In recent decades, the irrational consumption of natural resources and hazardous chemicals in industrial and household goods has led to irreversible consequences in the environment.
The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) has approved a Technical Regulation entitled "On the safety of chemical products" the goal of which is to protect human life and health and the environment, as well as to improve the quality and safety of chemical products. The development of the Technical Regulation results from the need to establish uniform requirements for chemical products in the countries of the EAEU; eliminate technical barriers between countries; and, most importantly, ensure the safe handling of chemical products.
The Technical Regulation will come into force on June 2, 2021. It is therefore important that by this date each country in the EAEU has in place national registers of chemicals and mixtures.
The first stage in setting up the Register is to carry out an inventory. This involves collecting data from manufacturers and importers about the chemicals contained in their chemical products. Participation in the inventory is voluntary and not onerous. There are several reasons why the process is straightforward. First, minimal information is requested during the inventory. Second, no payment is required when submitting information. Third, no additional documents are required to confirm that the chemicals are present in the Republic of Kazakhstan or any other countries of the EAEU. The most crucial argument is that there is no need to go through a complex notification procedure requiring many documents as well as studies determining various properties, such as bioaccumulation, carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, and toxicity.
It is desirable, however, that manufacturers and importers include their product data in the Register in advance of the Regulation coming into force. This will avoid disruption of supply chains of chemical products.
It should be noted that the Technical Regulations do not apply to some types of chemical products. These include chemical products intended for scientific research, pharmaceuticals, perfumery, cosmetic products, food products, and other goods.
In Kazakhstan today, only 43 out of 2000 businesses working in this field have provided information on their products for the Register, according to the chief specialist at the Department of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industry, Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development of Kazakhstan, Dyusambayev Kanagat. Mr. Dyusambayev went on to say that various difficulties had also arisen in carrying out the inventory, such as different levels of readiness on the part of businesses; a wide range of chemicals; and problems in verifying information regarding confidential substances.
The UN Development Program in Kazakhstan regularly works to build partners' capacity on chemical-safety issues. In March and April 2021, therefore, a series of online seminars was held for representatives of government agencies, associations, NGOs, industrial enterprises, importers, and suppliers of chemical products, as well as the academic community. The seminars covered the main provisions and terms of the Technical Regulations and the regulatory legal acts regarding the treatment of persistent organic pollutants and the National Profile on Chemicals Management.
Chemicals management is one of the key aspects of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Being the leading UN development agency, UNDP is actively working in this area, including supporting Kazakhstan's Government in achieving the SDGs.