What is SAICM
Adopted by the First International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM1) on 6 February 2006 in Dubai, the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) is a policy framework developed to promote global chemical safety. It was designed with input from a multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral Preparatory Committee to support the achievement of the 2020 goal agreed at the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development. SAICM's overall objective is to reach a point where chemicals are produced and used in such a manner that significantly eliminates any adverse environmental and human health impacts by the year 2020.
The vision of SAICM is for a world in which chemicals are managed safely throughout their life cycle, protecting present and future generations from any harm caused by their production or use. The SAICM project “Chemicals Without Concern – Towards Safer Products for Our Environment and Health” is funded by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). This project aims to reduce risks posed to human health and ecosystems caused by hazardous chemicals, and encourages more sustainable economic development through better chemical management practices.
The project focuses particularly on developing countries, where there are limited resources available for implementing sound chemical management measures. The project helps provide communities with legal frameworks, regulatory tools, awareness raising activities, risk reduction strategies as well as strengthening existing national capabilities related to chemical management. It also seeks to encourage broader public engagement in decision making while increasing access to knowledge on sound chemical management practices. Furthermore, it supports regional efforts towards implementation of SAICM initiatives, including regional dialogues on issues related specifically to chemicals without concern.
The ultimate aim of this project is for all stakeholders involved—governments, industry, civil society organizations and other relevant parties—to be able recognize hazardous chemicals associated with significant adverse impacts on health or environment so that they can work together towards their elimination or substitution with safer alternatives while promoting green chemistry approaches that enable design of safer products from inception.
The SAICM is distinguished by its comprehensive scope, ambitious “2020 goal” for sound multi-stakeholder, chemicals management, and multi-sectoral character, endorsement at the highest political levels, emphasis on chemical safety as a sustainable issue and provision for resource mobilization. It has been endorsed or recognized by the governing bodies of key intergovernmental organizations, including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Dubai Declaration to SAICM. This was made in response to concerns about the threats posed by the inappropriate production and use of chemicals to human health and ecosystems all over the world. It calls for action aimed at achieving sound management of chemicals worldwide by 2020. The Overarching Policy Strategy outlines how this can be achieved, setting out its scope, needs, objectives as well as financial considerations underlying principles and approaches, implementation strategies and review arrangements.
The approach recognizes that while most countries are making efforts to manage their own sound chemicals management practices, all face challenges from multiple sources such as inadequate resources or limited capacity building support from international organizations or donors. As a result it seeks to foster collaboration between stakeholders across international borders so that chemicals are produced sustainably with respect for human health and environmental protection. This includes encouraging awareness raising initiatives both within countries themselves and between them so that individuals can become more aware of potential risks due to chemical exposure which can then inform appropriate regulatory action.
In addition it takes into account financial considerations in order to ensure adequate resources are available both domestically and internationally through increased aid programs or financial instruments put in place by intergovernmental organizations such as UNEP or FAO in order to facilitate sound chemicals management policies being implemented successfully on a global scale. The end goal is that these initiatives will result not just in individuals having better access to information regarding chemical hazards but also improved protection through safer production processes which reduce risk of harm due to pollution or contamination resulting from inadequate management of hazardous substances.
Objectives of the Chemicals Without Concern project
Objectives of the Chemicals Without Concern project, funded by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), are organized around five key themes: Risk Reduction, Knowledge and Information, Governance, Capacity-Building and Technical Cooperation, and Illegal International Traffic.
In the Risk Reduction theme, the objective is to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals by promoting more sustainable production processes and products. This includes developing strategies for identifying hazardous chemicals in use and ensuring their substitution with safer alternatives. To achieve this goal, activities will focus on introducing risk-based management of chemicals at all stages of the supply chain.
Under Knowledge and Information, the goal is to increase understanding of chemical risks among key stakeholders.
This includes creating an online platform for sharing information about hazardous chemicals as well as a centralized repository for hosting technical documents related to chemical management. Additionally, measures such as training workshops for policy makers will be implemented to ensure that relevant decision makers have access to the right information when making decisions about regulating toxic substances. This involves developing national systems for reducing chemical pollution as well as establishing regional networks of government bodies.
Capacity-building and Technical Cooperation is designed to improve access to resources necessary for effective implementation of chemical management policies. This includes activities such as providing financial assistance for relevant stakeholders involved in testing or monitoring hazardous substances in their respective countries or regions, supporting research projects related to preventive measures against chemical pollution, and offering training courses on using analytical tools for assessing risks posed by certain substances.
