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 Earth Negotiations Bulletin - ENB

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Mon 15
Fri 19 & Summary

Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety VI:
Global Partnership in Chemical Safety
Contributing to the 2020 Goal 

15-19 September 2008 | Dakar, Senegal


Highlights for Monday, 15 September 2008

The sixth session of the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS Forum VI) opened in Dakar, Senegal, on Monday. In the morning, delegates convened in an opening session and IFCS Awards ceremony. They also met in plenary to consider organizational and administrative matters. In the afternoon plenary, delegates focused on the agenda item on future of the IFCS. 

Above photo L-R: Zoltán Szabó, President IFCS; Djibo Leyti Ka, Minister of State in charge of the Environment, the Protection of Nature, Retention Basins and Artificial Lakes, Senegal; and Judy Stober, Executive Secretary, IFCS.


IFCS President Zoltan Szabó, Hungary, highlighted the importance of Forum VI and stressed the relevance of its agenda for African countries.
Djibo Leyti Ka, Minister of State in charge of the Environment, the Protection of Nature, Retention Basins and Artificial Lakes, Senegal, underlined the Forum's importance for human health and the environment.
Judy Stober, Executive Secretary, IFCS Secretariat


Barbara Dinham, Pesticide Action Network (PAN) and Bhopal Medical Appeal, reminded delegates that many pesticides users in developing countries lack the equipment and access to information to protect themselves. Dinham called for enhanced collaboration among key stakeholders to achieve more rapid substitution or phasing out of toxic chemicals.
Georg Karlaganis (left), Federal Office for the Environment, Switzerland, stressed that the non-bureaucratic working structure of the IFCS and its multi-stakeholder and multi-disciplinary approach make it the ideal forum to address emerging issues and contribute to the sound management of chemicals at the global level. Franz Perrez (right), Federal Office for the Environment, Switzerland , emphasized the role of the IFCS as a link between fostering understanding and formulating solutions. He emphasized that it is the Forum's flexible and inclusive working structures that enable the IFCS to fulfill its role. 


Lilian Corra, International Society of Doctors for the Environment (ISDE), Argentina, stressed the importance of working for the sound management of chemicals and reducing their harmful 
effects on human health and the environment.
Ravi Agarwal, Srishti/Toxics Link, India, praised the IFCS for providing civil society with the opportunity to participate in international chemical management on an equal footing with governments.
Noting that she considered her award as an award for Africa, Abiola Olanipekun, Nigeria, emphasized the importance of: access to resources; capacity building; implementation of policies and regulations; information sharing; and technology transfer for sound chemicals management in Africa.


Jules F. M. De Kom, Suriname, IFCS Vice-President, Latin America and the Caribbean Georg Karlaganis, Switzerland, IFCS Vice-President, Western Europe and Others Group (WEOG) Jamidu Katima, Tanzania, IFCS Vice-President, Africa

Marta Ciraj, Slovenia, IFCS Vice-President, Central and Eastern Europe 

Gholamhossein Dehghani, Islamic Republic of Iran, IFCS Vice-President, Asia and the Pacific  Delegates designated Imogen Ingram, Cook Islands, as  rapporteur for IFCS VI.


SWITZERLAND expressed support for the third option of integrating the IFCS into the ICCM as a subsidiary body. 

Franz Perrez
Nigeria, for the AFRICAN REGION, underscored the IFCS's complementary role and advocated the first option of retaining the IFCS as a distinct institutional arrangement. 

Abiola Olanipekun, Nigeria

ARGENTINA stated that the IFCS is the "mother of SAICM," which is not yet fully developed and lacks funds; argued that doing away with IFCS would be "suicidal"; and supported option one to ensure the independence of the Forum. 

Gonzalo Entenza, Argentina

INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF CHEMICAL ASSOCIATIONS (ICCA) said that with the launch of SAICM, there is no need to continue IFCS as an independent institution and expressed support for the second option integrating the IFCS into the ICCM by designating part of each ICCM meeting as a session of the Forum.

Michael Gribble, ICCA
PESTICIDE ACTION NETWORK ASIA AND THE PACIFIC (PAN AP) expressed support for the position of the African Group and highlighted the basic principle of protecting health and the environment.

Romeo Quijano, PAN AP
CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW (CIEL) urged delegates to agree on a decision with one option regarding the future of the IFCS and to also agree on how it can be implemented, stressing that this decision should aim at strengthening the international chemicals management system.

Glen Wiser, CIEL

The WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO) noted that incidents related to the inadequate management of chemicals represented a major challenge to public health and said that the health sector did not want to feel alone in addressing this problem. 

Maria Neira, WHO
ISDE suggested that the only strong argument against the first option was the financial situation, called upon delegates not to hasten to take a decision, and supported the first option.

Lilian Corra, ISDE


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Related Links

Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety website
Official website of the Government of Senegal for IFCS VI
Forum VI: Global Partnerships for Chemical Safety
World Health Organization (WHO)
UNEP Chemicals
UNEP - Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM)
International Organization for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC)
International Programme on Chemical Safety
UNITAR Chemicals and Waste Management Programme
Stockholm Convention (POPs)
Rotterdam Convention (PIC)
Basel Convention

Links to IISD RS Resources

IISD RS coverage of the IFCS - V, 25-29 September 2006, Budapest, Hungary
IISD RS coverage of the IFCS - IV, 1-7 November 2003, Bangkok, Thailand
IISD RS coverage of the IFCS - III, 14-20 October 2000, Salvador, Brazil 
IISD RS coverage of the IFCS - II, 10-14 February 1997, Ottawa, Canada
IISD RS coverage of meetings on Chemicals Management 
Chemicals-L - A mailing list for news on biodiversity and wildlife policy
Linkages Update - Bi-weekly international environment and sustainable development news
MEA Bulletin - Newsletter on key MEAs and their secretariats
CLIMATE-L - News and information on the actions of international organizations in responding to the problem of global climate change
Linkages Africa - Fortnightly newsletter reporting on sustainable development events in Africa


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