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ICCM4 President Urges Countries to Consider Extending SAICM

Chemical Watch:

Summit head says meeting should discuss need for measures after 2020

The president of next week's key UN chemicals summit has said discussions on the sound management of chemicals beyond 2020 have “not been straightforward”, but will be considered at the meeting.

The fourth international Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM4) will assess progress to date on the UN's voluntary chemicals initiative: the strategic approach to international chemicals management (SAICM).

In a guest column for this month’s Global Business Briefing, Dr Richard Lesiyampe, who is also principal secretary of Kenya's environment ministry, says a proposal on chemicals management beyond the current end of SAICM's remit in 2020, will be put to the conference.

The proposal says ICCM4 "may also wish to consider the need for a decision addressing chemicals and waste beyond 2020, including the Strategic Approach", at the fifth session of the conference in 2020.

“I encourage the conference to consider this, and the linkages with the post-2015 development agenda, to formulate a resolution setting out recommendations and actions for the longer term”, says Dr Lesiyampe.

“I urge all of SAICM’s many stakeholders to commit, to cooperate, to be aware and to take ownership of the work that needs to be done. If we can engender this spirit, I expect we shall be able to reach consensus on the matters that are critical to SAICM and bring us closer to the 2020 goal.”

He adds that the proposed UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) are a "major opportunity" to promote the chemicals agenda, and that a stronger connection between them and Saicm will strengthen the understanding of governments, industry, the private sector and civil society.

The UN summit for the adoption of the proposed post-2015 SDGs will be held from 25-27 September in New York. A target of one of the goals is to achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their lifecycle by 2020.

Earlier this week, global NGO the International POPs Environment Network (IPEN) warned that if ICCM4 fails to address the issue of what happens after 2020, and SAICM is allowed to expire, “there will be a gap; and critical momentum will be lost” (CW 24 September 2015).