A Milestone Achieved: Global Framework on Chemicals and Waste Adopted

A Milestone Achieved: Global Framework on Chemicals and Waste Adopted
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The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) heralds the adoption of the Global Framework on Chemicals and Waste (GFC) at the Fifth International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM5) in Bonn, Germany. This historic framework, successor to the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), stands out as the sole global, comprehensive instrument addressing all facets of chemicals and waste issues. It is dedicated to safeguarding both people and the planet from the harms of chemicals and waste, including the phasing out of hazardous pesticides and ensuring sustainable financing for a toxic-free future. The framework encourages collaborative negotiations among governments, public interest groups, and industry representatives, fostering active participation from environmental, health, and labor sectors.

This adoption is the culmination of rigorous negotiations that commenced in 2015, marked by challenging deliberations that only reached consensus at the eleventh hour. CIEL, alongside dedicated organizations and countries from Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean, played a pivotal role in achieving several key victories.

David Azoulay, Director of CIEL’s Environmental Health Program, highlighted the significance of establishing a dedicated trust fund, echoing the success of the original SAICM’s Quick Start Program. With an initial pledge of EUR 20 million by Germany, this financing mechanism is crucial in supporting governmental implementation of national projects for the sound management of chemicals and waste. However, there remains room for improvement, particularly in recognizing the need for a global fund with clear funding targets to address the pollution crisis comprehensively. There’s also a need for a more robust application of the polluters pay principle.

Giulia Carlini, Senior Attorney for CIEL’s Environmental Health Program, emphasized that the newly adopted framework empowers states and stakeholders to identify and address new concerns while allowing ongoing efforts to regulate previously identified issues such as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and ‘forever chemicals’ PFAS. The determination of continued work on these existing issues will be made at the next conference, underlining the critical need for ongoing support and funding to ensure that these crucial matters remain on the agenda and are effectively addressed in the ongoing journey to protect our environment and health.


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