The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) is a policy framework under the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The 4th Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting on SAICM was held in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia, from 23-27 March 2014 to review progress and develop an international strategic plan for chemicals management to meet the overall objective of achievement of the sound management of chemicals throughout their life cycle so that by the year 2020, chemicals are produced and used in ways that minimize significant adverse impacts on the environment and human health.

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    Professor Dr. Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn Mahidol had represented His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej as Head of the Thai delegation at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, UNCD, also known as the Earth Summit, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. Sustainable Development was being increasingly discussed and supported on the international stage, and a key outcome of the Earth Summit was the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, which outlined the rights and responsibilities of all nations in implementing development to improve the quality of life of their people. Agenda 21 was the global masterplan for sustainable development of society, the economy, and the environment.

    Following the conclusion of that conference, as well as the Rio+10 UNCSD in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2002, Professor Dr. Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn Mahidol, as President of the Chulabhorn Research Institute, established an institutional policy for capacity building to support the goal of global masterplan for sustainable development, and has overseen the continued efforts in this area for the past two decades. Following on from the many face-to-face training courses in the areas of Environmental Health, Toxicology and Risk Assessment organized at CRI each year, an electronic distance learning tool (eDLT) on the risk assessment and risk management of chemicals was developed with funding from SAICM through their Quick Start Programme (QSP) in a project with CRI as the implementing agency and the World Health Organization’s Programme on Chemical Safety (WHO IPCS), the University of Ottawa (Canada) and Utrecht University (the Netherlands) as collaborating institutions. The main objective was to make the training material on risk assessment and risk management of chemicals more easily available to those interested in receiving training but unable to take two weeks off work to attend the face-to-face training in Bangkok.

    Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn Mahidol officially launched the eDLT at the WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia (WHO SEARO) in New Delhi, India, in 2013, during an official visit to discuss on-going collaborations between WHO and CRI, which is a WHO Collaborating Center for Capacity Building and Research in Environmental Health Science and Toxicology, as well as a WHO-designated regional training center for chemical safety.



    Since its official launch, the eDLT has been used to train 144 users from 19 countries, and in the aforementioned 4th Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting on SAICM in Kuala Lampur on 24 March 2014, this project was selected as the “Most Outstanding Quick Start Programme Project” for the region. This can be viewed as an important contribution towards chemical safety for the environment and human health, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.