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Report of main proceedings for 29 September 2015

4th Session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM4)

The Fourth Session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM4) convened for its second day of discussions on Tuesday, 29 September, in Geneva, Switzerland. In the morning, the debate on the regional and sectoral achievements, strengths and challenges in the context of SAICM implementation resumed. The report of the QSP and the sound management of chemicals and waste in the context of the SDGs were also addressed.

In the afternoon, ICCM4 addressed the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020, and proposals on environmentally persistent pharmaceutical pollutants (EPPPs) and HHPs.

Contact groups on the OOG, chemicals and waste management beyond 2020 and on EPIs were established.

Side events also took place during lunch and in the evening.


REGIONAL AND SECTORAL ACHIEVEMENTS, STRENGTHS AND CHALLENGES IN THE CONTEXT OF WORKING TOWARDS THE OBJECTIVES OF THE STRATEGIC APPROACH OPS: The BASEL, ROTTERDAM AND STOCKHOLM CONVENTIONS (BRS) SECRETARIAT summarized the outcomes of the BRS COPs held in May 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland, as well as cooperation between the BRS Secretariat and SAICM. WHO highlighted their work on health and chemicals, and synergies with SAICM.

REPORT OF THE QSP: The Secretariat introduced the summary report on the QSP and its trust fund (SAICM/ICCM.4/4). Robert Nurick, lead impact evaluator of the QSP, presented a note on the QSP evaluation (SAICM/ICCM.4/INF/5), which found, inter alia, that: the QSP delivered on activities and objectives; there is evidence of mainstreaming but it is still not a priority for many governments; and gender was not reflected adequately in project design.

KENYA, MALI, NIGERIA, the AFRICAN GROUP, SWITZERLAND and PALAU welcomed the evaluation report recommendations. INDIA, with IRAN and ECUADOR, stressed the need for sound, predictable, reliable and sustained funding to replace the QSP if the 2020 goal is to be achieved. The EU said the QSP has been a clear success. The IOMC pledged continued support to countries to build upon the foundations that QSP funding helped construct, suggesting that reports generated by QSP projects be included in the information clearinghouse. HEALTH CARE WITHOUT HARM emphasized the importance of QSP support for engaging the health care sector. SUSTAINLABOUR said QSP-backed projects helped to identify “what works” when engaging workers and trade unions, but stressed that more funding is needed to carry the work forward. IPEN underscored the need for a mechanism for continued funding to build on successful QSP projects.

SOUND MANAGEMENT OF CHEMICALS AND WASTE IN THE CONTEXT OF THE SDGS: The Secretariat introduced the relevant documents (SAICM/ICCM.4/5 and INF/6). All interventions welcomed integrating the sound management of chemicals and waste into the SDGs and supported SAICM’s involvement in the 2030 development agenda. JAPAN stressed the importance of the costs of inaction. BRAZIL and the EU emphasized SAICM’s involvement in SDGs’ implementation, with the EU calling for increased mainstreaming of sound chemicals management into national development plans and sectoral policies. SWITZERLAND highlighted SAICM as a multisectoral and multistakeholder platform to address all chemicals issues in the SDGs. The IOMC offered support on national SDGs’ implementation. The IOMC and the UN ENVIRONMENT MANAGEMENT GROUP (EMG) underscored the importance of interagency cooperation and of communication to increase visibility of chemicals issues. THE PHILIPPINES called for developing progress indicators for sound chemicals management.      

The AFRICAN GROUP expressed its support for the post-2015 development agenda, suggested integrating sound chemicals management into national development plans and identifying new financial mechanisms. PESTICIDE ACTION NETWORK (PAN) discussed the possibility and benefits of phasing out HHPs and called for indicators to advance sustainable agriculture. INDONESIA indicated that the adoption of SDGs can assist in endorsing global efforts on the sound management of chemicals and waste. IPEN proposed establishing indicators on chemicals and waste for each relevant SDG. NEPAL called for easily measurable indicators for chemicals management and requested more technical and financial support. ECUADOR emphasized inclusive involvement of stakeholders in sound chemicals management and called for more concrete projects.


THE OOG ON THE 2020 GOAL: The Secretariat introduced the summary report and several information documents (SAICM/ICCM.4/6, INF/7-13 and INF/22).

President Lesiyampe stated that the OOG was considered final, given that regional consultations had taken place, and it was deliberated on at OEWG2. He noted that two proposals to amend the draft resolution have been submitted.

SWITZERLAND introduced SAICM/ICCM.4/CRP.1 and noted elements proposed, including recognizing regional work on developing the OOG and recognizing SAICM as the coordinating mechanism for chemicals management. The EU presented SAICM/ICCM.4/CRP.3 highlighting that it includes a call for an independent evaluation of the OPS and the structure of SAICM towards achieving the 2020 goal, the results of which should be presented to OEWG3.

During the ensuing discussion, WHO, supported by MOROCCO, suggested listing the health sector priorities in the draft resolution. CHINA called on industry and other organizations to provide technical and financial assistance to achieve the OOG’s goals. The IOMC said that the member organizations have agreed to create a plan to implement the OOG.

