A global framework for chemicals that was to end in 2020 will be extended and include the sound management of associated industrial waste, government officials from around the world agreed at a summit in Stockholm which ended Thursday, March 15. The meeting, hosted by the Swedish government and attended by representatives of UN member states, NGOs and business and industry, aimed to draw up a global strategy for managing waste and chemicals based on agreed international standards. Mike Michener, USCIB vice president for product policy and innovation, Sophia Danenberg of Boeing, chair of the USCIB International Product Policy Working Group, and Frank Mastrocco of Pfizer represented U.S. downstream users of chemicals as part of the private sector delegation.
Global cooperation in chemicals is currently governed by the UN-backed global initiative, the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), but this only extends to 2020. Sweden wants SAICM to be replaced with a global deal, similar to the Paris Agreement for climate. The meeting decided that existing principles of SAICM should be retained beyond 2020, including risk reduction and illegal international traffic.
“This was the first meeting, so nothing is decided,” stated Michener. “The countries that participated all agreed they want to work jointly on extending an international agreement on the management of chemicals and waste, and that a global deal approved at the highest levels is necessary. Now the SAICM co-chairs will begin work on a zero draft of a new agreement, to be approved by member states sometime before 2020.”