World: Opening of the 5th International Conference on Chemicals Management (September 25-29, 2023)

  September 24, 2023

Bonn, September 25, 2023The fifth International Conference on Chemicals Management will take place from 25 to 29 September 2023. Government representatives, industrialists, non-governmental organizations, as well as members of the inter-organisation chemicals management programme will meet in Bonn, Germany.

Initially scheduled for 2020, and postponed to September 2023 following the Covid-19 pandemic, the Conference aims to renew and update the Strategic Approach to the International Management of Chemicals, international non-binding framework adopted by the first edition of the Conference in 2006 in Dubai (United Arab Emirates) under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The Approach consists of the Dubai Declaration on International Chemicals Management, a Comprehensive Policy Strategy and a Global Action Plan. Its scope is wide. All “agricultural and industrial chemicals […] are covered throughout their life cycle”, with the exception of products subject to national safety regulations. For example, Article 8(h) of the Global Plan of Action recommends that States work together to “develop alternatives to reduce and phase out highly toxic pesticides”. The reports of the Secretariat on the Strategic Approach, however, show a great regional disparity in the adoption of such legislation.

As early as 2015, the Fourth Conference recognised the use of highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs) as a matter of international concern, and called for cooperation in the management of these substances, but didn’t set up any legal or institutional framework. The submissions of FAO and a group of environmental NGOs to a possible declaration resulting from the Fifth Conference echo these ambitions, and recommend the adoption of a bioeconomic approach to prohibit, or at least better frame, the use of pesticides.

With a view to updating the Strategic Approach, the negotiations, which will take place from 25 to 29 September, should enable the adoption of a new framework for the sustainable management of chemicals at the international level, which should include management of toxic pesticides used by the food industry.

373 organizational signatories from 74 countries request in an open letter, co-signed by Justice Pesticides:

  • The inclusion in the new framework of a global goal to phase out HHPs in agriculture by 2030 and the establishment of targets to ban exports of banned pesticides at the national level;
  • The creation of a Global HHP Alliance to coordinate multilateral efforts to achieve a global phase-out of HHPs and sustainable alternatives.

The negotiations of the Fifth Conference will be based in particular on the resolutions previously adopted as part of the intersessional process set up between 2017 and 2023. The Conference should also assess the overall evolution of both national and multilateral regulations for the “rational” management of chemicals.

#SAICM #Beyond2020 #ICCM5 #PhaseOutHHPs and Stop the #ToxicCrisis!