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UNEP’s Consultative meeting launches work on Global Chemicals Outlook II, Geneva, Switzerland, 13-14 April 2016

Under the theme “Taking Stock and Exploring the Future of Chemicals Management in a Sustainable Development Context”,  UNEP organized, with support from UNITAR, a consultative meeting to discuss the development of the Global Chemical Outlook II (GCO-II). The meeting took place in Geneva on April 13-14, 2016 and gathered a group of some 70 regionally balanced, multi-sectoral scientific and technical experts. Participants included experts from  27 Governments, 25 private sector and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and 14  IGOs. 

The consultative meeting provided valuable advice and guidance on important dimensions of developing GCO II. Through a number of plenary sessions and interactive working groups,  participants reviewed and provided insights on the rationale, the scope and the process of GCO II, and the process of conducting research on topics proposed as priorities.  


In his welcoming statement, Tim Kasten, Deputy Director of UNEP, DTIE, recognized the diversity of interests and expertise represented.  “GCO II provides policy makers and stakeholders with policy relevant  knowledge to inform their assessment of the implementation of the 2020 goal and exploring the sound and sustainable management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020”,  Tim Kasten emphasized.  He indicated that the development of GCO-II is linked to the inter-sessional process on SAICM and sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020, with a view to submit a summary report to the SAICM  Open-Ended Working Group at the end of 2018. 

Achim Halpaap, Head of Chemicals and Waste Branch, UNEP, DTIE, introduced the context and proposed approach of developing GCO-II and its three Parts which can be seen as complementary building blocks. These include:  Part I: Global Context, Trends and Developments; Part II: Review of Chemical Management Areas of Relevance Until and Beyond 2020; and Part III: Policy Measures and Action for Creating an Enabling Environment.  The  main method used for  GCO-II is “back-casting”, an analytical tool and planning method which starts with defining a desirable future and exploring actions that need to be taken in order to attain a certain goal.


Participants appreciated the proposed structure, method and outline for developing the GCO-II and provided specific comments on the three proposed parts. Additional themes and topics were suggested to enhance the comprehensiveness, credibility and legitimacy of the outline. Working groups were established to discuss specific aspects of the outline, which will be revised by UNEP in time for the first meeting of the GCO II steering committee.


Participants also discussed governance and implementation arrangements, including the criteria for establishing a regionally-, gender-, sector- and competence/skills-balanced Steering Committee.  The Steering Committee will be established to provide strategic advice to UNEP concerning GCO-II. Regions and regional perspectives will be considered throughout the preparation of the thematic review papers. Regions will also have the opportunity to provide insights on their priorities related to the chemical management topics examined by GCO-II.

Initial financial support for the GCO II consultation and initial research  was provided by Sweden and Norway. UNITAR, as a training and research institute in the UN system, will  provide support to UNEP for the process of developing initial thematic review papers starting in 2016.  

Meeting documents

UNEP/GCOII/CEM/2 - Concept Note       UNEP/GCOII/CEM/3 - Agenda       UNEP/GCOII/CEM/LoP - List of Participants        

UNEP/GCOII/CEM/5 - Initial Draft outline for the GCO-II                            UNEP/GCOII/MeetingReport - Meeting Report