International Programme on Chemical Safety

Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM): Health Sector Focus

Development of a SAICM Health sector strategy

A consultation meeting held at the Ministry of Health, Slovenia, on 4 and 5 February 2010, developed a draft outline, content and objectives for a strategy to strengthen the engagement of the health sector in the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM).

Staff of the WHO Department of Public Health and Environment participated together with health-sector colleagues from governments and peak non-governmental organizations pictured right. The meeting was co-chaired by Dr Ivan Erzen (Slovenia) and Dr Jules de Kom (Suriname).

The strategy will be considered for adoption at the third session of the International Conference on Chemical Safety in 2012 and will further promote cooperation, collaboration and integration on health and the environment between the different sectors engaged in chemicals management.

A copy of the report of the consultation meeting is now available. Comments on the draft strategy that is now being prepared will be sought by the SAICM secretariat in August 2010. For further information, please contact the SAICM secretariat: saicm@unep.org

Second Session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM)

Over 700 delegates from Governments, non-governmental, intergovernmental organizations and industry met during the second session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management to review progress with the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM). A resolution on the health-aspects of the sound management of chemicals was moved by the Governments of Belarus, Morocco, Panama, Suriname, Thailand and Zambia together with Physicians for Social Responsibility and the World Federation of Public Health Associations. The resolution, endorsed by the Conference as a whole:

  • emphasizes the need to fully engage the health sector in national, regional and international SAICM fora; the essential cross-sectoral responsibilities of national focal points; and the importance of regional health and environmental interministerial processes as a springboard for effective intersectoral actions;
  • encourages the health sector to take full advantage of SAICM institutional arrangements;
  • underlines the need for all stakeholders to assist in the development of resources to permit a greater degree of sectoral balance in representation in SAICM fora and in implementation activities;
  • calls on the health sector to actively participate in actions to implement ICCM decisions with respect to identified priority issues and calls on the WHO to intensify its activities in the sound management of chemicals in support of SAICM;
  • decides to develop a strategy for strengthening the engagement of the health sector in SAICM’s implementation for the intersessional period and to evaluate it at ICCM3; and
  • requests that the outcomes of the Conference regarding human health be considered by the World Health Assembly (WHA).

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