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Chemicals Management


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December 2006

SAICM REGIONAL MEETINGS DISCUSS FUTURE ACTIVITIES

Regional meetings on the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) have recently convened in Spain and Latvia. The SAICM Secretariat, in collaboration with the Spanish Ministry of Environment, organized the first EU-JUSSCANNZ meeting on SAICM in Barcelona, Spain, from 20-22 November 2006. The meeting was attended by over 100 participants, who agreed on future coordination arrangements, including informal consultations, and welcomed the early establishment of the SAICM Quick Start Programme Trust Fund and the holding of regional SAICM meetings. Participants also recognized the need for increased funding commitments to SAICM. The EU-JUSSCANNZ countries also considered the Secretariat's proposal for a business plan for the Quick Start Programme and a possible scientific conference. A number of other issues were left to be discussed at subsequent meetings, such as the reporting procedure for SAICM implementation, criteria and level of participation in the SAICM open ended legal and technical working group, and the SAICM Global Plan of Action. The SAICM Secretariat, in collaboration with the Latvian Ministry of Environment, organized a Central and Eastern European (CEE) regional meeting on SAICM in Riga from 4-6 December 2006. Key outcomes of the meeting included the establishment of a 'bridging group' for regional coordination, development of terms of reference for the SAICM regional focal point and regional representatives on the Quick Start Programme (QSP) Executive Board, a regional position on financial considerations for SAICM, and support for the development of a QSP business plan. The meeting was funded by the Governments of Austria, Denmark, Latvia, Sweden and Switzerland. Links to further information EU-JUSSCANNZ regional meeting website CEE regional meeting website
BASEL CONVENTION ADOPTS E-WASTE DECLARATION

The eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP8) to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal convened from 27 November to 1 December 2006 in Nairobi, Kenya, and was attended by over 500 participants. COP8 considered several reports on activities within the Convention's mandate and adopted a declaration on e-waste and more than 30 decisions on, inter alia: the 2007-2008 programme of work; the implementation of the Strategic Plan, including consideration of the work and operations of the Basel Convention Regional and Coordinating Centres, as well as the Basel Convention Partnership Programme; synergies and cooperation in the environmental field; e-waste and end-of-life equipment; ship dismantling; legal matters; technical matters; financial issues and the budget; amendments to the general technical guidelines for the environmentally sound management (ESM) of persistent organic pollutants wastes; the guidelines for ESM of wastes; technical guidelines for ESM of a variety of chemicals; the 2007-2008 work programme of the Open-Ended Working Group; and the election of new members of the Compliance Committee and its work programme. COP8 opened against the backdrop of the toxic waste dumping incident in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. This brought into focus the need for delegates to address not only to address the meeting's theme, “Creating innovative solutions through the Basel Convention for the environmentally sound management of electronic wastes,” but also to tackle the core issues of the Convention, including the transboundary movement of hazardous waste, strengthening the Convention's implementation, the budget, and resource management and sustainable financing. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting

November 2006

WORKSHOP ADDRESSES CHEMICAL HAZARD COMMUNICATION AND GHS IMPLEMENTATION IN ARAB COUNTRIES

The Regional Workshop on Chemical Hazard Communication and GHS Implementation for Arab Countries was held in Alexandria, Egypt, from 30 October – 2 November 2006. It was organized through the collaboration of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, the Biblotheca Alexandrina, UNITAR and ILO, with financial support from the Government of Switzerland. The workshop was attended by 58 government representatives from 19 countries in the Arab Region, along with stakeholders from business and industry, public interest groups and resource persons. Through a series of working groups and plenary sessions, the workshop developed recommendations for action towards GHS implementation at the national and regional levels. Of the key outcomes, participants supported the use of the GHS as a tool for implementation of other international chemicals agreements such as the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions and SAICM; development of legal mechanisms for implementing the GHS nationally; and establishment of a regional working group comprised of focal points from each country to develop a regional approach to GHS implementation, possibly in cooperation with the League of Arab States. Link to further information Workshop website

October 2006

ROTTERDAM CONVENTION COP-3 MAKES PROGRESS ON SUSTAINABLE FINANCING AND CAPACITY BUILDING, DEFERS DECISION ON CHRYSOTILE ASBESTOS

