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26 March 2014

First e-learning tool launched to prevent illegal trade in hazardous chemicals and waste

LYON, France –The first e-learning module aimed at helping law enforcement officers identify and prevent the illegal trade in hazardous chemicals and wastes has been launched by INTERPOL and the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

With some 10 million tonnes of hazardous and other wastes transported around the world each year, the online educational tool is aimed at increasing awareness and understanding of the three global treaties which contribute to the safe management, production, movement, use and disposal of hazardous chemicals and wastes.

“The legal international trade in chemicals is an important part of the global economy, but it is crucial that this trade be effectively monitored,” said David Higgins, head of INTERPOL’s Environmental Security unit. “This e-learning tool provides targeted capacity building to law enforcement officials to help ensure safe and environmentally sound management of hazardous substances.”

“Protecting human health and the environment from the dangers of hazardous chemicals and wastes is a growing area of responsibility for enforcement officers. This tool will help them to meet their responsibilities to protect their countries, their peoples, and the global community,” said Jim Willis, Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

Key elements of the e-learning module include how to visually identify hazardous chemicals and wastes through elements such as container appearance, labels, codes and names, and the personal protective equipment required for inspections.

The module also provides guidance on how to identify and deal with possible cases of illegal trade/trafficking and the importance of developing cooperation with different agencies at the national and international levels.

Available in Arabic, English, French and Spanish, the module comprises seven sections: the pillars of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions; import and export procedures under these Conventions; control of international trade; identification, classification and safety issues; dealing with suspicious or illegal trade and traffic; cooperation; and final assessment.

The e-learning tool, developed with financial support from the European Union,  is available on the INTERPOL website as well as the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions’ websites.