The UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) held a webinar to advance consideration of indicators and reporting for ‘SAICM beyond 2020’, by providing examples of the ways in which other UN frameworks have met this need.

The webinar titled, ‘Learning from Other UN Frameworks for SAICM Beyond 2020 Indicators,’ took place in March 2021. UNEP-WCMC has recently published a report of presentations and interactions with participants.

Speakers presented targets, reporting, and indicators used in three UN frameworks or agreements: the International Health Regulations (IHR); the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR); and the Convention on Biological Diversity and proposed targets, indicators, and reporting for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. They identified the importance of developing SAICM beyond 2020 to include a focus on impact and implementation, and the roles of indicators and reporting mechanisms in achieving this. They also noted the differing legal status of frameworks or agreements, ranging from legally binding, as in the case of IHR, to not linked to any other agreement, as is the case with the Sendai Framework.

All three frameworks include an instrument for national implementation, with associated targets, indicators, and reporting, and all three were mostly designed as global frameworks for national adaptation and implementation, as well as online, user-friendly platforms for reporting and communication. The IHR have indicators measured by defined capacity levels; the Sendai Framework has global implementation and impact indicators for use by all countries, as well as nationally customized targets and indicators, developed with scientific input; and the draft post-2020 global biodiversity framework is considering milestones to 2030, and headline indicators for all Parties as part of a more comprehensive monitoring framework.

The SAICM Secretariat provided considerations on reporting mechanisms and indicators for SAICM Beyond 2020. While many indicators developed to date to assess SAICM implementation have been “process” indicators, an independent evaluation of SAICM has identified a need for “impact” indicators on the state of the environment and public health regarding chemicals and waste. A 2019 progress report by the Secretariat identified the need to track progress using multiple sources and for different stakeholder groups. 

Participants were also briefed on efforts to develop an indicator framework, by the Virtual Working Group on Targets, Indicators and Milestones, which convened to support the work of the intersessional process amid the restrictions on in-person meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The co-facilitators of the Virtual Working Group on Governance and Mechanisms for Implementation introduced a section of the proposed framework, which aims to facilitate national-level contributions by reviewing and evaluating progress for further improvement.

To contribute to tracking future progress of SAICM, the Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC) has proposed quantitative indicators for which global data are available. These include:

  • number of countries that have achieved core capacities for chemicals under the IHR;
  • number of countries with legislation to manage industrial and consumer chemicals;
  • number of countries with National Profiles;
  • number of countries with a Pollutant Release and Transfer Register;
  • umber of countries with poisons centers;
  • countries with controls for lead in decorative paint;
  • countries which have implemented pesticide legislation;
  • number of Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm, and Minamata Conventions; and
  • implementation of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).

These process-related indicators relate to capabilities required nationally for SAICM implementation. Each indicator is hosted by a UN agency or process, aims to reduce the burden on national governments, and is represented visually with further detail and data included on the indicators’ respective websites.

The 23 March 2021 technical briefing was organized by the UNEP-WCMC in coordination with IOMC and with support from the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). 

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