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Summary report, 28 September – 2 October 2015

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

The fourth session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM4) met from 28 September - 2 October 2015, in Geneva, Switzerland. Over 450 delegates, from governments, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations and industry participated in the week-long conference.

ICCM4 considered, inter alia, the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020, the overall orientation and guidance (OOG), emerging policy issues (EPIs) and other issues of concern, progress towards attaining the 2020 goal on the sound management of chemicals and waste (the 2020 goal), and the activities of the Secretariat and the budget. The High-Level Segment took place from 1-2 October 2015, under the theme “Commitment to a Chemical Safe Future for Health, Environment and Economic Growth.”

The Conference adopted five resolutions including: an omnibus resolution on EPIs; highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs); the OOG; the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020; and on the activities of the Secretariat and budget.

ICCM4 had a packed agenda to get through, but participants came to the meeting prepared to put in long hours and make compromises in order to adopt the final resolutions, as this was the last decision-making Conference before the deadline for the 2020 goal. There were four contact groups, most of which had to establish “Friends of the Co-Chairs” groups to try and resolve contentious issues that arose. Although there was some concern that there would be debate on the resolutions during the closing plenary, the resolutions were adopted without amendments, ending the week on a positive note.


The issue of chemicals management and the idea of a Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (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 UNEP 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; 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 OPS for international chemicals management, made progress in developing a matrix of possible concrete measures to include in the GPA, 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: 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, inter alia, participants committed to strengthening the capacities of all concerned, and mobilizing national and international financing from public and private sources. 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 (SIDS) 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 considering 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 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 nanotechnologies and chemicals in products (CiP); a process for considering EPIs; the establishment of an open-ended working group (OEWG); 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, and 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; lead in paint; nanotechnologies and manufactured nanomaterials; and engaging the healthcare sector in SAICM implementation. The conference also convened a high-level dialogue to discuss ways to strengthen SAICM for more effective implementation.

ICCM OEWG2: ICCM OEWG2 took place from 15-17 December 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland. Delegates considered issues, including: progress and gaps towards achieving the 2020 goal; progress in achieving the SAICM objectives; nanotechnologies and manufactured nanomaterials; endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs); HHPs; the sound management of chemicals and waste in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); and preparations for ICCM4.


ICCM4 opened on Monday, 28 September 2015. Alexandre Fasel, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the UN in Geneva, on behalf of Bruno Oberle, Director, Federal Office of the Environment, Switzerland, noted that chemicals are an integral part of the SDGs and that SAICM can specifically contribute to SDGs’ implementation.

Ligia Noronha, Director, Division of Technology, Industry and Economics, UNEP, welcomed participants on behalf of UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, emphasizing that ICCM4 is a unique opportunity to assess and celebrate progress made and renew commitments towards the sound management of chemicals.

President Richard Lesiyampe (Kenya) officially opened ICCM4, indicating key issues to be addressed, including to identify the remaining challenges and opportunities toward achieving the 2020 goal, place the sound management of chemicals and waste within the context of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and link them to the SDGs, plan an intersessional process toward ICCM5 in 2020, and start contemplating the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020.

The Central and Eastern Europe Group (CEE) called for adopting and implementing the OOG and invited an omnibus resolution on EPIs. The African Group, emphasized the importance of HHPs and hazardous substances within the life cycle of electrical and electronic products, and urged delegates to consider an effective financial mechanism, given that the QSP is moving towards closure. The Asia-Pacific Group discussed the region’s achievements on chemicals management. He noted insufficient financial and technical support available. The Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC), reaffirmed the region’s commitment to sound chemicals management and, with IPEN, suggested an intersessional process to consider SAICM’s work beyond 2020.

The International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) said that sound chemicals management goes to the heart of the SDGs because while chemicals can damage human health and the environment, they can also have direct economic benefits. He called for greater efforts to be made in sound chemicals management at the national level.

The World Federation of Public Health Associations, for the Health Sector, recalled the unfinished SAICM agenda in the health sector and reported on priorities for the sector. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) noted that accessible, adequate and sustainable financing for the future of SAICM is necessary.

The European Union (EU), for its Member States, underscored the need to consider the management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020 in the context of the newly adopted SDGs. Japan expressed the willingness to share its experience on SAICM implementation with other countries. China called for assistance for capacity building in developing countries and countries with economies in transition for SAICM implementation.


ELECTION OF OFFICERS: During Monday’s plenary, President Lesiyampe requested the five regional groups to notify the Secretariat of their nominations for the ICCM5 Bureau, the QSP Executive Board, and regional focal points by Thursday. He also requested that each sectoral group nominate one observer representative to the Bureau. On Friday afternoon, the nominations were announced in the closing plenary session.

The following appointments were made for the ICCM5 Bureau: Mungath Madhavan Kutty (India) for Asia-Pacific; Szymon Domagalski (Poland) for CEE; Alexander Nies (Germany) for the Western Europe and Others Group (WEOG); Leticia Carvalho (Brazil) for GRULAC; and David Kapindula (Zambia) for the African Group. Alexander Nies (Germany) was appointed as the ICCM5 President.

The QSP Executive Board appointments were: Che Kodir Baharum (Malaysia) and Murad Ahmed Al-Fakih (Yemen) for Asia-Pacific; Tatiana Tugui (Moldova) and Lindita Tafaj (Albania) for CEE; Niko Urho (Finland) and Sverre Thomas Jahre (Norway) for WEOG; María Inés Esquivel (Panama) and Marcus Richards (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) for GRULAC; and Caroline Theka (Malawi) and Nadjo N’Ladon (Togo) for the African Group.

Regional focal points and sectoral representatives were appointed as: Heidar Ali Balouji (Iran) for Asia-Pacific; Vladimir Lenev (Russian Federation) for CEE; Suzanne Leppinen (Canada) for WEOG; Philip Pile (Barbados) for GRULAC; and Kouadio Kouamé Georges (Côte d’Ivoire) for the African Group. Sectoral group appointments were: Brian Kohler (ITUC), for Labor; Susan Wilburn (Health Care Without Harm) for Health; Joe DiGangi (IPEN) for Public Interest Organizations; Greg Skelton (ICCA) for Industry; and Bob Diderich, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for the Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC) participating organizations.

ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA AND ORGANIZATION OF WORK: Delegates adopted the proposed agenda (SAICM/ICCM.4/1) without amendment. They approved the planned organization of work, including plenary discussions, contact group meetings as necessary, and the High Level Segment (HLS).

REPRESENTATION, CREDENTIALS AND ACCREDITATION: During Friday’s plenary, Masa Nagai, UNEP Legal Officer, advised the plenary that: 103 government participants submitted acceptable credentials; 15 representatives submitted unacceptable credentials; and 14 did not submit any credentials. He noted that those government representatives that did not have acceptable credentials would be admitted to the Conference as observers. Delegates noted the report.



The Secretariat introduced the summary report on progress of the implementation of the Strategic Approach for the period 2011-2013 (SAICM/ ICCM.4/3) as well as other relevant reports (SAICM/ICCM.4/INF/1-4, SAICM/ICCM.4/INF/24, SAICM/ICCM.4/INF/26, and SAICM/ICCM.4/6).

Plenary statements focused on, inter alia: the need for further finance and capacity building to reach the 2020 goal; the link between the SDGs and the 2020 goal; indicators to track SAICM implementation; information disclosure; and activities implemented to achieve the 2020 goal.

Regarding the summary report, the CEE expressed both satisfaction and concern, and emphasizing the common responsibility to achieve the 2020 goal globally. He welcomed efforts to compare data in accordance with the 11 basic elements in the OOG, but said that data coverage could be further improved.

The African Group emphasized the need for more finance and capacity building to address chemicals management in Africa. WEOG said that the group considered SAICM as a positive tool to raise awareness on chemicals issues.

