HAVING REGARD to Article 5 b) of the Convention on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development of 14 December 1960;
HAVING REGARD to Principle 10 of the Report of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development of 3-14 June 1992 (Agenda 21) to which all OECD Member countries have subscribed, and which states that "each individual shall have appropriate access to information concerning the environment that is held by public authorities, and the opportunity to participate in decision-making processes and that countries shall encourage public awareness and participation by making information widely available";
HAVING REGARD to Chapter 19 of Agenda 21 which states, inter alia, that governments with the cooperation of industry should improve data bases and information systems on toxic chemicals, such as emission inventory programmes and that the broadest possible awareness of chemical risks is a prerequisite for chemical safety;
NOTING that several Member countries and the European Community are acting to collect data concerning pollutant releases and transfers from various sources and to make these data publicly accessible;
NOTING that many individual enterprises and industrial sectors within the OECD area are voluntarily providing information about pollutant releases and transfers;
NOTING that a number of non-member countries are also exploring ways to obtain and make available national data about pollutant releases and transfers;
NOTING that the OECD Secretariat with the aid of Member governments and other affected and interested parties has prepared a Guidance for Governments Manual specifically to assist governments wishing to institute a Pollutant Release and Transfer Register;
RECOGNISING that reducing potentially harmful releases and transfers of pollutants while promoting economic progress is a foundation for achieving sustainable development;
On the joint proposal of the Environment Policy Committee (EPOC) and the Joint Meeting of the Chemicals Committee and the Working Party on Chemicals, Pesticides and Biotechnology;
1. That Member countries take steps to establish, as appropriate, implement and make publicly available a pollutant release and transfer register (PRTR) system using as a basis the principles and information set forth in the OECD Guidance to Governments Manual for PRTRs.
2. That Member countries in establishing PRTR systems should take into account the set of principles which are contained in the Annex to this Recommendation of which it forms an integral part.
3. That Member countries should consider sharing periodically the results of the implementation of such systems among themselves and with non-member countries with particular emphasis upon sharing of data from border areas among relevant neighbouring countries.
II. FURTHER RECOMMENDS:
That member countries in establishing a Pollutant Release and Transfer Register should take into account the following core elements of a system:
1. A listing of chemicals, groups of chemicals, and, if appropriate, other relevant categories all of which are pollutants when released or transferred;
2. Integrated multi-media reporting of releases and transfers (air, water and land);
3. Reporting of data by source where the reporting sources are defined;
4. Reporting on a periodic basis, preferably annually; and
5. Making data available to the public.
1. The Environment Policy Committee to review actions undertaken by Member countries and to report to Council three years from the date of this Recommendation and periodically thereafter concerning progress.
2. The Environment Policy Committee to consider how OECD can aid other international organisations and bodies, upon their request, in helping non-member countries which may be contemplating the establishment of PRTR systems.