Vol. 15 No. 111
THE SECOND SESSION OF THE PREPARATORY COMMITTEE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF A
STRATEGIC APPROACH TO INTERNATIONAL CHEMICALS MANAGEMENT:
The second session of the Preparatory Committee for the Development of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM PrepCom2) took place at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) headquarters at the Gigiri complex in Nairobi, Kenya, from 4-8 October 2004. The work of the PrepCom will culminate in a final “International Conference on Chemicals Management” in 2006. Convened jointly by UNEP, the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS), the Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC), the World Bank, the Global Environment Facility and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), PrepCom2 brought together more than 300 government representatives, 14 UN bodies and specialized agencies, eight intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), 40 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other observers.
During the meeting, participants discussed elements for an overarching policy strategy for international chemicals management, made progress in creating a matrix of possible concrete measures to promote chemical safety, and provided comments on an initial list of elements to be included in a high-level political declaration. The draft documents reflecting the discussions at PrepCom2 will be revised by the Secretariat to reflect comments made on the final day of the meeting, where necessary, and annexed to the final report. During the intersessional period, the Secretariat and the President will also use these documents, with input from regional groups, to prepare for PrepCom3.
PrepCom2 took significant steps in clarifying the purpose of SAICM by agreeing on a structure for future discussions. It is clear now that SAICM will consist of an overarching policy strategy, a global plan of action, and a high-level declaration, with progress made during the session in identifying and elaborating the elements for the overarching policy strategy. Participants also agreed on the scope of SAICM for the purpose of its further development. However, much work remains on finalizing the concrete measures, which are expected to be included in the global plan of action and reflected in the high-level declaration.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF SAICM
The concept of SAICM has been discussed by the UNEP Governing Council (GC) in various forms since 1995, including in:
21ST UNEP GOVERNING COUNCIL: At its 21st session in 2001, the UNEP GC adopted decision 21/7, which requests UNEP’s Executive Director, in consultation with governments, the IOMC, IFCS and others, to examine the need for a SAICM.
SEVENTH SPECIAL SESSION OF THE GOVERNING COUNCIL: In February 2002, at its seventh special session, the UNEP GC agreed in decision SS.VII/3 that the further development of SAICM was needed, and requested UNEP’s Executive Director to develop such an approach, with the IFCS Bahia Declaration and Priorities for Action Beyond 2000 as its foundation. This process was to entail an “open-ended consultative meeting involving representatives of all stakeholder groups,” jointly convened by UNEP, IFCS and the IOMC.
WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (WSSD): The WSSD convened from 26 August to 4 September 2002, in Johannesburg, South Africa, and adopted, among other outcomes, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI). The JPOI is a framework for action to implement the commitments made at the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development, and includes a number of new commitments. The issue of chemicals management in the JPOI is addressed primarily in Chapter III on Changing Unsustainable Patterns of Production and Consumption. JPOI’s chemicals-related targets include:
22ND UNEP GOVERNING COUNCIL: The 22nd session of the UNEP GC, held in February 2003, adopted decision 22/4 endorsing the concept of an international conference, with preparatory meetings, as the basis for developing SAICM. In its decision, the UNEP GC also recognized the need for an open, transparent and inclusive process for developing the approach. The decision further requested UNEP to compile possible draft elements of SAICM for consideration by PrepCom1, and invited governments, relevant international organizations and other stakeholders to contribute.
SAICM INFORMATION MEETING: A stakeholder information and consultation meeting took place on 29 April 2003, in Geneva, Switzerland. Delegates heard a briefing on the background of the SAICM process, an outline of the preparatory process, and perspectives from organizations in the SAICM Steering Committee, comprising: IFCS, Food and Agriculture Organization, International Labor Organization (ILO), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), UNEP, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), World Health Organization (WHO), UNDP and the World Bank. Participants also heard an update by UNEP on PrepCom1 documents, and a presentation on progress achieved in the compilation of possible draft elements for SAICM.
56TH WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY: At its 56th session in May 2003, the WHO’s World Health Assembly adopted resolution 56.22, which supported UNEP GC decision 22/4 and recognized the need for health interests at the country level to be reflected in, and addressed by, SAICM. The decision urges member states to take full account of the health aspects of chemical safety in the development of SAICM and requests the WHO Director-General to, inter alia, contribute to SAICM through submission of possible health-focused elements, and submit a progress report to the Assembly before the SAICM process is concluded.
91ST SESSION OF THE INTERNATIONAL LABOR CONFERENCE: At its 91st session in June 2003, the ILO’s International Labor Conference adopted conclusions calling on ILO to contribute to the further development of SAICM, to ensure the full participation of employers’ and workers’ organizations and to present the final outcome of the SAICM process to ILO decision-making bodies for their consideration.
IFCS FORUM IV: The fourth session of the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (Forum IV) took place from 1-7 November 2003, in Bangkok, Thailand. Convening under the theme “Chemical Safety in a Vulnerable World,” Forum IV took stock of progress achieved on the commitments and recommendations made at Forum III in 2000, and focused on topics relating to: children and chemical safety; occupational safety and health; hazard data generation and availability; acutely toxic pesticides; and capacity building. Participants also considered and took decisions on illegal traffic and the GHS.
In response to decisions SS.VII/3 and 22/4 IV of the UNEP GC, Forum IV discussed the further development of SAICM, and forwarded the outcome to SAICM PrepCom1 in the form of a Report on SAICM-Related Work at IFCS Forum IV (SAICM/PREPCOM.1/INF/3). This non-negotiated compilation report addressed:
It also contained an overview of the main discussion points raised in Forum IV, and an annex with tables that identify key themes in the IFCS Bahia Declaration and Priorities for Action Beyond 2000.
