Isabella Lövin chaired high-level meeting on chemicals and waste at COP25
The High Ambition Alliance meeting on Chemicals and Waste took place today in Madrid under the leadership of Sweden and Uruguay. The meeting discussed the way forward for an ambitious global framework for chemicals and waste management. The current global chemicals strategy runs until 2020.
“Every year, countless people die prematurely from exposure to hazardous substances. Dangerous chemicals are also being found in unborn babies. This is frightening, and we need global action to tackle this problem. That’s why Sweden launched a high ambition alliance to move efforts forward,” says Minister for Environment and Climate Isabella Lövin.
The High Ambition Alliance meeting was held in connection with COP25, the UN climate change conference currently taking place in Madrid. Ms Lövin co-chaired the meeting with her Uruguayan counterpart, Eneida de León.
“Issues related to chemicals cannot be dealt with as national issues. Global trade and private imports mean that goods cross borders in ways that pose new challenges for how we regulate hazardous chemicals,” says Ms Lövin.
According to ILO estimates, two million workers die prematurely every year (three workers per minute) due to exposure to toxic chemicals, pesticides, radiation and other hazardous substances. This highlights the urgent need for countries around the world to find common solutions for a non-toxic environment.
The High Ambition Alliance for Chemicals and Waste is a Swedish initiative created in New York in 2018 by some 20 countries, a number of UN organisations and agencies. Through this Alliance, Sweden is strengthening its leadership and catalytic role in global environmental action. This increases the likelihood of reaching our national environmental quality objective of a non-toxic environment, the generational goal, and SDG target 12.4 on chemicals and waste, whose target year is 2020.
At present, there is no clear process for dealing with target 12.4 after 2020. The current global Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) runs until 2020. The High Ambition Alliance is pushing to ensure that the ongoing negotiating process under SAICM will lead to the world’s countries adopting a new global framework for chemicals management in October next year.