The third meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-3) to the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade met from 9-13 October 2006, in Geneva, Switzerland. Over 520 participants, representing more than 140 governments, UN agencies, and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, attended the meeting. COP-3 considered reports on activities within the Convention's mandate and adopted 16 decisions, including the programme of work and the budget for 2007-2008; implementation of the Convention; chrysotile asbestos; financial mechanisms; noncompliance; and cooperation and coordination among the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions' secretariats. Delegates did not reach agreement on the mechanisms and procedures for non-compliance and deferred the decision on including chrysotile asbestos in Annex III (Chemicals subject to the PIC procedure) of the Convention to COP-4, but the meeting did make progress on important policy and operational issues, including sustainable financing and capacity building, and cooperation and coordination between the chemicals and waste conventions. COP-4 is scheduled to take place in Rome in October 2008. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting

September 2006

INTERGOVERNMENTAL FORUM ON CHEMICAL SAFETY PONDERS FUTURE, HEAVY METALS

The fifth session of the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS-V) was held in Budapest, Hungary, from 25-29 September 2006. The event drew 415 participants convening under the theme “Chemical Safety for Sustainable Development.” The main agenda item at IFCS-V was consideration of the future of the IFCS in light of the final agreements on the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM). Delegates agreed on the need to avoid duplication of functions between IFCS and SAICM, and to achieve efficient institutional arrangements that maximize synergies and cost effectiveness. Two proposals emerged, the first including steps towards creating a joint executive body and joint secretariat for IFCS and SAICM; and the second one to maintain IFCS as a separate institution with tasks including interacting with SAICM and contributing to its implementation. In the end, elements of both proposals were incorporated into the final resolution, which establishes a working group to prepare a draft decision on IFCS' future role and functions. Other agenda items where progress was made included: precaution; toys and chemical safety; and heavy metals, which were also addressed in a side event prior to the meeting. The Forum added to IFCS' contribution to chemicals management with the Budapest Statement on Mercury, Lead and Cadmium that combines the possibility of strengthening the use of voluntary instruments for the three heavy metals and the opportunity to consider a legally binding instrument for mercury to address the risks it poses to human health and the environment. Forum VI is scheduled to take place in Dakar, Senegal. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the Forum
WORKSHOP ON REACH IMPLEMENTATION HELD

The European Commission Directorates General Enterprise and Industry, Environment and the Joint Research Center organized an information and awareness workshop on 25 September 2006. The workshop built on the progress of the REACH Implementation Projects, having a particular relevance for industry stakeholders. The program focused on the needs of organizations and companies having obligations under REACH, and which are not already involved in the process of development of REACH guidance in the framework of the Implementation Projects. Link to further information European Commission - Enterprise & Industry
LEAD AND CADMIUM WORKING GROUP REVIEWS SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION

The First Meeting of the Lead and Cadmium Working Group took place in Geneva, Switzerland on 18-22 September, 2006. The working group members revised the drafts of the reviews of scientific information of lead and cadmium and agreed to prepare technical summaries of the key findings of each review. The working group will inform its discussions in the next 24th session of the Governing Council, on the need for global action in relation to lead and cadmium. The report of the meeting will be posted shortly. Link to further information UNEP Chemicals website
SAICM AFRICA MEETING HELD

Following the call in the Overarching Policy Strategy of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) and resolution I/1 of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM), that implementation efforts on SAICM should be undertaken through regional meetings, the SAICM secretariat, in collaboration with the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Authority, organized an African Regional Meeting on the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) in Cairo, Egypt, from 11 to 14 September 2006. The meeting was the first of such regional meetings to be held between the triennial sessions of the ICCM. The regional meeting provided a forum for representatives of African governments, regional and international non-governmental organizations, inter-governmental organizations, observers and other regional stakeholders to discuss strategic priorities, share technical experience and exchange information crucial to the regions efforts to implement SAICM. The meeting finalized key documents such as the Draft African Regional Action, Plan, agreed on term of reference for the Africa Core Group, the African SAICM regional focal point, the African regional representatives serving on the Quick Start Programme (QSP) Executive Board and developed a number of regional projects that may be considered for funding under QSP Trust Fund. The meeting also reacted to the recent dumping of toxic substance in Côte d'Ivoire and issued a statement condemning the act. The African regional meeting on SAICM was attended by over120 participants bringing together representatives from 38 African Governments, 4 SAICM Regional Focal Points, 5 Inter-Governmental Organizations, 18 Non-Governmental Organization and a large number of observers and stakeholders in chemicals management (IISD sources). Link to further information Further information on SAICM regional processes