THAILAND and JAPAN stated their support for the document and associated draft resolution, with KENYA also supporting the resolution with amendments. ICCA said that it is critical to prioritize issues to allow for resource allocation where it is needed most. ARGENTINA and the US stated that they will propose changes to the draft resolution in the contact group, with the US emphasizing that they do not wish to reopen the OOG document for negotiation. The US also announced a contribution of US$750,000 to the Special Programme. A contact group was established, to be chaired by Denmark and Brazil.

EMERGING POLICY ISSUES AND OTHER ISSUES OF CONCERN: Proposal on EPPPs as a new emerging policy issue: The Secretariat introduced the relevant documents (SAICM/ICCM.4/7). URUGUAY presented the proposal (SAICM/ICCM.4/INF/15). The INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF DOCTORS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT emphasized that tackling EPPPs is a global issue.


The EU said that ICCM4 should adopt the proposal, requesting the support of the pharmaceutical industry. INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF PHARMACEUTICAL MANUFACTURERS AND ASSOCIATIONS discussed its environmental risk management programme, and expressed the industry’s commitment to provide environmentally-sound products.

THE PHILIPPINES supported the proposal but underscored the need for expert guidance to developing countries. CHINA appreciated the proposal and called for assistance from transnational pharmaceutical industry to developing countries for research on EPPPs’ risks. WHO recognized the need for a global strategy and focused activities, but indicated that progress on this would depend on the active participation of member states. PERU suggested the proposal should also include leftover medications.

INDIA objected to language in the proposal encouraging the exchange of information through the clearinghouse and agreed to discuss this issue in the contact group.

Participants agreed to establish a contact group on EPIs and other issues of concern, to be co-chaired by Canada and Latvia.

The EU and SWITZERLAND presented their respective proposals for an omnibus resolution on all EPIs and other issues of concern (SAICM/ICCM.4/CRP.8 and CRP.9).

The Chair referred the proposals to the EPIs contact group.

Proposal on HHPs as an issue of concern: FAO presented the proposal by UNEP, WHO and FAO for next step on HHPs (SAICM/ICCM.4/8). KENYA, NORWAY and the EU supported the proposal, while THAILAND sought clarifications on some aspects. CROPLIFE INTERNATIONAL supported the proposal in principle, but stressed the importance of action based on risk assessment.

YEMEN presented SAICM/ICCM.4/CRP.4 endorsing the formation of a Global Alliance to Phase Out HHPs.

The Chair referred HHPs to the EPIs contact group.


The Secretariat introduced the relevant documents (SAICM/ICCM.4/13, INF/22, and INF/30-31). GHANA introduced a draft resolution on the Strategic Approach beyond 2020 (SAICM/ICCM.4/CRP.2), which: recommends the continuation of the Strategic Approach beyond 2020 as a voluntary, multi-stakeholder, multisectoral platform; requests an independent assessment of SAICM; and suggests establishing an intersessional working group to prepare options for the future of the Strategic Approach and report to OEWG3.

CANADA and the US supported an independent assessment. JAPAN and the EU supported continuation of the Strategic Approach guided by UNEA Resolution 1/5 and establishing a contact group to further discuss the draft resolution. BANGLADESH highlighted the need for financial support, capacity building and advancing the rights of marginalized groups. THE PHILIPPINES and GRULAC supported an intersessional process.

The ICCA with GRULAC supported the continuation of SAICM beyond 2020. IPEN suggested ICCM4 calls for two intersessional meetings held back-to-back with sessions of the UNEA. The IOMC called for a cost-efficient, targeted intersessional process, with decisions based on a pragmatic needs evaluation. INDIA called for: a clear plan of action to mobilize at least US$2 billion in financial resources to fund large- and medium-scale projects in a million-plus cities; strengthening institutional mechanisms; “massive” capacity building; and technology transfer. UNEP noted it was working on sound chemicals and wastes management indicators and suggested establishing sustainable chemistry goals. MOROCCO supported the draft resolution, with amendments. MEXICO supported the proposals contained in SAICM/ICCM.4/13.

CHINA expressed concern regarding the establishment of an intersessional process. ITUC highlighted that “beyond 2020” must reflect on areas where there has been insufficient progress. BENIN proposed looking at the exchange and use of chemicals in university laboratories in developing countries. A contact group was established, to be co-chaired by Zambia and Finland.


The OOC contact group met during lunch, where participants made proposals for inclusion in the draft resolution. They suggested that the resolution: note insufficient resources for developing countries and countries with economies in transition; and request UNEP, the SAICM secretariat and other IOMC organizations to pursue additional initiatives to mobilize resources for these countries.


The second day of ICCM4 saw delegates starting to address a number of substantive items, with contact groups being established and immediately convened to start getting to the “nitty-gritty” of the proposed resolutions on: chemicals and waste management beyond 2020; the OOG; and EPIs. Some delegates, however, expressed concern at this speed as they felt insufficient time had been given to adequately consider some of the documents. Concerns were also raised regarding the choice of co-chairs, with a plenary intervention citing possible “conflicts of interest.” Others, however, felt it was crucial to make progress, especially to take advantage of the momentum created by and political will surrounding the recently-adopted SDGs.

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