EASD is participating at the fourth session of the Intersessional Process for Considering the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) and the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste Beyond 2020 (IP4) in Bucharest , August/September 2022. From Serbia, beside Environmental Ambassadors for Sustainable Development (EASD), NGO Safer Chemicals Alternative – ALHem also participated. A summary report of IP4 by ENB which includes also a brief summary of SAICM’s history as well as of the history of the intersessional process.
As the meeting result Co-Chairs’ consolidated text is achieved. achievement, and resume it in early 2023 at a time and venue to be set by the Bureau in consultation with relevant stakeholders.
The UN General Assembly recently adopted a resolution establishing access to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, a universal human right. At the same time, recent scientific evidence shows that the global threat of plastic and chemical production has exceeded the “planetary boundaries” for chemical pollution. In addition, the global chemical industry is projected to double by 2030, with rapid growth in emerging economies.
The CEE Region recognizes the need for greater cooperation among stakeholders aiming at strengthening the capacities of developing countries and countries with economies in transition for integrated management and promoting the adequate transfer of cleaner and safer technology. Moreover, great deal of attention should be dedicated to raising awareness of chemicals and waste issues among the responsible institutions, agencies, with improvement of the multi-sectorial and multi-stakeholder cooperation.
EASD position (within IPEN umbrella) is to believe that the SAICM is key to advancing the sound management of chemicals and waste considering human health and the environment. Some of important issues pointed out by IPEN include:
– SAICM is the only instrument we have today to address most chemicals and waste but its goals were not met although progress was made. SAICM should strengthen its open, inclusive, participatory and transparent structure which should be multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder; From our perspective we need an agreement for a strong SAICM-Beyond-2020 Framework that goes beyond the Dubai Declaration and secures ambitious targets for prevention and reduction of harmful chemicals and waste globally bringing about real change.
– The science-to-policy panel should be a tool to raise awareness about the existing scientific knowledge and allow it to take action on emerging issues and issues of concern that were already agreed upon in SAICM; Also, should also have inclusive participation, allow the consideration of different forms of knowledge including from indigenous peoples, and take into account gender-specific dimensions;
– The scope shall include chemicals and all waste throughout their lifecycle.
– That objectives for the industry involvement and other financial commitments are reflected in targets, indicators, and milestones and that monitoring and reporting instruments track progress on financial objectives of the beyond 2020 instrument.
– The framework must also be accompanied by new and additional, adequate, sustainable and predictable funding accessible to all relevant stakeholders to address chemicals and waste issues. The establishment of a funding mechanism following the model of the Quick Start Programme.
The fourth session of the Intersessional Process for Considering the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) and the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste Beyond 2020 (IP4) focused on:
-targets for the post-2020 instrument; -national focal points; -national implementation plans;-how the instrument should deal with issues of concern;-private sector involvement in financing chemicals and waste management; and -the relationship between the instrument and the science-policy panel for chemicals and waste (SPP) mandated -by the fifth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA5).a vision and principles for the instrument;
-identifying targets for the instrument; -how to choose “issues of concern” that would be targeted by the instrument for focused attention and concerted action;-multi-sectoral partnerships;-funding for the secretariat; and -a proposal for a globally coordinated levy on chemical feedstocks to feed a new international fund on chemicals and waste;
– whether, and how, to refer to the new human right to a healthy environment under the instrument’s section on principles; – a possible measurability structure for indicators; – a possible stocktaking mechanism and online tool; -participation in the proposed governing body—the conference—by representatives from the environment, health, labor and agriculture sectors involved in chemical management and safety issues; and – a proposal for a way forward on how to handle existing SAICM issues of concern under the new instrument.
To note that EASD participate and follow SAICM WG on Governance and Mechanisms to support Implementation (from October 2020, lead to IP4 ).
Delegates considered targets in the compilation of draft recommendations for a new instrument as well as new proposals for targets. They agreed to replace the long list of targets with a more limited set of priority targets, grouped under specific strategic objectives. Discussion centered around which targets to keep, which newly proposed targets to include, and which targets might be merged together. See also a table comparing the SAICM Overarching Policy Strategy, SAICM/IP.4/2/Rev.1 “Compilation of recommendations regarding the Strategic Approach and the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020” and the Outcomes of the Virtual Working Groups
On vision, delegates replaced the proposed phrases in the compilation text with three new ones developed by an informal group:
- “Chemical safety for all”;
- “A toxics free planet. Advancing chemicals and waste safety for a healthy future”; and
- “Healthy Planet and People: Making Our Future Chemical and Waste Safe.”
(to note, EASD support Call to action for a tomorrow without toxics )
We must continue working together towards a sound management of chemicals and waste throughout their life cycle, in order to avoid or minimize adverse impacts on human health and the environment!