Memorandum of Understanding Concerning Establishment of the Inter-Organisation Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals


The parties to this Memorandum,

Noting the endorsement by the United Nations General Assembly, in Resolution 47/190 of 22 December 1992, of Agenda 21 as adapted by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro on 14 June 1992, and in particular its chapter 19, and

Taking into account the resolutions adopted at the International Conference on Chemical Safety in Stockholm on 29 April 1994,

have agreed as follows: 1. PARTIES

1.1                This Memorandum of Understanding shall be open to signature by the following Organizations:

the United Nations Environment Programme

the International Labour Organization

the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

the World Health Organization

the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

1.2                 The organizations listed in paragraph 1.1 which have become parties to this Memorandum of Understanding shall be known as Participating Organizations:

1.3       Other intergovernmental organizations may also become Participating Organizations upon the unanimous consent of the Participating Organizations and after fulfillment of the provisions of paragraph 10.2.


2.1                 The Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals is hereby established.

2.2              The purpose of the Programme is to promote coordination of the policies and activities pursued by the Participating Organizations, jointly and separately, to achieve the sound management of chemicals in relation to human health and the environment.

2.3       The areas in which coordination shall be sought are the following:

(a) international assessment of chemical risks;

(b) harmonization of classification and labelling of chemicals;

(c)  information exchange on chemicals and chemical risks;

(d) establishment of risk reduction programmes;

(e) strengthening of national capabilities and capacities for management of chemicals;

(f)   prevention of illegal international traffic in toxic and dangerous products;

(g) other areas as agreed by all Participating Organizations.


3.1                 There shall be an Inter-Organization Coordinating Committee (IOCC), composed of one representative of each Participating Organization, which shall perform the functions identified in paragraph 5 below.

3.2       These representatives may be assisted by advisors, as appropriate.

3.3       The IOCC may agree to invite observers to attend its meetings.

3.4       The IOCC may agree to set up advisory bodies, if necessary.

3.5       The IOCC shall adopt its rules of procedure.

3.6       The IOCC shall elect its Chairperson, and, as necessary, Vice-Chairpersons, serving on a rotational basis unless otherwise agreed by the IOCC.


4.1       The IOCC shall normally hold two regular sessions every year. The IOCC shall determine the date, time and place of each regular session.

4.2       An extraordinary session of the IOCC may be called at the request of at least two of the Participating Organizations. The date, time and place of an extraordinary session shall be determined by the Chairperson in consultation with the Secretariat and the Participating Organizations.

4.3       Each Participating Organization shall make its own arrangements for bearing the cost of attending meetings of the IOCC.

4.4       The IOCC may agree to meet from time to time with the representatives of other organizations, programmes and intergovernmental meetings and arrangements.


5.1              The functions of the IOCC shall be the following:

(a) to consult on the planning, programming, funding, implementation and monitoring of activities undertaken jointly or individually by the Participating Organizations with regard to the sound management of chemicals;

(b) to identify gaps and areas of overlap in such activities and recommend ways to reduce or eliminate them;

(c)  to make recommendations on the distribution of work among the Participating Organizations with regard to the sound management of chemicals;

(d) to recommend common policies to be pursued by the Participating Organizations;

(e) to encourage the Participating Organizations to undertake joint programmes for the sound management of chemicals;

(f)   to endorse specific activities planned or undertaken by one or more of the Participating Organizations as being within the framework of the Programme;

(g) to exchange information about the activities undertaken and planned to be undertaken, jointly or separately, by the Participating Organizations with regard to the sound management of chemicals;

(h) to review actions taken, and to consider recommendations made, by other organizations, programmes and intergovernmental meetings and arrangements (such as the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety) concerning matters within the scope of the Programme, as well as to consider possible follow-up which might be given by the Participating Organizations;

(i)   to make recommendations to such organizations, programmes and intergovernmental meetings and arrangements;

(j) to consider and approve the budget of the Secretariat;

(k) to determine the work to be carried out by the Secretariat.