The EU urged greater focus on improving the basic elements of managing chemicals safety, particularly for developing countries, and including chemicals and waste policies in national development plans.

ICCA, for Industry, drew attention to ICCA’s fifth update report on the implementation indicators of the SAICM. He indicated notable improvements by the CEE and Asia-Pacific regions in SAICM implementation. Underscoring limited data on the African region, he noted the ICCA’s efforts to build capacity in Africa and the ICCA’s partnership with UNEP.

IPEN, for Public Interest Organizations, discussed IPEN’s campaigns on lead in paint and mercury, and work on HHPs within the SAICM process. She advocated building NGOs’ capacity, and increasing NGO-government dialogue.

The Health Sector emphasized developments since ICCM3, highlighting: the movement to eliminate mercury in the provision of healthcare; the development of databases providing independent science-based comparisons of chemicals; and understanding the environmental impact of pharmaceutical usage.

REPORT OF THE QUICK START PROGRAMME: On Tuesday, participants heard the summary report on the QSP and its trust fund (SAICM/ICCM.4/4) and a report on the QSP impact evaluation (SAICM/ICCM.4/INF/5).

The findings of the QSP impact evaluation were that, inter alia: the QSP delivered on activities and objectives; there is evidence of chemicals mainstreaming in national policies but it is still not a priority for many governments; and gender was not reflected adequately in project design.

Several delegations welcomed the evaluation report’s recommendations and acknowledged the support provided by the QSP, with some highlighting QSP-backed support in engaging the healthcare sector, workers and trade unions. Several delegations underscored the need for sound, predictable, reliable and sustained funding to build on successful QSP projects and to replace QSP funding if the 2020 goal is to be achieved. IOMC suggested that reports generated by QSP projects be included in the information clearinghouse.

SOUND MANAGEMENT OF CHEMICALS AND WASTE IN THE CONTEXT OF THE SDGS: In Tuesday’s plenary, the Secretariat introduced the relevant documents (SAICM/ICCM.4/5 and INF/6).

All interventions welcomed the fact that the sound management of chemicals and waste is integrated into several SDGs and supported SAICM’s involvement in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the SDGs’ implementation. The EU and the African Group called for increased mainstreaming of sound chemicals management into national development plans. Indonesia indicated that the adoption of the SDGs can assist in endorsing global efforts on the sound management of chemicals and waste. Switzerland highlighted SAICM as a multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder platform to address all chemicals issues in the SDGs.

Delegates also discussed: costs of inaction; the importance of inter-agency cooperation and of communication to increase visibility of chemicals issues; the need for technical and financial support and inclusive involvement of stakeholders; and the development of progress indicators for sound chemicals management.

The Conference welcomed the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its SDGs and agreed to consider them in the resolutions related to achieving the 2020 goal and the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020.


OVERALL ORIENTATION AND GUIDANCE ON THE 2020 GOAL: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced its note on the OOG for achieving the 2020 goal (SAICM/ICCM.4/6), the IOMC analysis of efforts to implement the GPA and proposal for simple indicators of progress (SAICM/ICCM.4/INF/7), a Global Environment Facility (GEF) report on its activities in support of the implementation of the Strategic Approach (SAICM/ICCM.4/INF/8), a progress report on the Special Programme to support institutional strengthening at the national level for implementation of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions, the Minamata Convention on Mercury and SAICM (SAICM/ICCM.4/INF/9), a list of possible funding sources to support the sound management of chemicals (SAICM/ICCM.4/INF/10), the results of  World Health Organization (WHO) consultations on priorities of the health sector towards achievement of the 2020 goal of sound chemicals management (SAICM/ICCM.4/INF/11), reports on industry involvement (SAICM/ICCM.4/INF/13) and on lessons learned on mainstreaming (SAICM/ICCM.4/INF/12) in the integrated approach to financing the sound management of chemicals and wastes, and United Nations Environment Assembly of UNEP (UNEA) Resolution 1/5 (SAICM/ICCM.4/INF/22). Switzerland (SAICM/ICCM.4/CRP.1) and the EU (SAICM/ICCM.4/CRP.3) each introduced a resolution proposal. After the initial plenary discussion a contact group was established, co-chaired by Brazil and Denmark. The group met on Tuesday through midnight Thursday, assisted by a “Friends of the Co-Chairs” group. The resulting resolution was adopted without amendment in Friday afternoon’s plenary.

During the initial plenary 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 noted its participating 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.

During contact group deliberations discussion focused on, inter alia: references to financial resources, whether to “endorse” the OOG; emphasis on the voluntary nature of the OOG; references to the SDGs; and when and how to report on implementation progress.

Final Outcome: The final resolution (SAICM/ICCM.4/CRP.19), inter alia:

  • endorses the OOG;
  • confirms intent to focus continued implementation of the Strategic Approach, through its stakeholders, including the six core activity areas contained in the OOG, in support of achieving the objectives of the OPS;
  • urges all stakeholders to take concerted steps to implement the OOG, including the 11 basic elements identified therein, in line with the OPS;
  • encourages stakeholders to achieve concrete risk reduction objectives aimed at the minimization of adverse effects on human health and the environment that may be associated with some chemical production, use and end-of-life disposal;
  • recognizes the need to deepen and broaden UN system-wide engagement;
  • invites IOMC and the UN Environment Management Group participating organizations that have not already done so to issue, where possible by 1 July 2016, a declaration signaling their commitment to promote the importance of the sound management of chemicals and waste both within and outside their organizations, including the actions planned within their own mandates to meet the 2020 goal, and requests the Secretariat to make these declarations and planned actions available to all stakeholders;
  • welcomes the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the integration of the 2020 goal into the SDGs, and notes the potential for the SAICM platform to make a significant contribution to implementation of the Agenda, in particular its goals and targets relating to chemicals and wastes;;
  • encourages governments and other stakeholders to use SAICM as a framework for national action and international cooperation to implement the sustainable management of chemicals and waste;
  • emphasizes the importance of including the sound management of chemicals and wastes as a priority within national development planning processes and poverty reduction strategies;
  • invites the GEF to continue to support projects that implement SAICM;
  • encourages all stakeholders to establish or strengthen partnerships and mechanisms for technological cooperation;
  • invites SAICM stakeholders, including the UNEP Executive Director, to pursue additional initiatives aimed at mobilizing resources to support relevant government agencies, intergovernmental organizations, industry and public interest stakeholders to fully implement the six OOG core activity areas and to undertake the full range of risk-reduction activities necessary to minimize the adverse effects on human health and the environment that may be associated with some chemical production, use and end-of-life disposal;
  • requests all stakeholders and the Secretariat to support the implementation of the integrated approach to financing the sound management of chemicals and wastes;
  • urges private sector and bilateral, multilateral and global agencies or developed country donors to provide support to developing countries;
  • requests the Secretariat, in cooperation with the SAICM regional focal points, to support the national focal points in undertaking the actions suggested in the OOG;
  • calls upon the participating organizations of the IOMC and relevant conventions to enhance support to developing countries and countries with economies in transition to achieve the 2020 goal;
  • requests the Secretariat to develop a third progress report including achievements, strengths and weaknesses for the period 2014-2016 and an analysis of the 20 indicators of progress for consideration by OEWG3, and directs OEWG3 to consider the need for a reporting covering 2017-2019 for consideration by ICCM5; and
  • requests the Secretariat to report on OOG implementation progress to ICCM5 and submit an interim report to OEWG3.

