by IISD’s SDG Knowledge Hub ,

Officials have established four working groups to help develop a framework on the sound management of chemicals and wastes beyond 2020. The working groups are part of the intersessional process leading to the fifth session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM5) planned for July 2021.

The intersessional process (IP) is proceeding virtually after in-person work was postponed due to COVID-19. The IP co-chairs and the ICCM5 bureau agreed to create the virtual working groups (VWGs) and hold a series of technical briefings in order to prepare recommendations regarding the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) and the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020, including consideration for the need to develop measurable objectives in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The VWGs will focus on the following topics:

  • Targets, indicators and milestones: This Group will build on work to refine targets and consider possible indicators. It aims to finalize proposed targets and develop recommendations for a process to establish indicators and milestones for the targets.
  • Governance and mechanisms to support implementation: This VWG is focusing on, inter alia: national, sub-regional, regional, international, sectoral, and stakeholder cooperation and coordination; science-policy interface (SPI) for the sound management of chemicals and waste; and mechanisms for updating the post-2020 framework.
  • Issues of concern: This Group will propose draft procedures for the identification, nomination, selection, review, and prioritization of new issues of concern or interest.
  • Financial considerations: This VWG is addressing: integrated approaches to financing the sound management of chemicals and waste; proposals for financing the Secretariat; cost-recovery mechanisms and other economic instruments; and a draft resource mobilization strategy.

Participation is open to all SAICM stakeholders. A summary document for each VWG, reflecting views expressed, will be considered at the fourth meeting of the intersessional process (IP4) in March 2021.

Online Technical Briefings are convening on: options for strengthening the SPI; the new International Labour Organization (ILO) comparative study on ILO chemical instruments; the High Ambition Alliance; and implementation of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) implementation. During the first Technical Briefing on 22 October 2020, ICCM5 Chair Gertrud Sahler emphasized the need for sound chemicals and waste management to achieve SDG 3 (good health and well-being) and overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. The briefing reviewed the mandates and modalities of the VWGs.

The work of the VWGs, the Technical Briefings, and a drafting group on a high-level declaration are expected to continue until late January/mid-February 2021.

Timelines for the various meetings are available on the SAICM website. A Scenario Note from the IP Co-Chairs presents an overview of the Technical Briefing series and the Virtual Working Groups (VWGs). [Website for intersessional process]

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