Global Inventory of Pollutant Releases

OECD activities to assist PRTR implementation


1. Ongoing activities

OECD activities aim at developing practical tools and guidance to help countries to install and implement a PRTR, including the provision of information and technical support. Special focus goes to improving PRTR data quality, exploring PRTR data applications and harmonising PRTRs across the countries.


The outcome of the work is available at OECD Publications on PRTRs.


(1) Improving data quality

The use of estimation techniques is a key aspect of a PRTR. Releases and transfers of pollutants are usually estimated rather than calculated through exact quantifiable measurements mainly because estimation is generally easier and less expensive. Different estimation methods are used depending on the industrial process, equipment and operating conditions at each factory or specific source.

OECD has been developed a compendium of techniques used to estimate releases from various sources.


(2) PRTR data applications

One of the basic functions of a PRTR is making release and transfer data accessible to the public. Making such data available can help facilitate public participation in the sound chemicals management and environmental decision-making process.

OECD has developed practical guides on disseminating and presenting PRTR data.


(3) Harmonisation of PRTRs across the countries

Most PRTRs established to date are designed to meet the needs of a specific country, with less attention being given to the comparability of the data across different PRTRs. Consequently, many PRTRs have differing requirements in terms of which chemicals and industrial sectors are covered, and what thresholds trigger reporting. These differences create obstacles to efforts to compare, aggregate and analyse the valuable information in national PRTRs on a global basis.

In response, the OECD has been developing practical tools to help member countries implement harmonised PRTRs.


  • Global PRTR, Proposal for a Harmonised List of Pollutants examines all 1200 chemicals in five PRTRs are analysed to produce a more harmonised list of chemicals and thereby improve the comparability of PRTR data.
  • Global PRTR, Proposal for a Harmonised List of Reporting Sectors in 2013 compiles a comprehensive list of all reporting sectors and thresholds and a harmonized list based on an analysis of five different PRTRs and UNECE Kiev Protocol on PRTRs.
  • Guidance Document on Elements of a PRTR: PART I in 2014 provides information on key elements of a PRTR and for each element, it compares how existing PRTRs have been designed, presents recommendations from the OECD Council on Implementing PRTRs, and provides options for designing a PRTR that meets the needs of the country implementing the PRTR, and collects data that are harmonised with data from existing PRTRs where possible.


2. Expert Group on PRTR

OECD work on PRTRs is overseen by the Task Force on PRTRs (TF PRTRs), composed of experts on PRTR in member countries. The TF PRTRs activities aim at:

  • advise the Joint Meeting of the Chemicals Committee and the Working Party on Chemicals, Pesticides and Biotechnology on specific opportunities and challenges for the implementation of PRTRs, and propose appropriate measures to meet the challenges, including ways and means for national and international actions;
  • promote communication and a close working relationship between the Task Force on PRTRs and the Task Force on Exposure Assessment as well as relevant organisations on the various aspects of the PRTR work; and
  • analyse developments in the field of PRTRs and bring to the attention of the member countries the implications of such developments.



Related Documents