United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Distinguished ministers, dear colleagues,
I am pleased to take part in this round table discussion on chemicals and waste
management as this is an area of great importance to Finland;
Finland is committed to achieving the goal agreed upon at the Johannesburg
summit whereby chemicals are produced and used in ways that minimize
significant adverse impacts on the environment and human health by the year
In order to do this we have agreed on a nationals chemicals programme which
has been in place since 2006 and which takes into account the effects on
consumers, public health, workers' health and safety, and the effects on the
environment during the entire lifecycle of chemicals.
In Finland, measures to use and manage chemicals in a sound manner mainly
stem from the implementation of European Union and international regulatory
As a country in the Northern hemisphere we are on the receiving end of long
range transport of hazardous substances such as persistent organic pollutants
and some heavy metals, particularly mercury.
Finland as a coastal state to the Baltic Sea participates actively in common
efforts to protect this sensitive marine environment. Environment ministers are
meeting this month to strengthen the 2007 Baltic Sea Action Plan
implementation on minimizing the effects of hazardous substances to the Baltic
Because of the vulnerability of our Northern environment, it is of specific interest
to us to find efficient global solutions to such environmental problems. We have
therefore been actively involved in the development and implementation of
multilateral environmental agreements in the field of hazardous substances;
particularly regarding the Stockholm, Rotterdam and Basel conventions.
We think the historic joint meeting of the ExCOPs of these three conventions is
very encouraging in that Parties for the first time came together to together
decide on how to make implementation of these three conventions stronger.
The ExCOPs are important in many ways, as a means of cementing synergies
among the three conventions but also a very promising precedent for
international environmental governance.
However, we still need to work on strengthening the linkages between SAICM
and the chemicals and waste conventions so that countries can be assisted in
more coherent implementation.
We also need to continue our efforts to lessen the problems emanating from the
movement of hazardous waste, including illegal traffic.
It is important that national waste management is part of capacity-building
activities within the Bali strategic plan implementation.
The last challenge that I will address today is that we should halt the growth in
waste volumes. This requires us to turn our attention to the production and
consumption and resource efficiency. Here I see a clear link between our current
topic and our discussions on sustainable consumption and production patterns.
Thank you, madam/mister chairman.