EMERGING POLICY ISSUES AND OTHER ISSUES OF CONCERN: This agenda item was discussed in plenary on Tuesday and Wednesday. Proposals for resolutions on each of the existing EPIs, the proposal for environmentally persistent pharmaceutical pollutants (EPPPs) as an EPI, the proposal for HHPs as an issue of concern, and proposals from the EU and Switzerland for an omnibus resolution encompassing all EPIs were referred to a contact co-chaired by Canada and Latvia. The contact group met Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, aided by small drafting groups and a “Friends of the Co-Chairs” group established to resolve the text in the preamble of the proposed omnibus resolution.

Proposal on environmentally persistent pharmaceutical pollutants as a new emerging policy issue:On Tuesday the Secretariat introduced its note summarizing the nomination dossier for EPPPs (SAICM/ICCM.4/7), while Uruguay introduced, on behalf of Peru, Uruguay and the International Society of Doctors for the Environment, the note on the nomination (SAICM/ICCM.4/INF/15), as revised by OEWG2. After a brief debate in plenary, the matter was referred to the EPIs contact group. The group produced a clean text at its meeting on Tuesday evening, which was included in the omnibus resolution on EPIs adopted Friday.

During Tuesday’s plenary discussion, GRULAC, the African Group, the EU, UNEP, the Philippines, Switzerland, Health Care Without Harm, the US, Endocrine Society, Malaysia and the Marshall Islands supported the proposal. The EU requested the support of the pharmaceutical industry.

China appreciated the proposal and called for assistance from the transnational pharmaceutical industry to developing countries for research on EPPPs’ risks. The WHO recognized the need for a global strategy and focused activities, but indicated that progress on this would depend on the active participation of governments. Peru suggested the proposal should also include leftover medications. India objected to language in the proposal encouraging the exchange of information through the clearinghouse.

Proposal on HHPs as an issue of concern:On Tuesday the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) introduced the proposal by UNEP, WHO and FAO on the next steps for HHPs as an issue of concern (SAICM/ICCM.4/8), while Yemen presented a proposal by 28 countries and four NGOs for a resolution (SAICM/ICCM.4/CRP.4) endorsing the formation of a global alliance to phase out HHPs. The issue was discussed in plenary on Tuesday and Wednesday, then referred to the EPIs contact group. The group worked on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

During plenary debate on Tuesday and Wednesday, China called on the pesticide industry to show more responsibility in controlling HHPs’ risks. The US said it could not support a SAICM outcome that would develop a list of HHPs or endorse a phase-out. The African Group, the Philippines and Mexico supported the proposed draft resolution. Argentina underscored a state’s sovereign right to regulate HHPs. The African Group called for focused actions on strengthening cooperation among existing international conventions and developing smart agriculture. Viet Nam, with the African Group, recommended attention to the illegal trade of pesticides.

During contact group deliberations some of the issues debated included, inter alia: whether to endorse the formation of a global alliance to phase out HHPs; whether to endorse development of a list of HHPs; and whether to “take note of” or “support” or “welcome with appreciation” the HHPs strategy.

Existing EPIs:On Tuesday, the EU and Switzerland presented their proposals for an omnibus resolution on all EPIs that would address common elements in a chapeau text followed by specific subsections on each of the EPIs (SAICM/ICCM.4/CRP.8 and CRP.9). The proposals were assigned to the EPIs contact group. The full group worked on individual subsections Tuesday-Thursday while a “Friends of the Co-Chairs” group facilitated discussions on the chapeau. The omnibus resolution was adopted in plenary on Friday afternoon.

Lead in paint: On Wednesday, the WHO introduced a report on the status of phasing out of lead paint by countries (SAICM/ICCM.4/INF/25), and the EPI update prepared by the WHO and UNEP (SAICM/ICCM.4/INF/14), while IPEN presented its draft resolution (SAICM/ICCM.4/CRP.6) and the US presented, on behalf of Canada, Japan, Norway, Uruguay and the US, another draft resolution (SAICM/ICCM.4/CRP.12). The issue was referred to the EPIs contact group, which produced a clean text on Thursday that was folded into the omnibus resolution on EPIs adopted Friday.

Chemicals in products: On Wednesday, UNEP introduced the draft proposal for a CiP programme (SAICM/ICCM.4/10), the Secretariat note on guidance for stakeholders on exchanging CiP information (SAICM/ICCM.4/11), the EPI update on CiP (SAICM/ICCM.4/INF/16) and an IOMC report on making the business case for knowing chemicals in products and supply chains (SAICM/ICCM.4/INF/17). The issue was referred to the EPIs contact group, which produced a clean text on Thursday that was folded into the omnibus resolution on EPIs adopted Friday.

During the plenary discussion, Norway, the EU, the US, ICCA, IPEN, and Mexico supported the proposed programme. The US suggested changes to the draft resolution in SAICM/ICCM.4/10, and, with ICCA and the US Council for International Business, objected to a dedicated secretariat for the programme. ICCA noted that the: success of the programme will depend on: flexibility; recognition of existing initiatives; and participation of all stakeholders. IPEN stressed the importance of transparency and financial support for developing countries. Indonesia called for refining the programme so as to attract all stakeholders, particularly industry. China emphasized that the programme should be gradual and voluntary.

Hazardous substances within the life-cycle of electrical and electronic products: On Wednesday, the Secretariat presented the EPI update on hazardous substances within the life cycle of electrical and electronic products, prepared by the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) (SAICM/ICCM.4/INF/18), and a compilation of best practices on hazardous substances within the life cycle of electrical and electronic products (SAICM/ICCM.4/INF/27), while the African Group introduced its resolution proposal (SAICM/ICCM.4/CRP.10). The issue was referred to the EPIs contact group, which produced a clean text on Wednesday night that was folded into the omnibus resolution on EPIs adopted on Friday.

During Wednesday’s plenary discussion, China, Japan, Mexico, IPEN, the International Campaign for Responsible Technology, and Sustainlabour supported the African proposal. The Arab States, called for more information exchange, and financial and technical support. The US supported taking note of UNIDO’s update and circulating the proposed work plan to all SAICM stakeholders. The EU supported the proposed work plan, but emphasized linking it to work on CiP and encouraged close coordination and cooperation among organizations working on both issues.

Nanotechnologies and manufactured nanomaterials: On Wednesday, the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) introduced the EPI update on nanotechnologies and manufactured nanomaterials, prepared by OECD and UNITAR (SAICM/ICCM.4/INF/19), and the elements for a draft resolution on nanotechnologies and manufactured nanomaterials submitted by OEWG (SAICM/ICCM.4/12), while Thailand, on behalf of the African States, Colombia, Jordan, Switzerland and Thailand, introduced a draft resolution (SAICM/ICCM.4/CRP.11), highlighting actions on training, awareness raising, and regulatory guidance.

After a brief debate in plenary, the matter was referred to the EPIs contact group. After discussions on Wednesday and Thursday, the group produced a clean text that was folded into the omnibus resolution adopted on Friday.

During Wednesday’s plenary debate, Colombia highlighted the need for information exchange and the expansion of research networks. Iran supported nanotechnologies as an EPI, but indicated it is too early to set rules or regulations. The EU supported proposed activities and schedules and recommended close collaboration with the proposed CiP programme. ICCA supported work identifying hazardous nanomaterials and cautioned against duplicating research. Brazil requested further discussion on the information clearinghouse in view of resource requirements. India noted that international regulatory guidance may not be accepted. Japan emphasized the need for more knowledge on assessing and measuring impacts.

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals: On Wednesday, UNEP presented the EPI update on EDCs, prepared by the OECD, UNEP and WHO (SAICM/ICCM.4/INF/20), while Bangladesh, on behalf of 15 countries, IPEN and Pesticide Action Network (PAN), introduced a resolution proposal (SAICM/ICCM.4/CRP.5). The issue was debated in Wednesday’s plenary and then referred to the EPIs contact group. After discussions on Wednesday and Thursday, the group produced a clean text that was folded into the omnibus resolution adopted Friday.

