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Summary report, 15–17 December 2014

2nd Meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG2) of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM)

The second meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG2) of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM) convened in Geneva, Switzerland from 15-17 December 2014. Approximately 335 delegates attended, representing 105 governments, five UN agencies, 12 intergovernmental organizations, and 38 non-governmental and industry organizations.

Delegates considered a number of issues, including: progress and gaps towards the achievement of the 2020 goal of sound chemicals management; progress in achieving the objectives of the Overarching Policy Strategy of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM or Strategic Approach); implementation of the health sector strategy; the Overall Orientation and Guidance on the 2020 goal (OOG) prepared by the SAICM Secretariat; lead in paint; chemicals in products (CiP); hazardous substances within the life cycle of electrical and electronic products; manufactured nanomaterials and nanotechnologies; endocrine-disrupting chemicals; environmentally persistent pharmaceutical pollutants (EPPPs); perfluorinated chemicals and the transition to safer alternatives; highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs); the sound management of chemicals and waste in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); planned activities and draft budget of the Secretariat for the period 2016-2020; and preparations for ICCM4.

Among other things, OEWG2: provided feedback on the OOG to enable the Secretariat and Bureau to finalize the document for submission to ICCM4; forwarded to ICCM4 a proposal to designate EPPPs as a SAICM Emerging Policy Issue; forwarded to ICCM4 elements of a draft resolution on nanotechnologies and manufactured nanomaterials; drew up a message on the SDGs and chemicals management to convey to the co-facilitators for consultations on the post-2015 development agenda under the General Assembly; agreed to initiate a process to forward to ICCM4 a proposal on HHPs; and reviewed the proposal for a CiP programme.


The issue of chemicals management and the idea of a SAICM have been discussed by the UN Environment Programme’s Governing Council (UNEP GC) and reflected in various forms since the mid-1990s.

WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: The Summit convened from 26 August-4 September 2002, in Johannesburg, South Africa, and delegates adopted the Johannesburg Declaration and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI). The JPOI’s chemicals-related targets include:

  • the aim 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;
  • the development, by 2005, of a SAICM based on the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS) Bahia Declaration, and Priorities for Action Beyond 2000; and
  • the national implementation of the new Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS), with a view to having the system fully operational by 2008.

IFCS FORUM IV: The fourth session of the IFCS (Forum IV) took place from 1-7 November 2003, in Bangkok, Thailand, under the theme “Chemical Safety in a Vulnerable World.” In response to GC decisions SS.VII/3 and 22/4, Forum IV discussed the further development of a SAICM and forwarded a non-negotiated compilation report on its work to SAICM PrepCom-1, addressing, inter alia: life-cycle management of chemicals since Agenda 21; new and ongoing challenges; gaps in life-cycle chemicals management; and resources for capacity building and implementation.

PREPCOM-1: SAICM PrepCom-1 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 also broad support for a three-tiered approach for SAICM, which would comprise: a Global Plan of Action (GPA) with targets and timetables; an Overarching Policy Strategy (OPS); and a high-level or ministerial declaration.

PREPCOM-2: SAICM PrepCom-2 was held from 4-8 October 2004, in Nairobi, Kenya. Delegates discussed elements for an overarching policy strategy for international chemicals management, made progress in developing a matrix of possible concrete measures to include in the global plan of action, and provided comments on an initial list of elements for a high-level political declaration.

2005 WORLD SUMMIT: The 2005 World Summit was held at UN Headquarters in New York from 14-16 September. Regarding chemicals management, delegates resolved to promote the sound management of chemicals throughout their life cycle, including hazardous wastes, with the aim 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.” They resolved to implement a voluntary strategic approach to international management of chemicals, and to support developing countries in strengthening their capacity for the sound management of chemicals and hazardous wastes.

PREPCOM-3: SAICM PrepCom-3 was held from 19-24 September 2005, in Vienna, Austria. Delegates discussed the SAICM high-level declaration, OPS and GPA, but did not reach agreement on several elements in the three documents, including: principles and approaches; the description of SAICM as “voluntary”; financial considerations; and the timing and frequency of future ICCM sessions.

ICCM1: The first International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM1) was held from 4-6 February 2006, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Delegates adopted SAICM, a multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral policy framework made up of the Dubai Declaration on International Chemicals Management, an OPS, and GPA. The multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral ICCM was tasked with undertaking periodic reviews of SAICM. In the Declaration, participants committed to strengthening the capacities of all concerned in order to achieve the sound management of chemicals and hazardous wastes at all levels, and mobilizing national and international financing from public and private sources. They also reaffirmed the goal to minimize the significant adverse effects on human health and the environment by 2020. A Quick Start Programme (QSP) was launched with a Trust Fund to support enabling activities for the sound management of chemicals in developing countries, least developed countries, small island developing states and countries with economies in transition through 2012.

IFCS FORUM V: This meeting was held in Budapest, Hungary, from 25-29 September 2006. The main agenda item at Forum V was consideration of the future of IFCS in light of the final agreements on SAICM. Agreement was reached to establish a working group to draft a decision on the future of IFCS to be presented at IFCS-VI.

IFCS FORUM VI: This meeting took place from 15-19 September 2008 in Dakar, Senegal. After debating the future of IFCS and whether to maintain its institutional independence, delegates agreed to invite the ICCM to integrate the Forum into the ICCM as an advisory body.

ICCM2: ICCM2 took place from 11-15 May 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland. It considered new Emerging Policy Issues (EPIs), rules of procedure, the need for an intersessional body, and matters related to finance. Delegates adopted nine resolutions and reached agreement on, inter alia: rules of procedure; EPIs such as nanotechnology and chemicals in products; a process for considering EPIs; the establishment of an open-ended working group; and financial resources. ICCM2 took the decision not to integrate IFCS as a subsidiary body of the ICCM, and left IFCS to determine its own future.

OEWG1: OEWG1 was held from 15-18 November 2011, in Belgrade, Serbia. The OEWG considered the implementation, development and enhancement of SAICM and decided to forward four draft resolutions for consideration by ICCM3 on nanotechnologies and manufactured materials, amending the time limit of fund disbursements under the QSP, EPIs, and new EPIs.

ICCM3: ICCM3 convened from 17-21 September 2012 in Nairobi, Kenya. ICCM3 agreed to extend the QSP Trust Fund until 2015 and adopted resolutions on, inter alia: hazardous substances within the life cycle of electrical and electronic products; information on CiP; endocrine-disrupting chemicals; lead in paint; nanotechnology and manufactured nanomaterials; and engagement of the health-care sector in SAICM implementation. The Conference also convened a high-level dialogue to discuss ways to strengthen SAICM for more effective implementation.


OEWG2 opened Monday, 15 December, with ICCM4 President Richard Lesiyampe (Kenya), presiding as OEWG2 Chair. He stressed the need to assess what is required to ensure the 2020 goal of sound management of chemicals is met. He explained that much of the meeting will be devoted to discussion of the draft Overall Orientation and Guidance on the 2020 goal, which is expected to be the main strategic outcome of ICCM4. He called for proposals for priority issues to place on the ICCM4 agenda, and ideas on how ICCM4 may address sound chemicals management beyond 2020.

