The Global Chemicals Outlook (GCO) in 2012 alerted the international community to the rapidly changing nature and size of chemicals related challenges and the chemicals intensification of the economies of developing countries and countries in economic transition. Though chemicals are a major contributor to national economies, sound management throughout their lifecycle is essential not only to avoid significant risks to human health and ecosystems along with their associated economic costs, but also to maximize the full benefits of their contribution to human well-being and achieve sustainable development objectives.
Chemicals management is a cross-sectoral issue and, in most countries, responsibility is divided among different authorities. Effective implementation of the chemical-related MEAs1 a strong institutional mechanisms to facilitate collaboration with other sectors. Finding ways to engage the collective capacity of the UN organisations in enhancing coherent management responses to sound chemicals management is therefore of crucial importance.
In response to the Rio+20 outcome and decisions of various intergovernmental processes such as the chemicals-related MEAs, that have called for a more systematic approach for cooperation and coordination in the implementation of chemicals-related agreements and instruments, the Environment Management Group (EMG) set up an Issue Management Group (IMG) in January 2014, to provide a coherent system-wide support to the work towards achieving sound management of chemicals and wastes.
The inter-agency Issue Management Group on the Sound Management of Chemicals and Wastes builds upon the work of the The Inter-Organization Programme For The Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC), and the knowledge and experiences of the EMG members to position sound management of chemicals as a vital element underpinning sustainable development and green economy. Its tasks include providing a coordinated system-wide input to the achievement of the World Summit of Sustainable Development 2020 goal on chemicals and supporting the intergovernmental process on the negotiations of the post 2015 outcome document.