Against the backdrop of growing international attention to the use of chemicals throughout the production and consumption chain, Helen Medina, USCIB’s director of life sciences and product policy, will attend the Third International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM3), September 17-21 in Nairobi, Kenya.
In 2006, ICCM adopted the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) as a policy framework to foster the sound management of chemicals. SAICM was developed by a multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral preparatory committee, and supports the achievement of the goal – agreed at the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development – of ensuring that, by the year 2020, chemicals are produced and used in ways that minimize significant adverse impacts on the environment and human health.
ICCM3 will mark a major milestone in the implementation of the Strategic Approach. The conference will evaluate implementation, address emerging policy issues including the chemicals in products project, consider new activities for addition to its global plan of action, evaluate the financing of SAICM and take strategic decisions for the future.
SAICM is a voluntary policy framework, implemented in a multi-stakeholder process, and sets as one of its main objectives that information and knowledge about chemicals contained in products “is available, accessible, user friendly, adequate and appropriate to the needs of all stakeholders.” As a step towards fulfilling this objective, the second session of the governing body of SAICM in 2009 (ICCM2), recognized chemicals in products as an emerging policy issue, and adopted a resolution which invited UNEP to lead a Chemicals in Products (CiP) project.
Since ICCM2, the UN Environment Program, the lead agency for this topic, has focused its work on understanding the availability of information on CiP. It commissioned in-depth studies in specific sectors (building materials, toys, electronics, textiles) on this topic and a workshop to make suggestions on how to move the project forward. The major recommendation from the workshop and the preparatory meeting for ICCM3 was to develop a voluntary framework to facilitate the flow of information on CiP.
USCIB is attending ICCM3 to ensure that business interests are considered as the recommendation for the next steps for the CiP project is finalized. In essence, USCIB believes that the CiP project can be a valuable opportunity to exchange experiences and best practices to achieve the goal of sound management of chemicals by 2020. Significant progress has been made in some industry sectors, and via internationally agreed standards processes, to identify priority information and key points along the life cycle where information should be communicated.
In its comments to ICCM3, USCIB recommends that the CiP project build capacity for the implementation of existing systems that facilitate the exchange of relevant information on chemicals in products, including through training tools and workshops. USCIB said that while industry appreciates the importance of exchanging appropriate and relevant information related to chemicals in products, it is crucial that confidential business information be protected.
Staff contact: Helen Medina