United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Europena Union

Strategies for sustainable chemicals and waste management in the context of
moving to a resource efficient and green economy need to be based on :
1 ? Prevention:
? this is a key factor in any chemicals and waste management strategy:
pollutants and waste prevention - both qualitative and quantitative ? must be
particularly targeted; more research is thus needed on new technologies and
traditional practices ;
? prevention strategies should be based on the polluter pays principle, include
extended producer responsibility and product information, and act upstream on
the consumption pattern and the eco-conception of the product ;
? prevention includes reducing the presence of hazardous substances in products
in order to diminish the environmental impact of production, use and waste
management ; The RoHS directive and the REACH regulation are examples of
initiatives preventing hazardous waste by regulating the use of certain
substances ;
? Application of the substitution principle ? safer alternatives, REACH, industry
initiatives (responsible care, product stewardship etc.) ;
? Resource efficiency and the use of renewable resources in chemicals
production as well as emerging production processes (such as ?white
biotechnology?) represent ways to achieve the sustainable management of
chemicals and can also contribute significantly to pollution prevention, waste
reduction and to combat climate change.
2 - Safe and environmentally sound chemicals and waste management, which
? achieving the overall objective of the Strategic Approach of International
Chemicals Management (SAICM) by 2020 by implementing the overarching
policy strategy and above all to take appropriate cooperative action on global
priorities as presented in the global plan of action ;
? achieving sanitation and all health related targets in the context of the
Millennium Development Goals (MDG) ;
? adopting and implementing appropriate legislation along with public access to
information (cf. enabling information access on the occurrence of chemicals in
products and their properties) ;
? the need for effective governance systems (e.g. in order to ensure the provision
of infrastructures and services for waste management in an efficient and
equitable manner) and effective enforcement of international environmental
agreements ;
? as regards waste :
- separating and using it as great extent as possible through preparation for
reuse and recycling and thereby increasing resource efficiency,
- converting it to energy when further recycling is not possible and restricting
disposal as much as possible;
- continuing to combat against illegal shipments of waste ;
? transferring and disseminating, on mutually agreed terms, appropriate
technologies for rural and urban areas in developing countries and countries
with economies in transition (e.g. through the Bali Strategic Plan for
Technology Support and Capacity Building) ;
? giving more attention to specific waste streams and emerging issues common
to chemicals and waste such as electric and electronic products and waste and
stockpiles of obsolete chemicals (pesticides and biocides).
? the importance of the sound chemicals management for the fulfilment of the
Millennium Development Goals
3 - Improved life-cycle approach of products and sustainable patterns of
consumption and production, i.e. :
? boosting the demand for better products and production technologies and
stimulating the diffusion of lower life-cycle impact products ;
? supporting innovation and application of BAT/BEP and creating BREFs for
processes that are most widely used
? helping consumers in making informed choices, both when buying a product
and when it becomes waste; information on chemicals in products throughout
the whole life-cycle of the product, about the possibilities to repair them and
their recyclability is therefore needed to enable informed choices and improve
overall risk management ;
? when it comes to improving life-cycle approach of products at international
level, the outcomes of the extraordinary Conferences of the Parties of the
Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions on the ?synergies? process - in
particular through agreements on joint activities, joint services and joint
management - should be welcomed and should be extended to the envisaged
legally binding instrument on mercury;
? The significance of SAICM´s work on the management of chemicals
throughout their life-cycle should also be particularly highlighted (including
the resolution II/4 on chemicals in products). Cooperation and coordination of
these three conventions with SAICM should be enhanced.
4 ? Active use of existing links and establishment/enforcement of efficient
? recognition of the changing nature and geographical distribution of the
chemicals and waste industry worldwide; technological shift implementing the
sustainable consumption patterns is yet to be achieved;
? raise awareness and make use of evident links including (complex) mutual
interaction of chemicals/waste management with human and ecosystem health
and development. There is a need to understand that chemicals and waste
management have a role and links with climate change, energy security and
persistent global poverty. Implementation of sound management of chemicals
and waste can greatly help to combat global poverty, research and
development in chemicals industry can contribute to diminish climate change
but to increase energy security when finding solutions for improving
efficiency of processes and decreasing consumption of non-renewable
? make use of opportunities deriving from sound chemicals and waste
management for greening the economy and the development
? integrating chemicals and waste management into countries? overarching
sustainable development strategies and to donors? country assistance strategies
? strengthening national efforts and bilateral and multilateral cooperation in line
with ?think synergies first? aiming at preventing duplication of work but
leading to multiplication of desirable results
? further explore options to realising further synergies with the aim of
improving general governance and handling matters of global concerns related
to chemicals/waste management, recognizing its cross-sectoral nature and
securing its sustainable financing from various sources.