In a recent Asian-Pacific Newsletter on Occupational Health and Safety (Vol 19, number 3, December 2012), Prof. Sirirurg Songsivilai, NANOTEC Executive Director emphasized that the number of products currently on the market containing nanomaterials as the critical component or uses nanotechnology in crucial manufacturing process will increase from 1% to 10% in the coming decade. This is a significant increase and one which needs public attention as this may have impact on everyday life.
In his recent speech to the participants of the workshop on “The Implementation of Nanosafety and Ethics Strategic Plan: Action Plan to AEC”, Prof. Sirirurg informed that the Thai government approved in 2012 the National Nanosafety and Ethics Policy Framework as the critical check and balance to the National Nanotechnology Policy Initiative to ensure sustainable development of nanotechnology.
“The workshop will help to strengthen the understanding of the safety aspects of nanotechnology for representatives from associated organizations; government, public, and private sector, and will allow for establishment of the action plan for the Nanosafety and Ethics Strategic Plan 2012-2016” said Prof. Sirirurg. “In order to implement the action plan of Nanosafety and Ethics Strategic Plan, effectively and comprehensively, we must focus not only on the planning process, but the monitoring and evaluation process”.
The workshop which was held on April 2 at Thailand Science Park was funded by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and Swiss Confederation, and organized by NANOTEC and NSTDA. The workshop was held in conjunction with the NSTDA Annual Conference 2013 (NAC 2013).
Speaking on behalf of Swiss Confederation, Mrs. Daniela Schneider extended her gratitude to the Thai government for their leadership in promoting public awareness to the emerging issue of nano technology and manufactured nano materials. “Thailand has set an important example in the Asian region by creating an agency to coordinate the management of nanotechnology at a national level” said Daniela. “We believe that Thailand has the potential to take a leading role in this exciting new area at the regional or sub-regional level and we are willing to support such sub-regional collaboration”.
Also echoing Daniela’s comment is Mr. Georg Karlaganis, Training Advisor, Chemicals and Waste Management Program, United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) who said that in the field of nano safety management Thailand is ahead compared to others. He went on to say that the public engagement activities in Thailand set a good introductory example for other countries to follow.
This is not the first time that the 4 organization have join force to organize a public engagement activity. In 2012 a public seminar was held in Khon Kaen province during NanoThailand 2012 to address the topic of “Society, Nanosafety and Ethics on Nanotechnology Development”.
The various nanosafety workshops that have been organized by the 4 organization in the past stemmed from the signed 2011 NANOTEC- UNITAR Memorandum of Agreement to implement a Training and Capacity Building for the Development of the Nano-Safety Pilot project in Thailand (phase 1). Based on the positive results of the phase 1 project and from the clear message of SAICM ICCM3 Nairobi meeting, UNITAR & Swiss Confederation have decided to continue support for a second phase of the nano pilot projects with NANOTEC.