International chemicals management (SAICM)

Under the umbrella of the United Nations, the international conference in Dubai from 4 to 6 February 2006 adopted a Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) to achieve the target set at the Johannesburg World Summit in 2002 of reducing the adverse effect of chemicals on human health and the environment by 2020. At the heart of SAICM is an overarching strategy based on the precautionary principle to systematically identify hazards posed by chemicals and take measures to reduce them. To achieve this goal, the respective structures have to be established, in particular in developing countries.

The SAICM Secretariat has been set up at UN Environment in Geneva to support the practical implementation of the strategic approach. The International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM) is responsible for guiding and monitoring the SAICM process.

SAICM’s mandate expires in 2020. The fourth session of ICCM (ICCM4) in September/October 2015 therefore decided on an Intersessional Process to discuss the future of international chemicals management beyond 2020. The first meeting of the Intersessional Process took place in Brasilia from 7 to 9 February 2017; the results were published in the Co-Chairs Summary. In a consultative process, this paper is currently being developed into a basis for discussion for the second meeting in March 2018. ICCM5 in 2020 will then decide on the future process. Germany represents the UN Region Western Europe and Others Group in the ICCM5 Bureau and will chair the next conference. 

The Federal Environment Ministry and the Federal Environment Agency jointly organise national SAICM conferences at regular intervals to involve national stakeholders. The second meeting of the Intersessional Process will take place from 12 to 16 March 2018.