During Wednesday’s plenary debate, ICCA opposed listing EDCs without clear scientific evidence and regulatory review. Japan asked UNEP to improve its information sharing on EDCs. The Endocrine Society noted its upcoming scientific statement recognizing EDCs as an international problem and including recommendations appropriate for SAICM. The Philippines expressed interest in compiling a list of EDCs in consumer products. India said action on EDCs, given the limited knowledge of their effects, is premature. Kenya asked UNEP to provide a list of institutions looking into EDCs.

During contact group deliberations some of the issues debated included, inter alia: how to refer to the “State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals – 2012” report issued by UNEP and WHO, with some industry groups questioning its methodology and conclusions; whether to request an update of the report; whether to call for the development of a list of known and potential EDCs; and whether to request IOMC generally, or specific IOMC participating organizations, such as UNEP and WHO, to develop further and implement the EDC work plan.

Other issues of concern: PFCs:On Wednesday, the Secretariat presented an update on managing PFCs and the transition to safer alternatives, prepared by the OECD and UNEP (SAICM/ICCM.4/INF/21), which includes the revised work programme for the OECD/UNEP Global PFC Group. The issue was discussed briefly in Wednesday’s plenary. It was not the subject of a resolution.

During the plenary discussion, the US, Mexico, BRS Secretariat and Japan supported the work programme. The EU called for more work on short-chain PFCs. Ghana, with Greenpeace, emphasized that short-chain PFCs should not replace long-chain PFCs, and that the Global PFC Group needs to strengthen its relationship with industry to balance the need for company confidentiality with people’s right to know about matters relating to their health and safety.

Final Outcome: On Friday afternoon the plenary adopted two resolutions: one a stand-alone resolution on HHPs, the other an omnibus resolution covering all EPIs.

The resolution on HHPs (SAICM/ICCM.4/CRP.16):

  • supports concerted action to address HHPs in the context of SAICM and welcomes with appreciation the strategy set out in part II of the FAO/UNEP/WHO proposal on HHPs;
  • encourages relevant stakeholders to undertake concerted efforts to implement the strategy at the local, national, regional and international levels, with emphasis on promoting agroecologically-based alternatives and strengthening national regulatory capacity to conduct risk assessment and risk management;
  • welcomes the offer of FAO, UNEP and WHO to develop modalities of international cooperation in the IOMC context;
  • invites appropriate IOMC organizations to facilitate collaboration, cooperation and contributions of stakeholders in the implementation of the strategy; and
  • invites SAICM stakeholders to report, through the Secretariat, on progress in implementing the strategy to OEWG3 and ICCM5.

The chapeau text of the omnibus resolution on EPIs (SAICM/ICCM.4/CRP.18), inter alia:

  • encourages continued and enhanced risk reduction and information sharing efforts on EPIs;
  • stresses the need to foster coherent implementation of EPIs;
  • requests the IOMC lead agencies and other relevant stakeholders to report, through the Secretariat, on progress in implementation of Conference resolutions on EPIs to OEWG3 and ICCM5;
  • invites all SAICM stakeholders in a position to do so to provide resources for further work on EPIs; and
  • invites the GEF, within its mandate, to support the implementation of Conference resolutions of all EPIs, and to continue that support in the seventh GEF replenishment.

Regarding EPPPs, the omnibus resolution:

  • agrees that international cooperation is crucial to build awareness and understanding and promote action on EPPPs as an EPI;
  • decides to implement cooperative action on EPPPs with the overall objective of increasing awareness and understanding among policymakers and other stakeholders;
  • invites governments and other stakeholders to generate and share information to fill identified knowledge gaps;
  • invites relevant IOMC participating organizations, within their respective mandate as part of their work programme, to lead and facilitate cooperative action to develop an EPPP work plan;
  • requests all interested stakeholders and organizations to provide support on a voluntary basis, for such cooperative action; and
  • invites relevant IOMC participating organizations and other SAICM stakeholders to report on cooperative action to ICCM5 or any other session as decided upon by the Conference.

On lead in paint, the omnibus resolution encourages governments, civil society organizations and the private sector to participate in the work of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint and assist in achieving the goal of phasing out lead in paint by 2020. It also encourages SAICM stakeholders to promote and/or initiate national and/or regional discussions to address the possible establishment of effective measures, including regulation, to phase out the use of lead in paint.

Regarding chemicals in products, the omnibus resolution:

  • welcomes the CiP programme document as a voluntary framework;
  • recognizes the guidance on CiP as a living document that will evolve to address the needs of SAICM stakeholders and encourages participants to consider the guidance in the implementation, as appropriate;
  • encourages the private sector, governments, intergovernmental organizations and NGOs, including worker organizations, to participate actively and report on the implementation of the CiP programme;
  • invites all stakeholders to provide adequate human, financial and in-kind resources for further work;
  • renews the mandate of the Global Alliance Steering Group, with additional representation of SAICM stakeholders to be inclusive;
  • suggests that representation from the recycling sector be included in the Steering Group;
  • requests the Steering Group to develop and adopt its own terms of reference with inputs from stakeholders; and
  • invites UNEP, subject to the availability of resources, to continue leading the CiP programme to: promote and facilitate implementation activities; coordinate periodic updates, as necessary, of the guidance; provide a comprehensive progress report to OEWG3 and ICCM5; maintain the programme website; and engage in, in coordination with the Steering Group, stakeholder capacity building and awareness raising, in particular in developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

On hazardous substances within the life cycle of electrical and electronic products, the omnibus resolution invites UNIDO in partnership with other IOMC organizations and relevant stakeholders to undertake a process to develop and finalize the 2016-2020 work plan set out in SAICM/ICCM.4/INF/18, and to include progress indicators as part of the report to be submitted to ICCM5. It also encourages:

  • SAICM stakeholders to take steps to enhance their involvement and efforts to develop and implement the work plan wherever possible, particularly the International Labour Organization in addressing worker safety in the production of electrical and electronic products throughout the supply chain, as well as in waste management and recycling;
  • original equipment manufacturers to work with their supply chain to: develop and implement sustainable and effective take-back programmes; and establish and implement industrial hygiene and environmental monitoring programmes;
  • SAICM stakeholders to promote advocacy, awareness, information, education and communications about hazardous chemicals in electrical and electronic products for vulnerable groups and relevant stakeholders along the supply chain beginning in 2016;
  • SAICM stakeholders to facilitate the implementation of procurement initiatives that favor improved safety and sustainability profile of electrical and electronic products, including chemicals used in manufacturing; and
  • relevant stakeholders to consider implementing the CiP programme to provide access to information on hazardous chemicals in the life cycle of electrical and electronic products.

Regarding nanotechnologies and manufactured nanomaterials, the omnibus resolution:

  • encourages SAICM stakeholders to address the sound management of manufactured nanomaterials in relevant national and international instruments, including regulatory frameworks, and taking into consideration the objective of enhancing coordination and cooperation in the chemicals and waste cluster;
  • emphasizes the need to continue facilitating information exchange on the sound management of manufactured nanomaterials throughout their life cycle;
  • emphasizes the need for UNITAR and OECD to continue developing international guidance and training materials for the sound management of manufactured nanomaterials, subject to available resources in cooperation with the regions and other relevant stakeholders;
  • welcomes the proposed work plan for 2016-2020;
  • invites all stakeholders to continue raising awareness and enhance capacity on the sound management of manufactured nanomaterials, paying particular attention to the situation and needs of developing countries and countries with economies in transition, including through regional consultations and e-learning courses; and
  • encourages SAICM stakeholders to consider using the guidance for the Development of a National Nanotechnology Policy and Programme developed by UNITAR.

