2 June 2022
LAC Region Prepares for Chemicals and Waste Management Beyond 2020
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The LAC regional meeting discussed the outcomes of the four Virtual Working Groups, which were established to maintain momentum during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Much of the document compiling recommendations for SAICM beyond 2020 contains brackets and will be further discussed at IP4 in Bucharest, Romania, at the end of August.

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 Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) regional meeting enabled an exchange of regional information and knowledge, and a review of progress towards SAICM objectives.

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 LAC regional meeting took place from 6-7 May 2022 in Montevideo, Uruguay. The meeting discussed the outcomes of the four Virtual Working Groups (VWGs), which 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. 

Participants discussed a compilation of recommendations regarding the Strategic Approach and the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020 (SAICM/RM/LAC.6/3), which ICCM5 is expected to consider. The document contains proposed recommendations on:

  • Vision;
  • Scope;
  • Principles and approaches;
  • Strategic objectives and targets for the sound management of chemicals and waste;
  • Institutional arrangements;
  • Mechanisms to support implementation, including capacity building, taking stock of progress, updating the framework, and sectoral and stakeholder coordination; and
  • Financial considerations, including on an integrated approach to financing, engagement in multisectoral partnerships, and financing the Secretariat.

Much of the document contains brackets and will be further discussed at IP4 in Bucharest, Romania, at the end of August.

The final report of VWG1 on targets, indicators, and milestones (SAICM/RM/LAC.6/4) discussed during the meeting includes: 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. Proposed targets fall under the SAICM Strategic Objectives on: measures to prevent or minimize harm from chemicals throughout their life cycle; knowledge, data, and information; issues of concern; impacts on human health and the environment; and resources, partnerships, and contributions to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 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/LAC.6/5) deliberated proposals to advance progress on topics including: establishment 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/LAC.6.6) discussed 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 a set of “trigger criteria” to review existing issues of concern when voluntary work is insufficient.

VWG4 on financial considerations (SACIM/RM/LAC.6.7) issued proposals on an integrated approach to financing, private sector involvement in chemicals and waste management, a clearinghouse mechanism to track development assistance, mainstreaming chemicals and waste management, and a strategy for resource mobilization, including dedicated external financing, among other topics.

Participants also heard a presentation on the Latin American Regulatory Cooperation Forum, which promotes the design and implementation of regulatory systems for chemicals management in the region, and an update from the Minamata Convention on Mercury. [SAICM Regional Meetings Website] [SAICM roadmap towards IP4 and ICCM5

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