Improving international chemicals and waste management beyond 2020

More than 100,000 different chemicals are manufactured, used, and disposed of worldwide. Many of them pose a risk to human health and the environment if not handled responsibly. Nevertheless, only a fraction of these substances is globally regulated. In order to improve the sound management of chemicals and waste, an adelphi team, in cooperation with Minu Hemmati and Paul Hohnen, are working on options for reforming the international governance system on chemicals and waste. The team will also discuss reform proposals with stakeholders in workshops and side events, thus introducing them to the international negotiation process.

At the core of the reform discussions is the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM). This voluntary platform brings together state and non-state actors to increase chemical safety globally and to promote sustainable chemicals management. However, there have been significant problems with the implementation of SAICM objectives, especially in developing countries. As a consequence, the main objective of SAICM of minimizing major adverse effects of chemicals on human health and the environment by 2020 will not be achieved. This poses the question of which type of platform would be more appropriate post-2020, and how it should be designed in order to achieve the SAICM objectives and related objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The results of the research project have practical relevance. In 2015, Germany was elected to the presidency of the Bureau of the 5th International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM5), which will take place in 2020. adelphi supports the German presidency through scientifically founded analyses and the development of institutionally promising and politically realistic concepts for the SAICM reform "beyond 2020". With this, adelphi is continuing the work that begun in 2015 in the predecessor project "Sustainability in international chemicals and waste management: Further development of SAICM beyond 2020".

Publications of this project