The sixth edition of the SAICM Newsletter provides our readers with highlights of our work, news of our broad stakeholder engagement, our latest publications, SAICM-GEF project updates and upcoming events for 2021!
With our best wishes,
This year, World Environment Day (WED) 2021 called for urgent action to revive our damaged ecosystems.
It means bringing back plants and animals from the brink of extinction, from the peaks of mountains to the depths of the sea.
But it also includes the many small actions everyone can take, every day: growing trees, greening our cities, rewilding our gardens or cleaning up trash alongside rivers and coasts.
Ahead of WED 2021, SAICM urged for greater risk reduction measures to prevent the adverse effects of chemicals and waste on vulnerable groups and fragile environments.
The interlinkages between the unsound management of chemicals and waste and the loss of biodiversity have become increasingly apparent. In recognition of Biodiversity Day 2021, the Secretariat drew attention to how SAICM as a global policy framework works across sectors with stakeholders in key related areas, such as, biodiversity, to avoid duplication, increase visibility of priority topics and bundle resources to achieve common goals and targets.
APPLY NOW FOR THE 5TH ROUND OF THE SPECIAL PROGRAMME
The 5th round of applications for funding from the Special Programme on Institutional Strengthening for the Chemicals Cluster is open for project applications that aim to strengthen institutions at a national level to enable the implementation of SAICM as well as the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions and the Minamata Convention. Governments are invited to submit their application no later
than 7 August 2021.
Project applications addressing the implementation of SAICM may include elements which build capacity at the national level, strengthen regulatory frameworks, mainstream chemicals and waste into the agendas of all relevant sectors, engage different stakeholder groups, as well as assess and minimize risk and facilitate information sharing on emerging policy issues.
More information on the application process can be found HERE.
THE ROLE OF THE HEALTH SECTOR IN SAICM
The 74th session of the World Health Assembly (WHA74) took place in May 2021 with the theme, Ending this pandemic, preventing the next: building together a healthier, safer and fairer world.
Reported achievements in implementation of the WHO Chemicals Road Map include the support given to establishing legally binding controls on lead paint in 40 countries. This support from WHO is done under the framework of the SAICM GEF project on Global Best Practices for Emerging Chemical Policy Issues of Concern under SAICM. WHO is an execution partner under this project to support the lead in paint work. Other achievements include new guidance on addressing health impacts in Artisanal and Small Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) and on ethical and scientific principles or conducting human biomonitoring in ASGM; guidance on 10 chemicals of major health importance; an active WHO Chemicals Risk Assessment Network of 92 institutions in 52 Member States, and a strong WHO Chemicals and Health Network for Ministries of health.
After considering the progress report on the Road Map, 12 Member States and one regional group voiced their appreciation for the progress report, the work of the secretariat and the role of WHO in SAICM. Two countries proposed work to explore establishing an independent group led by UNEP and WHO on science and policy, and/or chemicals waste mentioning the essential role of WHO to address complex links between chemicals and health.
Further information about the work of the WHA can be found on the WHO website HERE. A copy of the progress report on the road map can be downloaded HERE.
ILO Code of Practice: Occupational safety and health in the textiles, clothing, leather and footwear sector
The textile industry is one of the largest industries in the world with an estimated value of USD 1.3 trillion that employs more than 300 million people along the global value chain. It is a significant industry for emerging economies and developing countries with their role on the rise. The transparency of information regarding chemicals in global supply chains is an integral part of the UNEP Chemicals in Products (CiP) Programme.
ILO is currently discussing with UNEP and the SAICM Secretariat a possible list of the priority chemicals of concern in the textile sector (and sub-sectors) as well as guidance and good practices on environmental considerations for exposure, particularly related to disposal, release to air, water and land releases, etc.
An ILO meeting of experts to discuss and adopt a code of practice on safety and health in textiles, clothing, leather and footwear is being scheduled to take place from 4-8 October 2021 in Geneva, Switzerland. An adopted code of practice will be submitted to the next ILO Governing Body session in March 2022 for its consideration and further possible publication.
Future Policy Award 2021: Protection from Hazardous Chemicals
SAICM has strengthened its outreach by collaborating with the World Future Council on its award. The 2021 award recognises the most effective policy solutions that minimise the adverse effects of the exposure to chemicals on human health, with a focus on children’s health, and the environment.
Twelve shortlisted policies from five continents were announced in May 2021. Get to know the top candidates HERE and find out who the winners are at the award ceremony on 6 July 2021 at 3 p.m. CET.
Community of Practice on Meaningful Youth Engagement
On 26 May, around 50 stakeholders from governments, NGOs, academia and youth groups joined the latest SAICM Community of Practice (CoP) in partnership with the University of Cape Town and in cooperation with the UN Major Group for Children and Youth (UNMGCY), on ‘Meaningful Youth Engagement with Different Stakeholders in the Chemicals and Waste Dialogue’.