5.2                The IOCC may be given additional functions as agreed by all the Participating



Except as otherwise provided in this Memorandum of Understanding, and subject to advance notice of the provisional agenda of the meeting, recommendations and decisions of the IOCC shall be taken by consensus among the representatives of the Participating Organizations who are present at a meeting of the IOCC.

7.            SECRETARIAT

7.1                 There shall be a secretariat providing the IOCC with services, including the following:

(a) organize meetings of the IOCC;

(b) collect and analyse information for the preparation of documents for such meetings;

(c)  prepare and circulate the minutes of each meeting and the report referred to in paragraph 9.1;

(d) perform other inter-sessional work as necessary for such meetings;

(e) draw up a draft budget of the Secretariat for consideration by the IOCC.

7.2                 The Secretariat shall carry out its work in accordance with the guidance of the IOCC.

7.3                To the extent that corresponding resources are made available, the Secretariat of the Programme may also provide secretariat services for other intergovernmental meetings and arrangements if so decided by the IOCC. For this purpose, that part of the Secretariat providing such services shall be functionally distinct from that part of the Secretariat under the direction of the IOCC.’

7.4                 The Secretariat shall be located at the administering organization.

7.5                Until agreed otherwise by the Participating Organizations, the administering organization for the Secretariat shall be the World Health Organization.

7.6                 The Participating Organizations shall review the designation of the administering organization five years after the date on which this Memorandum of Understanding entered into force and periodically thereafter.

7.7                 To the extent that resources are made available to so provide, the Secretariat shall be composed of such staff as deemed necessary by the IOCC.

7.8                 The loan or secondment of a staff member to perform work for the Secretariat shall be subject to agreement between the organization releasing the staff member and the administering organization of the Secretariat.

7.9                 The Executive Head of the administering organization shall designate the head of the Secretariat upon the consensus recommendation of the IOCC attended by all the Participating Organizations.


8.1       The Participating Organizations shall share the costs of the Secretariat, taking into account resources provided under paragraphs 8.3 and 8.4.

8.2                 The budget of the Secretariat shall state the amount of its budgetary needs and the resources envisaged to meet them.

8.3                 The resources of the Secretariat, as approved by the IOCC, may be provided as follows:

(a) voluntary monetary and in- kind contributions from the Participating Organizations and Governments;

(b) voluntary monetary and in-kind contributions from other inter-governmental sources;

(c) secondment or loan of staff members from the Participating Organizations as a contribution in kind.

8.4                 Contributions from other sources may also be approved by the IOCC attended by all the Participating Organizations.

8.5                No Participating Organization shall be required to provide financial support for the Secretariat beyond what that Organization has pledged.

9.         REPORTING

9.1       The Secretariat shall submit a report of activities and the use of budgetary resources to the IOCC for its adoption at least once a year.

9.2       The adopted report shall be sent to the Executive Heads of the Participating Organizations and be forwarded through the appropriate channel to the Inter-Agency Committee on Sustainable Development and to any other bodies the IOCC may deem appropriate.


10.1          This Memorandum of Understanding shall enter into force upon signature by four of the organizations mentioned in paragraph 1.1 above.

10.2          It shall enter into force for any other intergovernmental organization mentioned in paragraph 1.3 upon the date of the written acceptance by that organization of the Memorandum of Understanding, including any amendments thereto.

11.       AMENDMENTS

This Memorandum of Understanding may be amended by consensus of all Participating Organizations. An amendment shall enter into force upon written acceptance by all the Participating Organizations.

12.       WITHDRAWAL

12.1       Any Participating Organization may withdraw from this Memorandum of Understanding by written notification to the head of the Secretariat of the IOCC, who shall immediately inform the Participating Organizations of such notification.

12.2              The withdrawal shall take effect upon the expiration of six months from the date on which the written notification has been received by the head of the Secretariat of the IOCC or at any later date indicated in the notification.


This Memorandum of Understanding may be terminated only by consensus of all Participating Organizations or whenever the number of the Participating Organizations is less than four, unless the remaining Participating Organizations agree otherwise.

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