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Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM)


At its first session, held in Dubai United Arab Emirates, from 4 to 6 February 2006, the International Conference on Chemicals Management adopted the Dubai Declaration on International Chemicals Management and the Overarching Policy Strategy. The Conference also recommended the use and further development of the Global Plan of Action as a working tool and guidance document. Together these three documents constitute the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management. It was Andrej Bručan, the then Minister of Health of the RS who signed SAICM on behalf of the Republic of Slovenia, together with Janez Podobnik, Minister of the Environment and Spatial Planning who also confirmed SAICM at a UNEP ministerial conference taking place at the heels of the Conference on Chemical Safety.


The first session of the Conference and the process to develop the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management were co-convened by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC) and the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS). The participating organizations of IOMC are the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Three other organizations, the Global Environment Facility, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank, joined IOMC and IFCS in a steering committee established to oversee the Strategic Approach development process. In its resolution 1, the International Conference on Chemicals Management commended the Strategic Approach to the attention of the governing bodies of relevant organizations and encouraged them to endorse or otherwise appropriately acknowledge the Strategic Approach with a view to incorporating its objectives into their programmes of work within their mandates


A major driving force for the establishment of the Strategic Approach has been the recognition of the growing gaps between the capacities of different countries to manage chemicals safely, the need to improve synergies between existing instruments and processes and the growing sense of urgency regarding the need to assess and manage chemicals more effectively to achieve the 2020 goal articulated in Agenda 21. These agenda was adopted at the UN Conference on environment and development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 where also the Rio Declaration on environment and development was adopted.


Having adopted SAICM in 2006, Slovenia has since then participated in 2 regional events, the first being a meeting of the EU-JUSSCANNZ region taking place in Barcelona, Spain between 20. 11. − 22. 11. 2006.  EU-JUSSCANNZ region encompasses all EU Member States, Japan, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Norway and New Zealand. In addition to these countries there were also Island, Mexico and Korea taking part in this event. The second regional meeting of CEE countries took place in Riga, Latvia between 4.12 and 6.12. 2006. CEE region comprises 23 countries, mostly western and south-eastern countries of the Soviet Union and 10 EU Member States.


Both meetings exchanged experiences on SAICM implementation, as well as on efforts to draw up SAICM implementation national plans. What is more, they also paid due attention to financing the Quick Start Programme and SAICM’s Secretariat. The Quick Start Programme was set up with the view of strengthening capabilities for fulfilling SAICM objectives. The extent to which developing countries, particularly least developed countries and small-island developing States, and countries with economies in transition can make progress towards reaching the 2020 goal depends, in part, on the availability of financial resources provided by the private sector and bilateral, multilateral and global agencies or donors. The Government of the Republic of Slovenia has earmarked for the Quick Start Programme voluntary financial contributions amounting to 20 000 EUR per annum for the period between 2006 and 2010, while it has allocated 3 000 EUR per annum for the period between 2006 and 2020 for SAICM Secretariat.


The Chemicals Office of the Republic of Slovenia has already drawn up a draft SAICM implementation programme, identified the measures foreseen in the National Chemical Safety Programme as well as the ongoing measures in the Republic of Slovenia, as well as those measures that are not relevant to Slovenia (pertaining to specific burning issues not typical of Slovenia, such as illicit trade with hazardous chemicals) and those measures that are yet to be planned and implemented. What is more, the Chemicals Office of the Republic of Slovenia <//font>has also invited all competent line ministries and stakeholders to join in these endeavours. The draft plan has been distributed to all Competent line-ministries and other nongovernmental organisations at the 6th session of the Intersectoral Committee for Chemical Safety on April 3rd 2007. There is a discussion ongoing among relevant line ministries on adopting appropriate amendments to the SAICM implementation plan by making full use of any comments provided by the Intersectoral Committee for Chemical Safety. The National Chemicals Bureau is making every effort to adopt SAICM implementation plans by the end of 2007.