Fatoumata Keita-Ouane, Head, UNEP Chemicals Branch, emphasized: the intense work on chemicals and waste done by UNEP in recent years; the references to chemicals and waste in three of the proposed SDGs; and how the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) Resolution 1/5 strengthened UNEP’s commitment to the Strategic Approach. She called for greater involvement of all stakeholders in SAICM.

The meeting adopted the agenda as proposed (SAICM/OEWG.2/1). President Lesiyampe discussed his scenario note (SAICM/OEWG.2/2) and the planned organization of work. The meeting endorsed the Bureau’s nomination of Marcus Richards (St. Vincent and the Grenadines) as rapporteur.


REGIONAL ACHIEVEMENTS, STRENGTHS AND CHALLENGES IN THE CONTEXT OF WORKING TOWARDS THE 2020 GOAL: On Monday, the Secretariat introduced the summary of the outcomes of the Strategic Approach 2013-2014 regional priority-setting workshops and resolutions adopted at the regional meetings (SAICM/OEWG.2/3) and a compilation of regional chemicals challenges in the implementation of SAICM (SAICM/OEWG.2/INF/3).

Tanzania, for the African Group, stressed the importance of measuring the progress between ICCM sessions, operationalizing SAICM financing, and further work on the EPIs. Saying the 2020 goal “should be a vehicle rather than a destination,” he emphasized the need to sustain the current achievements and establish a platform to continue to address chemicals management issues beyond 2020.

Iraq, for the Asia-Pacific Group, said a formal summary report of the progress achieved and the challenges faced by the Asia-Pacific Region will be submitted to the Secretariat (SAICM/OEWG.2/CRP.4), and called for more capacity-building support and financing, in particular on dealing with chemical accidents, information exchange between national stakeholders, and providing information to the public on hazardous chemicals and risks.

Poland, for the Central and Eastern Europe Group, stressed the need for enhanced support for poison control centers, management of industrial accidents, implementation of international chemicals conventions, multi-stakeholder engagement, and use of the GHS. Paraguay, for the Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC), highlighted the importance of financing, specific measures on HHPs, and the inclusion of EPPPs as an EPI at ICCM4.

The UK, for the Western European and Others Group, stressed the importance of compliance with national and international chemicals regulations and making information and guidance on chemicals management more usable.

Italy, for the European Union (EU) and its Member States, noted areas for improvement on chemicals management including data on hazardous waste sites and coverage of vulnerable groups in risk assessment.

China highlighted measures to evaluate highly hazardous chemicals. India noted progress on eliminating use of lead in paint. Peru called for increased coordination on the prohibition or substitution of HHPs.

South Africa underscored her country’s work to support good governance of chemicals management in other African countries. The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions highlighted the role of the regional centres of the Basel and Stockholm Conventions in networking, awareness raising and dissemination of information. The International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN) and the African Regional Organization of the International Trade Union Confederation stressed the need for SAICM to address HHPs. Marshall Islands, with the Pesticide Action Network (PAN), urged the OEWG to consider inviting the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN (FAO) to develop a proposal for a global alliance to phase-out HHPs.

UNEP emphasized the importance of the regional approach towards the 2020 goal. The US underscored the need to address the promotion of safer alternatives and the issues of transparency and public engagement.

Thailand called for tackling illegal international trafficking in chemicals. Lebanon noted the low implementation of the GHS in developing countries.

PROGRESS IN ACHIEVING THE OBJECTIVES OF THE STRATEGIC APPROACH OVERARCHING POLICY STRATEGY: On Monday, the Secretariat presented the report on progress in the implementation of the Strategic Approach for 2011-2013 (SAICM/OEWG.2/INF/4), the Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC) analysis of efforts to implement the GPA and key issue papers (SAICM/OEWG.2/INF/5), the report on activities of the IOMC to support SAICM implementation (SAICM/OEWG.2/INF/6), the Secretariat report on the QSP (SAICM/OEWG.2/INF/7), the report on the Cooperation and Coordination Task Force of the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions and the UNEP Chemicals Branch (SAICM/OEWG.2/INF/8), a report on the clearinghouse function (SAICM/OEWG.2/INF/16), a Global Environment Facility (GEF) report on its activities in support of the implementation of the Strategic Approach (SAICM/OEWG.2/INF/18), and  a report by the UN Environment Management Group on UN system-wide support in achieving the sound management of chemicals and wastes (SAICM/OEWG.2/INF/22).

She drew attention to the QSP report, noting that the period for contributions to the Programme trust fund had been extended until ICCM4. President Lesiyampe added that while there had been progress with respect to financing for Strategic Approach activities, including under the sixth GEF replenishment, there remained a need to identify non-traditional donors at all levels.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), for IOMC, discussed the IOMC analysis of progress toward the 2020 goal (SAICM/OEWG.2/INF/5) and various IOMC activities in support of the Strategic Approach. He said that while much work remained, IOMC participating organizations had made important advances, particularly in those domains where they had a strong mandate and where several participating organizations worked collectively.

The African Group suggested the lessons learned on the long-term sustainability and relevance of information-sharing mechanisms be reflected in the report.

The EU said what SAICM delivers is complex and difficult to understand, and suggested further efforts are needed for timely and quality reporting for the third progress report.

 UNEP noted the widening reporting capacity gap between least developing countries (LDCs) and middle- and upper-income countries. He suggested activities be targeted at LDCs.

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE HEALTH SECTOR STRATEGY: On Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) presented its reports on health sector engagement with the Strategic Approach for the period 2011-2013 (SAICM/OEWG.2/8) and on WHO activities related to the implementation of the Strategic Approach (SAICM/OEWG.2/INF/17).

The EU suggested strengthened health sector involvement in developing countries and called for appropriate staffing of the WHO section dealing with chemicals. The African Group stressed that the health sector role needs to be better defined in national legislation on chemicals and waste management.

Switzerland proposed that SAICM be invited to present on progress at the next WHO Executive Board. UNEP said that it will continue to work with the WHO to address the environment and health nexus towards the 2020 goal.

Health Care Without Harm and the Health and Environment Alliance discussed reducing the use of chemicals in healthcare settings. The International Society of Doctors for the Environment (ISDE) called for the rapid implementation of the health strategy with the WHO as a “strong and firm” leader.

Panama stressed that countries should improve information on lead and mercury poisoning.

OVERALL ORIENTATION AND GUIDANCE ON THE 2020 GOAL: On Monday, the Secretariat introduced the background information to the OOG (SAICM/OEWG.2/INF/2), the draft OOG (SAICM/OEWG.2/4), and UNEA Resolution 1/5 (SAICM/OEWG.2/5*), noting the OOG was prepared under the guidance of the Bureau on the basis of information provided through stakeholder consultation processes, regional meetings and other sources. She explained it recognizes 11 basic elements, considered as critical at the national and regional levels to attaining sound chemicals management, and identifies six core activity areas for implementing the objectives set out in the OPS, namely: enhancing responsibility of stakeholders; strengthening national legislative and regulatory frameworks; considering EPIs promoting information access; and assessing progress towards the 2020 goal.

The International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) stressed the need for prioritizing OOG elements. The IOMC questioned the need for a new mechanism or process regarding EPIs, and called for perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) to be included in the OOG. Japan suggested greater emphasis on trade issues.

The African Group suggested the inclusion of social mobilization. IPEN said the OOG needs to include output goals, statements of current gaps and quantifiable milestones for EPIs.

The Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on Hazardous Substances and Wastes expressed the hope to collaborate with all SAICM participants in his work. He noted two forthcoming reports of possible interest to SAICM participants, one on gaps and ambiguities in international laws relating to hazardous substances and wastes that give rise to adverse effects on human rights, the other on the right to information in the context of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes.

UNEP warned against creating more core activities and called for keeping the OOG “simple but comprehensive.” He noted forthcoming UNEP work on resource optimization, mainstreaming and the programme on institutional strengthening before ICCM4 that could serve as inputs to the OOG discussion at ICCM4.

WHO called for the OOG to: include explicit reference to the health strategy; be adjusted to include more references to health impacts of chemicals; include monitoring and assessment of health impacts of chemicals; include the institutional strengthening of poison centers; and include vulnerable groups in the activity on chemical risk reduction.

Jordan suggested the OOG should define responsibilities in implementing SAICM.

The EU welcomed the draft OOG and suggested minor amendments, including referencing waste management in all 11 basic elements and widening the six core activity areas to cover the whole breadth of sound chemicals and waste management. She said the EU shared the African view to take an integrated approach to financing beyond the Special Programme adopted at the UNEA. She also suggested expressing detailed proposals in a contact group.

Kenya stressed “enhancing responsibility of stakeholders” as the most urgent core activity to be implemented.

Canada, with the US and Iraq, suggested adding specific priorities, namely promoting safer alternatives, and transparency and public participation during policy making.

President Lesiyampe noted the positive feedback and general agreement on the draft OOG, and suggested the Secretariat incorporate the comments received and finalize the text with the support of the Bureau. He also proposed, and participants agreed, to establish a contact group on the OOG, co-chaired by Brazil and Denmark.

On Wednesday morning, OOG Contact Group Co-Chair Letícia Reis de Carvalho (Brazil) reported to plenary that the group had collected feedback on the OOG during its Monday meeting, and reviewed it in a Co-Chairs’ summary on Tuesday evening. She reported that the group heard overall positive feedback on the draft OOG, with general support for the six core activities and 11 basic elements identified, although it was agreed that they needed to be more focused, action-oriented and quantifiable whenever possible. She noted several calls for setting priorities within the OOG. She said there were many suggestions regarding omissions and gaps and the need for action, mainly regarding the role of all stakeholders to produce deliverables. She provided some examples from the list of suggestions offered. She noted that some group participants tried to offer more suggestions during Tuesday evening’s session, but since the group had officially closed the collection of views on Monday, these participants were encouraged to raise their ideas in plenary instead. She explained that the Co-Chairs’ summary would be used by the Bureau and the Secretariat to produce a final draft for submission to ICCM4.

IPEN called the OOG a useful document with many important elements, but imbalanced in that it primarily focuses on process objectives and does not adequately address risk reduction activities. She proposed that the OOG additionally identify gaps in risk reduction activities where substantial achievements can be made between now and 2020 with concerted effort, and explained these would include proposals for more vigorous implementation of EPIs, selected elements of the GPA and other activities identified in the OPS.

The EU said IPEN mentioned issues everyone could be encouraged to take forward, but wondered about the proper process for noting them since the suggestions for OOG feedback had been collected on Monday and the Co-Chairs’ summary was not supposed to be re-opened. She suggested appending a written submission from IPEN to the OEWG2 meeting report, or noting the intervention in the report. IPEN responded that it had raised these ideas in both sessions of the contact group, but they had not been reflected in the Co-Chairs’ summary. She said as long as IPEN’s intervention was noted in the meeting report in some fashion, the Secretariat would find a way to reflect it in the revised OOG.

Final Outcome: OEWG2 agreed to annex the Co-Chairs’ summary (SAICM/OEWG.2/CRP.7) to the OEWG2 meeting report with a view to its use, by the Bureau and Secretariat, along with all interventions made during plenary, as the basis for finalizing the OOG for submission to ICCM4. 


On Monday, the Secretariat presented its note on the sound management of chemicals and waste in the context of the SDGs (SAICM/OEWG.2/9) and UNEA Resolution 1/5 on chemicals and waste. He drew attention to a synthesis report of the UN Secretary-General on the post-2015 agenda entitled “The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet.” He noted that sound management of chemicals is referred to in the three SDGs on healthy lives and well-being, on availability and sustainable management of water, and on sustainable consumption and production.

In their interventions, all delegations welcomed the inclusion of chemicals in the SDGs. The UN Environment Management Group reported on UN system-wide support in achieving the sound management of chemicals and wastes (SAICM/OEWG.2/INF/22), highlighting ongoing mapping of UN initiatives on chemicals and waste.

The African Group recommended ICCM4 should consider a resolution for mainstreaming chemicals in development plans, and with Zambia, South Africa, the EU, Switzerland and the Russian Federation, recommended the establishment of a contact group to discuss both the issues of chemicals in the context of the SDGs and beyond 2020. The African Group also noted the need for an intersessional process from ICCM4 to ICCM5 on these issues.

Japan welcomed the opportunity for exchanging information at OEWG2 and ICCM4 on the role of SAICM in the post-2015 development agenda, while noting this should not prejudge considerations related to the post-2015 development agenda process.

The EU underscored the long-term importance of UNEA Resolution 1/5 on strengthening the sound management of chemicals and waste, and that the SDG process and the post-2015 development agenda should be considered by the OEWG and ICCM4 as an integral part of the discussions on strengthening the sound management of chemicals and waste in the long term. Switzerland stressed the relevance of SAICM to the SDG process and said ICCM4 should consider both chemicals in the SDGs and their continued relevance beyond 2020.

Mexico supported the role of SAICM as a tool for achieving the SDGs’ chemicals targets.

IPEN emphasized the need for global targets and indicators besides national ones, and asked what will happen to intergovernmental cooperation and chemical safety after 2020. IPEN and the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) called for “the post-2020 issue” to be placed on the ICCM4 agenda. A contact group on the SDGs and sound management of chemicals beyond 2020, co-chaired by Switzerland and Liberia, was established and met on Monday evening.

On Tuesday, contact group Co-Chair Luca Arnold (Switzerland) reported that the group had agreed on a text that would be attached to the OEWG2 meeting report. He said the group also agreed that the topic of chemicals management beyond 2020 should be added to the ICCM4 agenda, and recommended additional OEWG plenary discussion on this under the agenda item on ICCM4 preparations.

Final Outcome: In the final text (SAICM/OEWG.2/CRP.3) annexed to OEWG2 meeting report, the OEWG invites governmental and intergovernmental participants to inform the co-facilitators for consultations on the post-2015 development agenda that the OEWG, inter alia: welcomes UNEA Resolution 1/5 on chemicals and waste and that sound management of chemicals and waste is addressed under several SDGs; highlights SAICM’s contribution to the sound management of chemicals and waste, including towards the implementation of the sustainable development agenda; and expresses its readiness and willingness to make available its multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder platform to that end, as appropriate.


REPORT ON PROGRESS ON EMERGING POLICY ISSUES: On Tuesday the Secretariat presented its compilation of information on progress on EPIs and other issues of concern (SAICM/OEWG.2/6).