On EDCs, the omnibus resolution welcomes the “State of the Science” report, although ICCA, CropLife International and USCIB insisted on a footnote stating “the methodology and conclusions of the report remain contentious amongst certain scientific groups.” The resolution also:

  • invites UNEP and WHO to address the needs identified by developing countries and countries with economies in transition, subject to available resources, by generating and disseminating information on EDCs;
  • acknowledges the work done by the OECD’s Advisory Group on Endocrine Disruptors Testing and Assessment and efforts by governments and other stakeholders; and
  • invites the IOMC to further develop and implement the EDC work plan in an open, inclusive and transparent manner, and requests all interested stakeholders to provide support in these efforts.


During Tuesday’s plenary the Secretariat introduced the relevant documents (SAICM/ICCM.4/13, INF/22, and INF/30-31) and Ghana, on behalf of the African Group, Jordan, Norway, Switzerland and Yemen, introduced a draft resolution on the Strategic Approach beyond 2020 (SAICM/ICCM.4/CRP.2). Discussions ensued in plenary before a contact group was established, co-chaired by Zambia and Finland. The contact group met from Tuesday through Thursday. A “Friends of the Co-Chairs” group was also established to facilitate progress on contentious text.

Discussions addressed, inter alia: a proposed independent evaluation of SAICM and its terms of reference; the establishment of an intersessional process and a working group to prepare options for sound chemicals management beyond 2020; and the membership of an intersessional working group.

During plenary Canada and the US supported an independent assessment. Japan and the EU supported continuation of the Strategic Approach guided by UNEA Resolution 1/5. The Philippines and GRULAC supported an intersessional process. The ICCA, with GRULAC, supported the continuation of SAICM beyond 2020. IPEN suggested ICCM4 call 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. Morocco supported the draft resolution, with amendments, and 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.

Final Outcome: The final resolution (SAICM/ICCM.4/CRP.15), inter alia:

  • requests the Secretariat, subject to the availability of resources, to contract an independent evaluation of the SAICM in accordance with the terms of reference set out in the annex to the resolution;
  • decides to initiate an intersessional process to prepare recommendations regarding the SAICM and the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020;
  • also decides that the intersessional process should include, in principle, two meetings before OEWG3 and one meeting between OEWG3 and ICCM5 and that it may also work by correspondence and/or by electronic means;
  • decides that the intersessional process should be open to all stakeholders, and requests the Secretariat to support, subject to availability of resources, participation of stakeholders eligible for funding as identified by the regions and sectors through the Bureau, up to eight from African States, eight from Asian-Pacific States, three from CEE States, five from GRULAC and two representatives of each of the health, trade union and public interest sectors, in order to support balanced regional and sectoral participation;
  • decides that the intersessional process should, among other things, consider the need for and develop recommendations regarding measurable objectives in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; and
  • directs the OEWG to consider the conclusions of the independent evaluation and any recommendations identified by the intersessional process for consideration by ICCM5.


PROPOSED BUDGET OF THE SECRETARIAT: In Wednesday’s afternoon plenary, the Secretariat introduced SAICM/ICCM.4/14. A contact group was established, co-chaired by Palau and Japan, which convened on Thursday morning and concluded its work in the early afternoon, having agreed on a resolution on Secretariat activities and the budget for 2016-2020.

In plenary, the EU stated “in principle” support for the budget and reiterated the invitation to the WHO to finance a SAICM Secretariat post. The US supported a zero nominal growth budget. IPEN asked for clarification on the use of contributions from industry and cautioned SAICM against engaging only one type of stakeholder. The WHO provided additional information on the activities to be undertaken by the proposed Secretariat staff member. ICCA confirmed its continued commitment to making contributions to SAICM and welcomed the consultative process on financing options for chemicals and waste. Some delegations called for a stronger budget.

The contact group discussed: support from a growing number of governments and other stakeholders; reinforcing the call for the WHO to reassign a staff member to the SAICM Secretariat; delegating authority to the OEWG to consider changes in budget priorities and, if necessary, a budget increase until 2020; amending the budget to include the activities agreed at ICCM4 for the intersessional process; and promotion of the integrated approach to financing sound chemicals management, particularly the enhanced involvement of industry.

Final Outcome: In the final resolution (SAICM/ICCM.4/CRP.17), the Conference, inter alia:

  • calls upon the WHO to continue supporting the work of the Secretariat in its areas of expertise by reassigning a staff member to the Secretariat at the earliest date possible;
  • requests the UNEP Executive Director to forward the call to the WHO to the next meeting of the WHO Executive Board and to suggest that it be addressed by the World Health Assembly;
  • approves the indicative budget, staffing structure and programme of work for the Secretariat for the period 2016-2020, as set out in the annex to the resolution;
  • approves the upgrade of the P-2 Strategic Approach General Associate Programme Officer to P-3 Programme Officer and a budget allocation for the P-3 Knowledge Management Programme Officer;
  • notes that the full and final closure of the QSP Trust Fund will take place before ICCM5, and delegates to the Executive Board of the QSP the decision on the appropriate date for closure;
  • decides to hold OEWG3 in advance of ICCM5 and decides that it may be held in 2018 or early 2019;
  • directs the OEWG to consider changes in budget priorities and if absolutely necessary an increase in the overall size of the budget until 2020, and delegates authority to the OEWG to take a decision on the matter; and
  • invites the SAICM Secretariat to further increase cooperation and coordination with relevant stakeholders, such as the BRS Secretariat and the Minamata Convention Secretariat, the GEF Secretariat, IOMC participating organizations, as well as other intergovernmental organizations, and to enhance synergies with the UNEP medium-term strategy on chemicals and waste on issues of common relevance.

The annex to the resolution contains the Secretariat staffing structure, as well as the indicative budget for 2016-2020.

QUICK START PROGRAMME TRUST FUND: In Wednesday afternoon’s plenary, the Secretariat introduced the summary report (SAICM/ICCM.4/14). The EU welcomed progress made by the QSP Trust Fund, highlighting the benefits of the QSP for developing countries and SIDS in implementing SAICM.

India proposed a draft resolution (SAICM/ICCM.4/CRP.13) to establish a robust funding mechanism for sound management of chemicals and waste in order to achieve the 2020 goal.


The HLS met from Thursday afternoon to Friday morning, 1-2 October. On Thursday, participants first heard keynote speeches from Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and Michel Giannuzzi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Tarkett. Panel dialogues on multi-sectoral collaboration for more efficient chemicals management, multi-stakeholder collaboration for sustainable development, and the SAICM model in action also took place.

For a more detailed summary of some of Thursday’s keynote speeches and panel dialogues, see:

On Friday, participants heard a keynote speech from Boyan Slat, Founder and CEO, The Ocean Cleanup. He stated that with one of his project’s 8000m ocean cleanup barriers, it is possible to clean up half of the great Pacific garbage patch in 10 years. He highlighted that in August 2015, the largest ocean research expedition in history, aiming to measure the amount of plastic in the ocean, had finished with initial results suggesting that there is 10 times more plastic in the oceans than previously believed. He concluded by emphasizing that progress is just as much about moving forward as it is about cleaning up after ourselves.

PLENARY PANEL: The high-level panel was moderated by Christian Friis Bach, Executive Secretary, UN Economic Commission for Europe. Reporting back on the panel discussing multi-sectoral collaboration for more efficient chemicals management, panel moderator, Rolph Payet, Executive Secretariat, BRS Secretariat, said that messages emerging from the panel discussion included, inter alia: efforts to achieve sound management of chemicals and waste require multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral collaboration, especially of those not traditionally involved; there is a need to frame the environmental risks and health impacts of chemicals through a public health lens; governments should promote greater synergies among ministries and agencies at the national level; and fees or taxes on chemicals can be used to fund chemicals management activities in a self-sustaining manner.

