Sustainable Chemical Management Advances in Burkina Faso

Mining and cotton are two of the key strategic sectors in Burkina Faso. To boost production artisanal and industrial producers in the mining sector use significant quantities of harmful chemicals and similarly farmers in the cotton sector use fertilizer and pesticides. This has tremendous consequences on the short, medium and long term production, environment and human health.

In 2012 PEI, the Swedish Chemical Agency (KEMI) and UNDP Burkina Faso joined hands to support the Government of Burkina Faso and in particular the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development to apply Sustainable Management of Chemicals (SCM) in the mining and cotton sector through a project component integrated into the PEI country program.

When the project component closed in August 2013, an assessment on the costs of inaction with regards to unsustainable chemical use in the cotton and mining sector; an evaluation of the regulations governing the use of chemicals in the cotton and mining sector; an evaluation of the economic instruments for sustainable chemicals management and; three related policy briefs had been produced. The reports aim to promote sustainable SCM in Burkina Faso and the findings have been disseminated to more than 1000 government, parliament, civil society, academia and private sector representatives.

The reports identified shortcomings in current practices in the artisanal gold mining sector and gaps in the national environmental legal framework with regard to chemicals. They pointed out that the total cost of unsustainable chemical use and management is US $24.2 million/year in the artisanal mining sector and US $9.3 million/year in the cotton sector. Large parts of the costs are related to deteriorating human health resulting from contaminated drinking water and pro-longed exposure to chemicals which further illustrates the poverty-environment linkages. Improved chemicals management in Burkina Faso could recover an economic loss of 0.35 % of the annual GDP. 

Based on the findings of the reports, the Government of Burkina Faso has improved the environmental framework law and developed a manual outlining legal actions and enforcement measures (Manuel de Police Enviromental) to safeguard livelihoods and health for rural and urban populations across the country. Further, steps are being taken to improve the current practices of chemical use in the artisanal mining sector to become more sustainable.  

At the local level, SCM has been integrated into local development plans and the findings from the studies have supported local leaders in their discussions with mining companies on the control of chemicals. In sum, the capacity for mainstreaming SCM has been improved at both the national and local level and the findings are being used to advocate for the parliament and the Ministry of Finance to allocate higher budgets in support of SCM.

To build on these achievements the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development will in 2014-2015, with the support of PEI, develop an integrated roadmap to mainstream the results of the project into the next poverty reduction strategy (SCADD) and sectors policies. 



Reports, Policy Briefs and Evaluations on the use of chemicals in Burkina Faso

Country Reference: 
Burkina Faso
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