The 7th 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,
MESSAGE FROM ICCM5 PRESIDENT ANITA BREYER
I am greatly honoured to have been nominated by Germany to serve in the role of President of ICCM5 and would like to extend my appreciation to Ms. Gertrud Sahler for her tireless efforts throughout her tenure in this role.
In the three months since assuming the position, I have been impressed by the active engagement and commitment of all stakeholders in the SAICM process despite the current circumstances we find ourselves in. We had to learn from scratch how to communicate. Such a tremendous learning process certainly presents its own set of challenges. But I am convinced that by adapting our current thinking we can ensure that the sound management of chemicals remains at the forefront of the global agenda.
The recently held Berlin Forum on Chemicals and Sustainability underscored that the postponement of ICCM5 does not mean that the topic has become less important. In fact, participants agreed that the global framework for the use of chemicals has to be further improved. It was encouraging to witness the level of participation and the serious commitment demonstrated by Governments at this first-of-its-kind meeting.
SAICM stakeholders have consistently expressed that IP4 and ICCM5 should take place in person to ensure full and inclusive participation. This is our common vision and ambition. Discussions are being carried out by the Presidency and the ICCM5 Bureau as we speak to assess the COVID-19 situation worldwide and how to proceed. However, it is still too early to determine dates for a face-to-face IP4 and ICCM5.
I should emphasise that Germany maintains its firm commitment to hosting a successful ICCM5, and I am grateful for Romania’s continued readiness to host IP4.
Moreover, I am impressed and thank all stakeholders, the Secretariat, and the Co-Facilitators of the Virtual Working Groups, in particular, for their tremendous efforts and the progress made during the pandemic. I also thank all those who contributed to the survey initiated by the Secretariat and in the regional briefings held in September. We, the Bureau, and the Co-Chairs of the Intersessional Process (IP), take all the feedback received seriously and will carefully deliberate how to design the further IP to ensure inclusiveness.
For me, it is clear that we cannot allow the virus to keep us from making progress from reaching agreement on a strengthened SAICM, which would significantly contribute to the achievement of the goals of the 2030 Agenda. It is incumbent on all relevant stakeholders in all sectors to be active and take ownership in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Reflecting on the feedback received through the survey and in the regional briefings, the IP Co-Chairs and Bureau will carefully consider the next steps in the intersessional process. It is crucial to design it in a manner to ensure inclusiveness and ownership by all stakeholders for the future SAICM and its goals.
The virus is asking special efforts from all of us but together I’m sure we will find effective solutions, taking everybody on board.
I am very much looking forward to working with all of you as we journey toward a successful ICCM5.
BERLIN FORUM ON CHEMICALS AND SUSTAINABILITY: 7-8 JULY
Convened under the theme “Ambition and Action towards 2030,” the Berlin Forum on Chemicals and Sustainability held in July provided a space for Government representatives and stakeholders to exchange views on potential outcomes from the ICCM5. Participants stressed their ongoing commitment to holding ICCM5 as soon as face-to-face deliberations are viable as this will offer an opportunity to make progress toward the adoption of an ambitious and robust framework for global action to achieve sound chemicals and waste management beyond 2020.
The Forum consisted of a Ministerial and Stakeholder Dialogue.
The Ministerial segment convened on 7 July was moderated by Ms. Svenja Schulze, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany, who underscored the need to make better use of SAICM to achieve sound chemicals management. Ms. Schulze called for fundamental regulations that apply to all chemicals at the global level. German Chancellor Ms. Angela Merkel and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres both delivered inspiring messages and encouraged stakeholders to engage in the sound management of chemicals and waste.
Significantly, during the Ministerial Dialogue, the Governments of Denmark, Germany, and the UK reaffirmed their commitment to improving sound chemicals management, by announcing additional contributions to the UNEP Special Programme on Institutional Strengthening for the Chemicals Cluster.
During the Stakeholder Dialogue, which attracted over 800 participants, there were repeated calls for the establishment of a science-policy interface on chemicals and waste – noting that any such body should be global, authoritative, “horizon scanning,” prestigious, independent, and inclusive.
The Forum aimed to complement the ongoing multi-stakeholder SAICM intersessional process.
For the full summary of the two-day meeting: Read here.
NEW IPCC REPORT
Scientists are observing changes in the Earth’s climate in every region and across the whole climate system, according to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report, released in September. Many of the changes observed in the climate are unprecedented in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years, and some of the changes already set in motion—such as continued sea level rise—are irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years. However, strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases would limit climate change.
The Working Group I Report is the first instalment of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report, which will be completed in 2022
LEARNING FROM OTHER UN FRAMEWORKS FOR ‘SAICM BEYOND 2020 INDICATORS’
As part of advancing discussions around developing indicators and reporting for ‘SAICM beyond 2020’, a webinar was held to provide stakeholders with an opportunity to take a closer look at how other UN frameworks have proceeded with similar tasks.
Organized by the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), in co-ordination with the Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC), and supported by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the webinar attracted 158 participants from over 35 countries, of which 89 were from Government, 32 from NGOs, 9 from the private sector, and 26 from UN agencies.
The report presents a summary of the presentations in the webinar, along with the results of interactions among participants.
The webinar presentations, pre-session documents and meeting information can be found here.
