United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Statement by Australia during the thematic discussion on Chemicals
(1 March 2011)
Thank you Mr Chairman
As we have heard, chemicals management is an area of increasing
international concern and activity, and Australia welcomes its inclusion on the
agenda for CSD 19.
Australia is conscious of the issues raised in the Secretary General?s report,
and the need for continued international efforts to address these challenges.
Australia is actively engaged in a range of United Nations chemicals
agreements, including as a Party to the Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm and
Waigani Conventions, and the Montreal Protocol, and as a participant in the
Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM).
Australia will continue to participate actively in these fora, and supports
continued and strengthened cooperation and coordination of existing efforts.
A common objective of these agreements is to improve the management of
chemicals, particularly in developing countries ? a priority that is highlighted in
the Secretary General?s report, and one that we also support.
Australia has demonstrated its commitment to this objective, particularly
through work in the Pacific region. Australia has invested significantly in the
collection of hazardous chemicals from countries in the region and ensuring
their environmentally sound disposal as part of our efforts under the
Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. We are also
providing support through SAICM for Pacific Island countries to improve their
chemicals management.
The scope of work being undertaken on chemicals issues through the United
Nations Environment Programme is increasing. An example is the listing of
nine new chemicals in the Stockholm Convention in May 2009 and the UNEP
Governing Council?s decision in February 2009 to initiate negotiations on a
new legally binding instrument on mercury.
As a number of countries have mentioned, some of the chemicals-related
outcomes of the UNEP Governing Council held last week are relevant to our
discussion today. and to the text of the Resource Paper prepared by the
Bureau, and distributed yesterday. In particular, a process to identify further
financing options within the chemicals and wastes cluster will support
strengthening of the implementation framework and enabling environment. In
addition, a country-driven consultation process to consider further and
stronger cooperation on chemicals and waste is relevant to the call for an
examination of broader chemical legal instruments and the development of
international structures for chemicals management after 2020.
Mr Chairman, Australia supported an expanded mandate for chemicals
management during the fifth replenishment negotiations of the Global
Environmental Facility. We are pleased that the GEF is now supporting
mercury related activities ahead of completion of negotiations on a legally
binding instrument on mercury.
Australia continues to support a risk assessment based approach to
chemicals management grounded in sound science. Australia supports the
adoption of approaches to chemicals management that take into account the
full life cycle from production, through use, and to disposal. As highlighted in
the Secretary General?s report, this is critical to ensuring a comprehensive
approach that addresses all risks.
Australia looks forward to continuing to contribute to the international
community?s efforts to improve chemicals management around the world.
Thank you, Mr Chairman.