The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), adopted in 2006, is a policy framework to promote chemical safety worldwide. The objective was to achieve “the sound management of chemicals throughout their life cycle so that by the year 2020, chemicals are produced and used in ways that minimize significant adverse impacts on the environment and human health.” Even the scope of SAICM is nearly unlimited -it includes both toxic chemicals and hazardous industrial activities that are unaddressed by global treaties – SAICM, by design, imposes no binding obligations on countries.

As the mandate of SAICM ended in 2020 and the goal of a sustainable chemicals management has not been achieved, the parties agreed on developing a follow up process – SAICM Beyond 2020 – which was supposed to be adopted in 2020 at ICCM 5. Since in-person meetings have been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a new framework so far has not yet been adopted. To this end, negotiations have been underway for some time between governments, industry and non-governmental organizations, which are equally involved in the process.

What are we doing?

As NGO stakeholders, WECF has been accompanying the SAICM process from the very beginning. We have been helping to develop its legal framework and took responsibility on implementation through projects under the Quick-Start Programme realized with our partner-organisations. In 2012, we helped secure the inclusion of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) as one of five priority issue areas. Through the SAICM process and our close collaboration with the International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN), and other NGO partners we raised awareness on the issue on chemicals, especially with the focus on Gender and chemicals, in close linkage with the UN chemicals conventions and the Sustainable Development Goals.

In the so-called intersessional process – which last due to the pandemic much longer than expected, we are engaged to keep the momentum and chemical issues on the agenda and help to create a new and strong and gender-just SAICM Beyond 2020.

More information

The work on the SAICM process is mainly carried out via WECF Germany (WECF e.V as Germany has a special responsibility. This responsibility exists, not only because of its presidency of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM 5), but also because Germany has one of the world’s largest chemical industries.  More information can be found here in German:

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