SAICM PREPCOM1: PrepCom1 took place from 9-13 November 2003, in Bangkok, Thailand. Participants provided initial comments on potential issues to be addressed during the development of SAICM, examined ways to structure discussions, and considered possible outcomes of the SAICM process. There was widespread agreement among participants that the overarching objective of SAICM should be to achieve, by 2020, the use and production of chemicals in ways that lead to the minimization of significant adverse effects on human health and the environment, as agreed in the JPOI.
There was also broad support for a three-tiered approach for SAICM, which would comprise: a global programme of action with targets and timetables; an overarching chemicals policy strategy; and a high-level or ministerial declaration to adopt the former two. Discussions were structured around ten headings:
Participants generated a preliminary list of action items, and considered using a matrix proposed by UNIDO to set out the action items and indicate interrelations among them.
AFRICAN REGIONAL MEETING ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF SAICM: An African regional meeting was held in Abuja, Nigeria, from 24-26 May 2004, to facilitate African regional coordination on the development of SAICM. Delegates adopted a report (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/INF/8) comprising a draft decision for consideration by the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment, the Abuja Statement on the SAICM, and the African Group’s position on SAICM. The Abuja Statement calls for SAICM to, inter alia, serve as a general framework to guide and assist countries in dealing safely with hazardous chemicals, substances and products, and enhance their ability to implement existing multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) without creating additional legally binding commitments. The African Group’s position on SAICM includes two appendices: one listing concrete measures with targets and timeframes on scientific activities; and another on capacity building to support implementation of the global programme of action.
LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN GROUP (GRULAC) CONSULTATION ON SAICM: The GRULAC consultation on SAICM was held from 2-3 October 2004, in Nairobi. Delegates agreed, among other things, on a regional position on the following elements for SAICM: political strategic vision; scope; objectives; principles; approach; coordination; capacity building; monitoring; liability regime; mobilizing resources; and structure (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/INF/25). Delegates discussed, among other things, the need to: operationalize existing agreements on chemicals management; develop synergies between existing instruments; avoid SAICM becoming a bureaucratic instrument; emphasize capacity building in developing countries; and increase the participation of the scientific and academic communities in the implementation of chemicals-related MEAs.
SAICM PrepCom2 opened on Monday, 4 October 2004. During the opening ceremony, Kenyan poet Caroline Nderitu recited a poem entitled “Wouldn’t it be nice?” and Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, Kenya’s Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, presented certificates of appreciation to three Kenyan scientists, Shem Oyoo Wandia, Helen Njenga and Konchora Guracha, who were selected by the Kenyan Academy of Sciences for their work in the area of chemicals.
In his opening address, Musyoka reminded participants of the challenges of managing chemicals to balance health, environmental and economic concerns in a developing country such as Kenya. He underlined the role of SAICM in providing the world with a road map for sustainable chemicals management.
UNEP Deputy Executive Director Shafqat Kakakhel welcomed participants on behalf of UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer. He said this is a busy year for chemicals issues, with progress made at COP-1 of the Rotterdam Convention. Highlighting UNEP’s role in global chemicals management, he stressed that with only one preparatory meeting remaining, it is important to move forward rapidly in agreeing on a structure and important elements such as the strategic vision, goals and objectives, and coordination and implementation arrangements for SAICM activities to 2020.
Robert Visser, OECD, spoke on behalf of the IOMC, stating that the IOMC is the preeminent mechanism for coordinating international actions to achieve the sound management of chemicals. He highlighted two key issues to be addressed at PrepCom2: the integration of chemicals management into all relevant government sectors; and capacity building and technical assistance.
IFCS President Suwit Wibulproprasert highlighted decision 22/4 of the 22nd session of the UNEP GC, which recognizes the need for an open, transparent and inclusive process. He noted that greater efforts are required to further enhance the inclusiveness of the process and encourage the participation of all stakeholders, including civil society. Stressing that chemical safety is a multi-sectoral responsibility, he challenged donors and IGOs to ensure the participation of governments and society at all levels.
Delegates then elected Viveka Bohn (Sweden) as bureau member for Western European and other countries (WEOG), and PrepCom President. Adisak Thomgkaimook (Thailand) was elected bureau member for the Asia and Pacific Group, and Vice-President of the PrepCom. Continuing bureau members are: Abiola Olanipekun (Nigeria) for the African Group; Ivana Halle (Croatia) for the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) Group; and Federico Perazzo (Uruguay) for GRULAC.
The plenary adopted the Annotated Provisional Agenda (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/1/Rev.1) by acclamation.
John Buccini from the Secretariat reported on the intersessional work carried out by the Secretariat at the request of PrepCom1. He introduced documents on:
Participants discussed future work on the development of SAICM, focusing on its structure and scope, on Monday. On Tuesday they completed consideration of structure and started discussions on the overarching policy strategy and concrete measures. The objectives of SAICM were first considered on Wednesday, along with financial considerations, principles and approaches, and implementation and taking stock of progress. Participants briefly discussed elements for a high-level political declaration on Thursday. The meeting concluded on Friday with the adoption of the session’s report. The following report summarizes the discussions that took place during the meeting.
FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF A SAICM
Participants engaged in a general discussion on the further development of SAICM in plenary on Monday, before moving on to address specific elements throughout the remainder of the week.
