SAICM Report Highlights Progress on Emerging Policy Issues in Chemicals Management

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By International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), April 4, 2019

4 April 2019: The Secretariat of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) has released a report outlining emerging policy issues in chemicals management. The report was issued ahead of the third meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG3) of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM) taking place from 2-4 April 2019, in Montevideo, Uruguay.

The report titled, ‘Emerging Policy Issues and Other Issues of Concern’ (SAICM/OEWG.3/6), highlights emerging policy issues as: lead in paint, chemicals in products, hazardous substances within the life cycle of electrical and electronic products, nanotechnologies and manufactured nanomaterials, endocrine-disrupting chemicals and environmentally persistent pharmaceutical pollutants. Additional issues of concern include managing perfluorinated chemicals and the transition to safer alternatives, and highly hazardous pesticides.

Lead agencies reporting on the issues include: the UN Environment Programme (UNEP); the World Health Organization (WHO), through the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint; the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO); the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR); and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO).

The document notes varying degrees of progress made on each issue as reported by the lead agencies, which includes national, regional and global initiatives, programmes and projects focused on policies, guidelines, capacity building, knowledge sharing and collaborations across agencies and countries.

The report also notes the approval of a USD 8.19 million project by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) on ‘Global Best Practices on Emerging Chemical Policy Issues of Concern Under the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management,’ which aims to “accelerate progress and measure the adoption of national activities on emerging policy issues to achieve the Strategic Approach goal by 2020 and to support planning for chemicals management in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” [Emerging Policy Issues and Other Issues of Concern] [OEWG3 Website]