Sally Fegan-Wyles, former Executive Director, UNITAR, moderator of the panel on multi-stakeholder collaboration for sustainable development, said that needs highlighted as necessary for successful collaboration, included: leadership “to make things happen”; continued attention to technology transfer; good regulatory frameworks; more work on risk prevention and response; effective knowledge sharing; well-designed indicators; and well-supported partnership processes. She said that when asked to deliver one key message to the HLS, the panel agreed that the SAICM partnership is a unique platform that should be continued and SAICM’s goals should be considered an integral part of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Maria Neira, Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health, WHO, moderator of the panel on the SAICM model in action, said her panel examined examples of key factors and enabling conditions for effective partnerships to contribute to the 2020 goal. She reported the panel developed the following takeaway messages: SAICM is an incubator that brings together necessary actors to tackle emerging issues; SAICM can be used to promote more coherent, comprehensive and cohesive approaches to chemicals management, including proactive management; the voluntary nature and flexibility of SAICM are fundamental for its success; SAICM is useful not only in complementing the legally binding chemicals conventions, but also in breaking impasses on chemicals issues; and SAICM enables making use of the strengths of each sector and partner. 

Carlos Salinas de Gortari, former President of Mexico, Commissioner, Global Commission on Pollution, Health and Development, underscored the benefits of using SAICM’s multi-stakeholder approach to address chemicals pollution. Discussing Mexico’s experience on eliminating lead from gasoline, he said that this was achieved in collaboration with industry. He also highlighted partnerships with communities to reduce lead contamination in pottery.

Barbara Thomson, Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs, South Africa, discussed how the SAICM model is used in her country. Noting the cost of inaction on sound chemicals management, she expressed South Africa’s willingness to speed up actions and requested more funding for the region. She indicated the lack of scientific information in developing countries for sound chemicals management. She also highlighted the importance of letting industry play an active role and collaborate with governments. Addressing the need for establishing a committee consisting of different government departments, academia, NGOs and industry to address chemicals management, she called for extensive political will and commitment to make chemicals management a prioritized environmental issue.

Naoko Ishii, CEO, GEF, discussed two key messages from the adoption of the SDGs: harm to the environment is harm to humanity; and sustainable development needs a holistic, comprehensive and integrated approach. She illustrated several GEF projects in different regions that use multi-stakeholder approaches, including Minamata Convention implementation, phase-out of hazardous chemicals in products, green chemistry, and food security. She expressed the GEF’s commitment to promote SAICM’s integrated approach.

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner lauded Boyan Slat’s efforts to clean up the ocean and encouraged participants to support this initiative. Using the example of the Mombasa refinery upgrade, he indicated that the SAICM approach is able to guide industry towards more sustainable production practices. He also called for more extensive use of the multi-stakeholder approach to accelerate sustainable development.

You Xiaoping, Chair, Huafon, reaffirmed his company’s support for SAICM and the SDGs, stressing that in addition to promoting sound chemicals management, the industry should also convey health-related messages.

Cal Dooley, Secretary General, ICCA, noted that innovations by the chemicals industry are contributing to energy savings, carbon dioxide emissions reduction and sustainability. He also highlighted the commitment of companies to ICCA’s Responsible Care Initiative and stressed the importance of supporting small- and medium-sized companies in developing countries to adopt chemicals and waste management best practices. He emphasized that by capitalizing on the collective and cooperative approach, SAICM will create a regulatory environment conducive to sound chemicals management.

Manny Calonzo, Co-Chairperson, IPEN, called on industry to volunteer not to produce harmful products, saying that currently the risks are mitigated by the actions of NGOs and governments, which take these products “off the shelves.” He reflected that the SAICM model can be useful for eliminating harmful substances such as HHPs, but stated that realistic funding must be identified. He also stated that industry should take responsibility for the costs they put on society. Calonzo stressed that SAICM’s focus must be on facilitating meaningful changes on the ground to change current patterns of chemicals production.

In a final round of comments on SAICM’s contribution to the transition to a circular economy and take-away messages, Calonzo emphasized that the SAICM model that is yielding fruit is open, inclusive participatory and transparent. Dooley stressed the opportunities to advance and export sound chemicals management and that ICCA is promoting product recycling, reuse and recovery. You highlighted: innovation to turn waste into resources; educating the population on sound chemicals management; and corporate social responsibility. Steiner said the green economy is already happening and industry is going to be critical in this as chemicals are pervasive. Ishii noted that the GEF likes to see its role as a convener and catalyst for finance and good ideas. Thompson underscored the importance of creative partnerships and flexibility to address existing and emerging issues.

HIGH-LEVEL STATEMENTS: Saeed Motesaddi Zarandi, Department of Environment, Iran, noted that the success of SAICM in the next five years relies on effective implementation of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities in order to fill the widening gap between developed and developing countries, and that sustainable, predictable and accessible finance is critical.

Aramayis Grigoryan, Minister of Nature Protection, Armenia, stated that the principle of sound management of chemicals and waste is contained in all relevant strategic documents in Armenia but that further efforts are needed. He also announced that Armenia is in the process of ratifying the Minamata Convention.

Abdoulaye Baldé, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Senegal, highlighted that due to several catastrophic chemical accidents Senegal has strengthened its institutional and regulatory capacity for chemicals management. He noted Senegal’s commitment to tackling environmental challenges and eliminating chemicals and toxic waste’s negative impact on human health and the environment.

Mahama Ayariga, Minister of State of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ghana, expressed Ghana’s full commitment to successfully implementing SAICM. He emphasized that issues regarding hazardous substances within the life-cycle of electrical and electronic products are of particular concern as Ghana receives a large amount of e-waste and thus can be considered a “digital dumping ground.”

Gunvor Ericson, State Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Energy, Sweden, said that national efforts are closely linked with international cooperation, noting that they are interdependent and need to support each another to reach the 2020 goal and the SDGs. She welcomed progress on the OOG and argued that national action should now focus on putting in place the 11 basic elements outlined in the OOG. She said that developing countries need to integrate sound management of chemicals and waste into national strategies to be able to better access aid from developed countries.

Crépin Gwodock, Ministre Délégué, Ministry of Protection of the Environment, Natural Resources, Forests and Seas, Gabon, expressed optimism that progress toward the 2020 goal can be achieved through implementing the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, but stressed that to do so would require promoting synergies at the national, regional and global levels. He communicated a message from the President of Gabon urging SAICM to continue in its work and “never step backwards from our chosen path.”

Barnaby Mulenga, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, Zambia, said his government had “fully embraced” SAICM through new legislation on chemicals and waste management, implementing the GHS, adopting standards on the transport of dangerous goods, creating an interagency coordinating mechanism for chemicals management, and plans for a national poison control center. He said the success in achieving the 2020 goal depends on sufficient financial and technical resources. He stressed that sound management of chemicals and waste must be mainstreamed in overall planning for SDGs implementation. He urged all SAICM stakeholders to embrace the OOG.

Azizan Ahmad, Secretary General, Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, Malaysia, said Malaysia uses a cross-sectoral approach to reduce chemical risks. He noted that Malaysia’s 2016-2020 development plan includes measures to strengthen chemicals management. He stated that Malaysia plans to adopt the GHS and establish a national chemicals management board. He suggested that many aspects of improving chemicals management, such as manuals, training and workshops, could be accomplished through enhancing regional level cooperation.

Ho-Joong Lee, Ministry of the Environment, Republic of Korea, said that after chemical accidents in his country two new laws were adopted that contribute to achieving the 2020 goal: a new legal framework, known as the Act on Registration and Evaluation of Chemicals in Korea (“K-REACH”), whose basic principle is “no data, no market”; and the Chemicals Control Act requiring businesses that produce, store or sell hazardous chemicals to undertake an independent impact assessment and adopt certain controls.