August 2006

EUROPEAN CHEMISTRY GROUP DISCUSSES ACTION PLAN

Participants at a sustainable chemistry meeting in Europe have adopted a draft action plan for industry. Approximately 150 participants at the 4th Stakeholder meeting of the European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry (SusChem), held in Budapest on 27 August 2006, have adopted the draft SusChem Implementation Action Plan (IAP). Priorities focus around eight themes: bio-based economy; energy; health care; information and communication technologies; nanotechnology; sustainable quality of life; sustainable product and process design; and transport. SusChem was launched jointly in 2004 by the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) and biotech industry group EuropaBio to focus European research in chemistry. It adopted a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) in November 2005.

Links to further information SusChem website The draft action plan, August 2006 Euractiv news story, 29 August 2006

June 2006

WORKSHOP CONSIDERS “SAICM” IMPLEMENTATION AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL

A workshop on governance in relation to implementing the recently-adopted Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) at the national level has taken place in Geneva, Switzerland. The “Thematic Workshop on Governance, Civil Society, Participation and Strengthening Partnerships for Chemicals and Waste Management and SAICM Implementation”, was held on 19-21 June, 2006. It was organized by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) in collaboration with the Swiss Government, the Basel Convention Secretariat, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), and the Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals. A keynote speech by Klaus Töpfer opened the event and over the following three days participants deliberated on a number of issues related to SAICM implementation, including: • challenges and opportunities for SAICM implementation at the national level; • options for developing sound governance structures for SAICM implementation; • challenges and opportunities for involving civil society and the private sector in national SAICM implementation; • partnerships for sound chemicals management; and • input provided to national SAICM pilot projects executed by UNITAR in three developing countries and one country in economic transition.

Link to further information Workshop information (June 2006)
NGO COALITION URGES ACTION ON MERCURY

Further action is needed to reduce mercury supply and use, according to participants at a recent meeting in Brussels. The “EU Mercury surplus management and mercury-use restrictions in measuring and control equipment” meeting took place on 19 June 2006. Organized by the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), the meeting involved a number of environmental and health NGOs. The groups demanded that several measures be taken against mercury, including steps to: ban all exports by 2008, store all surplus in perpetuity, regulate mercury, restrict the use of all measuring and control equipment containing mercury, and completely eliminate mercury from production. The group urged EU institutions to adopt the proposals presented in order to help reduce mercury supply in the EU and worldwide, in line with UNEP Governing Council recommendations.

Link to further information EEB press release (19 June 2006)

May 2006

ROTTERDAM CONVENTION HOLDS REGIONAL, NATIONAL CONSULTATIONS

The Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention has recently organized two meetings: the Near East Subregional Meeting of the Rotterdam Convention (21-24 May 2006 in Muscat Sultanate, Oman) and the National Consultation on the Ratification and Implementation of the Rotterdam Convention (23-26 May 2006, Hanoi, Vietnam). The major focus of both these meetings was the ratification and implementation of the Convention, particularly the main obligations under the Convention. Link to further information The Rotterdam Convention website
STOCKHOLM CONVENTION CONFERENCE ADOPTS DECISIONS ON DDT, FINANCIAL ISSUES

The second Conference of the Parties (COP-2) to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) has adopted a number of key decisions on issues such as DDT and the financial mechanism. The meeting, which was held from 1-5 May 2006, in Geneva, Switzerland, drew over 450 participants. COP-2 considered several reports on activities within the Convention's mandate and adopted 18 decisions on, inter alia, DDT, exemptions, financial resources and mechanisms, implementation plans, technical assistance, synergies and effectiveness evaluation. In particular, key issues at COP-2 included the first review of the effectiveness of the financial mechanism of the Convention, and a process to enable evaluation of the effectiveness of the Convention at COP-4, in 2009. With the adoption of these decisions, COP-2 was widely perceived to have moved the process closer to the goal of eliminating or reducing the release of POPs into the environment. Links to further information IISD RS coverage, May 2006 IISD RS Summary report, 8 May 2006
STOCKHOLM CONFERENCE SIDE EVENTS FOCUS ON SYNERGIES