The fifth theme addresses Illegal International Traffic which focuses on preventing illicit trade of hazardous materials across borders. Activities include capacity building initiatives that help government agencies identify illegal shipments of toxic substances; collaborating with private sector stakeholders like freight forwarders who can help enforce regulations; raising public awareness about how illegal trafficking contributes to environmental degradation; as well as providing assistance with criminal investigation into cases where traffickers are identified or apprehended.
Presenting the project Global Best Practices on Emerging Policy Issues of Concern under the SAICM
In 2018, the SAICM secretariat received funding from the GEF to execute a global project with the purpose of scaling-up action on SAICM ‘Emerging Policy Issues’ (EPIs) and supporting knowledge management and information exchange. The purpose of the project is to accelerate the adoption of national and value chain initiatives to control Emerging Policy Issues (EPIs) and contribute to the 2020 SAICM goal, as well as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This project, named 'Global Best Practices on Emerging Policy Issues of Concern under SAICM: Chemicals without concern, towards safer products for our environment and health', is the first of its kind in addressing EPIs from a global perspective.
The project focuses on five key areas: 1) awareness raising; 2) capacity building; 3) harmonisation of standards; 4) research and development; 5) communications. Awareness raising activities include promoting better understanding through media campaigns, stakeholder workshops and social marketing about alternative chemicals that do not present concerns for human health or environment. Capacity building activities are aimed at strengthening regulatory systems and developing analytical capabilities for decision makers in order to improve implementation of regulations related to EPIs. Harmonisation activities involve establishing benchmarks for safe use, setting up criteria for evaluation of chemicals based on their potential risks, and standardising procedures necessary for risk assessment, risk management and communication with industries. Research and development activities focus on addressing data gaps that exist around EPIs by developing tools such as an online database which contains information regarding EPIs across countries. Finally, communications activities focus on disseminating relevant information regarding EPIs through various channels such as webinars, newsletters and brochures.
Overall, this project is one part of a multi-faceted approach needed to address long-term challenges posed by chemicals without concern. It seeks to provide guidance in policymaking by helping countries identify appropriate implementation options that can be tailored according to their context in order to reduce risks associated with exposure to these chemicals while also encouraging sustainable production practices in industry sectors that manufacture these products. Once scaled up globally, it will help create a healthier environment where people can have confidence when purchasing chemical products because they know that necessary steps have been taken to ensure safety throughout all stages of their journey before arriving at consumers’ homes or businesses.
The project is comprised of three main components:
The project is focused on promoting regulatory and voluntary action by government and industry to phase out lead in paint, lifecycle management of chemicals present in products, and knowledge management and stakeholder engagement. In terms of phasing out lead in paint, governments and industries must work together to establish new regulations that restrict or prohibit the use of lead-based paints. This can be done by either implementing a ban on the use of these paints or setting maximum thresholds for lead levels permitted in production. To ensure that such initiatives are successful, they must be accompanied by education campaigns that inform individuals about the potential adverse health effects associated with the use of lead-based paints. Furthermore, stakeholders should be engaged in order to understand their needs and concerns so that any issues can be addressed before implementation.
When it comes to lifecycle management of chemicals present in products, governments and industries should collaborate to ensure that chemical substances used during the product’s production do not have a negative impact on human health or the environment. This can involve conducting environmental risk assessments for each individual product as well as establishing regular monitoring programs to check that all standards are being met. In addition, companies should also consider looking at their entire supply chain from raw material extraction through manufacturing processes to final disposal so as to address any issues at each stage of production.
Finally, one key aspect of this project is knowledge management and stakeholder engagement. Governments and industries need to develop mechanisms for collecting scientific data relevant to their efforts around chemical safety. This will enable them to better understand how different types of chemicals interact with each other within a product’s life cycle, allowing them to make informed decisions regarding their usage. Additionally, companies should engage with stakeholders such as consumers, NGOs and scientists early on in order to ensure that those affected by their operations are taken into consideration during decision making processes. Ultimately, this will result in improved accountability and trust between all parties involved which may ultimately result in greater success when it comes to achieving their desired goals.