STUDY ON INDUSTRY INVOLVEMENT IN THE INTEGRATED APPROACH TO FINANCING THE SOUND MANAGEMENT OF CHEMICALS AND WASTE
In September, the SAICM Secretariat issued the draft "Study on industry involvement in the integrated approach to financing the sound management of chemicals and waste".
The overall objective of the study is to provide clarity on the scope and modalities for industry involvement in the sound management of chemicals and waste and elaborate how industry involvement can be scaled up and monitored in conjunction with the Framework/Instrument.
The document is intended to provide context and recommendations to support decision-making in preparations for ICCM5. It can also be used as input for developing guidelines for operationalizing industry involvement once the conference has more clearly defined what constitutes industry involvement. Additionally, this document can inform discussions around financing for a future framework/instrument on chemicals and waste.
To ensure broad engagement, a webinar was held in September to present the results of the study to stakeholders and kick-start the review period.
The Secretariat invites stakeholders to review and provide comments on the draft study by 6 October 2021.
The draft study is available on the SAICM Website, together with the slides presented during the webinar.
KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT AND INFORMATION
COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE ON SAICM EMERGING POLICY ISSUES
Membership in the SAICM Communities of Practice (CoP) continues to steadily increase. To date, there are over 950 members registered across the four CoPs actively engaged in thematically focused online discussions.
The CoPs, which were established in partnership with the University of Cape Town, provide a platform for global discussions on Emerging Policy Issues and linkages with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Three online sessions between July and September have taken place:
A range of information and customizable materials are available, and organizers can register campaigns there. SAICM Knowledge platform – www.saicmknowledge.org
New publications and resources on chemicals and waste topics continue to be added to the SAICM Knowledge Management Platform. The platform provides SAICM stakeholders with up-to-date knowledge, including publications, technical documents, resources and databases on SAICM Emerging Policy Issues. It also serves as a space for knowledge exchange and the 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 Issues to firstname.lastname@example.org publication consideration.
The Knowledge Management activities of the SAICM Secretariat are supported by the SAICM GEF 9771 project 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
17TH MEETING OF THE ICCM5 BUREAU
The 17th meeting of the ICCM5 Bureau was held online on 21 July 2021. Discussions focused on the preliminary results of the survey to assess the SAICM Virtual Working Groups (VWG) and the preparations of the regional briefings, which were held in September.
The Bureau meeting was also the last occasion Ms. Gertrud Sahler presided in the role of ICCM5 President. Bureau members recognized her strong commitment and dedication to the SAICM Beyond 2020 process throughout her tenure. Ms. Anita Breyer of Germany assumed the role of ICCM5 President.
Relevant documents as well as the report of the meeting can be found here. The next Bureau meeting will be held on 6 October.
Regional Briefings (Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean) were convened online on 7 - 8 September 2021.
The briefings had the following objectives:
To inform the regions on the survey on the design of the future virtual work.
Presentation of the IP Co-chairs to present a way forward in the intersessional process.
To provide regions the opportunity to submit feedback to the SAICM Secretariat and IP Co-chairs; and
To give regions the opportunity to discuss their perspectives amongst themselves.
The SAICM Secretariat would like to extend its appreciation to stakeholders for their active participation. The briefings proved invaluable, and the Secretariat stands ready to continue supporting further engagement among stakeholders.
All documents related to the meeting can be found here.
VIRTUAL WORKING GROUP CO-FACILITATORS VIDEO SUMMARY OF OUTCOMES
As part of the background information provided to the briefings, video summaries presented by the Co-Facilitators on the outcomes of each of the VWG were shared. They can be found here.
RESULTS OF SAICM VIRTUAL WORKING GROUP SURVEY
With restrictions due to COVID-19 and the postponement of the IP4 and the ICCM5, the ICCM5 Bureau and IP Co-Chairs proposed to establish a number of VWGs to support the work of the intersessional process.
The VWG process was held between October 2020 and February 2021 to inform to the deliberations at IP4 scheduled for March 2021. However, in January 2021, the Bureau decided to further postpone IP4 and ICCM5 due to the continued pandemic. The work of the VWGs progressed according to the initially agreed schedule.
In total, 22 virtual meetings were held, and 15 rounds of electronic feedback were undertaken. On average, 200 participants registered for each of the four VWGs and over 100 participants registered for each of the virtual meetings. Additionally, stakeholders were invited to provide written inputs at various points during the virtual process. The virtual meetings were conducted on the Webex meeting platform and were also recorded and made available via YouTube on the SAICM website.
In order to assess experiences with the VWG process and gather suggestions for possible future virtual work, an online survey was launched and circulated to all SAICM stakeholders on 16 June 2021 with a deadline of 16 July 2021. The survey was made available in the six official UN languages. It included a total of 40 questions, combining multiple choice questions as well as open questions for inputs. The survey can be found here; responses to each question can be found here.
The ICCM5 Bureau is working on developing a Programme of Work and Budget for the period 2021 to 2023 to continue with the implementation of SAICM until a face-to-face ICCM5 is feasible. It will serve to secure and support the finalization of the ICCM4 mandate to prepare recommendations on the Strategic Approach and the sound management of chemicals and waste. Discussions continue regarding future Intersessional Process virtual work.