How the Stockholm Convention's National Implementation Plans (NIPs) might be used to simultaneously support the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions was the focus of a side event held during the second Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention. The UN Environment Programme's Division on Environmental Conventions and the Geneva Environment Network organized a side event on 4 May 2006. The event was chaired by Franz Perrez of Switzerland, who explained that the three chemicals conventions on PIC, POPs and hazardous wastes face many similar challenges and obstacles as they pursue their individual, but related, mandates. Panelist Jérôme Karimumuryango of Burundi described his country's efforts to integrate the three conventions at the national level. He emphasized that limited human and financial resources made the exploitation of synergies at the national level a virtual necessity. A second speaker, Tarek Eid Mohamed of Egypt presented the country's integrated database for the national data on the three MEA's. He described the institutional challenges of ensuring collaboration and information flow amongst the three convention teams and stated that synergies is not a one-time event but an ongoing process. Craig Boljkovac of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), discussed the approach that the organization has pursued in supporting a wide range of countries in their efforts to develop NIPs. He also offered some lessons learned about the institutional challenges of building collaborative processes and teams and suggested how these challenges could be met (IISD sources). Basel Convention Secretariat Hosts Side Event on Regional Centres Meanwhile, the Secretariat of the Basel Convention also held a side-event, on the implementation of projects related to POPs wastes through the Basel Convention Regional Centres. This event, which also took place on 4 May, including presentations on: POPs wastes related projects and capacity building activities coordinated through the BCRCs; projects related to POPs wastes implemented through the BCCC-Uruguay; demonstration of a regional approach to environmentally sound management of PCB liquid wastes and transformers and capacitors containing PCBs; and preparation of national inventories and national plans for the environmentally sound management of equipment containing PCBs and PBCs in Central America. Link to further information The presentations

April 2006

BASEL CONVENTION GROUP DISCUSSES FINANCING, SHIP DISMANTLING

The Basel Convention's Open-Ended Working Group has concluded its latest session after focusing on financing, synergies, and ship dismantling. The Fifth Session of the Open-Ended Working Group of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (OEWG-5) took place in Geneva, Switzerland from 3-7 April 2006 and was attended by several hundred participants. The purpose of OEWG5 was to follow up on decisions from the seventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP7) and prepare for COP8, which will take place from 27 November to 1 December 2006, in Nairobi, Kenya. A wide range of issues were addressed, with three topics occupying most of the delegates' time: financing and synergies among the chemicals-related Conventions, technical guidelines on persistent organic pollutants (POPs), and ship dismantling. Other issues considered at OEWG5 included the Mobile Phone Partnership Programme, the strategic plan for implementation of the Basel Convention, illegal traffic, and the Basel Protocol on Liability and Compensation. In total, the group adopted 14 decisions, several of which also contained draft decisions for consideration by COP8. OEWG5 also approved a dozen additional draft decisions that will be forwarded to COP8. Links to further information IISD RS coverage Basel Convention Secretariat note release

March 2006

MARINE ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION COMMITTEE AMENDS POLLUTION TREATY

The International Maritime Organization's (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee has adopted some amendments to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships. At the Committee's fifty-fourth session, held at IMO Headquarters from 20-24 March 2006, amendments were adopted on regulation of oil fuel tank protection, the definition of “heavy grade oil,” and port State control on operational requirements. Other issues on the agenda included ballast water management and air pollution from ships. The Committee also agreed on a work plan for the further development of a legally-binding instrument on ship recycling. Links to further information IMO press briefing, March 2006 Meeting agenda, March 2006

