United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

European Union

Statement on behalf of the European Union and its 27 Member States
By
Hugo-Maria SCHALLY
Delegation of the European Union
Intergovernmental preparatory meeting
of the 19th Commission on Sustainable Development
Chemicals
United Nations
New York
1 March 2011
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Mr Chair,
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and it?s Member States.
Chemicals provide us with great benefits but also raise important challenges. As
noted by the bureau in the resource paper, if chemicals are not managed soundly over
their whole life-cycle, they can negatively influence human health and the
environment.
At CSD-18, the EU shared it?s experiences on the implementation of regional and
global frameworks for chemicals management, including the EU chemicals regime
(REACH), the Globally Harmonised System for Classification and Labelling (GHS) and
SAICM. The last CSD 18 meeting, the Secretary General?s report and the resource
paper have been important in identifying key challenges, emerging issues and
possible ways forward in the field of chemicals management.
Taking these views into account the EU considers that three priorities are
particularly crucial to advance the implementation of sustainable development in
chemicals management, and to achieve the 2020 goal that ?chemicals are
manufactured and used in a way so as to minimise the impact on the environment
and human health?.
The first is to recognise that sustainable consumption and production lies at the
heart of sound chemicals management. Adoption of a life-cycle approach and the
involvement of the whole supply chain is necessary. Rules for registration, evaluation,
authorization and restriction of chemicals are important elements which need to be
included in legislation together with a transfer of responsibility to manufacturers,
importers and downstream users, to make sure that the substances they develop,
place on the market or use, do not harm human health or the environment;
The EU considers that SCP principles should be embedded in the activities of the
chemicals industry and the institutions involved in sound chemicals management
(including members of the Inter-Organisation Programme for the sound Management
of Chemicals). These bodies should consider submitting sustainable chemicals
management programmes to the 10 year framework of programmes to be
established at CSD-19.
The second, is that the full and effective implementation of SAICM be accelerated
worldwide. CSD-18 recognised that there has been progress towards the 2020 goal,
but that it is insufficient and uneven across countries and regions. An important
recommendation from CSD-19 should therefore strengthen the work of SAICM
nationally, regionally and internationally. Particular efforts are needed to address the
following:
1. Further promotion of inter-sectoral involvement in the implementation of SAICM,
particularly from the health sector, noted in the resource paper. CSD-19 should send
a strong message to the World Health Organisation regarding the importance of public
health issues, as well as to the International Labour Organisation and to the Food and
Agriculture Organisation with regard to health and safety of workers, in the
implementation of the Strategic Approach. Since health impacts from poor
management of chemicals is an integrated part of SAICM, links to programmes
primarily addressing health issues needs to be strengthened so that the objectives of
SAICM are reflected within these programmes;
2. As also noted in the resource paper, strengthen the link between sound chemicals
management and the UN Millennium Development Goals and in doing so encourage
developing countries to integrate relevant areas of SAICM into their overarching
national development s trategies;
3. Highlight the importance of placing the responsibility on manufacturers, importers
and downstream users for making sure that the substances and products they
develop, place on the market or use, do not harm human health or the environment.
For example by providing information on chemicals in products, and sharing
information on risk assessments, risk management and safe use, as an important
element of chemicals management. This information should be made available to the
public;
4. Stress the responsibility and role of the private sector in support of the
implementation of SAICM, not only through voluntary involvement of industry but by
regulatory frameworks that internalise external costs;
5. Continue efforts to combat the illegal trafficking and dumping of hazardous
chemicals and waste, including obsolete pesticides.
The third priority, is to seek further support for improvements in the long-term
co-operation among existing and new chemicals management instruments.
Building upon the ?synergies? work undertaken to strengthen co -operation and coordination
between the chemicals and waste conventions. We are convinced that the
ExCOPs and their outcome are good examples of applied International Environmental
Governance, and encourage Members to consider a similar process for other related
conventions.
We need to remain vigilant that future efforts do not undo what has been achieved by
adding complexity to the system, duplicating efforts, and competing for resources. In
this regard, we support paragraph 81 of the Secretary General?s report for this
meeting on chemicals which states:
"the international policy and legal framework for chemicals should be further
strengthened, including through full and effective implementation of SAICM,
successful negotiation of the globally legally binding instrument on mercury,
examination of the usefulness of broader chemical legal instruments, and
development of international structures for sound management of chemicals post-
2020"
The EU and it?s Member States welcomes last week?s UNEP Governing Council
decisions on chemicals and waste management, and considers that the section on
enhancing cooperation and coordination within that cluster, takes us another step
closer.
Mr Chair,
2011 is the international year of chemistry. It also has a busy international chemicals
agenda. We therefore request that you transmit the outcomes of this CSD cycle to all
policy forums discussing chemicals management, in particular the third international
conference on chemicals management under SAICM in order to pursue the
implementation of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation objective of sound
chemicals management, and to contribute to achievement to a Green Economy.
Thank you for your attention.