The Secretariat presented a note on the approaches and objectives for PrepCom2 (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/INF/1). Participants agreed to build on the intersessional work of the African Group (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/INF/8) and GRULAC (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/INF/25), and structure discussions on the basis of the three-tiered approach supported by several participants at PrepCom1 and at the intersessional regional meetings. The approach comprises an overarching policy strategy, a global plan of action, and a high-level declaration. They noted the need for integrated chemicals management, implementation of the life-cycle approach and cleaner production, and for creating responses to new challenges, such as mercury and endocrine disrupting chemicals. A number of countries called for capacity building, in order to bridge the widening gap between developed and developing countries. GRULAC noted the need to make use of existing financial mechanisms, and the Group of 77 and China (G-77/China) highlighted the importance of new and additional financial mechanisms. Participants called for the efficient implementation of existing MEAs and highlighted the need for the improved availability of information. Participants considered whether SAICM should involve legally binding elements.
OVERARCHING POLICY STRATEGY: Discussions on the overarching policy strategy took place throughout the week. Based on comments and proposals discussed on Monday, President Viveka Bohn proposed five elements for discussion on the overarching policy strategy on Tuesday:
After further discussion on Tuesday, participants agreed to create a separate heading for financial considerations, following a proposal from Zambia. A new subheading on “illegal international trafficking” in chemicals was also introduced under objectives. The President noted that the structure had drawn on several conference room papers (CRPs), and on the outcomes of the regional SAICM meetings of the African Group (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/INF/8) and GRULAC (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/INF/25). On Friday in plenary, the Secretary was asked to revise the relevant CRPs and merge them into one overarching policy document to be included as an annex to the final report of PrepCom2. Where proposals are identified as concrete measures, the plenary mandated the Secretariat, in consultation with the President, to separate them from the CRPs relating to the overarching policy strategy, for discussion under concrete measures. This work will be completed in three months.
Scope: Participants briefly discussed the issue of the scope of SAICM in plenary on Monday, and formed a drafting group chaired by Jean-Louis Wallace (Canada) on Tuesday. The group provided the plenary with a CRP (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/CRP.10) on Wednesday, which was amended before being adopted by the plenary on Thursday. Responding to a query from the EU on whether the scope could be revisited before final agreement on SAICM, the President inserted a clarification that the scope had been adopted “for the purpose of the further development of SAICM.”
During discussions in plenary on Monday, some participants favored a broad and flexible scope, while others preferred a more limited scope to avoid duplicating the efforts of existing and emerging instruments on pharmaceuticals, food additives and military uses of chemicals.
The drafting group met in the afternoon on Tuesday, and agreed on text based on GRULAC’s proposal for SAICM’s scope (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/INF/16). Chair Wallace presented the results of the group’s deliberations to the plenary on Wednesday. Following consultations with the G-77/China, the document was revised to specify that SAICM should not duplicate the efforts of forums dealing with military uses of chemicals. The amended document was adopted in the plenary on Thursday, and participants agreed to annex it to the final report.
Final Outcome: The scope defined for the further development of SAICM (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/CRP.10/Rev.1) includes, but is not limited to: the environmental, economic, social, health and labor aspects of chemical safety; and agricultural and industrial chemicals. SAICM is intended to promote sustainable development and cover chemicals at all stages of their life-cycle, including in products. It also takes into account existing instruments and processes and the need to be flexible enough to deal with new ones without duplicating efforts, “in particular the efforts of forums dealing with the military uses of chemicals.”
Statement of needs: This issue was discussed in plenary on Tuesday, with further discussions taking place throughout the rest of the week.
On Tuesday, participants provided initial comments, noting that the statement of needs should identify why SAICM is necessary, as well as specific country needs. They proposed the statement recognize the beneficial role of chemicals in raising living standards. The European Union (EU) noted that the statement of needs should address gaps in chemicals management, and governance issues. Participants also highlighted the need to implement existing international legally binding instruments, and to address national and regional coordination. On the availability of information, participants noted the need for greater understanding of chemicals, and the improved availability of databases on the toxicity of chemicals.
On Wednesday, the plenary requested that the Secretariat prepare a synthesis document, including comments made in plenary and the needs identified in the report of the African Group meeting (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/INF.8). The draft document compiled by the Secretariat (SAICM/ PREPCOM.2/CRP.16) was considered on Thursday, when participants proposed a number of additions and amendments, including on, inter alia, financial mechanisms, clean technologies, the provision of information on hazards to workers, capacity building, remedial responses to chemical accidents, and chemical waste disposal. Participants also considered the need for liability and compensation mechanisms, and acknowledged the joint responsibility of governments, manufacturers and users for ensuring safe chemicals use.
Final Outcome: The plenary agreed that the Secretariat would integrate the plenary’s comments into the existing document (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/CRP.16), and include the revised elements in the draft overarching policy strategy, to be annexed to the final report of the meeting.
Objectives: PrepCom2 took up a proposal from the Secretariat to discuss each of the objectives listed under the overarching policy strategy. These were discussed in plenary on each day of the meeting.
A. Risk reduction: Risk reduction was first discussed on Tuesday, when Nigeria, supported by Australia, proposed that discussion be based on a paper submitted by IFCS (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/INF/10). Norway, supported by the EU and the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), called for the elimination of risks from particular classes of chemicals such as endocrine disruptors, and proposed the introduction of aims such as the promotion of corporate social responsibility and the protection of vulnerable groups. Brazil, Canada and Australia highlighted risk prevention, preparedness and emergency response. The International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN) called for a phase-out of the production and use of persistent or bio-accumulative chemicals, the substitution of hazardous chemicals, products and processes, and for waste reduction at the source. On Thursday, the Secretariat presented a compilation of views aired on risk reduction (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/CRP.17). In further discussions, the US cautioned that listing specific chemicals was premature and, with Japan, suggested deleting the list and creating a small expert group at PrepCom3 to examine lists and categories of problem chemicals.