February 2006

ROTTERDAM REVIEW COMMITTEE CONSIDERS CHRYSOTILE ASBESTOS, OTHER CHEMICALS

The Rotterdam Convention's Chemical Review Committee (CRC) has met for a second time, discussing chrysotile asbestos and various other chemicals. The CRC of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade took place in Geneva from 13-17 February 2006. Participants discussed, inter alia, the outcome of the second meeting of the conference of the parties; the risk evaluations and trade restrictions under other multilateral environment agreements and their relevance to chemicals eligible for listing in Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention; the report of the Bureau on the preliminary review of notifications and proposed priorities for chemicals scheduled for review by the Chemical Review Committee; the review of notifications of final regulatory actions to ban or severely restrict a chemical; and the consideration of the draft decision guidance document for chrysotile asbestos. The main outcomes of the meeting included: • a decision taken by consensus to agree to the text of the draft decision guidance document for chrysotile asbestos, and the submission of this text to the Conference of the Parties at its third meeting for a decision on possible inclusion of chrysotile asbestos in Annex III of the Convention; • a recommendation that the requirements of the Convention for inclusion of both endosulfan and tributyl tin had been met, and work would start on drafting a decision guidance document. These chemicals will be forwarded to the COP for a decision on inclusion at its fourth meeting (late 2008) provided that the text is finalised at the meeting in March 2007; and • agreement that one of the notifications under consideration met the requirements of annex II for the chemicals alachlor, mirex, cyhexatin and dicofol (as soon as a second notification that meets the requirements of annex II is submitted, a decision guidance document will be drafted). Participants also took up a number of procedural matters, including the content of papers on chemicals assessed or regulated under the Stockholm Convention or the Montreal Protocol, and how these should be managed under the Rotterdam Convention. Link to further information The Rotterdam Convention's web site
BASEL CONVENTION BUREAU CONSIDERS ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS, SYNERGIES STUDY

The expanded Bureau of the seventh Conference of Parties (COP7) to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal has met to discussion financial and administrative matters, as well as considering a study on synergies with other chemicals-related secretariats. The second meeting of the expanded COP7 Bureau convened in Geneva from 14-15 February 2006, and took place ahead of the upcoming fifth Open-ended working group (OEWG-5), which is scheduled for 3-7 April 2006, in Geneva. Informal consultations and briefings for those countries that are not members of the Expanded Bureau were also held, on 14 February. Among the financial and administrative matters taken up by the Bureau were: the proposed format and contents of the budget to be submitted to OEWG 5; the Basel Convention Resource Mobilization Strategy and the examination of Article 14; and sustainable support to the Basel Convention Regional Centres. Considering the Synergies Study prepared following relevant decisions by Parties to the Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions, the expanded Bureau recommended placing the examination of synergies and cooperation on the Basel Convention agenda. Accordingly, the issue will be under consideration at OEWG-5. Link to further information Meeting website and official documents
UNEP GOVERNING COUNCIL CONSIDERS ENERGY AND GOVERNANCE, APPROVES CHEMICALS PLAN

The latest special session of the UN Environment Programme's Governing Council has considered energy and climate change issues as a contribution to the upcoming session of the Commission on Sustainable Development. The Council has also discussed environmental governance and approved an agreement on international chemicals management. UNEP's ninth Special Session of its Governing Council and Global Ministerial Environment Forum took place from 7-9 February 2006 in Dubai. The Council session immediately followed the International Conference on Chemicals Management, which concluded negotiations on a “strategic approach to international chemicals management” (SAICM). UNEP's Governing Council endorsed the chemicals management framework, while also taking up energy issues, tourism, and international environmental governance. Discussion on governance focused in particular on the question of universal membership of the Governing Council and the proposal by France and the EU to transform UNEP into a UN Environmental Organization. However, no agreement was reached as differences on this issue persisted. The meeting was Klaus Töpfer's last as UNEP Executive Director. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
STRATEGIC APPROACH TO INTERNATIONAL CHEMICALS MANAGEMENT ADOPTED

A “strategic approach to international chemicals management” (SAICM) has been agreed at an intergovernmental meeting in Dubai. The voluntary approach, which provides a framework for chemicals management, supports the goal agreed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 of minimizing the adverse effects of chemicals use and production on human health and the environment by 2020. The agreement was reached during the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM), held from 4-6 February 2006. The conference followed a series of lengthy negotiations held over the past two years. The final agreement includes a high-level declaration from participants, an overarching policy strategy (OPS) and global plan of action (GPA). Link to further information IISD RS Coverage