to as the Cooperating Organizations), acting through their Executive Heads, have agreed to cooperate in the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS) whose objectives are described in paragraph 8 of this Memorandum. The first Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) establishing such cooperation was signed y the Executive Heads of UNEP, ILO and WHO on 1 April 1980 and renewed on 6 June 1984 and 21 April 1988. The 1988 MOU was extended on 21 April 1994 and again on 21 April 1995.
2. The Cooperating Organizations note the endorsement by the United Nations General Assembly (Resolution 47/190, 22 December 1992) of Agenda 21 of UNCED, in Rio de Janeiro, June 1992, in particular of Chapter 19 and of the adoption, in April 1994, of a resolution calling for the establishment of an Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety and another resolution on agreed upon Priorities for Action.
3. A Memorandum of Understanding concerning establishment of the Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC) was signed by the Executive Heads of UNEP, ILO, FAO, WHO, UNIDO and OECD (Participating Organizations), and entered into force in March 1995. The purpose of the IOMC is to promote coordination of the policies and activities pursued by the Participating Organizations, jointly or separately, to achieve the sound management of chemicals in relation to human health and the environment. The IPCS is an example of a joint technical programme.
PRINCIPLES OF COOPERATION
4. Under the authority of their respective Executive Heads, the Cooperating Organizations will actively promote the development of the IPCS through the appropriate channels in Member States. They will endeavour to encourage collaboration at the national, regional and international levels. The establishment of regional programmes may be instituted through an exchange of letters. The Cooperating Organizations will seek to secure support for the IPCS, including the contribution of resources to it.
5. The Cooperating Organizations will endeavour to secure, in the fields of their interest, the participation in the activities of IPCS of specialized institutions to be designated as IPCS Participating Institutions (see Annex I).
6. The Cooperating Organizations will consult each other on reports on the IPCS that they may submit to their respective Governing Bodies.
7. As a general principle, the Cooperating Organizations will endeavour to support each other in all matters pertaining to chemical safety, including the development, adoption and ratification of legally binding instruments, standards, guidelines and other instruments designed to promote chemical safety.
8. The overall objectives of the IPCS are to establish the scientific basis for assessment of the risk to human health and the environment from exposure to chemicals, through international peer-review processes, as a prerequisite for the promotion of chemical safety, and to provide technical assistance in strengthening national capacities for the sound management of chemicals.
9. These objectives should be achieved through the joint implementation, catalysis and coordination of activities related to chemical safety which are of mutual interest and within the respective mandates of the Cooperating Organizations. Ethical considerations will be fostered as part of the development of scientific knowledge and in its application at all levels in the work of IPCS.
10. The IPCS Areas of Activity are defined in Annex II. The Cooperating Organizations agree that the IPCS Areas of Activity shall be expanded when necessary by agreement of the Cooperating Organizations. The contents and outputs of the IPCS will be reflected in technical workplans.
11. Scientific and technical work, corresponding to one or more of the Areas of Activity, will be undertaken either by the IPCS Central Unit, on behalf of the Cooperating Organizations, or by other programmes/units of these organizations, individually or jointly (A and B activities, respectively). Decisions as to which activities will be undertaken by the IPCS will be taken by consensus by the Intersecretariat Coordinating Committee (ICC) of the IPCS and in consultation with the Director of the IPCS. These activities will be designated as IPCS activities.
12. The areas of specific participation of the Cooperating Organizations, including the provision of resources to IPCS, will be set out in workplans, which will be approved by the ICC and revised every two years at a minimum in order to reflect the actual contents and outputs of the IPCS. The Director, IPCS, will be responsible for revising the workplans under the guidance of the ICC.
13. The overall direction of the development and implementation of the IPCS will be shared in the following manner:
(i) The Programme Advisory Committee (PAC), whose functions and Terms of Reference are described in Annex III, will operate in an advisory capacity to the IPCS. Changes in the Terms of Reference and the composition of the Committee will be by agreement among the three Cooperating Organizations.
(ii) The Intersecretariat Coordinating Committee (ICC) will ensure participation of the Cooperating Organizations in the IPCS. The Committee is composed of representatives of the Cooperating Organizations, who will act as chairperson on a rotating basis. The Director of the IPCS will be the Secretary of the ICC. The ICC will meet at a minimum twice a year. The ICC will decide on the substantive and budgetary aspects of the proposals to be submitted to the PAC. It will also provide general guidance to the Director of the IPCS on implementing the recommendations of the PAC.
