Welcoming remarks by Jacinta Barrins, Preparatory Workshop for Implementation of Phase I of a Comprehensive Poly Chlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), management system in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

29 Jul 2010

Your Excellency Eng. Hazem Malhas, Minister of Environment,
Ladies and Gentlemen مرحبا ,

It is a great pleasure and honour for me to address you today on behalf of UNDP at this preparatory workshop convened to complete the design of the project “Implementation of Phase I of a comprehensive Poly Chlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) management system in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan”. I welcome all the participants from government and the many representatives from the large industries in Jordan. We are pleased to be supporting the Ministry of Environment in taking the lead on this important topic in Jordan.

The objective of our workshop today is to assist in finalizing the design for a (phase I) UNDP supported project, funded by the Global Environment Facility, for the management of the Persistent Organic Compounds (POPs), Poly Chlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The project will introduce management practices and approaches that will help in dealing with POPs and will develop the technical guidance which would prevent further cross-contaminating practice and would implement strict Environmentally Sound Management (ESM) systems for PCBs, which could serve as a model for other toxic/chemical wastes. The field testing, safe equipment handling practices and disposal of available high-risk PCB-associated equipment, through this first phase, will determine the applicability of the piloted ESM system for PCBs in Jordan.

The project will assist in establishing standards and practices in line with international and national norms for handling PCBs, which may also be extended to other toxic/chemical wastes, if the Government directs. In addition, measures for interim storage(s) will be assessed and upgraded. The results of the project may act as a basis for establishing whether other toxic/chemical wastes can be similarly stored.

The data base being compiled will assist the Government of Jordan in forming an accurate picture of the use and disposition of PCBs in the country. The proposed intensive training of national PCB specialists that will be undertaken during this project will support the control of existing PCBs and assist the owners in their obligations to deal with associated PCB devices in an environmentally sound manner. In the process of expanding the institutional capacity for the management of PCB chemicals in Jordan, the project will further establish the grounds for Phase II aimed at a comprehensive PCB management system in the country. Phase II of the programme will concentrate on the means of disposal for larger amounts of PCB contaminated equipment already identified during Phase I.

The Project, therefore, will provide the basis for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to fulfill its obligation under the Stockholm Convention to eliminate PCBs and their use. It will also strengthen Jordan’s national capacity in managing chemical waste, in keeping with the tenets of the Sound Management of Chemicals.

To date, the Ministry of Environment, with the support of the UNDP, has already achieved significant results which include the reviewing and updating of national circumstances, updating a national PCB inventory, analyzing and calculating the quantities of PCBs in likely, selected industrial and power companies, and assessing the potential for co-financing the management of PCBs.
The workshop today presents a good opportunity for presenting and discussing with you the main results and findings of the past five months’ consultative and preparatory work, before the submission of the final project document to the Secretariat of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Therefore, your active participation in the discussions really would be valued and appreciated.

As we are now in the final stages of project preparation, under pressure for the submission of deliverables, I would like to extend best wishes to the project teams for a successful outcome. We reiterate and emphasize the need for national institutional support and their commitment to implementing the expected project recommendations for the sustainable management of PCBs and similar persistent and environmentally damaging organic compounds.

Your Excellency, in closing, allow me to express UNDP’s appreciation to the Ministry of Environment, the project coordinator, the consultants and all participating partners for their contributions and their dedication in the design this project. We are confident that the project will strengthen Jordan’s capacity in fulfilling its commitments under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants on an enduring basis.

Thank you. شكرا