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Forthcoming ICCM5 panel

The UNEP Medium-Term Strategy 2022-2025 places the three environmental crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution at the heart of its work. The Strategy is also clear that the adverse effects of chemicals and waste pollution on the environment and human health can be substantially reduced by implementing existing international frameworks as well as strengthening the scientific basis of policy and decision-making.

Full and effective implementation of the Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm Conventions and the Minamata Convention is a crucial element underpinning the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, as chemicals and waste affect many aspects of development. Accordingly, achieving the sound management of chemicals and waste and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals requires multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral collaboration and coordination.

As a voluntary multistakeholder, multi-sectoral framework, the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) continues to engage policymakers, youth, academia, civil society and the private sector to ensure that chemicals are produced and used in ways that minimize adverse impacts on the environment and human health.

While ongoing restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic have led to the postponement of the 5th session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM5), progress has been made to advance ongoing engagement among stakeholders. The four Virtual Working Groups (VWGs) which were established to advance deliberations have finalized their work. The outcomes of these important dialogues note that while significant progress has been achieved on specific and concrete issues, further development will be necessary in order to build greater understanding and prepare delegates for negotiations that will take place at ICCM5.

In summary, the VWG on targets, indicators and milestones agreed further deliberation is needed to develop draft targets (incorporating a SMART approach) before extensive work can be dedicated towards indicators and milestones. The VWG on governance and mechanisms noted that each Government should establish arrangements such as national plans of action for implementation on an inter-ministerial or inter-institutional basis, in consultation with stakeholders. There was also strong support for strengthening the science policy interface for the chemicals and waste agenda. On issues of concern, the VWG agreed that the emerging policy issues process has been useful in raising the profile of specific issues on the international stage but that there is a need to continue many of the efforts on emerging policy issues. The report of the VWG on financial considerations underscored that the participation of representatives of all involved stakeholders and sectors at national, regional and international levels should be ensured in the integrated approach to financing for the sound management of chemicals and waste.

Monika MacDevette, Head to the Chemicals and Health Branch, UNEP


  • Servet Gören, Director International Affairs CEFIC
  • Alexandra Caterbow, Co-director, HEJ!Support
  • Per Ängquist, General Director, KemI, Sweden
  • Judith Torres, International environmental affairs officer, Uruguay and co-chair SAICM-5
  • Jing Zhao, SCC agency, Ministry of Ecology and Environment, China