The discussion focused on the importance of engaging youth in decision-making and policy-making processes in the chemicals and waste sector at the national and international levels, highlighting both the benefits and obstacles to meaningful youth engagement.
Concrete solutions on how to meaningfully engage youth were proposed by participants throughout the CoP. These include capacity building and training activities, open dialogue and communication between relevant stakeholders and youth, as well as awareness-raising campaigns.
To access the CoP Digest on Meaningful Youth Engagement, CLICK HERE.
KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT AND INFORMATION
Engaging the Textile Industry as a Key Sector in SAICM
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) with the guidance of the SAICM Secretariat, and SAICM financial support originating from the Government of Sweden through its Ministry of Environment developed a report on Engaging the Textile Industry as a Key Sector in SAICM- A review of PFAS as a Chemical Class in the Textile Sector. The report examines the scientific basis, and the practical and policy reasons for approaching PFAS as a class, reviews relevant private sector commitments made regarding supply chain management and identifies enabling conditions for advancing improved public health and environment protection in the textiles sector for consideration by SAICM and other stakeholders.
The report can be found HERE.
A policy brief summarizing the report findings and recommendations has also been developed and can be found HERE.
Communities of Practice on SAICM Emerging Policy Issues
Membership registration and stakeholders’ participation in the SAICM Communities of Practice (CoP) have continued to grow in this quarter. Established in partnership with the University of Cape Town, these communities of practice provide a platform for global discussions on SAICM Emerging Policy Issues and linkages with the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
During the second quarter of 2021, five online sessions took place. Click on the links below to download the summary of the discussion.
Latest knowledge products and publications from the SAICM GEF project 9771 on Emerging Policy Issues
Report:Chemicals of Concern in the Building and Construction Sector
The UNEP report aims at providing an overview of the challenge that chemicals of concern pose in the context of products relevant for the building and construction sector. It outlines the relevance and linkages of chemicals of concern with regards to a building’s life cycle and highlights existing gaps, challenges and opportunities regarding the imperative of increasing circularity in the building and construction sector.
Report:Review of chemicals-related toy safety policies in selected LMIC
The UNEP report provides an overview analysis of toy safety policies addressing chemicals of concern in toys. The focus of the analysis is on policies in low- and middle-income countries that are importing toys from China. The scope of the analysis was defined as toy safety policies explicitly addressing the use of chemicals in toy materials.
SAICM Knowledge platform – www.saicmknowledge.org
The SAICM Knowledge platform provides the SAICM stakeholders with up-to-date knowledge including publications, technical documents, resources and databases on the SAICM Emerging Policy Issues. It also serves as a space for knowledge exchange and dissemination of good practices on chemicals management from countries, regions and sectors. Please visit the website for more information.
We invite stakeholders to send any recent relevant content on emerging policy to be published and disseminated in this knowledge platform. Please send any submissions to: email@example.com
The Knowledge Management activities of the SAICM Secretariat are supported by the SAICM project GEF 9771 on ‘Global Best Practices on Emerging Chemical Policy Issues of Concern under SAICM’, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
BEYOND 2020 and UPDATE ON VIRTUAL WORKING GROUPS
We are pleased to inform you that the online survey on stakeholders’ experiences of the virtual working group process conducted between October 2020 and February 2021 to support the intersessional process considering the Strategic Approach and sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020 is now open. The objectives of the survey are:
To gather information about your views and experiences of the Virtual Working Group process to inform the design of future work during the intersessional process;
To increase ownership and shared responsibility through engagement with you and the use of your experience and suggestions to plan the next phase of the Virtual Working Group process.
The survey is available in six official languages of the United Nations and can be found HERE.
ICCM5 BUREAU UPDATE
The 16th meeting of the ICCM5 Bureau was held online on 19 May 2021. Discussions focused on the revised survey to assess the SAICM Virtual Working Group (VWG) process, a revision of the document on recommendations for continuing SAICM and a preparatory process for the postponed IP4 and ICCM5 meetings, as well as SAICM’s draft programme of work and budget for the period 2021 – 2023.
The meeting documents as well as the report of the meeting can be found HERE.
The next Bureau meeting will be held on 21 July 2021.
HIGH-LEVEL DECLARATION INFORMAL DRAFTING GROUP
In autumn 2020, the High-level Declaration informal drafting group was established and mandated by the President of the fifth session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM5) to compile views on essential elements of a possible ICCM5 High-level Declaration (more information HERE).
On 24 June 2021, the informal drafting group convened for the sixth time to discuss the co-facilitators’ final report on the recommendations of the group. The report will serve as the primary input for the President’s proposal to formally start negotiations on a possible High-level Declaration, once face-to-face meetings are feasible. The report will be made available on the SAICM website in due course.