Chemicals and Waste

Minimizing the impact of chemicals and waste on people and the environment; promoting safer alternatives

UN Environment is the driving force in the UN system for activities and policies towards sound management of chemicals and proper waste disposal, including on persistent organic pollutants, cadmium, lead, mercury, and ozone-depleting substances. It aims to address the whole life cycle of chemicals, working with a range of sectors and stakeholders to find safer alternatives, with concerted efforts in developing countries where chemical production and use are increasing. In particular, the Economy Division promotes chemical safety by helping developing countries formulate appropriate policies, notably through relevant multilateral agreements, including the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management, and through the framework of the implementation of the Montreal Protocol, which deals with substances that deplete the ozone layer.

The Economy Division strives to:

• Increase capacity and financing for stakeholders and sectors to assess, manage and reduce risks to human health and the environment from chemicals and hazardous waste.

• Advance international policy and legislative frameworks, and provide technical advice and capacity building to support environmentally-sound management of chemicals and waste.

• Promote the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management  – an inclusive platform engaging more than 250 sectors and stakeholders including governments, inter-governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and the private sector from across agriculture, environment, health, business, labour, economics, science and academia.The Strategic Alliance to International Chemicals Management addresses agricultural and industrial chemicals throughout their life cycle, facilitating exchange of tools and resources, advocating stronger policies and helping to build institutional capacity.


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