- Another successful Stakeholders' Day
- Sixth Stakeholders' Day: Start preparing registrations for 2013 now!
- Still a long way to go for downstream users
- ECHA reports to the Commission on the operation of the RE ACH and CLP Regulations and on non-animal testing
- QSAR Toolbox - increasing confidence in computational assessment
- ECHA Unit for Guidance and Forum Secretariat: Supporting the Forum activities
- Risk Management Interview - Part 2: Authorisation and restriction start to work
- Mr Dan Jørgensen, Vice-Chair of the Environment Committee: Happy with progress but some reason for criticism
- Dr Marion Healy: Non-animal testing methods and the assessment of nanomaterials are examples of special areas of interest
- Mr Benedikt Vogt, Enforcer in Freiburg, Germany: Overall situation is positive
- REACH at Helsinki Chemicals Forum
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Päivi Jokiniemi and Paul Trouth
Article related to: News from ECHA
ECHA Unit for Guidance and Forum Secretariat: Supporting the Forum activities
Johan Nouwen, the new Head of Unit for the Guidance and Forum Secretariat, speaks in the following interview about how ECHA supports the Forum in their work and what will be the focus of guidance development in 2011.
Johan Nouwen started as Head of Unit for Guidance and Forum Secretariat in January 2011.
Mr Nouwen, could you briefly summarise your professional background?
I am Belgian and hold a Ph.D. in Materials science. I have more than 20 years of experience in the field of environmental science and chemicals. Before joining ECHA in September 2007, I was involved in the preparations for REACH and the setting up of ECHA at DG Enterprise and Industry in the European Commission. I was the team leader of the ECHA Guidance team before my appointment as Head of Unit for the Guidance and Forum Secretariat in January of this year.
What have been your first priorities as the new Head of Unit for the Guidance and Forum Secretariat?
My first priorities were to finalise the Unit Work Plan in close collaboration with the other Units, the finalisation of the Unit's contribution to the Multi-Annual Work Programme, the General Report 2010, as well as the Article 117 Report and providing a first draft of the Unit's work programme for 2012. Furthermore, as the Unit now combines the Forum Secretariat and Guidance Team, activities that were previously in two different Units required some organisational arrangements. I also familiarised myself with the work of the Forum Secretariat as I was less acquainted with this area.
On which priorities is your Unit focusing at the moment and what will be the main challenges for 2011?
Effective, harmonised and equal enforcement throughout the Community is of crucial importance for the credibility and success of REACH and CLP. The key priority for the Forum Secretariat is to provide an effective support and guidance to the Forum. An important type of such support where our attention is currently focused is the REACH Information Portal for Enforcement (RIPE); the IT tool that provides inspectors with access to data submitted to ECHA. The first version will be rolled-out in the middle of 2011. Another area where the Forum needs support and where we are currently investigating the different options is the development of an electronic information exchange procedure. The Forum Secretariat will also continue supporting the Forum in developing coordinated training programmes and enforcement projects. Given the importance of the Working Group on Interlinks and the Working Group on preparation of REACH-EN_FORCE-3, the Forum Secretariat is giving particular support to these Working Groups. The focus of the first Working Group is the establishment of the communication channels and procedures, between ECHA, Member State Competent Authorities and Enforcement Authorities. The second Working Group will prepare the third major Forum project which will, where possible, aim to involve customs authorities through the cooperation of REACH and CLP enforcement authorities when handling import control. In addition, as ECHA is gathering more experience in handling the restrictions process under REACH, much attention is being given to the guiding of the Working Group that prepares the Forum's advice on the enforceability of restrictions.
With regard to the updates of the existing guidance, priority will be given to the implementation of providing experienced advice to stakeholders via guidance gathered since ECHA became operational. A planning of guidance activities with estimated time frames will be made available with a view to having guidance published within specific time frames. The focus will be on improving the accessibility of guidance through revised guidance web pages on ECHA's website as well as on providing information particularly targeting SMEs such as fact sheets, guidance in a nutshell and practical guides.
Are you working on specific new guidance or guidance updates for the next registration deadline in 2013?
In 2011, the emphasis will be on the finalisation of guidance updates that were initiated in 2010, the guidance on Safety Data Sheets being the most important as it is helpful for many companies and SMEs in particular. Further updates will focus on those guidance documents that are particularly important for the forthcoming registration deadline; the guidance on registration and the guidance on data sharing. Existing guidance will also be kept aligned with new developments on nano materials. New guidance on this topic will be developed throughout 2012 and 2013 depending on tangible results from the projects carried out under the umbrella of the European Commission becoming available.
Was a revision of the consultation procedure on Guidance needed? Do you consider the new procedure as a major improvement?
he revised Guidance Consultation Procedure is mainly based on ECHA's original procedure. It takes due account of the first years of experience regarding updating guidance documents. Major improvements are the deletion of the possibility to include footnotes referring to Member States' dissenting positions on certain guidance issues, the Partner Expert Groups meeting as a standard in the consultation procedure and the involvement of the Committees and/or the Forum on a more ad-hoc basis. These changes allow for the acceleration of the procedure. ECHA simplified the process for nominating experts for the Partner Expert Groups and clarified their role in the Guidance Consultation Procedure.
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Biocidal Products Committee:
26 February-1 March
Committee for Risk Assessment:
Committee for Socio-Economic
18-22 March (tentative)
Management Board meeting:
Member State Committee:
13-17 May (tentative)