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Building legal frameworks and recovering their costs for sound management of chemicals: LIRA guidance at a glance

Chemicals make up our physical world; they form the basis of life and they are the building blocks from which we make our products. Over 100,000 substances are used in a wide variety of products that build the world economy. lirawtn1ssChemicals can play an important role in our global economy but if mismanaged, they can also cause significant damage. A knowledge-based, preventive approach to chemicals management throughout their lifecycle allows avoiding significant risks to human health and ecosystems, and associated economic costs for individuals, firms and society as a whole.

UNEP has developed a guidance document for the development of Legal and Institutional infrastructures for the Sound Management of Chemicals and measures for costs Recovery of national Administration. Known as LIRA guidance, it aims to provide practical support to countries when developing or strengthening national legislation and institutional structures for achieving sound management of chemicals, including measures for financing the costs associated with the national administration.

The LIRA-Guidance was developed by an Expert Group and it is based on the outcomes of a projects aimed at supporting countries with regard to the development of national chemicals management legal and institutional infrastructures, and the particular needs of developing countries and countries with economies in transition, that was developed by UNEP and (KEMI), the Swedish Chemicals Agency

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Comprehensive chemicals management frameworks include measures for managing chemicals at every step of their life-cycle. The focus in the LIRA-guidance is managing the introduction of chemicals into the market as the establishment of such infrastructures provides a cost-effective enabling framework for the other parts needed for lifecycle chemicals management. By facilitating the development of coherent chemicals management frameworks at the national level, the LIRA Guidance, also contributes to the implementation of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.


The main objective of LIRA is to support countries that are in the process of developing national plans for strenghtening legal and institutional infrastructures governing the placement of chemical on the market as part of a lifecylce chemicals management policy. As a policy-driven process, the review should be based on sound planning. A number of workshops and projects to test the LIRA guidance has helped to spread the word. It has been successfully tested in Uruguay, Nigeria, Belize and Cambodia.

The conclusions and recommendations of the LIRA Guidance are summarized in the following table:


(when establishing legal and institutional infrastructures and

financing through cost recovery mechanisms for Sound Management of Chemicals)

Legal and institutional infrastructure

Cost recovery

1. Legislation should be adapted to the national legal framework and be in accordance with the international commitments of the country

1. Policy conditions do not need to be perfect but policy goals need to be coherent with the economic, environmental and societal goals

2. Improving inter-sectoral communication exchange is critical for efficient use of existing information

2. Demonstrating net benefits to key stakeholders of strengthening the legal and institutional infrastructures governing the placement of chemicals on the market

3. Legislation governing the placement of chemical on the market should be comprehensive, coherent and transparent

3. Minimizing costs of legal and institutional infrastructure upfront

4. Clear delineation of obligations and responsibilities of key stakeholders affected by chemical management

4. Reducing costs and building credibility with the industry by establishing a truly leveled playing field

5. Best use of resources and strong coordination are key for efficient organization of national administration

5. Clarifying what is being paid for by closely linking cost recovery with spending or service delivery

6. Regional cooperation can provide an effective and cost-efficient mean for strengthening chemical management

6. Identifying and engaging with a broad range of stakeholders is one way of ensuring that important design issues are covered and political acceptability for the measures achieved.