Final Outcome: The draft risk reduction objectives (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/CRP.17) address:
B. Knowledge and information: Knowledge and information was discussed in the plenary on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. On Tuesday, Switzerland introduced a proposal on the provision of information on all chemicals for sale or in goods, to ensure safe handling throughout their life-cycle. IPEN supported a right to know the effects of chemicals on human health and the environment. On Wednesday, Argentina and Kenya highlighted information exchange, especially the role of the Information Exchange Network on Capacity Building for the Sound Management of Chemicals (INFOCAP). The International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) called for the protection of confidential commercial information. On Thursday, Egypt underlined the human rights of those vulnerable to chemicals exposure, and Greenpeace called for public access to industrial information on chemicals released into the public domain, and the development of Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers.
Final Outcome: The CRP on the objective of knowledge and information (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/CRP.19) lists, inter alia, the following draft elements:
C. Governance: Governance issues were discussed in the plenary on Wednesday and Thursday. On Wednesday, Switzerland, supported by the EU, Australia and IPEN, called for SAICM to support the comprehensive, effective and sound management of chemicals throughout their life-cycle. The EU and IPEN underlined the importance of meaningful public participation in regulation and decision making.
IPEN described as premature a proposal from the EU that UNEP is best placed to function as the steering body. IPEN said the steering body should relate independently to relevant IGOs and ministries. Responding to a compilation document prepared by the Secretariat and distributed on Thursday, Thailand proposed the inclusion of transparency, accountability and inclusiveness, and Norway and Mauritius advocated the integration of chemicals policy into development cooperation and environmental policy respectively.
Final Outcome: The draft objectives on governance (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/CRP.18) seek, among other things, to:
Other objectives address: the establishment of national regulatory regimes in all countries by 2020; inspection; monitoring and review of new issues and gaps in the international regime; and ratification and implementation of relevant agreements.
D. Capacity Building and Technical Cooperation: Capacity building and technical cooperation was discussed on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday in the plenary. Discussions on capacity building focused on the widening gap between developed and developing countries and countries with economies in transition.
Most participants agreed that this is a fundamental and cross-cutting aspect that will be crucial to the success of SAICM. On Tuesday, participants agreed to separate out capacity building and technical assistance from financial considerations. On Wednesday, a number of countries, including Australia and South Africa, called for measures to close the widening gap between developed and developing countries. Countries of the CEE also raised concerns about gaps in global and national capacity. The South African Chemical Workers Union underlined the need for training for workers exposed to chemicals. Norway and Switzerland called for effective national laws. Canada proposed that capacity building be addressed in regulatory frameworks, risk assessment, development assistance and poverty reduction. Kenya called for capacity building for legislators, curriculum developers, trainers and tutors. On Friday, Tunisia pointed out that capacity building is required not only in developing countries, but also in developed countries, and called for work on cleaner production processes and substitutes for dangerous substances.
Final Outcome: The draft objectives for capacity building and technical cooperation (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/CRP.23) aim to increase the capacity for sound chemicals management, and narrow the gap between developed countries on the one hand and developing countries and countries with economies in transition on the other. They include: technical and financial support and technology transfer at all levels; integrating capacity building in national poverty reduction strategies and in country assistance; and the involvement of all stakeholders.
E. Illegal international traffic: The objective on illegal international traffic was added to the President’s draft list of objectives on Tuesday, and discussed on Thursday. The call to support and promote initiatives to prevent illicit international trafficking of hazardous chemicals and wastes was introduced in the report of the Latin American and Caribbean meeting (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/INF/25). On Thursday, Greenpeace stressed agreement on a ban on trade in certain types of hazardous wastes, as reflected in an amendment to the Basel Convention. Egypt called for adequate control on exports of hazardous substances to uninformed recipient countries. The G-77/China suggested that the PrepCom note UNEP’s lead role on the issue.
Final Outcome: The draft objectives on control of illegal international traffic in chemicals (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/CRP.15) seek to strengthen control mechanisms in existing MEAs and contain provisions on the prevention of illegal traffic. They also seek to ensure that products and wastes banned in developed countries are not exported to developing countries. The objectives further address:
Financial considerations: Financial considerations were discussed each day of the meeting in plenary. A drafting group was formed on Thursday and a contact group convened on Friday, both chaired by Marco Tulio Cabral (Brazil), with Wilm Geurts (the Netherlands) as rapporteur.
On Monday, the Environmental Health Fund launched a discussion on using the polluter pays principle to attract funding from the chemicals industry. On Tuesday, participants agreed to separate financial considerations from capacity building and technical cooperation. On Wednesday, Norway and the EU proposed using existing financial mechanisms, while the G-77/China called for new and additional resources, with clearly defined mechanisms.
Thursday’s drafting group presented plenary with a compilation paper (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/CRP.24) on Friday, outlining proposals on the availability of financial resources and mechanisms. Geurts explained that the compilation paper synthesized proposals from the G-77/China (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/CRP.20), GRULAC (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/INF.25), Switzerland and Norway. He noted that the drafting group had failed to reach consensus on the need for a study on financial mechanisms, and on the need for new and additional resources. Thailand called for work on financial considerations to be undertaken by the Secretariat during the intersessional period, including an estimation of the costs of implementing SAICM.
The President invited Chair Cabral to convene a contact group to consider proposals for a study on financial considerations and other financial matters. On Friday afternoon, Chair Cabral introduced the results of the contact group’s deliberations (SAICM/PREPCOM2/CRP.27). He reported that the contact group had been unable to reach agreement on an entire text, noting that some text remained in brackets, including the terms of reference for the study on financial considerations. UNEP estimated that the proposed study would cost US$1 million. Highlighting limited resources, President Bohn invited the plenary to delete reference to work on an estimate of the overall cost of implementing SAICM.