While recognizing the importance of EPIs, the EU urged rebalancing SAICM’s efforts through 2020 to focus more on establishing the basic structures for chemicals management. Switzerland said the progress report clearly shows that further SAICM cooperation on EPIs is essential up to 2020. Iraq suggested EPI activities should continue until 2020 and beyond. IPEN said EPIs and work on basic chemical management structures are complementary and not in conflict.

Lead in Paint: On Tuesday, WHO presented the report of the third meeting of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint (SAICM/OEWG.2/INF/9), introduced the activities undertaken since ICCM3, and asked countries to send reports on their regulations on lead in paint. UNEP, with IPEN, said that while the 2020 goal of phasing out lead in paint is achievable, it would require stepping up efforts. The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) reported it was launching a technical assistance project on this issue in Latin America.

The African Group said that more stringent legal instruments and data are needed to accelerate the phase-out of lead in paint. The Asia-Pacific Group introduced the resolution on lead in paint adopted at a regional workshop and requested the Secretariat to convey the resolution to ICCM4.

India said while lead in paint can be regulated, it cannot be eliminated completely. Mexico called for concerted efforts at local levels, taking into account cross-border movements of paint. The EU welcomed the resolution adopted by two regions and supported the complete phase-out of lead in paint. Saying phasing out lead in paint is a “low hanging fruit,” Kenya called for more paint manufacturing companies to commit to using safer alternatives. The United Arab Emirates introduced a national survey on lead in paint carried out in her country, and reported ongoing efforts to restrict the lead in paint for industrial uses.

Nanotechology and Manufactured Nanomaterials: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced the report on progress in nanotechnology and manufactured nanomaterials (SAICM/OEWG.2/INF/10). The United Nations Institute on Training and Research (UNITAR) noted that it will hold three regional workshops on nanotechnology safety in early 2015 and the OECD said it is reviewing nanotechnology risk assessment methodologies. The EU stressed that insight into the safety of nanomaterials should be coherent with SAICM work up to 2020.

Thailand introduced elements for a draft resolution on manufactured nanomaterials and nanotechnology to be submitted to ICCM4 (SAICM/OEWG.2/CRP.2/Rev.2). The US, with Canada, questioned the utility of a new resolution. CIEL explained the draft resolution seeks to enhance some activities recommended in previous resolutions. Jordan supported having a new resolution.

Japan called for further OECD technical guidance on testing of nanomaterials. The African Group, with IPEN, stressed the importance of awareness raising, communication and outreach to consumers. Mexico highlighted the importance of standardized measurements. Switzerland invited the Secretariat to compile existing legal and technical guidance on nanotechnology.

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) drew attention to its 2014 Conference on Green Chemistry, which had been held to raise awareness of green nanotechnology and promote its safe and responsible use.

On Tuesday evening, an EPI Contact Group, co-chaired by Canada and Jordan, considered the elements of the draft resolution presented by Thailand in view of its possible submission to ICCM4.

On Wednesday, EPI Contact Group Co-Chair Cheryl Baillard (Canada) reported that the group had agreed to submit the elements for a draft resolution to ICCM4 for further consideration and had discussed issues such as a clearinghouse mechanism and the extent to which the Secretariat should be tasked to collect information. Delegates agreed to annex the draft resolution to the OEWG2 report.

Final Outcome: The draft resolution (SAICM/OEWG.2/CRP.5) was annexed to the OEWG meeting report with a view for its consideration at ICCM4. In the draft resolution, ICCM4 reaffirms ICCM resolutions II/4 E and III/2 E on nanotechnologies and manufactured nanomaterials and calls for continued implementation of these resolutions giving special emphasis to, inter alia: facilitating the exchange of information on nanotechnologies and the sound management of manufactured nanomaterials; compiling international technical and regulatory guidance and training materials; and enhancing capacity on sound management of manufactured nanomaterials particularly in developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

Chemicals in Products: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced the draft proposal for a CiP programme (SAICM/OEWG.2/INF/11) and an IOMC report on making the business case for knowing chemicals in products and supply chains (SAICM/OEWG.2/INF/12). At the invitation of President Lesiyampe, UNEP discussed the CiP programme proposal, noting that it was intended to guide stakeholders on how to exchange useful information on chemicals in a useable format.  He asked for feedback from the OEWG on the current draft before further revision and preparation of a final draft at a workshop to be held prior to ICCM4. He also briefly discussed a pilot project that will be carried out in the textile sector in China during 2015.

China said in addition to the GEF funded project on chemicals in the textile sector, an ongoing investigation on the printing and dyeing industries indicated the key challenge for identifying certain chemicals and called for expert support. The EU welcomed the draft proposal and the pilot project, and suggested organizing a workshop prior to ICCM4 to create further support for the CiP programme proposal.

The African Group noted the lack of basic standards on chemicals used in cheap products. Switzerland supported the draft proposal and said it will provide further comment in the follow-up to OEWG2. He also underlined the importance of transparency and increased information about hazardous chemicals in everyday products for protecting human health along the supply chain.

ICCA highlighted the key role industry can play to share information throughout the supply chain and to consumers outside the supply chain. He called for a “flexible and implementable” programme to attract wider engagement and collaboration of industries. Noting the complexity in the manufacturing processes and the global supply chain, the US Council for International Business emphasized the need to make the CiP “practical and workable” by building on existing initiatives and broader industry participation.

IPEN said information on CiP was critical for stakeholders inside and outside the supply chain, and called for companies to undertake proactive chemicals management. She also suggested all chemicals of high human health and environmental concern should be reported.

The US noted the progress made in developing the proposal for voluntary CiP programme and suggested soliciting further input from industry to strengthen the draft proposal.

Hazardous Substances within the Life Cycle of Electrical and Electronic Products: On Tuesday, the Secretariat presented the report of a UNIDO-hosted expert group meeting on hazardous substances within the life cycle of electrical and electronic products (SAICM/OEWG.2/INF/13), a compilation of best practices on hazardous substances within the life cycle of electrical and electronic products (SAICM/OEWG.2/INF/14), and an International Labour Organization report on addressing the challenge of the global impact of electronic waste (SAICM/OEWG.2/INF/26).

UNIDO highlighted the importance of establishing sustainable electronic waste (e-waste) systems. The African Group and the Basel Convention Regional Coordinating Centre for Africa stressed more needs to be done on e-waste dumping in Africa. The EU proposed a second workshop on e-waste.

The Island Sustainability Alliance said the OEWG should include recommendations on implementable activities during 2015-2020. Switzerland stressed the importance of the life cycle approach and green production processes.

Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals: On Tuesday, UNEP presented the summary of outcomes from regional workshops and responses to questionnaires relating to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) (SAICM/OEWG.2/INF/23), and highlighted the UNEP/WHO “State of the Science of EDCs” report and the strategic and policy advice on EDC environmental exposure and impacts provided by a UNEP Advisory Group. WHO and OECD reported on EDCs-related activities under their respective mandates.

All intervening delegations welcomed the work done by the IOMC on EDCs. The African Group emphasized the need for more EDC-related information on best management practices, health data, safer alternatives, and case studies on EDCs in various materials such as pesticides, textiles, children’s products, buildings and electrical and electronic products. The Endocrine Society and IPEN stressed the importance of science-based awareness-raising campaigns and of involving health care professionals. IPEN noted that urgent policy measures are needed for all countries and synergies should be achieved with CiP by adding EDCs in CiP programme case studies. IPEN and the EU noted the high costs of inaction on EDCs. Japan emphasized the need to consider the eco-toxicity of EDCs in addition to their health impacts. ICCA noted the ongoing scientific debate on the impacts of EDCs.

