The Third Meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG3) of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM) convened in Montevideo, Uruguay, April 2-4. Approximately 350 representatives of governments, industry, non-governmental organizations and intergovernmental organizations attended the proceedings. USCIB was a member of the private sector delegation representing the views of downstream users of chemicals, and included Sophia Danenberg of Boeing, who also serves as chair of USCIB’s International Product Policy Working Group, and Mike Michener, USCIB vice president for product policy and innovation.
During the meeting, participants assessed progress by the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) toward the global goal of achieving 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. Delegates discussed the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020, when the current mandate of the Strategic Approach is due to expire, and prepared for ICCM5, scheduled for October 5-9, 2020 in Bonn, Germany. The OEWG also considered the planned activities and draft budget of the SAICM Secretariat for the period 2019-2020.
The assessment of progress included updates on activities regarding “emerging policy issues” and other issues of concern, including chemicals in products, lead in paint, nanotechnology and manufactured nanomaterials, hazardous substances within the lifecycle of electrical and electronic products, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, environmentally persistent pharmaceutical pollutants, highly hazardous pesticides, and perfluorinated chemicals. The progress assessment also looked at the implementation of the SAICM health sector strategy.
The OEWG3 discussions of a possible post-2020 framework was based on a discussion paper produced by the Co-Chairs of the intersessional process since ICCM4, in addition to discussion papers submitted during the session, one by the European Union and the other by the Latin American and Caribbean Group, African Group and several individual Asia-Pacific countries, regarding financial considerations in a post-2020 framework. OEWG3 produced a composite text that will be the subject of negotiations at the third meeting of the intersessional process, slated for September 30-October 3 in Bangkok, Thailand.
“Unfortunately, little progress was made on some of the unresolved issues, primarily the question of whether the post-2020 framework would include legally-binding elements or remain a voluntary capacity-building platform,” noted Michener. “There were also inconclusive discussions regarding competing ideas on financing the sound management of chemicals and waste, including mainstreaming the issue in national budgets and development plans, possible cost recovery options involving the private sector, and a possible new international fund on chemicals and waste. As such, it was decided that a fourth intersessional process (IP) meeting would be required to continue the negotiations, which Romania offered to host in early 2020.”
The UK also announced that it will host an expert meeting in August or September 2019 to prepare indicators on the sound management of chemicals and waste for consideration at ICCM5.