Convening under the theme ‘Ambition and Action towards 2030,’ the Berlin Forum on Chemicals and Sustainability provided space for government representatives and stakeholders to exchange views on potential outcomes from the Fifth International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM5). Speakers stressed ICCM5 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.
ICCM5 was originally scheduled to take place in 2020. Due to the global pandemic, it has been indefinitely postponed. When ICCM5 convenes, delegates will address the future of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) and SDG target 12.4 (By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment).
The Berlin Forum was organized by the Government of Germany. Svenja Schulze, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), Germany, moderated the event.
The Forum kicked off with a Ministerial Dialogue on 7 July 2021. Schulze underscored the need to make better use of SAICM to achieve sound chemicals management, and called for fundamental regulations that apply to all chemicals at the global level.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said ICCM5 must deliver an ambitious and strategic global roadmap.
Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, highlighted that the European Green Deal includes three spheres: restricting the most harmful chemicals; innovating and developing new chemicals and materials; and simplifying and streamlining the legal framework.
Angela Merkel, Federal Chancellor, Germany, drew attention to the recent Supply Chain Act passed in Germany, expressed hope the Berlin Forum would contribute to the success of ICCM5.
Also 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 UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Special Programme on Institutional Strengthening for the Chemicals Cluster.
Switzerland announced it will submit a resolution to the fifth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA 5) to establish a science-policy body for chemicals and waste, akin to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Over 800 participants registered for a Stakeholder Dialogue, which took place on 8 July. Participants took part in polls and were encouraged to submit questions to speakers through the meeting platform.
The Stakeholder Dialogue also featured calls for the establishment of a science-policy interface (SPI) on chemicals and waste. [Earth Negotiations Bulletin report on the Berlin Forum]