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Capacity building – tools that are used

The Secretariat of the Strategic Approach to Chemicals Management (SAICM) and the University of Cape Town (UCT) have launched a Community of Practice (CoP) on Chemicals and SDGs to bring representatives from different sectors together and to create a learning network around issues related to addressing Chemicals and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is a summary of the discussion on Capacity building – tools that are used, which took place on 6 July 2022.

Presenters: Olivier Wootton (UNITAR), Dr. Olga Speranskaya (HEJSupport)

Capacity building continues to be a key component of international chemicals and waste management. The evaluation of SAICM 2006-2015 identified the Quick Start Programme as a successful component of SAICM, with its focus on “initial enabling of capacity building”. The current draft of Strategic Objective A under the beyond 2020 instrument, in its “considerations” references “the need for all countries to have basic capacity”. Target B4 is drafted as “By 20XX educational, training and public awareness programmes on chemical safety, sustainability, and safer alternatives and benefit of chemicals have been developed and implemented.” Target E5 is currently drafted as “Gaps between developed and developing countries for the implementation of sound management of chemicals [and waste] are identified and narrowed”.

Mechanisms to support capacity building should be incorporated into all relevant parts of the future global strategy on the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020. Part VI, Section F of the Compilation of recommendations regarding the Strategic Approach and the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020 includes key capacitybuilding principles for consideration by SAICM stakeholders at the fifth session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM5). They include inter alia collaboration with existing initiatives on chemicals and waste management, including multilateral environmental agreements, United Nations bodies, private sector, civil society and academia; recognition and sharing of knowledge and expertise within and among regions; recognition of the need to promote coordination of and access to information for the sound management of chemicals and waste; ensuring the full use of national, subregional and regional information and knowledge to inform global decision making; recognition of the need for gender equity in all relevant aspects of its work.

UNITAR works on several topics that are prominent within the proposed Beyond 2020 framework: the Globally Harmonised System of classification and labelling of chemicals (GHS) and Pollution Release and Transfer Registers (PRTRs). A potential target on the GHS remains currently in the proposed beyond 2020 framework, Target Bxx- By 20XX, all governments have legally implemented and enforce the UN GHS in all relevant sectors. Furthermore, Target B1 on comprehensive data and information, notes that GHS and PRTRs should be considered as indicators for this target (among others). Both the GHS and PRTR are IOMC indicators of progress.