The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) is a unique platform worldwide for chemical safety. Industrialized, emerging and developing countries, international organizations, industry, civil society and research are working together to achieve the target set at the World Summit in Johannesburg: By the year 2020, chemicals will be produced and used in ways that avoid or at least minimize significant adverse impacts on human health and the environment. In Newsletter No 3, we already documented a policy paper designated to link SAICM and the sustainable chemistry approach. (There had been a wrong citation – the version has been corrected.) At an Informal Lunch Discussion at February, 7, Jutta Emig (German Federal Ministry for Environment) introduced Challenges and opportunities for sustainable chemistry to sustainable development.
The SAICM mandate expires in 2020. At the first intersessional meeting on 7-9 February 2017 in Brasilia, 220 representatives of member states, non-governmental organizations and international organizations began to discuss the shape of future international chemicals management. The basis for the discussion was the thought starter of the SAICM Bureau, a supraregional committee. This paper raised key questions in the following areas: Political priorities, links to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to sustainable chemistry, relationship between science and politics, governance, reporting and finance. The participants in the intersessional meeting agreed that the need for an overarching platform for international chemicals management will continue after 2020 as well. The contribution made by chemicals management to achieve the objectives of the 2030 Agenda was also undisputed. However, it also became clear that joint efforts must be reinforced, in view of the increasing production and use of chemicals, if the objectives are to be met. Germany made the case for aligning international chemicals management with the sustainable chemistry approach in order to link ambitious targets for the protection of human health and the environment with economic and social development more efficiently than in the past.
The two co-chairpersons, Leticia Reis Carvalho (Brazil) and David Morin (Canada), documented the main aspects of the discussion in a Co-Chairs Summary that was published together with other meeting documents on the SAICM website. The intention is to further develop this Co-Chairs Summary with the involvement of the SAICM stakeholders to such a point that it will be possible to debate concrete proposals for the future shape of chemicals management at the next meeting in March 2018. All SAICM stakeholders are asked to take part in the two rounds of consultation (first consultation: March – June 2017, second consultation: September – October 2017) and to put forward constructive suggestions.