A Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) is an open-access database of releases and transfers of harmful (and potentially harmful) chemicals to the environment. The data for PRTRs can be collected from point (or fixed) sources of pollution, such as factories, as well as from diffuse (or extended) sources, such as agricultural operations or transportation activities. A PRTR usually covers releases to air, water and land, and waste transported to treatment and disposal sites.

Key features of a PRTR include: annual reporting by industrial facilities and estimation of emissions from diffuse sources to allow tracking of trends over time; the use of common identifiers for chemicals, activities and locations to promote comparison and aggregation of the data; standardization of data for ease of analysis; and dissemination of the information made available to the public through a National PRTR website.


UNITAR is currently executing (2015-2018) a GEF funded project, in cooperation with UNEP, to implement fully operational PRTR systems in Belarus, Cambodia, Ecuador, Kazakhstan, Moldova, and Peru, and showcase these systems as effective tools to report releases of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs, part of the Stockholm Convention) to the environment.

2015 - 2016 Events


UNITAR is committed to working with national, regional, and global partners – including new partners interested in supporting this work – to address challenges related to implementing PRTRs.

  • The implementation of additional national and regional projects on PRTRs is under consideration;
  • Developing an interactive platform together with e-Learning courses on the application of PRTRs;
  • Building and promoting partnerships with the private sector and provide specific training related to PRTR (e.g. reporting, data management and coordination);
  • Developing greater synergies with other United Nations Programmes.


UNITAR has been working in partnership with UNEP, OECD and UNECE, with the technical and financial support of the Governments of Canada, Chile, the Netherlands, Spain and USA, and the Quick Start Programme.

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