Geneva, 11 April 2016: More than eighty international experts are gathering in Geneva, Switzerland in the week of 11 April 2016 to explore links between the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the sound management of chemicals and waste (SMCW). Participants originate from all UN regions and a diverse range of sectors, representing 23 countries, 13 civil society organizations, 8 private sector organizations and 11 IGOs.
The workshop is a collaboration between the UNEP Chemicals and Waste Branch (including the SAICM Secretariat), the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, UNITAR and the Partner Organizations of the Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC). It takes place from 11-13 April and is followed by an international consultation on the Global Chemicals Outlook, 13-14 April 2016. “The two international consultations provide an opportunity to engage collaboratively with experts around the world in support of the international commitment to develop a long-term approach to the sound management of chemicals and waste in a sustainable development context” said Achim Halpaap, Head of UNEP’s DTIE Chemicals and Waste Branch”.
In welcoming participants, Felix Wertli, Head of Section Global Affairs in the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) - which provided core support for the workshop - referred to the universality of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, citing examples from Switzerland to put international commitment in action. Nikhil Seth, UN Assistant Secretary General and Executive Director of UNITAR, noted in his introductory remarks that a priority in 2016 is to integrate the SDGs into national planning, priorities and strategies. In opening remarks, Rolph Payet, Executive Secretary of the BRS Secretariat stated that “there is probably not one single SDG which is not linked to and dependent on the sound management of chemicals and waste”.
Organised around a number of interactive panels and working groups, the SDG workshop aims to advance analysis and action to strengthen synergies between national implementation of the SDGs and international chemicals and waste agreements. The outcomes will be widely shared and feed into the second session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA2) to inform deliberations and possible further action.
Since the adoption of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) in 2006, the sound management of chemicals has been considered as essential if we are to achieve sustainable development. Renewed momentum has been generated by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 SDGs. SMCW is a specific target under SDG 12 on Sustainable Consumption and Production. It is also referred to under SDG 3 on Good Health and Well-being and SDG 6 on Clean Water and Sanitation.
Throughout the first day of the workshop, participants emphasized that sound management of chemicals and waste is essential to the achievement of all SDGs. Citing the case of Minamata convention, Jacob Duer, Principal Coordinator of the SAICM Secretariat and the Interim Secretariat of the Minamata Convention, indicated that “International chemical conventions really are “sustainable development conventions”, addressing economic, environmental and social aspects”.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted by the 193 Member States of the General Assembly on 25 September 2015. It is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. The new SDGs, and the broader sustainability agenda, build on, but go much further than the MDGs, bringing together the social, economic and environmental pillars. They rallied the world around a common 15-year agenda to tackle the indignity of poverty. UNEA-2 will be held in Nairobi from 23 to 27 May 2016 with an overarching theme of delivering on the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and a focus on reviewing the progress on the SDGs.
CW/SDG.1/1- Agenda CW/SDG.1/2 - Concept note CW/SDG.1/4 - List of Participants
The full workshop report will be available soon.
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