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 Earth Negotiations Bulletin - ENB

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Tue 16
Fri 19 & Summary

Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety VI:
Global Partnership in Chemical Safety
Contributing to the 2020 Goal 

15-19 September 2008 | Dakar, Senegal


Highlights for Tuesday, 16 September 2008

The sixth session of the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS Forum VI) continued on Tuesday with a plenary session throughout the day focusing on nanotechnology and manufactured nanomaterials. In the evening, two working group met to discuss the future of the IFCS and nanotechnology.

Above photo: Bird's eye view of the IFCS VI plenary.


Germ Visser, Royal DSM Innovation Center, discussed the evolution and potential of nanotechnology, outlining examples from the nature and ancient cultures. He explained that humans can now produce similar structures and that the market for nanotechnology is growing rapidly.
Vyvyan Howard, University of Ulster, discussed the health effects of nanoparticles. He said studies have suggested that small particle size is correlated with high levels of inflammatory response in the body. 
Peter Gehr, University of Bern, presented on the interaction of manufactured nanomaterials with human organism.

Pat Mooney, ETC Group, emphasized that the way in which a technology is introduced is critical for its socioeconomic impact, especially to marginalized people.
Claudia Neubauer, Citizen Sciences Foundation, emphasized that science and technology are situated in a specific historical context and thereby subject to human choices. She lamented the small budgets for research into the social implications of nanotechnology and for products beneficial to marginalized people. 
Pieter van Broekhuizen, University of Amsterdam discussed  possible challenges and risks for workers posed by nanotechnologies.

Andreas Bachmann, Switzerland, discussed the possibility that advances in nanotechnology could exacerbate a divide between developing countries without access to such technology and those countries which are able to invest in research and development.
Georg Karlaganis, Switzerland, facilitated the plenary session on nanotechnology.


Robert Visser, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), outlined OECD's activities on nanotechnology, focusing on the working party on nanotechnology and manufactured nanomaterials.
Artwork depicting a traditional Senegalese seaside landscape.
Francoise Roure, OECD Working Group on Nanotechnology, suggested strengthening intergovernmental dialogue on nanotechnology and creating a system for formal coordination among UN agencies.


Adeniyi Fasasi, National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure of Nigeria, presented on the status of and progress on nanotechnology in Nigeria, stressed the need for capacity building, awareness raising and funding for nanoresearch in Africa, and emphasized the need for, inter alia, linkages between universities, research institutions and industry.
Lerson Tanasugarn, Chulalongkorn University , discussed developments in nanotechnology in Thailand , noting that the country is working to be an informed consumer and socially-responsible manufacturer.
Jane Stratford, UK, explained her country's approach to governing the development and application of nanotechnologies.  She emphasized that because nanomaterials have different characteristics and therefore pose different risks, they should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. 

Kyung-Hee Choi, Republic of Korea, said her country was a leader in nanotechnology research and use, and emphasized that nanosafety research on manufactured nanomaterials has the highest priority.
Thomas Epprecht, Swiss Reinsurance Company, discussed how the insurance industry manages the risk from the emergence of nanotechnology and profits from such activities.
Noppawan Tanpipat, National Nanotechnology Center of Thailand, presented on the role of the center and code of conduct for responsible nanotechnology in her country.
Babajide Alo, University of Lagos , noted the limited participation of developing countries, especially those at the bottom of the Human Development Index, in the development and direction of nanotechnology.



The working group on the future of IFCS convened in an evening session.


The working group on nanotechnology met on Tuesday evening. Chair Karlaganis presented a draft text for a Dakar Declaration on Nanotechnology and Manufactured Nanomaterials.

Artwork depicting Senegalese wildlife.

Local staff in front of the IFCS VI banner.  Delegates busy at the cybercafé.


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Related Links

Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety website
Official website of the Government of Senegal for IFCS VI
Forum VI: Global Partnerships for Chemical Safety
World Health Organization (WHO)
UNEP Chemicals
UNEP - Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM)
International Organization for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC)
International Programme on Chemical Safety
UNITAR Chemicals and Waste Management Programme
Stockholm Convention (POPs)
Rotterdam Convention (PIC)
Basel Convention

Links to IISD RS Resources

IISD RS coverage of the IFCS - V, 25-29 September 2006, Budapest, Hungary
IISD RS coverage of the IFCS - IV, 1-7 November 2003, Bangkok, Thailand
IISD RS coverage of the IFCS - III, 14-20 October 2000, Salvador, Brazil 
IISD RS coverage of the IFCS - II, 10-14 February 1997, Ottawa, Canada
IISD RS coverage of meetings on Chemicals Management 
Chemicals-L - A mailing list for news on biodiversity and wildlife policy
Linkages Update - Bi-weekly international environment and sustainable development news
MEA Bulletin - Newsletter on key MEAs and their secretariats
CLIMATE-L - News and information on the actions of international organizations in responding to the problem of global climate change
Linkages Africa - Fortnightly newsletter reporting on sustainable development events in Africa


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