Component 1: Lead in Paint
The Lead in Paint component is a project aimed at reducing lead exposure through the phasing out of lead from paint production and use. The project seeks to promote regulatory and voluntary action by governments, industry stakeholders, and paint manufacturers to achieve this goal. The desired outcome of this component is for at least 40 countries worldwide to enact legislation regarding the use of lead in paints and for at least 35 small.
This type of global initiative is necessary due to the wide-reaching effects of lead poisoning, which can have detrimental long-term impacts on human health. If left unchecked, lead exposure can cause severe physical issues such as anemia, kidney damage, hypertension, brain damage, or even death. In addition to these physical issues, it can also have psychological impact such as learning difficulties or hyperactivity disorders in children. Furthermore, if exposed during pregnancy it can result in premature birth or low birth weight for newborns.
Given the potentially disastrous effects that unchecked lead exposure can have on human health, both adults and children alike must be protected from it. This component seeks to do just that by targeting paint production processes in order to reduce overall levels of lead exposure. In order for this initiative to be successful though, significant effort must be put into obtaining both regulatory and voluntary compliance from all parties involved including governments, industry stakeholders, and paint manufacturers across numerous countries worldwide. Ultimately though this component strives towards improving environmental quality while protecting the wellbeing of people everywhere by eliminating unsafe levels of lead exposure caused by paints containing high levels of the chemical.
Component 2: Lifecycle management of chemicals present in products
This component seeks to drive governments and value chains to take action that will enable more efficient traceability and control of chemicals used in the manufacture of products, electronics, and toys. The purpose is to promote public procurement policies and other sustainable finance measures which are demand-based and market-oriented, while also creating incentives for supply chains to act accordingly; additionally, there is an intention to develop more sophisticated quantitative life cycle assessment tools which can be used to compare chemical alternatives and reduce the likelihood of regrettable substitutions; further, the goal is to enhance existing regulations on chemicals of concern through increased ambition and compliance.
In order to achieve these objectives, governments need to create a regulatory framework into which private companies can operate effectively when it comes to the life cycle management of chemicals contained within their manufactured goods. This should include clear definitions around what constitutes ‘chemicals of concern’ as well as consistent standards for reporting on the chemical composition of products. It should also cover additional requirements such as providing companies with clear guidance about how best to classify a given product’s associated risks/hazards related to its chemical content.
When it comes to incentivizing companies towards better chemical management practices, governments must look beyond traditional command-and-control style regulations. Instead they should leverage instruments like public procurement and other sustainable finance measures which provide a practical incentive structure that drives innovation while simultaneously reflecting the values expressed by the public in terms of their expectations around chemical safety.
Component 3: Knowledge management and stakeholder engagement
The objective of this component is to provide countries and stakeholders with access to up-to-date information produced by the project and other stakeholders on the EPIs, as well as actively engaging stakeholders in communities of practice in order to facilitate peer-to-peer learning exchanges. Through such efforts, this project aims to support decision-making and development of new initiatives for meeting the 2020 SAICM goal, as well as the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
In particular, www.chemicalswithoutconcern.org was created under this project as a knowledge management platform which can contribute towards achieving the "Knowledge and Information" objective of SAICM. The site provides a comprehensive suite of tools for users to access a wide range of resources about chemicals and their associated risks. In addition to providing comprehensive information about hazardous chemicals, it also provides interactive features that allow users to share their experiences, ask questions and provide feedback on potential solutions or mitigation approaches.
Furthermore, this project component will create dedicated communities of practice (CoPs) through which interested parties can engage in peer-to-peer learning exchanges related to chemical risk management. These CoPs will serve as platforms for fruitful exchange between technical experts who represent different perspectives on EPI issues relevant to each country’s context; such exchanges would include sharing best practices and lessons learned from member's experience in developing national strategies on chemical risk reduction. In addition, these CoPs will be used for capacity building activities such as training courses or seminars that are tailored according to the needs identified by local experts from member countries or stakeholders from different sectors (e.g., industry).
Global elimination of lead paint: why and how countries should take action - Technical brief
This document to provide them with concise technical information on the rationale and steps required to phase out lead paint. Lead paint or lead-based paint is paint to which one or more lead compounds have been intentionally added by the manufacturer to obtain specific characteristics. This technical brief explains why it is necessary for countries around the world to take action and eliminate lead paint, outlining both the health and economic importance of doing so, as well as outlining the support available to countries in achieving this aim.
