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Implementation Support for Chemical Accident Prevention and Preparedness

The JRC's Major Accident Hazards Bureau functions as the EU’s center for exchange of best risk management practice for industrial accident prevention and preparedness.   It engages in a wide array of programme implementation support and training activities within the EU, EEA [1] Candidate and Third Countries, publishing expert recommendations on good practice for compliance Seveso inspections on such topics as petroleum refineries, petroleum storage depots, safety management systems and safety report. 

Exchange of Best Practices for Enforcement and Risk Management - EU Seveso Directive
Technical Working Group on Seveso Inspections 
Mutual Joint Visit Workshop Programme for Seveso Inspectors 

The Technical Working Group on Seveso Inspections (so-called "TWG 2") has promoted exchange of best practice for Seveso enforcement and site risk management among EU Member States since the early 1990s.  It represents a tremendous resource for Seveso implementing countries and their operators in regard to strategies and tools to achieve effective implementation of Seveso Directive obligations. Within the TWG and through its flagship, Mutual Joint Visit Workshop program for Seveso Inspectors, the Seveso countries share innovations and improvements in inspection techniques and risk management needs associated with different industrial sectors and with particular hazardous substances, expectations in regard to what is meant and how to recognize safety management system successes and failures, and overall strategies for planning and prioritising inspections to achieve an optimal governance of industrial risks.  As such, the collective knowledge shared by Seveso competent authorities across the TWG is a source for chemical hazard inspectors and competent authorities worldwide.The TWG has its own website within the Minerva Portal which can be found by clicking on the following link:  Technical Working Group on Seveso Inspections (TWG 2)



JRC's MAHB is a leader in technical advice for chemical risk management capacity building around the world.

UNEP's Flexible Framework for Chemical Accident Prevention and Preparedness
Tanzania National Inception Workshop (2013)

In addition to ongoing work to assist EU enlargement efforts, MAHB also provides technical support to capacity building of non-EU/EEA1 members of the UN ECE Convention on Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents (TEIA). It is also a main author with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)’s Flexible Framework for Chemical Accident Prevention in developing countries which is modelled on the Seveso Directive. The initiative has been recently introduced to the Philippines, Cambodia, Senegal, Mali, Sri Lanka and Tanzania using training workshops designed and presented in collaboration with JRC experts.

Capacity Building on Chemical Accident Prevention and Preparedness in Third Countries

Since the Seveso Directive was first authorized in 1982, the JRC’s Major Accident Hazards Bureau (MAHB) has led numerous activities with Member States to research and produce implementation support tools, in particular, technical criteria and guidance for implementation, and contributed to training workshops on implementation of risk management and analysis elements.   Strikingly, numerous versions of the Seveso Directive are also now being implemented outside Europe in a growing number of both developed and developing countries.  In addition, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is substantially promulgating the adoption of the Seveso approach in its Flexible Framework for Chemical Accident Prevention and Preparedness serving developing countries. JRC-MAHB  has regularly participated or managed training and capacity building efforts in Candidate Countries for over 15 years through JRC Enlargement projects, Twinning and TAIEX programmes, as well as in third countries (mainly in Europe, Asia and Africa) as a key partner in the UNEP Flexible Framework initiative and a frequent contributor to training workshops in support of the UNECE Industrial Accidents Convention. Most recently, DG-ECHO and JRC MAHB jointed forces to establish a programme for capacity building to support Seveso implementation in EU Neighbour Countries under the Civil Protection Mechanism 2014-2020.

Building Seveso Capacity in EU Neighbour Countries

In 2014 the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (DG-ECHO) and the Joint Research Centre agreed on collaboration the implementation of the Seveso Directive by European Neighbourhood Policy countries in support to the Civil Protection Mechanism 2014-2020 (Decision No. 1313/2013 of the European Parliament) under the authority of DG-ECHO. The European Neighbour Policy Initiative (ENPI) countries are specifically Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine in the east, and to the south (from west to east along the Mediterranean coast), Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.This initiative aims at building sustainable CAPP programmes in ENPI countries through consistent support and guidance on a multilateral and bilateral basis to individual countries participating in the programme.

For more information and updates on progress in implementing this initiative, visit the web page for Seveso Capacity Building in EU Neighbour Countries on this site.

The UNEP Flexible Framework for Addressing Chemical Accident Prevention and Preparedness

The JRC MAHB is a leading partner in the UNEP Flexible Framework Initiative that promotes improved chemical accident prevention and preparedness (CAPP), particularly in rapidly industrializing economies thatneed support to address the increased risks of chemical accidents. 

The Initiative aims to:

  •  Increase countries’ understanding of issues related to chemical accident prevention and preparedness
  • Improve the capacity of relevant institutions, agencies and experts to address the risks of chemical accidents
  • Help countries to develop and implement an appropriate CAPP programme.

For more information on the UNEP Flexible Framework and to access its guidance and technical support materials, visit the UNEP Flexible Framework website.

The UNECE Convention on Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents

Since the early 1990s the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has concentrated its efforts on preventing industrial accidents and especially their transboundary effects in its region, which stretches from Canada and the United States of America in the west to the Russian Federation in the east. Its work led to the adoption of the Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents on 17 March 1992. It was signed by 26 UNECE member countries and the European Union and entered into force on 19 April 2000.

To support implementation of the Convention throughout the region, UNECE established the Assistance Programme that aims  at supporting Parties and UNECE countries with economies in transition to improve their industrial safety. For more information on legal documents, reports and implementation activities and materials, visit the UNECE Industrial Accidents Convention website

[1] European Economic Area.  EEA members Norway and Iceland also implement the Seveso Directive.