NEW PROPOSED EMERGING POLICY ISSUE FOR CONSIDERATION BY ICCM4: Environmentally Persistent Pharmaceutical Pollutants: On Tuesday the Secretariat presented its note on EPPPs (SAICM/OEWG.2/7) and the nomination for EPPPs to de designated as a new EPI, as submitted by the joint proponents of the proposal, Peru’s Environment Ministry, Uruguay’s Ministry of Housing, Land Planning and Environment, and ISDE (SAICM/OEWG.2/INF/15).

Uruguay, Peru and ISDE urged support for putting the proposal on the ICCM4 agenda and for reaching agreement at ICCM4 on making EPPPs a new EPI.

GRULAC, Norway, the African Group, Switzerland, Healthcare Without Harm, China, Republic of Korea and Liberia supported the proposal, with the African Group requesting a contact group to discuss it further.

While welcoming the proposal as a good basis for discussion, the EU suggested streamlining the focus of any EPPP programme. Canada stressed the importance of involving national and international experts on both the ecological and health aspects in any SAICM activity on EPPPs. The US said it was prepared to work with the proponents to fine-tune the proposal to ensure it was within the scope of SAICM. UNEP noted some overlap with work on EDCs, and urged using the time until ICCM4 to clarify the scope.

WHO expressed appreciation for the invitation to lead on any EPPP work, but not alone as some aspects of the proposal fall outside WHO’s mandate.

The EPI contact group tasked with reviewing the EPPPs’ proposal met on Tuesday. On Wednesday, EPI Contact Group Co-Chair Cheryl Baillard (Canada) reported that that the nomination’s proponents came to the group offering to delete two references to the manufacture of pharmaceuticals that had been mentioned during the plenary discussion as objects of concern in the proposal. The group agreed to amend the proposal and that the revised version should be submitted to ICCM4 as a nominee for EPI status.

Final Outcome: The OEWG agreed to annex the revised proposal (SAICM/OEWG.2/CRP.6) to its meeting report for consideration at ICCM4. The proposal calls for a SAICM initiative on EPPPs to: raise the visibility and policy engagement on the issue; promote greater coordination, consistency and synergies between different initiatives around the world engaging actors from different sectors; and improve countries’ capacities for assessing and managing risks from EPPPs, especially in developing countries. Proposed specific deliverables include: expert guidance for risk identification and assessment; priority setting for research and for risk management/control actions; information exchange and networking for scientists and policy makers in developing countries and countries with economies in transition to improve understanding of EPPP issues and the needs for action.

OTHER ISSUES OF CONCERN: Perfluorinated Chemicals and the Transition to Safer Alternatives: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced the progress achieved on managing PFCs and the transition to safer alternatives (SAICM/OEWG.2/6) and noted the establishment of the Global PFC Group. UNEP and OECD, as the lead agencies of the Global PFC Group, introduced recent work including: a synthesis paper on perfluorinated and polyfluorinated chemicals; public webinars; data collection of PFC emissions; risk reduction approaches; and PFC alternatives based on the work of the Stockholm Convention. The lead agencies invited new members to the Global PFC Group.

The EU supported the work undertaken by the Global PFC Group and the expansion of its membership, in particular from non-OECD countries. He highlighted the difference between long-chain and short-chain PFCs, saying the short-chain PFCs may not be bioaccumulative. Norway noted that long-chain PFCs are more harmful than the short-chain PFCs and Norway called for guidance to industry to switch to safe alternatives in chemical products, articles and during manufacturing.

The African Group stressed the need for transparency and data to manage PFCs throughout their life cycle, and said the concentrations of PFCs had been found in maternal serum and drinking water in one African country. He called for efforts on data collection, awareness raising, and greater responsibility of industry to switch to safer alternatives.

Greenpeace argued that short-chain PFCs should not be considered as safer alternatives given the increasing evidence that short-chain PFCs are not environmentally-friendly alternatives due to their high stability and potential for contaminating drinking water. She urged SAICM to provide a clear signal to industry that hazardous chemicals do not have a place in a sustainable society and to drive innovation towards safer alternatives.

Iraq suggested WHO lead awareness-raising campaigns on the risks of PFCs exposure, in particular its carcinogenic effects. The Outdoor Industry Association expressed interest in safer alternatives to PFCs in the chemical industry, and the textile and performance product sectors.

Highly Hazardous Pesticides: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced the information note on highly hazardous pesticides prepared by FAO (SAICM/OEWG.2/10). FAO introduced a non-paper titled “Addressing HHPs – Possible Next Steps for SAICM.”

The African Group presented a draft resolution, to be included in the OEWG meeting report, inviting FAO and/or UNEP to develop a proposal for ICCM4 for a global alliance to phase-out HHPs. He noted the resolution would aim to provide guidance on safer alternatives to HHPs and promote the establishment of appropriate national regulatory frameworks for phasing out HHPs. PAN, with Cameroon, Republic of Moldova, Jordan, Namibia, Honduras, Gabon, Health and Environment Alliance, IPEN, Mexico, Iraq, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin and the Gambia, supported the African Group’s proposal. GRULAC, with Panama, supported the call for better coordination on the issue.

The EU said contributions from the private sector are of utmost importance for the sound management of HHPs. Croplife International described its strategic approach to managing HHPs, noting that it is based on risk and use assessment rather than on hazard-based criteria.

Canada, with the US, highlighted the need for more detail on what additional activities should be undertaken by SAICM on HHPs and requested that a text on HHPs be tabled well before ICCM4. Switzerland emphasized that work on HHPs must complement the work of others such as FAO and WHO. WHO echoed caution expressed by FAO on the risk of creating new administrative structures that may divert resources away from existing work.

A Friends of the Chair group, chaired by Suzana Andonova (the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), was formed to discuss the way forward on HHPs at ICCM4. The group met on Tuesday night, and on Wednesday, Andonova reported that the group had agreed on a proposal to invite FAO, UNEP and WHO to facilitate a multi-stakeholder process to develop a proposal for ICCM4, taking into account the regional resolutions on HHPs, the draft resolution introduced by the African Group, the FAO non-paper, and other relevant OEWG2 information documents.

Outcome: OEWG2 agreed to include the proposal presented by the Friends of the Chair group in the meeting report.


On Wednesday, the Secretariat presented the report on its activities and staffing (SAICM/OEWG.2/12). He explained that it provides a summary account of the Secretariat’s activities since the update provided to ICCM3, as well as initial information on budget and staffing for the period 2016-2020 based on the current staffing complement of the Secretariat, taking into consideration that the activity budget and future staffing for the period 2016-2020 will be guided by the OOG, so a more detailed budget and activities report will be offered to ICCM4.

He noted that the budget was for a longer period than that requested by ICCM3 (2016-2018), but reminded delegates that ICCM4 would be the last Conference session before 2020, so a 2016-2020 budget seemed appropriate. He added that the Secretariat could produce a version of the budget covering only 2016-2018 as originally requested, if the OEWG so advised. He also called attention to the report on SAICM’s clearinghouse function (SAICM/OEWG.2/INF/16) and the relevant provisions of UNEA Resolution 1/5.

