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French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety

Health and safety of water and aquatic environments: ANSES and ONEMA sign a partnership agreement

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News of 30/01/2011

1 February 2011

On 31 January 2011, Marc Mortureux, Director General of ANSES and Patrick Lavarde, General Director of the French National Agency for Water and Aquatic Environments (ONEMA), signed a three-year partnership agreement in order to consolidate their ability to meet health and safety challenges related to the sectors of water and aquatic environments.

The agreement will principally result in joint action on the following key issues and areas of concern:

  • prioritising the pollutants to be studied,
  • assessing the health risks linked to pesticides,
  • characterising emerging risks from, for example, drug residues, nanoparticles, and cyanotoxins,
  • developing methods for chemical and ecotoxicological analyses.

As a result of this commitment, in 2011 ONEMA will contribute to ANSES's objectives and its annual call for research projects in the field of environmental health. In the first quarter of 2011, the two agencies will also co-host an inter-agency workshop with the official ANSES partners (a network of 31 institutions, Réseau 31) on the hazards and risks related to water and aquatic environments.

Moreover, ANSES and ONEMA will expand a joint knowledge base on pesticides and associated risks by sharing information and data on water and substance characteristics.
As a part of the French National Plan for reducing pesticide use (the Ecophyto 2018 Plan), the two agencies will together develop a national information system on the risks and impacts of pesticides in water, as well as on the identification of use indicators, risks and impacts associated with pesticide use.

This agreement reinforces the commitment of both agencies to build upon their complementary strengths and cooperation between their teams, enabling them to deal more effectively with the challenges of public and environmental health policies related to water and aquatic environments.

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ONEMA, founded by the Law on water and aquatic environments, dated 30 December 2006, is a public establishment that operates under the supervision of the French Ministry of Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing (MEDDTL). As a technical reference organisation, it coordinates and produces high-level expertise to assist in formulating, implementing and evaluating public water policy. It provides the technical coordination of the French Water Information System (WIS) and promotes the acquisition and provision of knowledge about water, aquatic environments, and water and sanitation services. It participates in monitoring aquatic environments and controlling their use, in preventing degradation, in restoring them and preserving their biodiversity, by providing its technical support and knowledge of field conditions to those involved in both regional and catchment area water management.

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