Final Outcome: Delegates could not arrive at a consensus on key issues, such as potential and new mechanisms, and new and additional resources (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/CRP.27). The plenary agreed to invite the Secretariat to work on a study of financial considerations, not including the estimate of the cost of implementing SAICM, and ignoring the bracketed text in the terms of reference. The plenary also agreed to a proposal that NGOs work with the African Group to prepare a document for PrepCom3, on the internalization of the costs associated with the production and use of chemicals. In addition, it was agreed that SAICM would initiate contact with the OECD Development Assistance Committee to mainstream chemical safety in poverty reduction strategies and in national sustainable development cooperation activities.
Principles and approaches: This issue was considered by Plenary on Wednesday. Participants discussed which specific principles and approaches should be included in SAICM, taking into account those identified as potential candidates at PrepCom1, including precaution, substitution, prevention, polluter pays, right to know, life-cycle approach, partnership approach, and liability and accountability. Discussions focused on whether they should specify principles for SAICM, which principles to include, whether SAICM should only include “universally agreed principles,” and how to define this. The EU proposed a pragmatic approach, by which SAICM would apply principles and approaches included in existing agreements and legal texts, “as appropriate.” Australia said that only global agreements should be considered, as not all agreements had the same number of parties. The African Group, with Norway, said SAICM should contain specific principles. GRULAC, New Zealand and others proposed including the principles of the 1992 Rio Declaration. Delegates underscored the importance of the integrating chemicals management issues into sustainable development strategies. Highlighting IPEN’s submission on Principles to be operationalized within the plan of action and concrete measures (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/INF/26), Norway supported the inclusion of “corporate social and environmental sustainability” and “just transition” to the phase out of polluting industries and technologies. Australia, with New Zealand, called for clarification of such non-established principles. Urging delegates to agree on a “forward looking” text, Switzerland encouraged delegates not to close the door to developments after the 1992 Rio Declaration. Delegates suggested the Secretariat work intersessionally on a document on principles and approaches used in international agreements, and President Bohn responded that such work depended upon available resources.
Final Outcome: The discussions will be reflected in the final report of the meeting (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/L.1 and /Add.1). It was agreed that no intersessional work would be carried out by the Secretariat on this issue, due to resource limitations.
Implementation and taking stock of progress: This issue was addressed in Plenary on Wednesday. Under common understanding of the need to regularly measure SAICM’s progress, deliberations focused on whether implementation of SAICM would require the creation of an institutional framework, or whether existing facilities could undertake such a task. The African Group proposed the formation of a multi-stakeholder forum to monitor implementation, using IFCS as a model. The EU, with New Zealand, said an organizational structure to measure progress would not be necessary. GRULAC proposed selecting from among existing agencies and mechanisms to oversee SAICM’s activities. Australia stressed the autonomous nature of major international organizations involved in chemicals management and commented on the limited mandate, presence and resources of IFCS. Iran said IFCS would be a good option if the organization were prepared to change its terms of reference. IFCS stated it would welcome any role that the PrepCom might recommend for it, and would consider changing its terms of reference to fulfill such a role. It also agreed to prepare a paper on targets for the management of chemicals in MEAs. Brazil noted that the determination of IFCS’s mandate lies with member states, and said a UN organization, with universal membership, would be better suited to play a role. CIEL said existing institutional structures would need to update their terms of reference to take on SAICM. The IOMC said it would be prepared to use the intersessional period to think about its role in implementing and monitoring SAICM. The EU highlighted a possible role for UNEP, with appropriate input from other relevant international bodies. Kenya supported UNEP as an implementing agency. CANADA proposed using a clearinghouse and repository system with mutual accountability.
Final Outcome: Discussions will be reflected in the final report of the meeting (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/L.1 and /Add.1). During the intersessional period, the IOMC will prepare a paper on its role in the implementation and monitoring of SAICM, while IFCS will develop a paper identifying the drivers to meet targets for the management of chemicals in MEAs, propose incentives for stakeholders to meet targets early, and identify challenges that might keep targets from being met.
CONCRETE MEASURES: This issue was introduced in plenary briefly on Monday. Discussions were held in plenary on Tuesday, when a contact group, chaired by Jamidu Katima (Tanzania) was formed, with Wanda Hoskin (Canada) acting as rapporteur. The contact group met on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday, and provided the plenary with a draft matrix listing concrete measures on Friday.
The Secretariat introduced the issue on Monday, listing relevant documents prepared for consideration by PrepCom2. On Tuesday, participants engaged in a discussion guided by the matrix contained in the report of the African Group meeting (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/INF/8) and the document submitted by the EU on possible options for the prioritization of concrete measures (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/CRP.6). Participants agreed to use the matrix contained in the report of the African Group meeting as the basis for deliberations, with a few changes to the column headings. Two columns, on “vision” and on “implementation,” were introduced, and the heading “responsible authority” was replaced with “main actors.” The matrix was then referred to the contact group, which was mandated to: develop and improve the individual measures; clarify language; reduce and eliminate duplication; include activities from other relevant documents; and group-related measures in tables for each of the five objectives proposed for the overarching policy strategy.
Chair Katima introduced the matrix prepared by the group to plenary on Friday (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/CRP.22). The matrix contains a set of five tables, one on each of the objectives of the overarching policy strategy. Each table contains columns on: concrete measure; associated activities; main actors; and targets/timeframe.
In the discussion that followed, participants considered the need for intersessional work on concrete measures in preparation for PrepCom3. The EU, supported by Nigeria, Switzerland, the IOMC, and CIEL, suggested that the Secretariat generate a revised document in three months, eliminating redundancies and duplications. He proposed that the revised document then be sent to governments, the IOMC, industry and NGOs, requesting them to provide comments on the concrete measures for which they are identified as main actors. Indicating that the burden of work in collating comments from all governments would be too great, President Bohn proposed that the Secretariat provide a first draft on concrete measures in time for regional meetings, and that the draft be sent to IGOs, industry and NGOs for their comments.
