SAICM: 6th Africa regional meeting opens in Côte d’Ivoire on Tuesday


Government officials from across Africa, Civil society organisations, development agencies and experts in chemical management will from Tuesday February 6-8, 2018 converge in Abidjan Côte d’Ivoire for the 6th African regional meeting on the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) meeting.
Essentially, the SAICM overarching policy strategy, in paragraph 26, indicates the functions of the regional meetings to include: to review progress on implementation of the Strategic Approach within the regions; to provide guidance on implementation to all stakeholders at a regional level and to enable technical and strategic discussions and exchange of information to take place.
Since the adoption of SAICM in February 2006, all regions have had at least one regional meeting and there have also been a number of sub-regional meetings, generously supported by a number of donor and host Governments.
Adopted by the First International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM1) on 6th February 2006 in Dubai, the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) is a policy framework to promote chemical safety around the world.
SAICM was developed by a multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral Preparatory Committee and supports the achievement of the 2020 goal agreed at the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development. SAICM overall objective is the achievement of the sound management of chemicals throughout their life cycle so that by the year 2020, chemicals are produced and used in ways that minimize significant adverse impacts on the environment and human health.
Ecogreen News confirmed at the weekend that officials of the Federal Ministry of Environment Nigeria, Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development (SRADev-Nigeria) would participate in the three-day meeting gear towards the second meeting of the intersessional process for considering SAICM and the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020 in Stockholm, Sweden, from 13 to 15 March 2018.
Part of the objectives and expected outcome of the regional meeting and regional representation in Strategic Approach related efforts include implementation of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management: progress review on implementation of the SAICM Overall Orientation and Guidance within the region; update from the IOMC on progress on emerging policy issues and other issues of concern; discussion on country experiences and impact of emerging policy issues efforts in the region and update on the Strategic Approach GEF projects among others.
Executive Director, SRADev-Nigeria, the focal NGO on SAICM issue in Nigeria, Leslie Adogame, told Ecogreen News at the weekend that as the deadline for the realization of chemical safety (SAICM) by the year 2020 approaches, stakeholders should work to promote the achievement of genuine sound management of chemicals in the post 2020 SAICM framework.
He stressed that Nigeria and other Africa countries suffers the most from a weak SAICM and therefore needs to support strengthening of the post 2020 SAICM framework for the genuine achievement of sound chemicals management. “Hence, this regional meeting is of utmost relevance to help articulate the strategic approach and sound management of chemicals post 2020, and also for the region to take the lead on global demand on governance of SAICM.
On implementing the approach in Nigeria, he said it would require, “strong and well-coordinated legal frameworks that address the life cycle of chemicals and waste; Strong institutional frameworks and coordination mechanisms among relevant Stakeholders; Collection gap and systems for the transparent sharing of relevant data and information among all relevant stakeholders – Implementation of Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals; Industry participation in sound chemical management issues and government political will.
“By far all the issues above pose huge challenges for Nigeria sound management of chemicals even presently as well as post 2020, with our present structure and operation of the chemical management clusters.
Asked on the role of Nigeria playing the ‘big brother Africa’, he said “Really it is not an issue of who is playing the ‘big brother Africa’, it is more of a collective Africa regional approach to the task ahead post 2020 SAICM. Post 2020 SAICM issues will certainly be about promoting safe circular economy, green economy, transparency issues and systems, and ‘government will’ in financing chemical issues. These issues remain big challenges for Africa region (Nigeria) particularly in the post 2020 era of voluntary implementation.
Similar meetings have been arranged for the Asia Pacific, Latin American and Caribbean, EU-JUSSCANNZ and Central and Eastern Europe regions.
The 5th Africa regional meeting was held in Pretoria, South Africa in November 2013.