To discuss how chemistry can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the ISC3 held a workshop in the lead-up of the third meeting of the Intersessional Process in Bangkok that considered the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) beyond 2020. The workshop on 29 September 2019 focused on key elements of sustainable chemistry and the thought-starter submitted by the ISC3, as well as the ongoing dialogue and current expectations surrounding the emerging concept. This discussion is part of a multi-sectoral, multi-stakeholder dialogue process initiated by the ISC3 with the goal of mainstreaming sustainable chemistry and aligning stakeholders’ positions towards a common understanding.
Experts from 17 countries and diverse backgrounds exchanged their views on sustainable chemistry, addressing challenges, as well as potential concerns, of the new holistic approach. Sustainable chemistry was identified as a tool, that, if properly implemented, could make trade-offs visible and allow for effective political decisions by harnessing the potential for developing countries to leapfrog towards sustainable chemistry. Another important finding of the workshop was that it is necessary to include all actors within the value chain (producers, consumers, retailers, etc.) and define their ability to influence the shift to sustainable chemistry and better contribute to the achievement of the SDGs.
Reframing the global sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020
The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) is a policy framework to promote chemical safety around the world that contains an ambitious goal to achieve the sound management of chemicals throughout their life cycle. The goal is that, by the year 2020, chemicals are produced and used in ways that minimize impacts on the environment and human health. At the third meeting of this process (the third Intersessional Process), which took place from 30 September until 4 October 2019 in Bangkok, experts from all over the world discussed suggestions for the sound management of chemicals and waste. The delegates elaborated recommendations for the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM5), SAICM’s top decision-making body, taking place in Bonn, Germany, on October 2020, where new a new framework will be adopted. Working on a draft proposal, the participants in Bangkok expressed strong support for a new SAICM with increased ambitions, especially with regards to addressing the widening gaps between developing and developed countries’ capacities for the sound management of chemicals and waste.