(iii) The Central Unit, whose functions are described in Annex IV, will be located at WHO and will operate under WHO rules and procedures. Its staff may be supplemented as may be required by secondment and loan of staff. Staff on secondment shall be subject to the administrative procedures and rules of WHO, subject to the specific provisions of the secondment agreement concluded between the releasing and receiving organizations. The Central Unit will also draw upon the technical input of the Cooperating Organizations in specific programme areas. The Director of the IPCS will be appointed by the Director-General of WHO, in consultation with the Executive Heads of the other Cooperating Organizations. The Director of the IPCS will be authorized, after consultation with the Cooperating Organizations, to enter into specific agreements with the IPCS Participating Institutions regarding the implementation of the IPCS.
ENTRY INTO FORCE
14. This Memorandum will enter into force upon signature by the Executive Heads of the Cooperating Organizations, and will be in force for a further period of six years, after which it will be reviewed by the Cooperating Organizations.
15. This Memorandum may be amended at any time by mutual agreement of the Cooperating Organizations, in particular, in order to include other United Nations bodies and organizations with specific interest in chemical safety. Any Cooperating Organization desiring to withdraw from this Memorandum may do so six months after notifying the other Cooperating Organizations in writing of its intent.
United Nations Environment Programme -- Date: 6.12.96
International Labour Organization -- Date: 26.9.96
World Health Organization -- Date: 9.9.96
A network of Participating Institutions (PIs) is being maintained and expanded. These PIs are national, regional and international institutions, either governmental, intergovernmental or non-governmental which agree to participate in the IPCS by undertaking specific scientific or technical activities, as described in Annex II, on behalf of the IPCS.
Governmental and intergovernmental institutions are designated as PIs by the Director-General of WHO on behalf of the Cooperating Organizations after consultation with the Programme Advisory Committee. Their designation will be made on the basis of the following criteria:
(i) International recognition in the IPCS areas of activity in which they participate,
(ii) Adequate staff and facilities to fulfil their commitments as PIs of the IPCS, and willingness and ability to devote adequate resources (staff time and funds) to the task,
and in the case of national institutions,
(iii) Full support by the government of their role as an IPCS PI, and recognition of this role by relevant, competent authorities and national bodies.
Their designation, including the IPCS areas of activity in which they participate, will be made after negotiations with the respective governments to ensure that the necessary commitments and support, including sufficient national staff, have been provided. The commitment is formalized in a Memorandum of Understanding signed, on the one hand, by the Director-General of WHO (or by a staff member authorized by him/her) acting on behalf of the Cooperating Organizations and, on the other hand, by the most involved Ministry or Government Institution for the Government concerned.
Designation of national, regional and international non-governmental institutions as PIs will be subject to criteria (i) and (ii) above and decided by the ICC on a case by case basis after consultation with the PAC.
The activation of the IPCS PI for specific tasks will be achieved by direct negotiations between the Central Unit and the national institution, on the basis of mutual agreement in the most flexible way. Workplans for a given period will be prepared and the possibility of undertaking specific tasks discussed through appropriate channels, including the schedule, resources needed, reporting and final output. As appropriate, the Central Unit may recommend other institutions or experts who might assist with the task, the original institution providing a leading role for that particular activity or task until its completion.
Directors of the IPCS PIs should meet at intervals of three to five years, in order to discuss cooperation among these institutions, as well as related issues of Programme priorities, with a view to providing appropriate relevant information to the PAC, the ICC and the Central Unit.
I. There are two types of IPCS activities, as follows:
A. those activities implemented by the IPCS Central Unit, independently of whether they are funded by one or more of the Cooperating Organizations;
B. those activities implemented, in consultation with the Director of the IPCS, by other units or programmes of the Cooperating Organizations.
II. Areas of Activity
1. carry out and disseminate evaluations of the risk to human health and the environment from exposure to chemicals and to produce health or environment-based guideline values for exposure to the agents evaluated;
2. promote the development, improvement, validation, harmonization and use of methods for laboratory testing and ecological and epidemiological studies and other methods suitable for the evaluation of health and environmental risks and hazards from chemicals;
3. promote research to improve the scientific basis for health and environmental risk assessment to ensure a sound management of chemicals;
4. promote technical cooperation with Member States, in particular developing countries to:
(a) facilitate the use of available evaluations of health and environmental risks and hazards from chemicals;
(b) improve the capabilities of national authorities in conducting their own evaluations of health and environmental risks and hazards from chemicals;
(c) strengthen infrastructures for safety aspects relating to chemicals - their production, importation, transportation, storage, use, and disposal;
5. promote effective international cooperation with respect to emergencies and accidents involving chemicals;
6. support national programmes for prevention and treatment of poisonings involving chemicals;
7. contribute to the harmonization of classification and labelling of chemicals;
8. promote development of the human resources required in the areas above.
