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TRI Around the World
U.S. TRI Program: A Leader in International Chemical Release Reporting
The Environmental Protection Agency's TRI Program was established in 1986 as the first Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) in the world. Since then, environmental agencies across the world have been increasingly implementing their own PRTR programs using TRI as a model. Currently, at least 50 countries have fully established PRTRs or have implemented pilot programs. Many more PRTRs are expected to be developed over the coming years, particularly in Central and South American countries.
The TRI Program works closely with international organizations to:
- Assist in the development of PRTR programs in other countries
- Encourage other countries to develop initiatives aimed at making existing PRTR data more comparable to allow better analysis of the data on a continental or global scale
- Make the data more useful for assessing progress towards sustainability
The TRI Program participates in activities to help develop PRTR programs in other countries. These organizations and activities include:
- Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
- Commission for Environmental Cooperation
- United Nations Institute for Training and Research
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Exit is an intergovernmental organization made up of representatives from 34 countries in North America, South America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region, as well as the European Commission, who regularly meet to coordinate and synchronize policies, discuss issues of mutual concern, and work together to respond to international problems.
OECD and PRTRs
The OECD began work to encourage development of PRTRs Exit in 1993, as a follow-up to a United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. OECD works with governments, industry, and non-governmental organizations to develop practical tools to support efforts of member countries, provide outreach to non-member countries, and coordinate international activities.
To help member countries implement efficient and effective Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) systems, OECD produces documents describing the experiences of countries that have already developed PRTRs; current and emerging uses of PRTR data; how PRTRs differ; and the identification, selection, and adaptation of release estimation techniques that industry can use to calculate pollutant releases and transfers.
Through its PRTR Task Force, the OECD coordinates PRTR activities among its members and non-member partner countries. The Task Force's goal is to enable countries with PRTRs to share experiences, and to improve PRTR information and its use by working collaboratively on activities of mutual interest and global importance. Non-OECD countries that plan to implement PRTRs are encouraged to partner with the Task Force.
Current PRTR-related activities include: developing methods to make PRTR data from different countries more comparable to enable the use of PRTRs on a continental and global scale, developing and cataloging techniques for estimating emissions from point and nonpoint sources, and promoting the use of PRTR information as a way to assess progress toward global sustainability.
- PRTR.net Exit: This website provides a global portal to PRTR information and activities from countries and organizations around the world, and aims to assist countries in the development, implementation and improvement of PRTR programs.
Commission for Environmental Cooperation
The North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) Exit was established under the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC), to address regional environmental concerns, help prevent potential trade and environmental conflicts, and to promote the effective enforcement of environmental law. The Agreement compliments the environmental provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
CEC and PRTRs
Three countries and their respective Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (PRTRs) are affiliated with the CEC: the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Canada's PRTR program is the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) and is maintained by Environment Canada. Mexico's PRTR program is the Registro de Emisiones y Transferencia de Contaminantes (RETC) and is maintained by Mexico's Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (La Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT)).
The CEC annually publishes its Taking Stock report which presents and analyzes PRTR data from the Canadian National Pollutant Release Inventory, the U.S. Toxics Release Inventory, and Mexico's Registro de Emisiones y Transferencia de Contaminantes. The report and the integrated North American PRTR dataset can be explored through the CEC's Taking Stock Online website Exit, which is updated annually and includes a full-featured database search tool, highlights and links to previous reports and related information.
Map Layer for Industrial Pollutants on Google Earth
The CEC's new map layer Exit for Google Earth lets users explore pollution data from over 30,000 industrial facilities in North America. The CEC has created the first seamless, North America-wide map layer connecting citizens with point-specific industrial pollutant data for Canada, Mexico and the United States.
United Nations Institute for Training and Research
The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) Exitworks with developing countries to implement new environmental programs and transfer knowledge and technologies to them from nations with established environmental programs.
UNITAR and PRTRs
A cooperative agreement established under the Dominican Republic-Central American-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), identified the development of PRTRs in Central America and the Dominican Republic as primary goals. UNITAR, through funding from the EPA and in coordination with the Comision Centroamericana de Ambiente y Desarrollo (CCAD), is working to facilitate development of PRTRs in two countries in Central America, with technical guidance from the TRI Program.