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PREPCOM 3 for the Further Development of a
Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM)

Vienna | 19-24 September 2005
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SAICM PrepCom-3 gets underway in Vienna

The third session of the Preparatory Committee for the Development of a Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM PrepCom-3) began today in Vienna. During the morning session, delegates heard opening statements. In the afternoon, delegates discussed the draft global plan of action and list of concrete measures. A contact group on the global plan of action met in the evening.


Monday, 19 September
Opening Session

The President of SAICM PrepCom-3, Viveka Bohn (Sweden), urged delegates to finish negotiations this week, and to use this opportunity to make a difference for the world of their children and grandchildren.

Speaking on behalf of the UNIDO Director-General, Haruko Hirose highlighted the integration of chemicals issues in UNIDO programmes, in particular those on policies and regulations, institutions and sectoral capacity building, and multilateral conventions.

Werner Wutscher, Secretary-General, Austria's Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management stressed it was essential that a global managing system for chemicals be led by precaution and prevention, and noted the SAICM's role in complying with a new paradigm of chemicals policy.

UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer noted that heads of state at the recently-completed 2005 World Summit had agreed to promote the sound management of chemical and hazardous wastes throughout their life cycle by adopting and implementing a voluntary SAICM.

Suwit Wibulpolprasert, Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS) President, stressed the need to improve the inclusiveness and participatory nature of the SAICM.

Robert Visser, Chair of the Inter-Organization Programme on the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC), emphasized that priority-setting and coordination in the implementation of SAICM are critical, and called for national governments to act in a coordinated way.

Shoji Nishimoto, Assistant Administrator and Director of Bureau for Development Policy, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), stressed that efforts required for the implementation of SAICM should be strongly linked to initiatives underway to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Marcel Boisard, Executive Director of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), pointed to UNITAR's participation in the implementation of SAICM through training, capacity building for governments, NGOs and disadvantaged groups, and the development of methodologies and guidance documents for chemicals management.

Mario Molina, recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for research on chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), explained how international agreements and scientific cooperation helped engage industry and develop innovative replacements.
Preparatory Committee

Ivana Halle of Croatia, speaking on behalf of the Central and Eastern European Group, said the three documents reflected the discussion of the region and provided a good basis for discussion.

Speaking on behalf of the African Group, Abiola Olanipekun of Nigeria stressed the need to develop a sustainable financial mechanism for SAICM.

Sarojeni Rengam of the Pesticide Action Network suggested focusing on vulnerable people and on risk reduction, and urged more people-centered agriculture.

Estefania Blount of ICFTU urged implementation of WSSD goals, particularly with regard to risk assessment and minimizing chemical exposure of workers and children.

Franz Perrez of Switzerland said that concrete measures contained in the Global Plan of Action are toolkits for the implementation of SAICM and should not be further negotiated during this meeting.

Jack Weinberg of the International POPs Elimination Network appealed to donor countries for providing substantial funding for SAICM and proposed phase-outs of dangerous chemicals and substitution for chemicals that may pose unmanageable risks.

John Atherton of the International Council on Mining and Metals noted the contribution of chemicals to poverty eradication and sustainable development, which has an economic and social, and not just an environmental, dimension.

Boris Kurlyandskiy of Russia said that without incentives for better chemicals management, countries with economies in transition and developing countries could be further disadvantaged in their economic development.

Alain Louis of Haiti called for an inter-sectoral approach with increased funding, and called on countries to ratify chemicals related conventions.

Daniel Chacón Anaya of Mexico, speaking on behalf of GRULAC, said that the SAICM process should contribute to meeting the MDGs.

Mark Hyman of Australia, speaking on behalf of JUSSCANNZ and the EU, clarified that delegations within the group had different views on specific concrete measures.

Jamidu Katima of Tanzania will chair the contact group to discuss the draft global plan of action.
Ozone Seminar

On the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the Vienna Convention on the Protection of the Ozone Layer, the UNEP Ozone Secretariat held a side event on the lessons from the Vienna Convention that are applicable to the chemicals. The seminar highlighted the principles, role of science, process, and institutional set-up that were key to making the Vienna Convention a success.

Related Links

SAICM web site
PrepCom 3 meeting documents
UNEP Chemicals Unit
IFCS web site
Rotterdam Convention web site

Related ENB Coverage

Linkages Chemicals page
ENB coverage of SAICM PrepCom-2
ENB coverage of SAICM PrepCom-1
ENB coverage of POPs COP-1
ENB coverage of INC-11 and COP-1 of the Rotterdam Convention
ENB coverage of IFCS-4

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