Nordic Ministerial Declaration on sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020 - Global agenda for Chemicals and Waste

30.04.20 | Declaration
Nordic Ministerial Declaration on sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020 - Global agenda for Chemicals and Waste

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We, the Nordic Ministers for Environment from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Faroe Island, Greenland and Åland:

  • Note with deep concern the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic and the tragic losses of thousands of human lives. Many functions of society have been shut down, and numerous international processes have been halted, including the Intersessional Process for developing the Beyond 2020 framework on sound management of chemicals and waste.
  • Note with concern that every year countless people die prematurely from exposure to hazardous substances.

  • Note that global chemical sales are expected to double by 2030, and that the increase in consumption and production mainly takes place in emerging economies and that production and global supply chains for chemicals and products require global solutions. We further note that the global use of materials has been estimated to more than double by 2050.

  • Note that reducing the environmental impact from consumption and production necessitates sound management of chemicals and waste and the transition to a circular economy.

  • Note with deep concern that the global goal to minimize adverse impacts of chemicals and waste will not be achieved by 2020 and that ambitious worldwide action by all stakeholders is therefore urgently required.

Welcome the Global Chemicals Outlook II and emphasise the identified need to substantially improve the management of chemicals and waste to achieve sustainable development. In order to achieve mutual benefits we should work in close cooperation with other relevant sectors such as biodiversity, health and climate.

Recommend that the Beyond 2020 framework on sound management of chemicals and waste should:

  • Build on a broad and responsible engagement by governments, private sector, industry, civil society, international organisations and other stakeholders and actively engage them to the implementation of sound management of chemicals throughout the life cycle, including waste

  • Ensure high-level political commitment and ownership across all stakeholders to achieve safe management of chemicals and waste globally – it’s urgent for all of us!

  • Build on ambitious strategic objectives and targets covering the life cycle of chemicals and waste to guide our efforts.

  • Facilitate the establishment and implementation of legal frameworks nationally or regionally to achieve sound management of chemicals and waste.

  • Enhance the effective implementation of the Globally Harmonised System (GHS) of classification and labelling of chemicals to provide daily safety and integrate requirements for adequate data generation of chemicals marketed in legal frameworks in all countries – “no data, no market”.

  • Effectively address issues of concern, which can cause harm to human health and the environment and which are currently insufficiently addressed.

  • Strengthen interactions between science and policy in the chemicals and waste cluster to allow better informed decisions.

  • Build on the integrated approach to address the financing of the sound management of chemicals and wastes, considering that its three components mainstreaming, industry involvement and dedicated external financing, are mutually reinforcing

We recommend the future framework should be endorsed by the UN General Assembly to increase the awareness and visibility of the issues and to secure the necessary ownership and coordination between relevant UN bodies, agencies and frameworks to ensure the sound management of chemicals and waste.

We commit to use our role as leaders to work towards adopting an ambitious framework at the 5th International Conference on Chemical Management (ICCM5) in Bonn, Germany, in 2021.

In addition to the current number one priority in society, to combat the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, it is of highest importance to keep the momentum in the process towards a new framework for the safe management of chemicals and waste in order to meet the 2030 Agenda. The sound management of chemicals and waste is necessary for a sustainable recovery after the pandemic. We must keep our ambitions high and use the opportunities available to continue to prepare the grounds for efficient decisions in the Intersessional Process when we will be able to meet again at a later stage.

  • Lea Wermelin, Minister for Environment, Denmark
  • Kim Kielsen, Premier of Greenland
  • Helgi Abrahamsen, Minister of Environment, Industry and Trade, Faroe Islands
  • Isabella Lövin, Minister for Environment and Climate and Deputy Prime Minister, Sweden  
  • Sveinung Rotevatn, Minister of Climate and Environment, Norway
  • Krista Mikkonen, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Finland
  • Alfons Röblom, Minister of Development, Åland
  • Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources, Iceland
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