The EU welcomed the report, but said the budget section provides “rather sobering reading.” He noted unfilled positions in the Secretariat and the lack of resources for ICCM4. He announced that the EU had decided to provide €500,000 toward the costs of preparing and holding ICCM4, and urged others to contribute soon. He expressed regret that only the EU and three other countries have consistently contributed funds for Secretariat work, urged increasing the contributor base, noted that some US$12-13 million in funding is needed from 2016-2020, and recalled that UNEA Resolution 1/5 invited UN agencies and the IOMC to support Secretariat work, including through providing staff. He called for predictable and secure funding so the Secretariat can function effectively.

Switzerland supported the EU intervention. He asked whether the 2013-2014 funding needs had been met, what is the funding situation for 2014-2015, and what are the budget implications of the OOG. He called for more stable funding for SAICM staff, and asked the Secretariat to indicate in its budget proposal the core functions of the Secretariat so that potential donors can better identify what funding is needed for the Secretariat to operate effectively.

Norway supported the EU and Switzerland, urged increased staffing for the Secretariat, and suggested SAICM would benefit from closer cooperation with both the UNEP Chemicals Branch and WHO.

IPEN noted that the budget agreed at ICCM3 has not translated into contributions, and stressed that a strong, well-funded Secretariat was needed to ensure effective, efficient and meaningful implementation of SAICM initiatives. He also noted that the Strategic Approach had called for both WHO and UNEP to support the Secretariat, and called on WHO to supply a staff member. IPEN supported the idea of presenting a 2016-2020 budget proposal to ICCM4.

Madagascar and Benin thanked the EU, Switzerland and Norway for their continued support of SAICM, and urged donor countries to step up support for the Secretariat.

President Lesiyampe said what he heard from the floor was a passionate appeal to UNEP to support SAICM in both funding and staffing, particularly in providing stable staffing. While he thanked WHO for its efforts in the health sector strategy, he said WHO needed to resume providing staff to SAICM. President Lesiyampe promised that he and the Bureau would pursue this issue directly with the WHO’s Director-General. He reiterated his call for nontraditional donors and in-kind supporters to step up.

The Secretariat explained that a new associate handling the QSP would join the Secretariat staff in January 2015, and two other positions remained open because WHO had not filled one position and ICCM3 did not provide a budget allocation for the clearinghouse staff member. In response to Switzerland’s questions, he said the budget for 2014, including funds raised for OEWG2, were US$2 million, while 2015 current resources, excluding ICCM4 funding, amount to US$650,000. He thanked the EU for its contribution toward ICCM4 costs, and noted so far these are the only funds provided for ICCM4.

Keita-Ouane added that UNEP’s Executive Director takes seriously the UNEA Resolution 1/5 requests regarding SAICM. She noted that the Executive Director has initiated an upgrade of the SAICM Coordinator post, increased the budget allocations coming from UNEP’s Environment Fund and in extra budgetary resources UNEP receives. She said that stabilizing SAICM staffing is a priority, but can only happen if stable funding is provided to the SAICM budget instead of the current ad hoc contributions.


On Wednesday, the Secretariat introduced its note (SAICM/OEWG.2/11) on the preparations for ICCM4, provisionally scheduled to be held in Geneva, Switzerland from 28 September to 2 October 2014. Noting that the EU’s pledged contribution will cover half of the funding needed for ICCM4, he expressed hope that more funding will be secured soon.

The EU emphasized that the focus of ICCM4 should be on how to ensure the 2020 goal is achieved and on national implementation in developing countries rather than on new issues. He underscored that the OEWG2 report should explicitly refer to the need for an integrated approach to financing. The Asia-Pacific Group and the EU underscored the need for ICCM4 to take into account regional priorities and challenges.

The Endocrine Society reiterated the importance of sound technical and scientific information on EDC to be made available for ICCM4.

The African Group noted ICCM4 should be an opportunity for both celebrating achievements and reflecting on challenges, and stressed the need for an intersessional meeting before ICCM5. Mexico and the African Region supported the scheduling of a high-level segment at ICCM4.

IPEN suggested that when finalizing the OOG for ICCM4, the Bureau and the Secretariat could consider pulling out any element in it needing a specific decision so as to leave the OOG as a guidance document.  He stressed the importance of including risk reduction activities in the OOG, and that ICCM4 should take a decision to establish a global alliance to phase-out HHPs.

President Lesiyampe thanked delegates for their interventions and noted they will be incorporated in the OEWG2 report.


On Wednesday afternoon, IPEN, supported by the Endocrine Society, asked the meeting to formally note the recent death of Theo Colborn, a scientist and co-author of “Our Stolen Future” on EDCs. Observing that former SAICM Coordinator Matthew Gubb had also died recently, President Lesiyampe asked all participants to stand and observe a moment of silence to commemorate the contributions of both to the chemicals management community.


On Wednesday afternoon Rapporteur Richards introduced the draft report of the meeting (SAICM/OEWG.2/L.1 and Add.1). The report was adopted with some amendments to better reflect interventions by particular delegations on: access to GEF funding; elements of the SAICM third progress report to be presented to ICCM4; the lack of information on illegal traffic in chemicals; lead in paint; the proposed CiP programme; the CiP pilot project in China; manufactured nanomaterials and nanotechnology; EDCs; PFCs; and HHPs.

President Lesiyampe thanked all participants for their constructive contributions to the work of OEWG2. He promised that he, the Bureau and Secretariat would work together to ensure that the OOG was finalized and properly transmitted to ICCM4. He expressed optimism that SAICM “can go a long way” not only to 2020, but beyond. He recalled the words of the African Group, which said ICCM4 would be a crossroads for SAICM that should consist not only of a celebration of its achievements, but also reflection on how best to lay the foundation for sound chemicals management going forward.

The African Group thanked all delegates for their spirit of cooperation at OEWG2, which he hoped would outlast ICCM4. The Group offered a gift to Keita-Ouane in recognition of her years of service to the chemicals management community and her upcoming retirement.

The EU said ICCM4 should be a crucial milestone toward achieving the 2020 goal, and that work on the OOG will help all stakeholders to focus their activities and take further steps immediately. He also welcomed progress on EPPPs, HHPs and the existing EPIs, and the fact that OEWG2 recognized the relevance of sound chemicals management beyond 2020. He stressed the importance of SAICM’s work in implementing UNEA Resolution 1/5 in synergy with the Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm and Minamata Conventions. He also asked that the co-facilitators of UN talks on the post-2015 development agenda be informed of the OEWG2 message on this topic.

IPEN emphasized that the 2020 goal is an output goal, and if SAICM achieved this goal, the world would realize an important benefit. She expressed the hope that the pace of SAICM implementation will pick up at ICCM4, and said IPEN looks forward to the establishment of the global alliance on the phase-out of HHPs.

Keita-Ouane, after recounting the evolution of global efforts on chemicals management since the 1980s, assured participants that SAICM’s reputation is very strong.  She said her final wishes as she headed toward retirement were that the UNEP Chemicals Branch gets on safer and more stable ground, and SAICM promotes another wave of international legally-binding instruments on chemicals.

President Lesiyampe closed the meeting at 4:57 pm.



