Successful meeting on chemicals and waste
In the past few days, Minister for the Environment Karolina Skog and Sweden hosted an international meeting on how the countries of the world can handle chemicals and waste. The spread of dangerous chemicals constitutes a major health risk at global level. Sweden wants to see a global agreement for chemicals, comparable to the Paris Agreement for the climate.
Current global cooperation in the area of chemicals consists of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), which applies until 2020. On 12–15 March, the countries of the world met in Stockholm to discuss what is to follow after 2020.
The meeting opened with a high-level dialogue to which Ms Skog had invited a smaller group of countries, researchers and stakeholders. Ms Skog said that she would now like to form a coalition of like-minded countries to pursue an ambitious global deal. This was supported by all those who participated.
"We all agree that the world needs to act now, that the ambition level must be raised and that a global deal is needed. Strong and committed leadership from both the political area and the business sector is required to achieve this. The cost of inaction is enormous and many lives can be saved through global measures in the area," says Ms Skog.
Several participants of the high-level dialogue noted that a future framework for chemicals and waste must be decided at the highest political level to have the desired effect. Many also pointed out that the sustainable handling of chemicals and waste is associated with sustainable development on several fronts, such as poverty reduction, human rights, health, the climate, water and agriculture. It is important to arouse interest in the issue and bring about cooperation between actors in industry, the waste sector and civil society, not least among young people.
Sweden also hosted the working group meeting on the 'Second meeting of the intersessional process considering the Strategic Approach and the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020," which was held on 13–15 March. It gathered some 400 delegates from across the world for discussions on the future framework. The meeting discussed possible proposals for a vision that clearly and simply captures the importance of action in the chemicals and waste sector globally, such as which goals should be set to address the future challenges that exist for chemicals and waste. Another important issue was how the framework should be designed.
"The safe handling of chemicals and waste is a prerequisite for sustainable development. Everyone should feel confident that the toys we give to our children, the water we drink and the electronics we use are safe and free from dangerous chemicals. When the products can no longer be used, the waste must also be handled in a way that is sustainable for human health and the environment," says Ms Skog.
Political Adviser to Minister for the Environment Karolina Skog
Phone (switchboard) +46 8 405 10 00
email to Hanna Björnfors, via senior registry clerk