The EU, supported by WHO, requested that the CRPs on the prioritization of concrete measures (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/CRP.6) and on SAICM health sector input (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/CRP.11) be annexed to the report of PrepCom2, noting that these documents had not been integrated into the contact group’s output. Switzerland, with Senegal, Nigeria and Jamaica, requested that the CRP on integrated chemicals management (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/CRP.13) be annexed to the outputs of the contact group. The Secretariat agreed to annex the CRPs on health sector inputs and on integrated chemicals management to the report of the meeting, but noted that the EU’s CRP on possible options for the prioritization of concrete measures could not be annexed, since it had already been considered by the contact group.
Nigeria, supported by Uruguay, on behalf of GRULAC, stressed the need to coordinate the intersessional work of the Secretariat on concrete measures with that of the regional groups. The IOMC indicated his organization’s willingness to identify other main actors. CIEL, with Liberia, urged governments and IGOs to ensure that all events related to SAICM allow for stakeholder participation. The plenary agreed to include a note in the PrepCom2 report recommending NGO participation in all regional meetings. The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions expressed concern that activities to be taken at the level of public and private enterprise were not clearly identified. Participants agreed to annex the draft matrix to the final report for further work during the intersessional period.
Final Outcome: The plenary agreed that during the intersessional period, the Secretariat, in consultation with regional groups, IGOs, NGOs and industry, would revise the CRP on concrete measures (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/CRP.22) for consideration at PrepCom3.
HIGH-LEVEL DECLARATION: Participants considered elements of the SAICM high-level declaration on Thursday and Friday. On Thursday, President Bohn presented possible elements to be included in the declaration. In the ensuing discussions, a number of countries noted the need to integrate input from regional consultations. Participants urged the inclusion of references to a number of vulnerable groups, women’s participation in decision making, and occupational safety. The G-77/China, the EU and Norway supported the inclusion of a commitment to implement the SAICM global plan of action. Recognizing that the declaration should reflect the global plan of action and the overarching policy strategy, participants proposed that President Bohn generate a draft high-level declaration for consideration at PrepCom3.
On Friday, President Bohn presented her outline for the SAICM high-level declaration, noting that it reflected the salient points of Thursday’s discussion. Uruguay stressed the need to enrich the document with regional perspectives. The plenary agreed to annex the outline to the report of PrepCom2, and requested the President to generate an outline for discussion at PrepCom3.
Final Outcome: The outline for the SAICM high-level declaration proposed by the President (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/CRP.25) suggests reference to:
It also proposes reference to:
The outline concludes with a reference to adopting the overarching policy strategy and the global plan of action, with a strong commitment to implement both.
On Friday, Switzerland announced its intention, with an unspecified donor country, to provide funds for regional group meetings during the intersessional period. Canada stated willingness to work with other interested parties on a guidance document for the preparation of implementation plans (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/CRP.26). The IOMC also offered to provide further information on, among other things, a capacity-building strategy and ways to monitor progress. UNEP was invited by the EU to undertake an assessment of their possible contribution to the implementation and oversight of SAICM.
The plenary agreed to insert a note in the final report, congratulating Wangari Maathai, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Kenya, for having received the Nobel Peace Prize. Noting that Jim Willis will soon be leaving his post as director of UNEP Chemicals, the plenary agreed to introduce a note of appreciation for his work in promoting chemical safety in the report of the meeting.
On Friday afternoon, participants considered the final report and the addendum. With minor amendments, participants adopted the report of PrepCom2 (SAICM/PREPCOM.2/L.1 and SAICM/PREPCOM.2/L.1/Add.1). Many participants thanked President Bohn for her leadership, and Jim Willis for his work as director of UNEP Chemicals. President Bohn gaveled the meeting to a close at 6:00 pm.
A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF SAICM PREPCOM2
SAICM for chemical safety: Wouldn’t it be nice?
“Wouldn’t it be nice? If, when farmers sprayed chemicals on cattle, they lost the ticks only, and not the cows as well…”
(A poem by Kenyan poet Caroline Nderitu, read at the opening Plenary).
PrepCom2 had the responsibility of shaping a SAICM that could rise to the challenge of achieving, by 2020, the use and production of chemicals in ways that lead to the minimization of significant adverse effects on human health and the environment. Discussions were enriched by the contributions of stakeholders from a wide number of sectors, including government, industry, environment, labor and health. However, this diversity also brought with it conflicting agendas, which made negotiating SAICM’s future shape a more challenging task. The purpose of this analysis is to assess progress achieved in the development of SAICM. In addition, the analysis will consider SAICM’s potential to innovate and add value to existing efforts, and to attain its goal of achieving chemical safety by 2020.
While some delegates would have preferred a more rapid progression to substantive issues, PrepCom2 focused primarily on the structure of SAICM. This was largely facilitated by the intersessional work carried out by the Secretariat, and by the African Group and the Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC), which provided concrete proposals for SAICM. Through this involvement, the groups have acquired a greater sense of ownership of the SAICM process. These regional proposals served as a basis for discussion of several key issues, including scope, capacity building, financing, and concrete measures. It is expected that regional meetings during the intersessional period will provide further valuable input to PrepCom3, and help put meat on the bones of SAICM.
A MODEL FOR MULTI-STAKEHOLDER PARTICIPATION?
