Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM)
IFCS contribution to SAICM implementation
The Sixth Session of the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (Forum VI) was held 15-19 September 2008 in Dakar, Senegal, hosted by the Government of Senegal. The theme of Forum VI, Global Partnerships for Chemical Safety Contributing to the 2020 Goal, was chosen to bring renewed focus to the integral role partnerships have in achieving the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) goal that by 2020 chemicals are used and produced in ways that lead to the minimization of significant adverse effects on human health and the environment. The plenary topics at Forum VI included nanotechnologies and manufactured nanomaterials: opportunities and challenges; substitution and alternatives; international transport of lead and cadmium via trade: an international concern?; and ecologically based integrated pest management and integrated vector management: key elements of pesticide risk reduction strategies.
The fifth session of the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (Forum V) was held in Budapest, Hungary, from 25-29 September 2006 under the theme “Chemical Safety for Sustainable Development.” The Forum adopted recommendations and agreed actions on a number of priority topics relevant to the implementation of SAICM: "The Budapest Statement on Mercury, Lead and Cadmium" which recognized that the risks posed by these metals requires further action at all levels and called for a range of specific efforts; tools and approaches for applying precaution in domestic chemicals management decision-making processes identifying of a series of potential next steps to assist countries; toys and chemical safety - actions for designers, manufacturers, decision makers in supply and sales and governments and regulators to ensure that toys are safe including work to fill the information gaps and working towards developing guidance for toy safety and harmonized international standards; and a proposed list of topics for future Forum sessions all of which are important to the successful implementation of SAICM.
The outcomes of Forum V and Forum VI have been submitted to the second session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM2) for it consideration and further action. ICCM2 will be held 11-15 May 2009 in Geneva.
At the first session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM-1, February 2006) governments and other stakeholders invited IFCS "to continue its important role in providing an open, transparent and inclusive forum for discussing issues of common interest and also new and emerging issues, and to continue to contribute through this to the implementation of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) and the work of other chemicals-related international organizations and institutions". At Forum V, governments and other stakeholders acknowledged the unique and value added role IFCS has as a forum serving as a bridge between science and policy and for discussing issues and building consensus. Forum V recognized the desirability to continue to have such a forum and adopted a resolution on the future of IFCS agreeing to consider its future role and functions at its next session. The Forum V Resolution expresses appreciation for "the unique multi-faceted role that IFCS has played as a flexible, open and transparent brainstorming and bridge-building forum for governments, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations including from the private sector which has facilitated consensus building".
Forum VI considered proposals for the future role and functions of the IFCS, options for its institutional arrangement, its possible relationship to the ICCM, and its contribution to the implementation of the SAICM and the work of other chemicals-related organizations and institutions and adopted the Dakar Resolution on the Future of IFCS. The Resolution defines the future role and functions of the Forum and invites the International Conference on Chemicals Management to decide, at its second session, to integrate the Forum into the ICCM by establishing IFCS as an ICCM advisory body.
International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM), 4-6 February, Dubai
The International Conference on Chemicals Management was held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from 4 to 6 February 2006. The high-level and multi-sectoral meeting was attended by over 600 participants from more than 140 Governments and numerous intergovernmental and non governmental organizations. Under the Presidency of Mr. Mariano Arana Sanchez, Minister for Environment of Uruguay, participants completed negotiations and adopted the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management, consisting of the Dubai Declaration on International Chemicals Management (SAICM), the Overarching Policy Strategy and the Global Plan of Action, together with resolutions on implementation arrangements, a “Quick Start Programme”, the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety and a tribute to the host Government. SAICM sets out a road map for achievement of the WSSD 2002 goal for the sound management of chemicals and includes the establishment of a "Quick Start Programme" with a Trust Fund to start country level implementation work quickly. After the successful adoption of the Strategic Approach, the Conference requested that it be referred to the governing bodies of relevant intergovernmental organizations for consideration.
The meeting report, SAICM documents, and information on SAICM implementation, are available on the SAICM website at: http://www.chem.unep.ch/saicm.
The Earth Negotiations Bulletin report on the ICCM is available at: http://www.iisd.ca/unepgc/unepss9/.
The need for a comprehensive and co-ordinated international approach to the sound management of chemicals has been recognized for over 30 years.
At its seventh special session held in February 2002, the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) adopted decision SS.VII/3, in which it decided that there was a need to further develop a strategic approach to international chemicals management (SAICM) and endorsed the IFCS Bahia Declaration and Priorities for Action Beyond 2000 as the foundation of that approach.
The decision requested UNEP to work in consultation and collaboration with Governments, participating organizations of the Inter-Organizational Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC), the IFCS, and other stakeholders. The SAICM initiative was endorsed by the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in September 2002.
A key feature of the SAICM process will be its engagement of all sectors of society with an interest in chemical safety, including environment, health, agriculture, labour, industry and development.
Policy co-ordination across sectors at both national and international levels will be important to ensure effective management of chemical risks. In this regard, the World Health Assembly (WHA) and the International Labour Conference (ILC) both formally expressed support for, and willingness to contribute to, the SAICM process. The full text of the WHA resolution may be found at: http://www.who.int/gb7EB_WHA/PDF/WHA56/ea56r22.pdf. The ILC resolution may be found at: http://www.ilo.int/public/english/standards/relm/ilc/ilc91/pdf/pr-22.pdf.
The Role of IFCS
The IFCS was in a unique position to support efforts to develop a SAICM, and following its adoption its implementation, given IFCS' broad mandate regarding chemicals management and its participatory, multi-sectoral approach. SAICM was discussed extensively during the Fourth Session of the IFCS (Forum IV) held just prior to Prep Com1 in Bangkok (1-7 November 2003). These discussions resulted in a Forum IV "Thought Starter" Report to SAICM PrepCom1. This document provides substantive input into the SAICM process as it includes consideration of the major gaps in the Bahia Declaration and Priorities for Action Beyond 2000 and their implementation, thus helping to identify areas where further strategic action may be needed. The Forum IV recommendations and agreed actions also served as a basis for discussion at SAICM PrepCom 1 and were incorporated in the SAICM PrepCom 1 working papers and reports. The IFCS continued to play a significant role in the development of a SAICM contributing thought starter and information papers (see side bar), as an active member of the Steering Committee which oversaw the planning for the SAICM process, and as a co-convenier of the ICCM.
Information on the intersessional work including regional meetings during the SAICM negotiations can be found on the UNEP Chemicals SAICM website.
International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM)
The work of the Preparatory Committee was submitted to an International Conference on Chemicals Management in 2006 held in conjunction with the ninth special session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum.