11 March 2019: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) released the Synthesis Report for the Global Chemicals Outlook II during the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-4), ahead of the official launch in April 2019 at the third meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG3) of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM) in Montevideo, Uruguay.

The Synthesis Report highlights the gaps in meeting the internationally agreed goal to minimize the adverse impacts of chemicals and waste by 2020, and outlines approaches to reduce further damage to human health and economies. The report finds that, with global supply chains and trade in chemicals and products becoming more complex, the size of the global chemical industry is projected to double by 2030. It notes that, alongside risks, growth in chemical-intensive industry sectors such as construction, agriculture and electronics creates opportunities to foster sustainable consumption, production and product innovation.

The burden of disease from selected chemicals in 2016 is estimated at 1.6 million lives.

On health, the report highlights significant benefits of action to minimize adverse impacts. The World Health Organization (WHO), the report states, estimates the burden of disease from selected chemicals at 1.6 million lives in 2016. It further notes that chemical pollution also threatens ecosystem services.

On voluntary commitments, the report highlights uneven progress and implementation gaps, and notes that, as of 2018, more than 120 countries had not implemented the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals.

On knowledge sharing, the report emphasizes that significant resources can be saved by sharing knowledge on chemical management instruments more widely.

Other key findings highlighted in the report relate to sustainable supply chain management, human rights-based policies, sustainable chemistry education and innovation, harmonizing research protocols and strengthening the science-policy interface through collaborative approaches. [Publication: Global Chemicals Outlook II: From Legacies to Innovative Solutions: Synthesis Report] [Publication Landing Page] [UNEP Press Release] [Climate Action Press Release] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Global Chemicals Outlook II Summary for Policymakers][SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Chapter I: Overview of the Global Chemical Industry] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Chapter II: Progress on Achieving the 2020 Goal] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Chapter III: Chemicals Management Tools and Approaches] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Chapter IV: Enabling Policies and Action to Support Innovative Solutions] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Chapter V: Scaling Up Collaborative Action Under 2030 Agenda