Focus should be on chem projects in developing countries - Cefic

18 June 2013 14:56  [Source: ICIS news]

HAMBURG (ICIS)--SAICM, the multi-stakeholder initiative for a Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management, should focus on the implementation of existing projects in developing economies, a senior industry executive said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the European Association of Chemical Distributors’ (FECC) annual conference, Lena Perenius, executive director of international chemicals management at Cefic - the European Chemical Industry Council - cautioned that the difficulty of effective reporting on progress is leading to a lack of funding, adding that some EU member state governments could start looking at other mechanisms to control chemical safety.

In this situation, pursuit of some current policy issues is not the best way forward, she implied, especially those like nanomaterials and endocrine disruptors that are more relevant to developed economies.

Cefic and the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) are very supportive to SAICM, said Perenius, as “we are committed to safety around the globe and because it offers a way of meeting regulations.”

It can also, she suggested, avoid or replace the need for global Conventions on chemicals as a way of regulating their safe use.

The 2020 goal for SAICM, reaffirmed at the ICCM-3 (Rio +20) meeting recently, to “…to achieve… that chemicals are used and produced in ways that lead to the minimisation of significant adverse effects on human health and the environment…” will be very challenging, she said, and will “require work at a global and local level in a multi-stakeholder way.”

She pointed to a recent memorandum of understanding signed between ICCA and the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) to provide capacity building in developing economies.

This includes training for safety trainers in developing countries, provision of Responsible Care expert and “tool boxes” for governments to use in regulating industry practices. A prime focus has been to promote safety in warehousing and transport in African ports, with an initial project in Mombasa, Kenya.

Other areas of priority concern include lead in paint and hazardous chemicals in electronics, both of which are critical issues in the developing countries, the latter because of the practice of shipping waste electronics goods to such countries for dismantling and recycling.

By: John Baker
+44 20 8652 3214

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