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Webinar Underscores Illegal Trade of Chemicals and Waste Remains a Serious Problem

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By IISD’s SDG Knowledge Hub , May 3, 2021

The Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC) convened the first in a series of webinars on issues related to the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020. The first webinar addressed the illegal trade and traffic of industrial chemicals, pesticides, and waste.

According to an independent evaluation of the Strategic Approach for International Chemicals Management (SAICM), limited progress has been made across regions, and illegal traffic remains a serious threat to developing countries. Therefore, within the current SAICM Beyond 2020 process, preventing illegal international trade and traffic of toxic, hazardous, banned, and severely restricted chemicals and of waste is listed as a target under Strategic Objective A (preventing or minimizing harm from chemicals throughout their life cycle).

The webinar, which took place on 29 March 2021, included an introduction to the topic and activities by IOMC participating organizations, with representatives from the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) sharing their experiences and perspectives on the issue. A panel discussion on regional and global actions to prevent and combat illegal trade and traffic featured representatives from the Center for International Environmental Law, the Pesticides Action Network, and the EU Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol), among others.

The webinar highlighted that illegal traffic of chemical and waste affects everyone, particularly the most vulnerable, including farmers and consumers. Speakers also noted that a holistic approach is needed to address the illegal traffic of pesticides, including by improving legislation, developing global or regional policy and technical guidelines, strengthening cooperation among all stakeholders (farmers, law enforcement, and the private sector), and increasing awareness regionally and globally.

The webinar series is taking place with support from the Government of Germany. Additional sessions cover: leveraging green and sustainable chemistry for the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020; chemical accident prevention, preparedness, and response; and financial considerations for chemicals and waste management. [Webinar report] [Webinar series]