The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management is at a key juncture in its short history. With eight years of operation under its belt, and only six years until the 2020 goal of sound chemicals management, a palpable sense of urgency was observed at the second meeting of the Open-ended Working Group as delegates debated which issues should be considered at the fourth meeting of the International Conference on Chemicals Management. While delegates focused on the short- and medium-term prioritization of issues towards ICCM4 and the 2020 goal, some emphasized the importance of intergovernmental cooperation and chemicals safety beyond 2020. Stressing the importance of managing chemicals issues post 2020, a key question was raised by Tanzania, on behalf of the African Group, in the opening plenary: “Is 2020 a goal or a vehicle?”

This brief analysis will reflect on this question through the consideration of the debate on the overall orientation and guidance on the 2020 goal, SAICM’s ability to respond to emerging issues, and the relevance of SAICM in the long-term.


The overall orientation and guidance (OOG) provides directions and approaches for SAICM stakeholders to achieve the 2020 goals, includes 11 basic elements and six core activities, and is expected to be the main strategic policy outcome of ICCM4. Against these expectations, OEWG2 provided a chance to “reflect and consider where to focus our energies,” as the Secretariat explained in the technical briefings held the day before the meeting began. While participants largely welcomed the OOG as an implementation platform for SAICM’s multi-stakeholder process, some delegates questioned its purpose. There was concern that the OOG would be negotiated at ICCM4, diverting attention away from the important work of SAICM to catalyze action towards the 2020 goal. This issue was largely resolved as OEWG agreed that the OOG will be used to guide―not overtake―discussions at ICCM4.

Some delegates felt the OOG was too process-oriented and did not adequately address “risk reduction activities” that could lead to tangible outcomes on the ground, and in this way had not moved the process forward enough from direction given in the Overarching Policy Strategy and the Global Plan of Action. Many thought the OOG has to strike a delicate balance, both demonstrating tangible actions on the ground and engaging with additional issues such as the officially designated emerging policy issues. As one government delegate noted: “SAICM has to prove utility while being open to new and emerging issues.”  Of critical importance is the unique structure of SAICM. SAICM is a multi-stakeholder, multi-sectoral, non-binding policy platform that offers, in theory, room for both operationalization of deliverables and consideration of new and emerging issues. The tension inherent in this dichotomy is likely to continue, as one participant stressed “the world develops and issues evolve,” which highlights the value that SAICM and thus the OOG bring to the chemicals family.

Another important aspect that animated the debate on the OOG was financing. While sustainable financing has dogged SAICM from its start, the debate has now turned to how to “operationalize” integrated financing. UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) Resolution 1/5, which adopted the Special Programme to support institutional strengthening at the national level, and the Global Environment Facility’s focal area on chemicals and waste offer a “window of opportunity” for a more integrated approach to financing towards the 2020 goal. Although as a developing country delegate pointed out, these initiatives have brought “direction but not certainty” towards the 2020 goal, as it remains to be seen how the financing will occur and whether there will be an increase in resources. As the EU delegate noted in plenary: “we are programming but don’t yet have a check.” Indeed, some delegates highlighted the need to take an integrated approach to financing beyond the Special Programme, for example, through financing at all levels including leveraging industry and non-traditional donors and linking requests for funding to the Sustainable Development Goals and national sustainable development plans. Delegates agreed that the issue of an integrated approach to financing to achieve the 2020 goal must be more strongly reflected in the OOG.


As one of the agenda items under “emerging policy issues and other issues of concern,” the discussions on highly hazardous pesticides provide insight into the delicate balancing act that is SAICM. Given “everyone is equal” under SAICM, NGOs and other participants have a unique opportunity to influence the policy-making process. As one delegate noted, NGOs outnumbered all other delegates, including government representatives, in the Friends of the Chair group on HHPs. The debate on HHPs, driven largely by IPEN and PAN in cooperation with a number of country delegates, resulted in the proposal by the African Group and supported by many others, for a global alliance on the phasing out of HHPs led by FAO and/or UNEP to be tabled at ICCM4.

While everyone recognized the relevance of HHPs to SAICM, some expressed concern about the formation of a global alliance, and how that would complement or compete with existing work programmes and the mandate of the administering organizations, particularly given limited resources. It was noted in plenary that FAO and IOMC participating organizations, such as UNEP and WHO, needed approval from their governing bodies before agreeing to additions to their work programmes. The challenge of intersectoral cooperation was also raised, particularly given that the agricultural and health sectors “were currently poorly represented” at SAICM meetings

As highlighted in the OEWG2 discussions, the key to action on HHPs is at the national level, through regulation and enforcement mechanisms. To achieve this end, one participant speculated that “a background paper on gaps and activities and a draft resolution” on HHPs were the most probable outcomes of the process, to be facilitated by FAO, UNEP and WHO, that OEWG2 agreed to initiate in the run up to ICCM4. As highlighted by IPEN’s interventions in plenary, a key point of concern is whether the term “phasing out” will be maintained in the resolution adopted at ICCM4.

The case of HHPs provides insight into how SAICM has provided a unique platform through which coalition building and debate can occur under “equal status.” If new and emerging chemicals policy issues were taken up in other UN processes, NGOs and other non-governmental delegates would likely be relegated to the role of observers.


In discussions on SDGs and sound management of chemicals beyond 2020, there was consensus that UNEA Resolution 1/5 and the post-2015 development agenda, particularly the SDGs, demonstrate SAICM’s continued relevance. One delegate went so far as to say that the Strategic Approach should not be time limited. There was universal approval that the future of SAICM beyond 2020 should be included on the ICCM4 agenda. Given the uniqueness of SAICM, both as a policy platform for new and emerging issues, information sharing, and as a catalyst for the implementation of programmes, particularly on issues not yet covered by the chemicals-related conventions, one government delegate felt that its structure was “fit for purpose.” Indeed, SAICM’s relevance beyond 2020 is closely tied to the implementation of the sustainable development agenda, as outlined in the agreed text annexed to the OEWG2 report. 

Given that three SDGs contain linkages to chemicals management, one developing country representative stressed this will benefit SAICM in a variety of ways, including: enabling the financing of sound chemicals management, particularly from development partners; ensuring multisectoral engagement, in particular, deepening the engagement of the health sector; and promoting country-level action, as many countries are expected to benchmark their national development plans with the SDGs. It is likely that countries will ensure chemicals management policy objectives are clearly linked with the relevant SDGs and associated targets and indicators in order to leverage financing and help elevate relevant national goals and actions. The SDGs and the post-2015 development agenda may also spur traditional and non-traditional donors to prioritize funding on chemicals management, but there will also need to be demand for these funds. As one donor emphasized, mainstreaming goals, targets and indicators for sound chemicals management within the national sustainable development plans and programmes of developing country partners is critical.

Many stakeholders highlighted the relevance and urgency of a more action-oriented approach by SAICM. However, delegates also recognized that measuring progress is a difficult issue, and that this may be an area where the SDGs’ targets and indicators may complement SAICM and the OOG in measuring progress towards the 2020 goal. Calls to “rebalance the approach and focus on basics” towards the 2020 goal were echoed by several delegations during OEWG2.

What remains “in and out” of the agenda for ICCM4 still remains to be seen, as dialogue on the ICCM4 preparations was limited. As one developing country delegate stressed, SAICM does need to prioritize its focus, however “focusing on the basics” should not alter the country-driven nature of the SAICM process, as countries are at different stages of chemical management.

