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“Risk Challenge” — Interactive Workshop at APEC Chemical Dialogue Focuses on Practical Approach to Risk Assessment Decision-Making

Industry, government, and international trade and environment experts are currently gathering in the city of Puerto Varas for the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Chemical Dialogue. This premier regional, chemical-specific forum aims to strengthen cooperation between government authorities, industry, and trade stakeholders in order to foster innovation, promote high standards of protection for human health and safety, and the environment, and prevent barriers to trade. 

At this year’s APEC Chemical Dialogue, attendees will participate in the “Risk Challenge” – an interactive, hands-on, capacity building exercise designed to help participants take efficient and scientifically sound approaches to risk assessment for chemical substances.

About Risk Challenge

In the Risk Challenge exercise, participants will work as a member of a team which has been asked to formulate the risk problem, assess the exposure and effects data, use those data to characterize the risks, and make risk management recommendations. As with real-world circumstances, each team will have limited funds and time to gather the data needed for analysis and reach a decision or recommendation.

The goal of the Risk Challenge exercise is to illustrate the steps in risk assessment and risk management under realistic conditions. These steps include problem-formulation, developing data generation strategy, resource management, as well as making scientifically sounds decisions in an open, collaborative manner.

It’s Vital to Build Capacity among APEC Members

APEC members account for a 69% share of the $5.2 trillion USD global chemical industry, which directly employs 11.7 million people in APEC economies. Lack of capacity and inefficiencies in risk assessment procedures in these economies lead to barriers to trade, drive up costs, and delay the introduction of innovative products by the chemical industry, which serves as a foundation for the Asia-Pacific economy. It is critical that APEC members understand how collaboration and regulatory cooperation can prevent these barriers.

During this interactive workshop, attendees will gain a “hands-on” experience employing risk assessment and risk management procedures under realistic conditions. This workshop aims to build the capacity of regulators, officials, and stakeholders in APEC economies to employ the principles and best practices of efficient risk assessment and risk management -in the context of the chemical industry -under realistic, resource-constrained conditions.

APEC member economies, particularly developing economies and those with less robust or resource-constrained regulatory oversight regimes, will build proficiency in implementing best practices for risk assessment for the chemical industry under realistic conditions.

Supporting APEC Priorities through Capacity Building

This year’s Risk Challenge will carry forward the Chemical Dialogue’s overall focus on international regulatory cooperation – which remains the top substantive priority for 2019. Risk assessments are a key component of the Chemical Dialogue’s Best Practice Principles, in particular the principle that chemical regulators should adopt a risk-based approach to developing and administering regulation.

This workshop supports two of the three ‘shared goals’ from the Dialogue’s Strategic Framework: (1) to facilitate trade by expanding and supporting cooperation and mutual recognition among chemical regulators in the region, and (2) to enable effective cooperation between industry and governments to improve chemical product stewardship and safe use.

In addition, this workshop supports the APEC 2019 priority of “Integration 4.0.” In particular, the workshop supports Good Regulatory Practices (GRP) in regional trade agreements, and International Regulatory Cooperation (IRC), which is an “important tool for GRP and in facilitating trade and reducing non-tariff barriers (NTBs).”

This workshop will also contribute to achieving numerous trade facilitation instructions from APEC Leaders and Ministers. For example, APEC Trade Ministers at their 2018 meeting instructed officials to (1) “undertake initiatives in the areas of transparency, alignment of standards and conformity assessment systems… as well as promoting good regulatory practices in the preparation, adoption and application of standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures,” (2) “encourage economies to share successful practices that have been used to improve their regulatory frameworks…,” and (3) “call for closer cooperation between government and the private sector in developing regulatory and policy processes to create a conducive environment for doing business[.]”

The Goal of Risk Challenge

Attendees participating in the workshop will be encouraged to then share their recommendations, approaches, and other insights with officials from other APEC economies. This interactive exercise on chemicals will demonstrate the principles and practices of human and ecological risk assessment, realistic challenges of resource-limited, multi-stakeholder decision-making, and methods for maximizing the benefits of available public and private resources through efficiency.  Successful risk assessment approaches will contribute to economic development, innovations that raise standards of living, and strong protections for human health and safety and the environment through effective chemical management. To learn more click here and make sure to follow us @AmChemistry on Twitter.

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