This content was published in the period between

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Karolina Skog is no longer a government minister,
Minister for the Environment

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The High Ambition Alliance raises the issue of chemicals and waste

Published

Chemicals and waste pose a growing threat to both the environment and human health around the world. The aim of the High Ambition Alliance is to ensure an ambitious new global deal on management of chemicals and waste.

Ministers Karolina Skog, Swedem, and Eneida de León, Uruguay.
Minister for the Environment Karolina Skog, Sweden, and Minister for Housing, Land Planning and Environment Eneida de León, Uruguay, developed messages for the High Ambition Alliance. Photo: Jakob Lundgren, Government Offices of Sweden.

The present global strategy on management of chemicals, SAICM, lasts until 2020. There are also international conventions which cover particular substances. However, risk management must clearly be carried out for more than one substance at a time.

In July 2018 Minister for the Environment Karolina Skog launched an international High Ambition Alliance to mobilize political engagement for more effective global management of chemicals and waste. The aim is to ensure an ambitious new global deal on management of chemicals and waste.

High level messages on chemicals and waste

These high-level messages were developed for the High Ambition Alliance by its co-chairs: Minister for the Environment Karolina Skog, Sweden, and Minister for Housing, Land Planning and Environment Eneida de León, Uruguay. The purpose of the messages is to raise the issue on chemicals and waste and create an understanding on the need to act.

  • The spread of hazardous chemicals and waste is a challenge that requires global action. We need to act together in order to achieve the targets on the sound management of chemicals and waste as set out in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and to have positive and lasting results on chemicals and waste management.
  • Sound chemicals and waste management is beneficial to meeting the objectives of numerous goals in the 2030 Agenda and as such covers the entire environmental and development agenda.
  • Unsafe management of hazardous chemicals and waste leads to air, water and soil pollution affecting ecosystems and habitats and causing harm to human health.
  • Taking action on chemicals and waste would help preserve our biodiversity. Populations of little mammals, birds and insects, mainly pollinators, crucial to preserving the fertility and variety of plant life, are dying off faster than they can repopulate due to pollution from uncontrolled use of pesticides and contaminated waterways.
  • Taking action on chemicals and waste could help mitigate climate change. Hazardous emissions enter the air on a daily basis from various industrial and domestic sources. Many of these chemicals can affect climate change and even destroy the ozone layer.
  • Climate Change will have an effect on our biodiversity. In turn a warming planet might alter and increase the susceptibility of organisms to the toxic effects of chemicals and waste.
  • In 2020 a new global framework for the management of chemicals and waste is expected to be adopted based on the outcomes of the ‘Beyond 2020’ process spearheaded by the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management. We now have a unique opportunity to show joint leadership in advancing and strengthening our global efforts to act on chemicals and waste at all levels both in the context of the Beyond 2020 process and thereafter.
  • The High Ambition Alliance was established in July 2018 with the aim to promote and ensure commitment to an ambitious new global deal to the sound management of chemicals and waste.
  • The High Ambition Alliance are a group of committed leaders who wish to raise the political profile of the benefits of tackling hazardous chemicals and waste and make it a more ambitious programme than it is currently.  Further, the Alliance recognizes the vast costs of inaction that, unchecked, will have direct impact on human health, the environment and economic development.
  • Chemicals are critical to achieving the sustainable development goals. To advance the development towards a circular economy, information and knowledge on chemicals and waste is needed and innovation is key.
  • A future global approach should be based on and adaptive to science and promote legislation at national level. Innovation and the private sector are important players to advance the process.
  • Adequate levels of financing, strengthening of capacities and technology transfer is needed for developing countries to achieve the sound management of chemicals and waste by 2020 and thereafter.