If 2020 is the destination and OOG is the vehicle, then the goal must be defined and action taken at the national level. As one long-time participant in the process noted, perhaps the most important contribution SAICM can make is “changing the mindsets” of stakeholders in order to catalyze action and mobilize resources. While the long-term relevance of SAICM appears to be secure, how to maximize its utility, particularly in the short- and medium-term, will most likely be the center of scrutiny at ICCM4.


Meeting of the Small Intersessional Working Group (SIWG) on E-waste: The SIWG is expected to consider and advance work on the draft technical guidelines on transboundary movements of electronic and electrical waste and used electrical and electronic equipment, in particular regarding the distinction between waste and non-waste under the Basel Convention. The outcome of the meeting will be considered by the Convention’s Conference of the Parties during its twelfth meeting (COP12).  dates: 19-20 January 2015  location:  Konstanz, Germany  contact: Susan Wingfield, BRS Secretariat  phone: +41-22-917-8406  fax: +41-22-917-8098  email: www:

Sub-regional Workshop for the Caribbean in Support of the Ratification and Early Implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury: This sub-regional workshop is being organized by the Interim Secretariat of the Minamata Convention and the Basel Convention Regional Centre for the Caribbean (BCRC-Caribbean) as a part of a series of workshops on the Convention during the interim period until the Convention enters into force. The workshop is expected to assist Caribbean countries as they progress towards ratification and early implementation of the Convention and its associated obligations.  dates: 19-21 January 2015  location: Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago  contact: BCRC-Caribbean  phone: +1-868-628-8369  fax: +1-868-628-2151  email:  www:

Third Meeting of the Expert Working Group on Environmentally Sound Management: The expert working group will consider intersessional work to further elaborate and implement actions on initial short-term work items for the implementation of environmentally sound management (ESM) of hazardous wastes and other wastes. It will submit its proposed work programme to the Basel Convention’s COP12 for consideration and possible adoption.  dates: 21-23 January 2015  location:  Konstanz, Germany  contact: Susan Wingfield, BRS Secretariat  phone: +41-22-917-8406  fax: +41-22-917-8098  email:  www:

Second Meeting of the SIWG on Legal Clarity: The SIWG is expected to: finalize the glossary of terms; prepare recommendations as to whether any terms defined in previously adopted technical guidelines and guidance documents as well as the framework for ESM of hazardous wastes and other wastes need to be updated as a result; prepare recommendations as to whether further guidance would be useful; and prepare recommendations on the options for further steps toward the consistent interpretation of terminology, including possible voluntary and legally binding options. The outcome of the meeting will be considered by Basel Convention COP12. dates: 25-26 January 2015  location: Konstanz, Germany  contact: Susan Wingfield, BRS Secretariat  phone: +41-22-917-8406  fax: +41-22-917-8098  email:  www:

Regional Preparatory Meetings for the 2015 COPs for the Asia-Pacific Region and Workshop to Support the Ratification and Early Implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury: This preparatory meeting will contribute to successful meetings of the COPs of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions in 2015 by giving the Asia-Pacific region the possibility to consult in advance of the meetings, consider meeting documents, discuss substantive matters, identify regional priorities and challenges, and facilitate the preparation of regional positions. It will be held back-to-back with a workshop organized by the Interim Secretariat of the Minamata Convention to assist Asia-Pacific countries to prepare for ratification and early implementation of the Minamata Convention and its associated obligations.  dates: 17-20 March 2015  location: Jakarta, Indonesia  contact: Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions  phone: +41-22-917-8729  fax: +41-22-917-8098  email: www:

Regional Preparatory Meetings for the 2015 COPs for the African Region: This meeting will help African countries to consult each other in advance of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm COPs and consider COP meeting documents, identify associated regional priorities and challenges, and facilitate the preparation of regional positions.  dates: 24-27 March 2015  location: Nairobi, Kenya  contact: Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions  phone: +41-22-917-8729  fax: +41-22-917-8098  email: www:

Regional Preparatory Meetings for the 2015 COPs for the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE): This meeting will help CEE countries consult each other in advance of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm COPs and consider COP meeting documents, identify associated regional priorities and challenges, and facilitate the preparation of regional positions.   dates: 7-10 April 2015  location: Bratislava, Slovakia  contact: Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions  phone: +41-22-917-8729  fax: +41-22-917-8098  email: www:

Regional Preparatory Meetings for the 2015 COPs for GRULAC: This meeting will help GRULAC countries consult each other in advance of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm COPs and consider COP meeting documents, identify associated regional priorities and challenges, and facilitate the preparation of regional positions.   dates: 14-17 April 2015  location: Montevideo, Uruguay  contact: Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Secretariats  phone: +41-22-917-8729  fax: +41-22-917-8098  email:  www:

Basel COP-12, Rotterdam COP-7 and Stockholm COP-7: COP-12 to the Basel Convention, COP-7 to the Rotterdam Convention, and COP-7 to the Stockholm Convention will convene back-to-back in May 2015. The theme for the COP meetings is “From science to action, working for a safer tomorrow.”  dates: 4-15 May 2015  location: Geneva, Switzerland  contact: Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Secretariats  phone: +41-22-917-8729  fax: +41-22-917-8098  email: www:

48th Meeting of the GEF Council: The GEF Council meets twice per year to approve new projects with global environmental benefits in the GEF’s focal areas, and to provide guidance to the GEF Secretariat and agencies.  dates: 2-4 June 2015  location: Washington D.C., US  contact: GEF Secretariat  phone: +1-202-473-0508  fax: +1-202-522-3240/3245  email:   www:

12th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant (ICMGP): Since its inception in 1990, the ICMGP has provided a forum for researchers and policy makers to explore important advances in mercury research and to facilitate collaborations. As the first conference to be held after the adoption of the Minamata Convention, ICMGP 2015 will focus on challenges relating to the implementation of the Convention.  dates: 14-19 June 2015  location: Jeju City, Republic of Korea  contact: Conference Secretariat  phone: +82-70-8766-9567  fax: +82-2-579-2662   email:  www:

ICCM4: ICCM4 will consider the OOG, progress in achieving the objectives of the Strategic Approach Overarching Policy Strategy, existing EPIs, the nomination of EPPPs as a new EPI, HHPs, and chemicals management beyond 2020.  dates: 28 September-2 October 2015  location: Geneva, Switzerland  contact: SAICM Secretariat  phone: +41-22-917-8532  fax: +41-22-797-3460  email: www:

This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <> is written and edited by Qian Cheng, Keith Ripley, Laura Russo, and James Van Alstine, Ph.D. The Digital Editor is Mike Muzurakis. The Editor is Pamela Chasek, Ph.D. <>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <>. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the European Commission (DG-ENV and DG-CLIMATE), the Government of Switzerland (the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) and the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC)), and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. General Support for the Bulletin during 2014 is provided by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, SWAN International, the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). Specific funding for coverage of this meeting has been provided by FOEN and the UNEP Chemicals Branch. Funding for translation of the Bulletin into French has been provided by the Government of France, the Wallonia, Québec, and the International Organization of La Francophonie/Institute for Sustainable Development of La Francophonie (IOF/IFDD). The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD or other donors. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications with appropriate academic citation. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <>, +1-646-536-7556 or 300 East 56th St., 11D, New York, NY 10022 USA.