Which programmes/actions are being developed at international level?
International initiatives have been established under the short- and medium-term actions of the Commission's strategy. The Commission recognised that owing to the resources required to achieve its proposed actions (in terms of scientific expertise, cost etc), international cooperation was imperative. International co-operation affords the following benefits:
- Prevents duplication of research, testing and assessment.
- Enables the development of internationally recognised test systems and strategies.
- Spreads the financial cost and speeds up the process of testing and assessment.
- Allows access to different expertise.
The programmes and actions being developed at international level are listed below:
International information exchange and co-ordination
Under the short-term actions of the Commission's strategy, the exchange of information and international co-ordination is essential to remain abreast of research results and avoid duplication, as well as ensuring that international trade agreements are not infringed when considering policy actions. The following international collaborations have been set up to achieve these goals:
- EU/WHO/IPCS: Co-ordination of international research and development through the formation of the Global Endocrine Disruption Research Inventory
- WHO/IPCS: Global assessment of the state-of-the-science of endocrine disruptors - an assessment prepared by an expert group on behalf of the World Health Organization, the International Labour Organisation, and the United Nations Environment Programme.
- EU-US Science and Technology Agreement: Under this agreement, a joint meeting was held in Italy in 1999. Common research priorities were identified and, subsequently, funding for research was made available by the Commission and the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA).
In 2003 the Commission finalised a study on "Information Exchange and International Coordination on Endocrine Disruptors" carried out by MRC Institute for Environment and Health (UK), with the aim to assess the global initiatives on Endocrine Disruptors, concerning regulatory, testing and research activities and make recommendations on ways to improve coordination and the sharing of the workload.
The study comprised a number of interrelated elements. Information on activities, opinions, approaches and outputs of various countries and stakeholder organisations was obtained through interviews, supplemented with data from websites. The information obtained was subject to detailed critical analysis to compare and contrast the approach of the EC with those of its Member States and the governments of the USA and Japan. In addition, key reports and assessments published by governmental organisations or other authoritative bodies were identified, and short summaries prepared to further highlight relevant findings, opinions, decisions and recommendations.
Complete final report and annexes:
Annex 1 Summary table of interview findings
Annex 2a Interview transcripts - EU Member States
Annex 2b Interview transcripts - Non European countries
Annex 2c Interview transcripts - Non governmental organisations
- Annex 3 Some websites of EU Member States not interviewed
Annex 4a Summaries of key reports, assessments and other documentation - National responses, strategies and legislation
- Annex 4b Summaries of key reports, assessments and other documentation - Research and development, and monitoring
Annex 4c Summaries of key reports, assessments and other documentation -Testing, screening and prioritisation
Annex 4d Summaries of key reports, assessments and other documentation - Current concerns
Annex 4e Summaries of key reports, assessments and other documentation -Miscellaneous
Annex 4f Summaries of key reports, assessments and other documentation - Full bibliography
International development and validation of tests and test strategies
- EU/OECD/US : The Commission participates in the Endocrine disruptors testing and assessment task force (EDTA), which was set up to collaborate with other national and international bodies to achieve co-operation in developing and validating new tests and test strategies that are complimentary and will be recognised and accepted by different international and national organisations.
- EU-US Science and Technology Agreement: Under this agreement the Commission and the US EPA have agreed to share information on priority-setting of chemicals, screening and testing development and validation and research activities.