Tuti Hendrawati Mintarsih, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Indonesia, noted economic growth needs to be balanced with environmental protection by incorporating the principles of sustainable development. She said Indonesia supports all efforts to achieve the 2020 goal at the national, regional and international levels, and highlighted that the country is drafting a new chemicals management regulation. Recalling developing countries’ need to access advanced technologies and more finance for sound chemicals management, she called for strengthened collaboration with all major stakeholders.

Alejandro Nario Carvalho, National Environmental Director, Ministry of Housing, Land Planning and Environment, Uruguay, said chemicals are essential to improve quality of life but can also seriously affect human health. Noting Uruguay’s efforts to chair several international and regional conferences on chemicals management, he highlighted benefits of the multi-stakeholder approach, called for further participation of the private sector, reinforcement of the commitment towards the 2020 goal, and SDGs’ implementation.

Haddijatou Jallow, Executive Chairperson, Environment Protection Agency, Sierra Leone, outlined an awareness-raising programme launched in 2013 in Sierra Leone, noting her government’s commitment to sound chemicals management and willingness to work with various UN agencies. She advocated for a special financial mechanism to help developing countries achieve the 2020 goal and implement the SDGs.

Khalidya Khamidulina, Director, Russian Register of Potentially Hazardous Chemical and Biological Substances, Russian Federation, noting SAICM gives countries an excellent basis on which to develop national chemicals management systems, introduced Russia’s regulations on several chemicals including nanotechnologies, lead in paint, and HHPs. She also indicated Russia’s willingness to further consolidate these regulations and collaborate with other countries.

President Lesiyampe closed the HLS, saying that the SAICM approach needs to go beyond 2020 to respond to the new sustainable development agenda.


This was addressed on Thursday in plenary. ICCM4 President Lesiyampe noted that ICCM 5 is currently scheduled for March 2020, in Geneva, Switzerland. The EU suggested a back-to-back meeting with the World Health Assembly. President Lesiyampe noted that unless any other offers to host the meeting were made, ICCM5 would be held in Geneva, Switzerland.


In plenary on Friday afternoon, Rapporteur Marcus Richards (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) introduced the draft report of the Conference (SAICM/ICCM.4/L.1 and L.1/Add.1). The report was adopted with minor amendments read out during the closing plenary.

The Asia-Pacific region, Russian Federation for the CEE, Switzerland, PAN, Ecuador and Bangladesh welcomed the outcome of the Conference. The EU, expressing satisfaction with the outcome, called on participants to help provide the modest amounts required for the SAICM Secretariat’s budget. He also emphasized the importance of the Global PFC Group and invited them to continue their work and report to OEWG3 and ICCM5.

The African Group called upon stakeholders to turn resolutions into action. GRULAC said that without predictable financial support to developing countries the region will be unable to achieve the ambitious SAICM goals.

ITUC reminded everyone of the need to implement the decisions as on average one person dies every minute due to chemical accidents. They also noted disappointment in the decline in ambition from the World Summit on Sustainable Development and that participation from ministries of labor and health and safety authorities needs to increase. IPEN stated that the key outcome was the decision to tackle HHPs and that funding and technical resources are urgently needed. The World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry called on everyone to ratify the Minamata Convention within the next two years. Greenpeace questioned whether the voices of those living with chemical exposure every day are properly reflected in the resolutions from this meeting and urged everyone to take responsibility and act on the root causes of chemical pollution. Health Care Without Harm stated that the resolution on EPPPs provides a solid base to build upon.

President Lesiyampe closed ICCM4 at 6:04 pm.


ICCM4 took place at a critical juncture in the world of chemicals and waste management. It was the final decision-making meeting before the 2020 goal for sound management of chemicals and waste expires. This presented stakeholders with the last chance to take decisions on both SAICM implementation and preparatory steps that may or may not be needed for addressing sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020. ICCM4 also addressed EPIs and other issues of concern, which ranked high on the agenda. There was also consideration of the newly adopted SDGs in plenary and as a cross-cutting issue in all contact groups, which addressed them in their work, where applicable.

This analysis addresses the outcomes of ICCM4 and assesses the implications of ICCM4’s key decisions.


A significant item on the ICCM4 agenda was the review of progress made in SAICM implementation, as part of the periodic review carried out by the Secretariat. The review concluded that although considerable emphasis has been given to addressing the sound management of chemicals and waste at the national, regional and global levels, significantly more activities are required in order to achieve the 2020 goal.

In this respect, an important milestone at ICCM4 was the adoption of the OOG. The OOG was requested by ICCM3 and arrived on the table at ICCM4 as a negotiated text ready for adoption, as regional consultations and discussions at OEWG2 and by the Bureau had already taken place. The OOG was created to facilitate achievement of the 2020 goal by prioritizing efforts on basic elements, core activities and optimization of resources.

The extent to which the OOG will actually accelerate SAICM’s implementation and assist in achieving the 2020 goal, however, remains to be seen, given the limited time remaining. There is also a question of whether the SAICM Secretariat has sufficient resources to actually assess progress.

The expected development of national indicators for SDG implementation is seen by some as an opportunity for SAICM to improve its ability to track and measure what has been done in practice on the ground, since national development plans are expected to sync with the SDGs and indicators will track progress. Some have also pointed to the support and expertise of the IOMC participating organizations that can be drawn on for the work on indicators.

Many ICCM4 participants proclaimed during the week that, because of its multi-stakeholder, multi-sectoral nature and history, SAICM is the ideal platform for addressing the chemicals and waste dimensions of the various SDGs. Several participants suggested that linkages with the SDGs can benefit SAICM in several other ways, including drawing more funding for chemicals and waste management, ensuring broader and deeper multi-stakeholder engagement, and spurring national governments and intergovernmental organizations alike into greater action.

As most have become resigned to the idea that the 2020 goal will not be met, and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda opens new opportunities to raise the profile of chemicals management and foster their mainstreaming in national development policies and plans, the attention of SAICM stakeholders at ICCM4 already turned to the future of sound chemicals and waste management beyond 2020 and the urgency of preparing the groundwork for informed decisions at ICCM5.


While decisions on the future of sound chemicals management were outside the mandate of ICCM4, a substantive part of the discussions have focused on creating an intersessional process to maintain momentum until ICCM5 in 2020.

ICCM4 successfully worked out what is needed to make these decisions, and the Conference adopted a detailed intersessional process and impact evaluation of SAICM and amended the indicative budget to cover these additional activities.

As for what the Strategic Approach may look like in the future, an explicit discussion on the merits and values of different models, voluntary vs. legally binding, multi-stakeholder vs. traditional treaty, did not take place and participants have been careful not to project or preempt decisions at ICCM5, which, they stressed, need to be based on a comprehensive independent assessment of the impacts and weaknesses of SAICM. The resolution, however, specifically notes the value of a voluntary, multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder approach.

As it was pointed out in an HSL panel, the value-added that SAICM brings to the table and the benefit of the model are its “unique” structure and voluntary nature, which provide the flexibility to address the complexity of chemicals management. Stakeholders want to see a SAICM-type platform continued in the future, and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner described it as the incubator for actions and ideas that will allow it to “be ahead of the curve” and create a path towards a safe chemicals future rather than “chasing history” and reacting to disasters.


Just what can be accomplished under SAICM between now and 2020 will depend, as many participants repeatedly pointed out during the week, on financial resources, Secretariat support, and IOMC participating organizations and/or governments taking the leadership reins on EPIs. These points were underscored during the HLS.

It was noted that in many cases if UNEP had not stepped forward, work on EPIs might have been weak or stagnated. “UNEP cannot and should not shoulder the leadership burden of every issue besides nanotech and PFCs, where UNITAR and the OECD have taken a lead,” observed one seasoned NGO representative. “The other IOMC participating organizations will have to step up to the plate [to assist on EPIs].”

