Prior to the fourth meeting of the intersessional process considering the strategic approach and sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020 (IP4) and the fifth meeting of the International Conference on Chemical Management (ICCM5), the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) called a number of regional meetings. The Africa regional meeting gave nations the chance to share information and expertise and give updates on the region’s progress toward the SAICM’s goals.
The conference took place in Accra, Ghana, from June 27 to June 29, 2022. The four Virtual Working Groups (VWGs) that were formed to keep things moving during the COVID-19 pandemic were discussed. Delegates also looked at IP3 result wording on the new framework’s vision, scope, principles and methodologies, and strategic goals that was not taken into consideration during VWGs.
Speaking at the meeting on behalf of Kwaku Afriyie, Ghana’s Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation, Cynthia Asare-Bediako noted that despite the continent’s importation of chemicals and frequent use as a “dumping ground” for hazardous chemicals and outdated electronic and electrical equipment.
The ICCM5 President, Anita Breyer, emphasized via video that the meeting’s goal was to make sure that Africa was adequately ready for IP4. She explained that the goals of the VWG were to advance knowledge and prepare delegates for these negotiations rather than to take the place of official face-to-face discussions at IP4 and/or ICCM5. She expressed gratitude for the UN Environment Assembly’s (UNEA) decision to establish a science-policy panel in order to further support responsible chemical, waste, and pollution control practices.
The Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions and Minamata Convention Secretariats, as well as members of the Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC), provided participants with updates (UNEP). The IOMC Chair discussed the suggested integrated strategy for managing chemicals and trash that entails a number of ministries and industries in addition to integration within more general goals for economic, social, and sustainable development.
Co-facilitator Silvija Kalnins emphasized the creation of five strategic objectives, 25 targets, and more than 80 indicators when discussing the outcomes of VWG1 on Targets, indicators, and milestones (SAICM/RM/AFR.7/4). She suggested two choices for moving forward: continuing the policy expert group’s work on targets, indicators, and milestones; or combining their efforts with those of a technical sub-group that would prepare specialized work on indicators.
She took note of the region’s worry that inputs were not adequately reflected and pushed for a greater sense of ownership over the procedure.
Participants advocated developing goals and targets that are consistent with the SDGs and emphasized the need for indicators on recipient nations’ access to financial resources in order to more accurately assess how effectively the resources are used.
Co-facilitator Karissa Kovner mentioned recommendations for creating a science-policy interface and for further considering issues in the “Parking Lot” document, which reflects issues that require additional consideration, when discussing outcomes of VWG2 on Governance and mechanisms to support implementation (SAICM/RM/AFR.7/5). Numerous participants agreed that SAICM should enhance rather than replicate the work of the science-policy panel under UNEP.
The capacity building of national focal points and industry participation were other topics covered by delegates, along with a Japanese proposal to improve reporting and information exchange.