The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) is convening a series of regional meetings in advance of the fourth meeting of the intersessional process considering the Strategic Approach and sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020 (IP4) and the fifth International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM5). The Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) regional meeting enabled an exchange of information and knowledge, and provided updates on progress towards SAICM objectives in the region.

Montenegro provided information on national activities, including on support for implementation of the Basel, Minamata, and Stockholm Conventions, as well as on a project on polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). She sought advice on ways to best address obsolete chemicals.

Bosnia and Herzegovina updated on new chemicals legislation adopted since 2018, as well as on the status of ratification of various chemicals-related multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). She underscored her country’s reliance on external support, as well as challenges related to improving the chemicals management framework.

Estonia provided information on actions related to the interface between chemical, product, and waste legislation.

Poland and the Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment (RECETOX) discussed the EU 2020 chemicals strategy for sustainability and actions planned for its implementation. RECETOX representative said her company: was nominated as a World Health Organization (WHO) collaborating center; participates in EU initiatives related to human biomonitoring; and is involved in the European Partnership for the Assessment of Risks from Chemicals (PARC).

Georgia discussed cooperation with the Czech Republic to ensure alignment with EU chemicals legislation and on other efforts related to chemical safety and security.

North Macedonia conveyed the outcomes of a project on the Removal of Technical and Economic Barriers to Initiating the Clean-up Activities for Alpha-HCH, Beta-HCH and Lindane Contaminated Sites at OHIS. The project was funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implemented by the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

The meeting discussed the outcomes of the four Virtual Working Groups (VWGs) that were established to maintain momentum during the COVID-19 pandemic and convened between October 2020 and February 2021. It also reviewed IP3 outcome text not considered during the VWGs on vision, scope, principles and approaches, and strategic objectives.

VWG1 on targets, indicators, and milestones (SAICM/RM/CEE.7/4) discussed: possible formulation of targets based on points where stakeholders’ views converge; recommendations for a process to establish indicators and milestones for finalized targets; and an annex with new targets proposed by stakeholders, which are not included in the main text of the VWG’s final report. The VWG discussed two options for a process to further develop draft targets and to identify proposed indicators and milestones, either through a policy expert group alone, or through a policy expert group and a technical expert subgroup to help develop the indicators framework.

VWG2 on governance and mechanisms to support implementation (SAICM/RM/CEE.7/5) discussed proposals on: establishing of a science-policy interface; national, sub-regional, regional, international, sectoral, and stakeholder cooperation and coordination; mechanisms for taking stock of progress of, and for updating, the Beyond 2020 framework; and subsidiary and ad hoc bodies.

VWG3 on issues of concern (SAICM/RM/CEE.7/6) addressed proposals related to the definition of “issues of concern,” submission of information to nominate an issue, the nomination process, initial review and publication of nominations, decision making and adoption, implementation mechanisms, tracking progress, and determining the need for further work on an issue. The final report of VWG3 contains a proposal by a group of NGOs on “trigger criteria” to review existing issues of concern when voluntary work is insufficient.

VWG4 on financial considerations (SAICM/RM/CEE.7/7) issued proposals related to, among others, an integrated approach to financing, private sector involvement in chemicals and waste management, a clearinghouse mechanism to track development assistance, and a strategy for resource mobilization, including dedicated external financing.

In addition, participants discussed a compilation of recommendations regarding the Strategic Approach and the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020 (SAICM/RM/CEE.7/3), which ICCM5 will consider. The document contains proposed recommendations on, among others: institutional arrangements; mechanisms to support implementation, including related to sectoral and stakeholder coordination; and financial considerations, including on an integrated approach to financing, engagement in multisectoral partnerships, and financing the Secretariat. With much of the document remaining with brackets, IP4 will revisit the proposals at the end of August in Bucharest, Romania.

Meeting participants also appointed a new regional focal point, Suzana Andonova of North Macedonia. The CEE regional meeting report (SAICM/RM/CEE.7/8) contains the terms of reference for the regional focal point.

The ICCM5 Bureau agreed to convene the regional meetings to prepare for IP4 and to: review progress on implementation of the Strategic Approach within the regions; provide guidance on implementation to all stakeholders at the regional level; and enable technical and strategic discussions and exchange of information. 

The CEE regional meeting took place from 12-13 May 2022 in Prague, Czech Republic. It was held in English, with simultaneous translation into Russian.

The Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) regional meeting convened from 6-7 May 2022 in Montevideo, Uruguay. The Africa regional meeting will take place from 27-29 June in Accra, Ghana. The Asia-Pacific regional meeting will convene from 5-17 July in Dead Sea, Jordan. [Report of the CEE Regional Meeting] [SAICM Regional Meetings Website] [SAICM roadmap towards IP4 and ICCM5