Ethical considerations, as part of the development and application of scientific knowledge, are inherent in IPCS activities.
III. Designation of IPCS Activities
All IPCS activities and outputs will include the IPCS designation (name and attribution text as agreed by the ICC) and except for extraordinary circumstances determined by the ICC will also carry the logos of the Cooperating Organizations.
The PAC of the IPCS will consist of a maximum of 20 members, 18 of whom shall be appointed by the Director-General of WHO, in consultation with, and acting on behalf of, the other Cooperating Organizations. Two PAC members shall be an Employer and a Worker member, both designated by the Governing Body of the ILO.
The PAC is intended to provide adequate advice on scientific, technical, ethical, administrative and regulatory aspects of the IPCS programme activities.
2. Terms of Office of Members
Each member of the PAC will serve for a term of three years. For the Employer and Worker member, this term may be renewed by the Governing Body of the ILO. For the other members, it may be renewed by the Director-General of WHO acting on behalf of the Cooperating Organizations, when each renewal is warranted by specific programme requirements.
3. Attendance at Sessions
The Cooperating Organizations will participate in the sessions of the PAC. In addition, the Cooperating Organizations may invite experts to participate in specific discussions of the PAC.
Other interested parties, including representatives of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations involved in chemical safety problems, may be invited by the Cooperating Organizations to nominate their representatives as observers at sessions of the PAC.
The PAC will have the following functions:
(i) to advise the Executive Heads of the Cooperating Organizations on the policies and priorities of the IPCS, and to develop and review them in the light of available resources; to this effect, the PAC will review reports of the work of the IPCS and periodically examine all the activities undertaken, the progress made and the quality of outputs; and, if necessary, recommend changes both in the scope and the content of the IPCS;
(ii) to advise on the roles and responsibilities of the IPCS Participating Institutions (PIs) and of other entities contributing to the furtherance of IPCS objectives;
(iii) to advise on the relationships between the IPCS and other institutional and non-institutional bodies in implementing UNCED Agenda 21, Chapter 19 and related activities;
(iv) to review workplans and budgets of the IPCS;
(v) to recommend special projects to be undertaken by the IPCS, and
(vi) to consider other matters, relating to the IPCS and its activities as described in Annex II.
The PAC will generally meet on an annual basis, or as may be determined by the Cooperating Organizations through the Intersecretariat Coordinating Committee. The hosting will, as far as possible, be done in turn by the Cooperating Organizations.
The PAC will elect, from among its members, a Chairperson who will serve for two sessions.
The IPCS Central Unit will provide secretariat services for the PAC and shall arrange for its supporting services and facilities as may be required. The Chairperson of the PAC, in consultation with the Director of the IPCS and the Intersecretariat Coordinating Committee, will propose the agenda for PAC meetings, and the Director of the IPCS will convene the sessions and provide the necessary documentation.
The Central Unit is responsible for the overall management and coherence of the IPCS on behalf of the Cooperating Organizations. It operates under the direct supervision of the Director of the IPCS who works under the general guidance of the ICC, as provided in paragraph 13(ii) of the MOU, and receives advice from the PAC.
The Central Unit will undertake scientific and technical work on behalf of the Cooperating Organizations to further the objectives of the IPCS. In addition, the administrative functions of the Central Unit include the following:
(a) developing plans and programmes of work and ensuring their timely implementation;
(b) convening, as necessary, ad hoc advisory groups;
(c) issuing of procedural guidelines for IPCS Participating Institutions;
(d) in close consultation with Participating Institutions, developing workplans for the Participating Institutions and overseeing their implementation;
(e) liaising with other international, regional and national governmental and non-governmental organizations concerned with chemical safety; and
(f) providing the secretariat for the ICC, the PAC, and other bodies, as deemed necessary by a decision of the ICC.
In addition, the Central Unit will
(a) provide for the central coordination of those IPCS activities carried out by the Cooperating Organizations, including those of their regional offices; and
(b) develop, for consideration and approval by the ICC, workplans as referred to in paragraph 12 of the Memorandum of Understanding and Annex II (Areas of Activity).