SAICM Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management beyond 2020
The overall objective of SAICM is to achieve the responsible management of chemicals such that, by 2020, chemicals are both produced and used in ways that minimize the adverse effects on human health and the Environment.
In addition, SAICM has a direct impact on industry, consumer protection, and agriculture. For both developing countries and newly industrialised countries, SAICM is particularly relevant in the field of capacity building, although it must be noted that, as a whole, SAICM is a very important approach to promote chemical safety worldwide.
The strategic approach to international chemical management is a voluntary strategy for global and sustainable chemical management, such that it covers the entire life cycle (production, transport, use, and disposal) and assumes the role of an overarching umbrella framework for already existing multilateral environmental treaties, such as the Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions, as well as the ILO conventions and WHO health strategies.
The strategy was adopted at the International Conference on Chemicals Management (in short: ICCM). In its Resolution II/6 at its second session in 2009, it established an Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) in order to ensure that comprehensive preparations for future conferences would be undertaken. This resolution emphasises the particular importance of the participation of developing countries and newly industrialised countries.
Approximately 80 Environment Ministers took part in the International Conference on Chemicals Management ICCM 1, held in Dubai from 4 to 6 of February 2006. The attendees agreed on taking further steps to reduce the dangers posed to human health and the environment by chemicals.
SAICM comprises three core parts: a high-level Declaration on International Chemicals Management for the Ministers present in Dubai, an Overarching Policy Strategy, and a Global Plan of Action. Among other things, the overarching policy strategy calls for integrating the sometimes very different strategic approaches of the U.S. and Europe, into a single policy paper. The Global Plan of Action provides the basis for the actual implementation of the strategy. In addition, a special secretariat was established, along with a special mechanism to monitor the progress of the strategy and a dedicated funding body.
At the ICCM in Dubai, Austria was assigned an important role- representing the interests of the EU Presidency, and speaking and negotiating on behalf of the Union. In the run-up to the conference, the EU's position was communicated and explained to the most important negotiating parties through the Green Diplomacy Network.
Together with Switzerland and Norway, the EU has drafted the “Quick Start Programme” which is designed to co-ordinate the projects pertaining to the implementation of SAICM, which also has its own budget to finance such projects in developing countries for a five-year period.
The third International Conference on Chemicals Management took place from 17 to 21 of September 2012 in Nairobi.
This was followed by the 2nd working group to prepare new topics, such as the future of SAICM after 2020, and other new policy areas (Emerging Policy Issues, in short: EPIs).
The fourth SAICM Conference took place from 28 September to 2 October 2015 in Geneva. It endorsed the resolution of the United Nations on the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and put forward an inter-sessional process for the work beyond 2020.
ICCM 4 agreed on the specific implementation of the existing issues of concern and action relating to the emerging policy issues. Among these were specifically:
- The future work of UNEP and WHO on the generation and exchange of information in the area of "endocrine disrupting chemicals"
- Action on "Environmentally Persistent Pharmaceutical Pollutants" (EPPPs)
- Implementation of measures in the area of "Chemicals in Products"
- Development of a working plan on managing "hazardous substances within the life cycle of electrical and electronic products"
- Continued exchange of information on "nanotechnology and manufactured nanomaterials"; Action on "highly hazardous pesticides".