Like the previous session, PrepCom2 proved to be an inclusive and open forum allowing for the active involvement of all participants, following the generous rules of procedure adopted at PrepCom1, and evoking the mood at Intergovernmental Forum for Chemical Safety (IFCS) meetings. Most sessions, including some regional group meetings, were open to participation and suggestions from non-governmental stakeholders. NGOs, IGOs, labor unions, and other non-state actors were able to submit their proposals directly, rather than having to lobby a government to get them through. While this is a positive sign for the future development of SAICM, the real challenge will be to maintain the inclusiveness, openness and transparency of the process throughout SAICM’s implementation. This implies the involvement of all stakeholders, particularly vulnerable groups, in decision making, planning, and the execution of chemical safety efforts. It also requires the strong engagement of industry in promoting chemical safety.
While many recognized the responsibility of industry in this process, some even suggesting its financial duty to contribute to SAICM’s implementation, it remains to be seen whether industry’s role will be go beyond “business-as-usual.” Some deem industry’s current commitment to voluntary initiatives insufficient to ensure that chemicals are used in a safe manner in developing countries, given the limited scope of such programmes and the fact that, in many cases, “safe use” should imply the cessation of a substance use, in favor of utilizing safer (and more expensive) chemical, or non-chemical, substitutes. On the other hand, a few participants suggest that industry might support the development of a stronger international chemicals regime in order to level the playing field through the establishment of common standards for producers operating in a competitive international market.
MIND THE GAPS
There was wide consensus among participants that SAICM should fill the gaps of the chemicals-management regime. Some participants expressed the need to address all chemicals that pose risks to the environment and health, in particular those that are not currently covered by other processes. Others stressed the importance of including wastes, and products containing hazardous chemicals, such as cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. In order to realize its potential to reach the 2020 goal, SAICM will need to cover all chemicals of concern throughout their life-cycle, including their wastes. While some participants favored the exclusion of certain sectors and categories from SAICM, the broad and flexible scope adopted at PrepCom2, which covers chemicals at all stages of their life cycle, including in products, promises to be flexible enough to cover all chemicals of concern, and to face new challenges as they emerge.
The other gap that needs to be addressed as highlighted during both PrepComs and at IFCS Forum IV, is the widening gap between developed and developing countries’ capacities for the sound management of chemicals. Gaps in capacity are also a concern for countries with economies in transition. Throughout the proceedings, it was stated and restated by both donors and recipients that SAICM will only be successful if developing countries and other countries build the capacity to manage chemicals safely throughout their life-cycle. Some stressed the need for these countries to “catch up” with the developed world in regulating chemicals management to ensure a level playing field, where industry would not have an incentive to export hazardous substances or technologies to countries with lower standards. While these statements are promising, it remains to be seen whether initiatives to bridge this “widening gap” are supported by adequate funding and technology. The urgency of this task is exacerbated by global trends in the chemical industry, with both the relocation of multinational corporations and the expansion of domestic chemical industries in developing countries.
IT TAKES CHEMISTRY
There is wide recognition of the need for SAICM both to ensure coordination between chemicals-related organizations and arrangements and to provide coherence to the hazardous chemicals and wastes regime. The need for coordination is recognized at two levels: national and international. Some say the key to a successful SAICM is to strengthen national capacities by creating and strengthening synergies among relevant ministries and agencies dealing with chemicals. This demands that countries explore opportunities to use existing institutions or infrastructures for broader purposes. One example is the use of the Montreal Protocol’s trade control system to control illegal traffic in other hazardous chemicals and wastes. While some pilot projects have been carried out to identify these synergies, much work remains to be done in this area, and successful results will require a strong commitment by donors and recipients to make chemical safety a priority.
At the international level, creating or deepening synergies and coordination among chemicals-related organizations and programmes, particularly members of the Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC) and relevant Secretariats of multilateral environmental agreements, poses significant challenges. As noted at PrepCom2, each organization has its own mandate and financing, which makes it somewhat “immune” to external direction. Consequently, some participants suggested the need for relevant organizations to revise their mandate or terms of reference in order to undertake the implementation of SAICM.
HOMELESS IN NAIROBI
Another issue for consideration by PrepCom3 is the question of which organization will become SAICM’s “home.” While there was wide agreement among participants that no new institutions should be created, nearly everyone accepted that SAICM will need some kind of institutional framework to monitor progress, ensure things are “on track,” and respond to new problems. Besides requiring IOMC and other relevant organizations to build strong bridges with one another, SAICM also presents challenges for IFCS, which has no capacity to direct IGOs, and has limited resources and no implementing capacities. The IFCS expressed its willingness to consider changing its terms of reference to assume a key role in the SAICM process. Some delegates have reservations about this proposal, since it is governments that will take on political commitments to implement SAICM, while the IFCS lends equal weight to all stakeholders. Others feel that by changing its terms of reference, the IFCS may lose its flexible, open, inclusive and transparent nature. A possible solution would be for UNEP to undertake a lead role in SAICM, in collaboration with all IOMC organizations, including IFCS. Some have said that UNEP’s role should be essentially administrative, stressing that the implementation of SAICM will require the active involvement of a wider range of IGOs and other stakeholders.
BY NO MEANS A DONE DEAL
As SAICM continues to shape up, a vital ingredient for the realization of its objective is the availability of funds to support initiatives that will build capacity to safely manage chemicals. The issue of financing remains open-ended, as PrepCom2 merely decided to ask the Secretariat, subject to available funding, to carry out a study on financial mechanisms and resources without the consideration of additionality, which developing countries wanted to include in the study. An unprecedented development is the proposal by Greenpeace and the African Group to carry out a study during the intersessional period on the internalization of the costs associated with chemicals production and use. This proposal reflects the inclusive and ground-breaking spirit of SAICM, and the possibility for non-governmental actors to work on an equal footing with governments and inject creative ideas into the process.
