18 March 2019: At the end of the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-4), delegates adopted a resolution on the sound management of chemicals and waste, which emphasizes the cross-cutting nature of the issue in achieving numerous Goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including those on health.

The resolution titled, ‘Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste’ (UNEP/EA.4/L.9), reflects on the need for effective implementation of the global chemicals and waste conventions and the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) and the importance of strengthening the science-policy interface and the global evidence base for chemicals, among other issues.

On the SDGs, the resolution underscores multi-stakeholder prioritization of relevant efforts to achieve SDG target 12.4 (by 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and wastes and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment).

The resolution further addresses, inter alia: managing chemicals in products throughout their life cycle; waste prevention and minimization at source; the science-policy interface potential of Global Chemicals Outlook II; and better understanding of sustainable chemistry opportunities globally.

The resolution encourages countries to strengthen mainstreaming of chemicals and waste in national budgets and sector policies. It welcomes cooperation and coordination arrangements between the Secretariat of the Minamata Convention on Mercury and the joint Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions, and calls on governments and all other relevant stakeholders to take into account the SAICM Overall Orientation and Guidance in their efforts towards the achievement of the 2020 goal, including improved access to scientific information in view of strengthening the science-policy interface.

The resolution was submitted by the EU and its member States, the African Group and Switzerland. [UNEA-4 Resolution on Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste] [IISD RS Summary of UNEA-4]