A question clearly on the mind of all throughout the week was whether there would be sufficient funding for SAICM implementing activities, especially as the QSP draws to a close. This was underscored by India’s call for US$2 billion in SAICM support between now and 2020. While UNEP and some donor countries continue to tout the possible role of the Special Programme to support institutional strengthening, many developing countries remain skeptical that Programme funding will deploy quickly enough and fully fill the impending financial gap, much less help with implementation activities involving EPIs.

GEF CEO Ishii’s assertion during the HLS that the GEF stands ready to help was also met with concern from developing countries as some said it is too limited in scope and that the GEF approval and disbursement process is too slow and cumbersome to offer much help for activities between now and 2020.


There was significant pressure on ICCM4 to reach consensus on a range of issues associated with meeting the 2020 goal and setting out a plan for deciding on a course of action for sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020. An intersessional process to assess SAICM was established, in order to sufficiently inform the decision of “beyond 2020” at ICCM5, and the OOG and EPIs decisions help further SAICM implementation. Thus, participants left the meeting with a general sense of satisfaction with the conference’s outcomes.

Many challenges still lie ahead between now and ICCM5. The ICCM4 outcomes will give countries a heavier workload for the chemicals and waste implementation agenda, but without a solution for sustainable and predictable financing many developing countries and countries with economies in transition will not have the means to implement the new resolutions, let alone those adopted at prior ICCMs. The outcomes will also result in more work for the SAICM Secretariat, which will put further strain on it. However, all budgetary requests were met, and, of particular value for the Secretariat, a five-year budget was approved. As the Conference also delegated the OEWG to review priorities and, if absolutely necessary, to increase the budget until 2020, many viewed the resolution with satisfaction. ICCM5 will shed light on whether the resources available were sufficient.

As for beyond 2020, very early indications are that the Strategic Approach, or something quite similar, will continue beyond 2020, as many participants emphasized their satisfaction with SAICM and supported its continuation due to its voluntary, multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral nature. And there is increasing optimism that while it may take longer to realize, the sound management goal is achievable.


POPRC11: The eleventh meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC11) will review possible listing for short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs), dicofol and decaBDE.  dates: 19-23 October 2015  location: Rome, Italy  contact: BRS Secretariat  phone: +41-22-917-8729  fax: +41-22-917-8098  email: www:

49th 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, provide guidance to the GEF Secretariat and agencies, and discuss its relations with the conventions for which it serves as the financial mechanism, such as the Stockholm and Minamata Conventions.  dates: 20-22 October 2015  location: Washington DC, US  contact: GEF Secretariat  phone: +1-202-473-0508  fax: +1-202-522-3240/3245  email: www:

Regional Workshop on Enhancing Capacities for the Environmentally Sound Management of E-waste Through Regional Delivery in Africa: This workshop is organized by the BRS Secretariat in cooperation with the Basel Convention Coordinating Centre for the African Region in Nigeria (BCCC-Africa), with funding by the EU, African Union and the Partnership for Action on Computing Equipment (PACE). It seeks to train national officials from 30 African countries who are responsible and/or involved in the e-waste management process at the national level, specifically in the issues related to the Basel Convention.  dates: 20-23 October 2015  location: Lagos, Nigeria  contact: Tatiana Terekhova  phone: +41-22-917-83-40  email: www:

International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action: The Global Alliance (GAELP) organizes this annual week-long campaign to raise awareness about lead poisoning and urge further action to eliminate lead paint.  dates: 25-31 October 2015  location: worldwide  contact: GAELP Secretariat  email: www:

CRC11: The eleventh meeting of the Rotterdam Convention Chemical Review Committee (CRC11) will consider draft decision guidance documents on SCCPs and tributyltin compounds. The Committee will also review the notifications of final regulatory action for atrazine, carbofuran and carbosulfan and a proposal for the inclusion of dimethoate emulsifiable concentrate 400 g/L as a severely hazardous pesticide formulation in Annex III to the Convention.  dates: 26-28 October 2015  location: Rome, Italy  contact: BRS Secretariat  phone: +41-22-917-8296  fax: +41-22-917-8082  email: www:

Tenth International Conference on Waste Management and Technology (ICWMT10): Organized by the Basel Convention Regional Centre (BCRC) for Asia and the Pacific, and sponsored by UNEP, the Stockholm Convention Regional Centre for Capacity-Building and the Transfer of Technology in Asia and the Pacific, China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection and others, ICWMT10 participants will discuss the theme of “Towards Environmental Quality Improvement” inter alia, e-waste management policy, persistent organic pollutants (POPs) waste management and disposal, mercury waste management, hazardous waste management, and regional and subregional chemicals management.  dates: 28-30 October 2015  location: Mianyang, Sichuan Province, China  contact: Chen Yuan, BCRC for Asia and the Pacific  phone: +86-10-62794351  fax: +86-10-62772048  email: www:

27th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol: MOP27 is scheduled to consider a number of issues, including HFC management, implementation, and nominations for critical- and essential-use exemptions. dates: 1-5 November 2015  location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates  contact: Ozone Secretariat  phone: +254-20-762-3851  fax: +254-20-762-4691  email: www:

First Session of the Executive Board of the UNEP Special Programme to Support Institutional Strengthening: UNEP’s Special Programme to support institutional strengthening at the national level for implementation of the BRS Conventions, the Minamata Convention and SAICM was created to enhance the institutional capacity of developing countries and countries with economies in transition to develop, adopt, monitor and enforce policy, legislation and regulation and to gain access to financial and other resources for effective implementation of the chemicals and waste conventions and SAICM. The Programme’s Executive Board is to identify criteria for appraisal of project applications and criteria for prioritization and approval of projects.  date: November 2015 (TBC)  location: Geneva, Switzerland  contact: UNEP Chemicals Branch  phone: +41-22-917-8192  email: www:

2nd INTERPOL-UNEP International Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Conference: Open to executive level representatives of NGOs and the private sector, the 2nd INTERPOL-UNEP conference will discuss, inter alia, waste management vulnerabilities and law enforcement interventions; innovative tools and practices for intelligence sharing and investigations; the role of law enforcement in meeting the SDGs; and vibrant networks and capacity development.  dates: 16-18 November 2015  location: Singapore  contact: INTERPOL Secretariat  email: www:

Seventh Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Mercury (INC7): This is intended as the last meeting of the INC and will prepare for the first Conference of the Parties.  dates: 10-15 March 2016  location: Amman, Jordan  contact: Interim Secretariat  fax: +41-22-797-34 60  email: www:

Global Summit on Chemical Safety and Security (ChemSS): Organized by the International Centre for Chemical Safety and Security (ICCSS) in cooperation with the Ministry of Economy of Poland, the ChemSS will be the first global multi-stakeholder event dedicated to addressing chemical safety and security solutions in the supply chain of raw materials, production, infrastructure, transportation and use of chemicals in areas of chemical activity.  dates: 18-20 April 2016  location: Kielce, Poland  contact: ICCSS  phone: +48-22-4362044  email: www:

Thirteenth Meeting of the COP to the Basel Convention, the eighth meeting of the COP to the Rotterdam Convention and the eighth meeting of the COP to the Stockholm Convention: These meetings are tentatively scheduled to convene back-to-back in 2017.  dates: 23 April - 5 May 2017 location: Geneva, Switzerland   contact: BRS Secretariat  phone: +41-22-917-8729  fax: +41-22-917-8098  email: www:,,

ICCM5: ICCM 5 is currently scheduled for March 2020. It will be preceded by OEWG3 in 2018 or early 2019.  dates: March 2020  location: Geneva, Switzerland  contact:  SAICM Secretariat  phone: +41-22-917-8532  fax: +41-22-797-3460  email: www:

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