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Global environment

Trailblazing UN conference

by Hans-Christian Stolzenberg

In brief

Plastic waste in Dakar, Senegal, in 2005: humankind needs global solutions to global chemicals problems.

Plastic waste in Dakar, Senegal, in 2005: humankind needs global solutions to global chemicals problems.

Great hopes are pinned on the fifth session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM5).

It is the setting in which decisions are taken regarding the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM).

In Geneva in 2015, the previous session (ICCM4) launched an Intersessional Process (IP). The IP has prepared the ground for far-reaching decisions at ICCM5. They concern “SAICM and the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020”.

Germany was supposed to host ICCM5 in Bonn in October 2020, but the event had to be postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. There were plans to do so in July 2021, but the situation had to be reassessed and the conference will probably only take place in 2023.

Germany’s Federal Government remains determined to host the conference and assume the presidency accordingly. It is working on staging a high-level event planned on 8 July 2021. The idea is to raise awareness of the need for crosscutting action in spite of the UN process having had to be postponed.

ICCM5 is supposed to pave the way for decisions at the UN General Assembly, where the heads of state and government would be involved. Cooperation across sectors is needed to manage chemicals properly. This is a core issue of sustainable development. Humankind needs affordable chemical products and related services in order to facilitate broad-based and fairly shared prosperity without breaching planetary boundaries.


References

Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM):
http://saicm.org/

SAICM Knowledge:
https://saicmknowledge.org/

SAICM Intersessional Process:
http://saicm.org/Beyond2020/IntersessionalProcess/tabid/5500/language/en-US/Default.aspx

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