At the third session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM-3), the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) is calling on all stakeholders to take action to strengthen the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), in order to improve and enhance the sound management of chemicals globally.
The goal of SAICM is to ensure that, by 2020, chemicals are produced and used in ways that minimize significant adverse impacts on human health and the environment. ICCA’s appeal for a recommitment to SAICM echoes the call from world leaders at the June United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), to implement and strengthen SAICM as part of a robust system for the sound management of chemicals throughout their life cycle.
“Today, the chemical industry faces the task of driving innovation in order to develop new products and applications that solve world problems and enable a more sustainable future, while also ensuring the safety and protection of human health and the environment,” said ICCA Council secretary Cal Dooley, president and CEO of the American Chemistry Council. “SAICM provides the innovative framework necessary to meet this challenge and promote the safe handling of chemicals globally. Through our voluntary initiatives such as the Responsible Care Global Charter and the Global Product Strategy, ICCA stands ready to work with world leaders to strengthen SAICM.”
Since the United Nations launched SAICM, ICCA has undertaken a number of activities to support the implementation of the program, including:
• Executing a global training program, through which it has conducted more than 40 “capacity building” workshops over the past four years, to train small- and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries on how to implement the Global Product Strategy (GPS) to enhance their chemicals management programs.
• Participating in an active partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to develop and promote effective chemicals management regimens around the world.
• Providing technical support for associations and companies that are actively working to build risk management processes and harmonize them with international standards, including establishing best practice principles for developing hazard and exposure information to adequately assess the safety of all chemicals in commerce.
• Sharing information on chemicals in commerce through its GPS Chemicals Portal, a publicly accessible online database with detailed product information on nearly 2500 chemicals written in layman’s language.
• Working with partners, including the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, to provide technical support to address chemical legacy issues, to help prevent human exposures from legacy contamination.
ICCA is hosting a high-level session at ICCM-3 on September 19 that will focus on some of these projects. The event will highlight the importance of partnerships among government, inter-governmental organizations, NGOs, and industry in strengthening SAICM and share examples of capacity building activities in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Eastern Europe.
“Through the commitments we have made under the Responsible Care Global Charter and the Global Product Strategy, and our capacity building activities and partnerships with other stakeholders, we are working to improve chemicals management at all levels,” Dooley said.
The ICCA is the worldwide voice of the chemical industry, a sector with 2011 turnover of nearly €3 trillion (excluding pharmaceuticals). ICCA’s Responsible Care members account for more than 90 percent of this total. The promotion and coordination of Responsible Care and safe chemicals management through the Global Product Strategy, international climate negotiations, government and business partnerships, regulatory affairs, stakeholder outreach, advocacy and communications are key areas of focus for the Council. For more information, visit www.icca-chem.org.