Lead is a highly toxic heavy metal that can affect almost every system of the human body and young children are particularly vulnerable due to their developing brains and nervous systems. It therefore stands to reason that any form of exposure – whether through dust, soil, water or even food – should be avoided at all costs and eliminating lead from paints is an important step towards reducing this risk.
Lead exposure has been linked to a range of health issues including behavioural problems such as hyperactivity, nausea and vomiting in children; anaemia; damage to blood cells; impaired hearing; reduced IQ levels; learning difficulties; kidney damage; adverse reproductive outcomes such as miscarriage; delayed puberty in girls; as well as increased risks of cardiovascular disease, stroke and death in adults. Eliminating lead from paints will directly reduce these risks by limiting exposure from inhalation or ingestion by those living or working near old buildings painted with lead-containing paints.
In addition to protecting public health, eliminating lead-based paints offers great economic benefits too. Governments will save money on healthcare costs associated with treating conditions caused by lead exposure while businesses benefit from reduced production costs resulting from improved morale among their workforce due to less absenteeism stemming from health issues caused by high levels of lead toxicity.
Fortunately there are some controls already in place globally that help reduce the risk posed by lead-based paints such as The United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification & Labelling (GHS). This system classifies hazardous chemicals into different categories based on their intrinsic properties so they can be identified quickly when used around homes or workplaces. In addition, governments can introduce legally binding regulatory controls such as bans or restrictions on manufacture, importation and sale of products containing certain levels of compounds which contain a significant amount of toxic substances like lead found in paints. These measures should also be coupled with enforcement activities such as inspections and testing programs which help ensure these regulations are being respected along.
For countries wishing to take action towards eliminating paints containing high proportions of toxic materials like lead there are many initiatives aimed at helping them do this most effectively. International agencies such as UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) provide guidance on how best integrate chemical safety into policies within industry sectors via their ‘Sound Management Practices’ framework while NGOs offer funding opportunities for projects related specifically to addressing environmental concerns caused by use of dangerous substances like lead found in paints. In addition there are resources available online highlighting success stories from across the globe where communities have come together successfully managed to reduce use of toxic products leading ultimately healthier lives free from danger posed by dangerous substances like those found in paints.
To summarize then, eliminating global use of leads is urgent not only due protect public health but also for economic reasons: reducing healthcare costs associated with treating conditions linked directly high levels toxicity along with increasing productivity workplace thanks improved morale linked lower rates absenteeism steming health issues caused same high levels toxicity.. Furthermore, governments have access wide range support both international agencies NGO's able assist them taking proper actions implement legally binding regulatory controls ensure safer environment citizens work live.. Finally producers encouraged switch production processes providing safe alternative materials while consumers encouraged keep informed potential risks associated use certain products containing hazardous materials order make informed decisions possible threat that could put life danger.
This document was prepared by the World Health Organization (WHO) as part of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) full sized project 9771: Global Best Practices on Emerging Chemical Policy Issues of Concern under the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM). This GEF-funded project is being implemented by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and executed by the SAICM Secretariat. WHO acknowledges the generous financial contribution of the Global Environment Facility that has enabled them to develop, edit and design this document.
Community of practice
Communities of Practice (CoPs) are voluntary networks of experts and interested parties that hold regular meetings to share and discuss their knowledge and experiences. The CoPs of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) focus on topics related to sound chemical waste management, such as hazardous materials, chemical safety, and pollution control. Through the CoP platform, stakeholders can access a library of information about best practices for these issues, as well as an avenue for connecting with other relevant networks, projects, and programs.
The CoPs promote knowledge sharing through online discussion forums, workshops and seminars hosted around the globe. These events foster increased understanding of specific issues by providing a comprehensive evaluation of the available information. Participants benefit from technical training sessions facilitated by experts in their field, allowing them to stay up-to-date on current trends in chemical waste management and related developments. Additionally, members are encouraged to engage in active dialogue with peers from different backgrounds in order to identify new solutions for their particular areas of interest.
The SAICM CoP also offers opportunities for collaboration between individuals with diverse perspectives on global environmental challenges. By engaging in meaningful conversations with one another, members can develop innovative ideas that contribute towards improved protection of human health and the environment. This type of collective action encourages greater public participation in decision-making processes regarding chemicals management while empowering individuals who would otherwise have limited access to resources or expertise needed to address complex environmental problems.