On May 30, 2017, the Seventieth World Health Assembly approved the Road map to enhance health sector engagement in the strategic approach to international chemicals management towards the 2020 goal and beyond. The road map identifies concrete actions where the health sector has either a lead or important supporting role to play in the sound management of chemicals, recognizing the need for multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder cooperation. These actions are organised into four areas: risk reduction; knowledge and evidence; institutional capacity; and, leadership and coordination.
Member States and others have described the road map as useful for assessing and identifying priorities and it is hoped that they will now use it to develop their own implementation plans for this road map, including engaging and cooperating with others.
During the Health Assembly, many countries described the adverse impacts of chemicals on health and the environment in their country or region and outlined the efforts of their governments to prevent these impacts. The need for all sectors and stakeholders to work together was emphasised, as well as the critical role of the health sector and the need for increased capacity in this area. The key role of WHO in providing support to Member States and in international leadership for the health sector was also underscored. Non-state actors also intervened to say they supported the road map and were looking forward to working with WHO and others particularly in areas of prevention and accountability.
A copy of the final road map is available at: WHO Chemicals Road Map
Additional information about the road map and its development can be found in WHA document A70/36 available at: WHA70 Documentation
WHO was requested to develop the road map by World Health Assembly resolution 69.4: The role of the health sector in the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management towards the 2020 goal and beyond (2016) (accessible at: WHA 69.4). WHA resolution 69.4 urges Member States, inter alia, to strengthen the role of the health sector in actions to soundly manage chemicals, including by participating in the activities and initiatives of the Strategic Approach, including the intersessional process to prepare recommendations regarding the Strategic Approach and sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020. The road map will be updated according to the outcome of the intersessional process.
For more information on health sector engagement in SAICM, please visit: Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM): Health sector focus