The Secretariat of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) has released an interim report outlining progress in the implementation of the Overall Orientation and Guidance for achieving the 2020 goal on sound management of chemicals. The report was issued ahead of the third meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG-3) of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM).
The document (SAICM/OEWG.3/INF/5) explains that the Overall Orientation and Guidance was endorsed as a voluntary tool by an ICCM4 resolution.
The interim report provides an update of basic elements at the national and regional level that are critical to the sound management of chemicals and waste in the overall orientation and guidance. The basic elements include: legal and institutional frameworks, implementation and enforcement; stakeholder participation and sectoral engagement; knowledge and information, risk assessment/reduction and monitoring; and political leadership, outreach, education and promotion.
OEWG-3 is expected to provide guidance to the Secretariat in preaparing the report on progress in the implementation of the Overall Orientation and Guidance for achieving the 2020 goal to be presented to ICCM5 in 2020.
The Secretariat invites stakeholders to provide comments on the interim report in the context of “celebrating” SAICM achievements in 2020 and in setting out baseline information on chemicals and waste beyond 2020. The deadline for submitting comments is 31 May 2019.
Since the fourth session of the Conference, 1 9 new stakeholder groups nominated official SAICM focal points, demonstrating on-going and increasing interest in the Strategic Approach. Three of the newly identified focal points were from international organizations and bodies / intergovernmental organizations, specifically: The Ozone Secretariat; Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions; and the World Bank. The remaining 16 new stakeholders were from non-governmental organizations, including: Academie de l’eau, Action Jeunesse pour le Developpement, Aerospace Industries Association, Association des Constructeurs Européens d’Automobiles, Basel Convention Coordinating Centre for Africa, European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), Forum CC, Health and Environment Alliance, International Chemical Trade Association AISBL, International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations, International Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association, International Panel on Chemical Pollution, International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre, Outreach Social Care Project, Swedish Society for Nature Conservation and Unissons-nous pour la Promotion des Batwa.
ICCM Resolution II/2 underlined the important role of regional meetings and coordination mechanisms in enabling stakeholders in each region to exchange experience and identify priority needs in relation to the implementation of SAICM and to develop regional positions on key issues.
Five SAICM regional meetings took place in early 2018: Asia-Pacific from 23 to 25 January 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand; Latin American and the Caribbean from 29 to 31 January 2018 in Panama City, Panama; Africa from 6 to 8 February 2018 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire; EU-JUSCANZ on 9 February 2018 in Paris, France; and Central and Eastern Europe from 19 to 21 February 2018 in Lodz, Poland. A number of informal regional meetings were also held back-to-back with the preparatory meetings for the Conference of the Parties for the Minamata Convention on Mercury and the Basel, Rotterdam
and Stockholm Conventions.
With respect to health sector engagement, the Seventieth World Health Assembly approved The Roadmap to enhance health sector engagement in the Strategic Approach to International
Chemicals Management towards the 2020 goal and beyond in May 2017. The Roadmap was requested by the World Health Assembly in its Resolution WHA69.4 (2016) and builds on the World Health
Organization’s (WHO) existing relevant work as well as the strategy for strengthening the engagement of the health sector in the implementation of the Strategic Approach adopted by the third session of the International Conference in September 2012. The WHO submitted a report to the Working Group on the WHO Chemicals Road Map and Global Chemicals and Health Network as outlined in document SAICM/OEWG.3/INF/10. One of the actions in The Roadmap mandates the WHO Secretariat to establish a global chemicals and health network, with links to existing sub-regional, regional and
international networks, to facilitate health sector implementation of The Roadmap. The network promotes collaboration on common policy challenges, perspectives and priorities of health ministries
in managing chemicals and to facilitate continuity of contact among health ministries and with WHO.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO), through national Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) programmes in Member States, provides technical support to allow countries to strengthen their legal and regulatory frameworks. This includes promoting sound chemicals management at national level for the implementation of the ILO Chemicals Convention No. 170. All national OSH programmes include the sound management of chemicals at the workplace and are tripartite in nature where government, employer and worker organisations participate equally.
UN Environment signed a Memorandum of Understanding with IPEN in December 2017 to work in partnership on gender and chemicals. These efforts focus on raising awareness, promoting women’s engagement and leadership in the decision-making processes as well as contributing to activities related to the Strategic Approach emerging policy issues and relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this context, IPEN will be working on mapping the impact of selected emerging policy issues on women and their relation to relevant SDGs. Furthermore, gender considerations have been increasingly incorporated into global multilateral environmental agreements, including the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions and the Minamata Convention on Mercury.
The International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) and UN Environment hosted the Symposium on Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste and the Circular Economy from 11 to 13
September 2018 in Chengdu, Chinad. The Symposium was aimed at coming to a common understanding of the concept of circular economy and how facilitating circularity is closely intertwined with sound management of chemicals and waste. The Symposium provided practical examples for governments and industry on how to facilitate and implement more circular approaches, while also identifying enabling policy conditions to scale up circular approaches.