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Historical Background:

Following various chemical accidents that occurred in 1986, United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) proposed a series of measures to assist governments, in particular those of developing countries, to reduce the occurrence and harmful effects of technological accidents and emergencies.

The first two of these measures were designed to help governments entering into international conventions. The third measure was to institute a programme enabling governments, in cooperation with industry, to collaborate and work with local leaders to identify potential hazards in their communities, and to improve community level emergency preparedness efforts and to respond to and control emergencies that might threaten public health, safety and the environment.

At the UN Environment’s 14th Governing Council in June 1987, the Secretariat was requested to continue these efforts with governments, the United Nations system and world industry and trade and in close cooperation with other international organizations conducting work in this area. Industries all over the world, in particular the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA), have co-operated with UN Environment in supporting the application of APELL.

Since it was initiated, the APELL approach has been successfully introduced in more than 30 countries and in over 80 industrialised communities worldwide: in Latin America (i.e., Brazil, Colombia, Chile, and Argentina), Asia (i.e., China, India, Thailand, Indonesia, and Korea), Africa (i.e. Kenya), and in the Middle East. The guiding principles of the APELL process for emergency planning are also practiced in the United States and Canada, through programmes of the American Chemistry Council (ACC).

Successful and remarkable changes have occurred in many of the communities that have implemented APELL, such as an improved general safety consciousness and an increased concern for environmental issues. APELL is also part of a broad cleaner and safer production programme that UN Environment launched with the objective of promoting worldwide sustainable production and consumption patterns.

To mark the twenty-five years of working with countries and communities to improve emergency awareness and preparedness through the APELL Programme, UN Environment in partnership with China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) organised the “Global APELL Anniversary Forum: 25 Years of Local Level Preparedness and Environmental Emergency Management” from 15-17 November 2011 in Beijing, China. Additionally, a Brochure was produced to commemorate the remarkable celebration of 25 years of APELL, and it is available for download in this link.

The APELL Methodology:

The APELL Process aims at creating a cohesive and resilient community in the face of technological or natural hazards through raising awareness and agreement on roles and responsibilities of all community stakeholders in potential preparedness and response measures. This is achieved by assisting decision-makers and technical personnel to increase community awareness and to prepare coordinated response plans involving industry, government, and the local community, in the event that unexpected events should endanger life, property or the environment. As a result, APELL helps to save lives and minimize adverse impacts resulting from technological hazards and environmental emergencies.

The APELL Process requires coordination, cooperation and strong broad involvement by all the sectors of the community, with a a continuous process of discussion and decision-making to identify gaps and measures to improve them. At the heart of the APELL Process is the Coordinating Group, as the management team that nurtures and implements APELL in the community. The Coordinating Group brings together various stakeholders in the community including decision-makers from local authorities, industries and private sector, response organisations, and representatives from the civil society.
The specific goals of the implementation of the APELL Process are to:
  • Provide information to the concerned members of the community on the hazards involved in industrial operations in its neighbourhood, and the measures taken to reduce these risks
  • Review, update, or establish emergency response plans in local areas
  • Increase local industry involvement in community awareness and emergency response planning
  • Integrate industry emergency plans with local emergency response plans into one overall plan for the community to handle all types of emergencies
  • Involve members of the local community in the development, testing and implementation of the overall emergency response plan.
With a conceptual format, the APELL Methodology is structured into five (5) phases and a 10-Elements process. 
  • At first, the APELL process seeks to raise and improve the awareness of all community members to local hazards
  • Secondly, the capabilities of the community to respond and prepare are assessed and matched to the identified hazards and related risks
  • It is then that APELL focuses on how the gaps are addressed by the community, creating a cycle of continuous improvements.
The 10-Elements APELL Process is illustrated below:

Apell_Process
 
Partnerships:
The APELL programme was developed and is implemented in full cooperation with other partners in industry, NGOs, governments and other international organizations worldwide.
 
In particular, the APELL programme has been directly supported throughout the years by the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA), which represents numerous national associations, including those of large international corporations and of the governments of Canada, France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA; as well as international organizations including OECD and the Commission of the European Communities.
 
The list of partners in the APELL programme development and implementation can be accessed here.
 
We also invite you to visit the Local APELL websites.


 

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