While the SAICM process appears to be headed in the right direction, it is still too soon to celebrate. There are still a number of outstanding issues, including: the prioritization and establishment of concrete measures on chemical safety, and the identification of actors to implement them; the involvement of all stakeholders, including vulnerable groups, in SAICM; the degree of responsibility placed on industry for achieving chemical safety in all countries; and the obligation of countries that are home to major chemical corporations to promote chemical safety for all. In addition, it remains to be seen whether chemicals-related organizations and agencies at both the international and domestic levels will be able to create the necessary synergies to make SAICM truly effective. Perhaps the key indicator of SAICMï¿½s promise is the state of the debate on finance, but the jury is still out on these deliberations. Wouldnï¿½t it be nice if the verdict were to indicate that SAICMï¿½s noble aspirations will be supported by noble means?
THIRD SESSION OF THE STOCKHOLM CONVENTION EXPERT GROUP ON BAT-BEP: The third meeting of the Expert Group on Best Available Techniques (BAT) and Best Environmental Practices (BEP) for the Stockholm Convention on POPs will be held from 11-16 October 2004, in Tokyo, Japan. For more information, contact: UNEP Chemicals; tel: +41-22-917-8191; fax: +41-22-797-3460; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.pops.int/documents/meetings/bat_bep/3rd_session/Default.htm
GLOBAL WOMENï¿½S ASSEMBLY ON ENVIRONMENT: WOMEN AS THE VOICE FOR ENVIRONMENT (WAVE): This meeting will take place from 11-13 October 2004, in Nairobi, Kenya. For more information, contact: Olivier Deleuze, UNEP; tel: +254-20-624-686; fax: +254-20-623-679; e-mail: Olivier.Deleuze@unep.org; Internet: http://www.unep.org/dpdl/cso/GWAE_background.asp
SECOND ANNUAL EU SUSTAINABLE CHEMICALS MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE: This meeting will take place from 12-14 October 2004, in Brussels, Belgium. It will focus on the REACH chemicals policy. For more information, contact: Dan Craft, Conference Producer, EU Conferences; tel: +44-14-9530-0011; fax: +44-14-9530-9372; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://www.euconferences.com/frachemical04.htm
SEVENTH MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES (COP-7) TO THE BASEL CONVENTION: Basel COP-7 will be held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 25-29 October 2004. For more information, contact: Secretariat of the Basel Convention; tel: +41-22-917-8218; fax: +41-22-797-3454; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.basel.int
GEF NGO CONSULTATION AND COUNCIL MEETING: The next Global Environment Facility (GEF) NGO Consultation and Council Meeting will take place from 15-19 November 2004, in Washington, DC. For more information, contact: GEF Secretariat; tel: +1-202-473-0508; fax: +1-202-522-3240; e-mail: secretariat@TheGEF.org; Internet: http://www.gefweb.org
IFCS ASIA-PACIFIC SMALL GROUP MEETING: This meeting is scheduled to take place from 22-23 November 2004, in Manila, the Philippines. For more information, contacts: Desiree M. Narvaez, Department of Health, the Philippines; tel: +63-2-743-8301; fax: +63-2-732-9966; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://www.ifcs.ch
16TH MEETING OF THE PARTIES TO THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL: This meeting will be held from 22-26 November 2004, in Prague, Czech Republic. Delegates will continue their negotiations on phasing-out the use of various ozone-depleting substances such as hydrochlorofluorocarbons and methyl bromide. For more information, contact: Ozone Secretariat, UNEP; tel: +254-2-62-3850; fax: +254-2-62-3601; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.unep.org/ozone/
TENTH CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE UNFCCC: The tenth Conference of the Parties (COP-10) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will meet from 6-17 December 2004, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. For more information, contact: UNFCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://www.unfccc.int
ROTTERDAM CONVENTION CHEMICAL REVIEW COMMITTEE: The first session of the Chemical Review Committee for the Rotterdam Convention is tentatively scheduled for February 2005. For more information, contact: Niek van der Graaff, FAO; tel: +39-6-5705-3441; fax: +39-6-5705-6347; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; or UNEP Chemicals; tel: +41-22-917-8191; fax: +41-22-797-3460; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://www.pic.int
23RD SESSION OF THE UNEP GOVERNING COUNCIL/GMEF: The 23rd session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum is scheduled to be held from 21-25 February 2005, in Nairobi, Kenya. For more information, contact: Beverly Miller, Secretary for the UNEP Governing Council; tel: +254-2-623-431; fax: +254-2-623-929; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.unep.org
FIRST CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE STOCKHOLM CONVENTION: The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants will hold its first Conference of the Parties from 2-6 May 2005, in Punta del Este, Uruguay. For more information, contact: Stockholm Convention Secretariat; tel: +41-22-917-8191; fax: +41-22-797-3460; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://www.pops.int
SECOND CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE ROTTERDAM CONVENTION (PIC COP-2): PIC COP-2 is tentatively scheduled for October 2005, in Rome, Italy. For more information, contact: Niek van der Graaff, FAO; tel: +39-6-5705-3441; fax: +39-6-5705-6347; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; or UNEP Chemicals; tel: +41-22-917-8191; fax: +41-22-797-3460; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://www.pic.int
SAICM PREPCOM3: The third session of the preparatory committee for SAICM is expected to take place in 2005. The location and exact dates have not yet been decided. For more information, contact: UNEP Chemicals; tel: +41-22-917-8111; fax: +41-22-797-3460; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.chem.unep.ch/saicm/
This meeting is expected to take place from 21-29 September 2006, in Budapest,
Hungary. For more information, contact: Judy Stober, IFCS Executive Secretary;
tel: +41-22-791-3650; fax: +41-22-791-4875; e-mail: