Document Sample
					Intergovernmental Forum
   on Chemical Safety


   President’s Progress Report

        Bangkok, 1 November 2003
Introduction ........................................................................................................... 3
       Background on IFCS ......................................................................................................................................... 3

       Contents of the 2003 report ............................................................................................................................... 4

Chapter 1 - IFCS Progress from 2000 to 2003 .................................................... 4

       1.1 - Participation in IFCS ............................................................................................................................ 4

                Representation .......................................................................................................................... 5
                Communication ......................................................................................................................... 5
                Finance ....................................................................................................................................... 6
                Guidelines and Procedures ........................................................................................................ 6
       1. 2 – Meetings and Events ............................................................................................................................ 7

                Forum III .................................................................................................................................... 7
                Forum Standing Committee Meetings ....................................................................................... 8
                IFCS Regional Meetings ............................................................................................................ 8
                International Meetings and Events ............................................................................................ 9
       1. 3 – IFCS Priorities for Action Beyond 2000 ............................................................................................ 9

                Area A: Expanding and accelerating international assessment of chemical risks .................. 10
                Area B: Harmonization of classification and labelling of chemicals ....................................... 12
                Area C: Information exchange on toxic chemicals and chemical risks ................................... 12
                Area D: Establishment of risk reduction programmes ............................................................. 14
                Area E: Strengthening of national capabilities and capacities for management of chemicals . 17
                Area F: Prevention of illegal international traffic in toxic and dangerous products ................ 19
       1.4 – New issues ............................................................................................................................................ 20

                a) Children and chemical safety............................................................................................... 20
                b) Occupational Safety and Health ......................................................................................... 21
                c) Addressing the Widening Gap ............................................................................................ 21
                d) Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management - SAICM ............................. 22

Chapter 2 - IFCS in Bangkok: Forum IV and PrepCom1 ............................... 22

       2.1 - Review of Priority Targets .................................................................................................................. 23

       2.2 - Objectives and Tools ........................................................................................................................... 25

       2.3 - Other Relevant decisions ..................................................................................................................... 26

Conclusion ............................................................................................................ 27


      Background on IFCS

         Over 100 world leaders, heads of State and government, and an impressive number of representa-
tives from different segments of society of every continent met in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 1992, for
the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, also known as Rio-92.

        Precisely twenty years had passed since the first similar gathering, the United Nations Conference
on the Human Environment, in June 1972, when more than 70 nations and society had come to Stock-
holm with the intention of reviewing the state of Planet Earth and deciding on a number of measures to
protect humankind and the environment from the threats of rising pollution and natural resource degrada-

        International Conventions on Biodiversity, Climate Change, Protection of the Ozone Layer, and a
Declaration on Forests were the main outcomes of Rio-92. This high level assembly also took note of a
Plan of Action called Agenda 21, covering a wide range of social, economic and environmental issues,
from a sustainable development perspective.

       In its Chapter 19, Agenda 21 recommended that three UN organizations, namely ILO, UNEP and
WHO, convene an International Conference to set up a mechanism committed to the safe and sound man-
agement of chemicals. The mechanism established was IFCS.
        IFCS is described as a unique, over-arching mechanism to develop and promote strategies in a
coordinated and integrated manner among national governments, intergovernmental and non-
governmental organizations. It provides policy guidance and support, and fosters the understanding of
relevant issues on chemical safety.

         The initial Terms of Reference, core budget and 42 Priorities for Action were adopted by 114 par-
ticipating national governments at the International Conference on Chemical Safety, held in April 1994 in
Stockholm, Sweden. (Forum I).

         An IFCS Inter-Sessional Group with 31 members, created in 1994, held two meetings, respec-
tively in Bruges, Belgium in 1995, and in Canberra, Australia, in 1996. Other participants also took part
in those meetings that took stock of the process and provided further guidance to IFCS activities.

        Forum II was convened in Ottawa, Canada, in February 1997, and reviewed the achievements and
challenges posed by the Priorities for Action adopted in 1994. 83 governments and 24 intergovernmental
and non-governmental organizations were represented. Unresolved issues were identified and future di-
rections established for IFCS. A formal document with proposals and recommendations was adopted and
submitted to the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

        A third Inter-Sessional Group meeting was held in Yokohama, Japan in December 1998, to re-
view the status of three Programme Areas and propose a mechanism for implementing a globally harmo-
nized system for classification and labelling of chemicals, among other topics of significance.

        The 1994 IFCS Priorities for Action were revised and re-drafted as Priorities for Action beyond
2000 at the Third Plenary Session held in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil in October 2000. The Bahia Declara-
tion, a statement on IFCS principles and objectives was also adopted on that occasion. Both documents
were later considered at major international events, such as the World Summit on Sustainable Develop-
ment, held in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2002, and the UNEP Governing Council Sessions held re-
spectively in Cartagena, Colombia, in 2002 and in Nairobi in 2003, as the basis or the foundation for the
further development of a Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management - SAICM.

       Contents of the 2003 report

        The 2003 report comprises an Introduction and Conclusions, and two Chapters respectively de-
voted to IFCS Progress 2000-2003, and to IFCS in Bangkok: Forum IV and SAICM PrepCom1.

Chapter 1 - IFCS Progress from 2000 to 2003

1.1 - Participation in IFCS

         IFCS activities offer all participants, whether governments, intergovernmental or non-
governmental organizations, the opportunity of contributing to the process of awareness raising and ca-
pacity building in their own areas of influence and beyond, and in meeting the IFCS objectives and the
priorities for action established at Forum III. Governments have the first responsibility for implementing
most of those priorities, that in many cases address work by which international bodies may assist them
and develop effective tools for that purpose.
        Participation can be described in terms of the level of representation at Plenary Sessions, as Offi-
cers and FSC members, the ability to organize and to attend meetings, the contribution to ad-hoc working
groups and other aspects related to information and communication and most importantly by the follow
up on the commitments made by IFCS participants in the decisions taken at a session of the Forum. In
order to support the organizational and administrative arrangements of the IFCS, financial resources were
made available by donations to the trust fund in the period 2000-2003. Additional designated contribu-
tions were made to the IFCS Twinning Funds to support developing countries and countries with econo-
mies in transition (CEIT) as well as non-governmental organization participation in IFCS meetings.
Guidelines and Procedures were observed as adopted previously and amendments proposed for their im-

        Regional Vice Presidents were designated (respectively by Japan (Asia and Pacific), Senegal (Af-
rica), Hungary (Central and Eastern Europe), Ecuador (Latin America and Caribbean) and Sweden
(Western European and Other Groups).

        FSC members were designated by 3 countries from Asia and the Pacific, 3 from Western Europe
and other Groups, and 2 respectively from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and Central and
Eastern Europe, 1 from the IOMC organizations and 1 each form the non-governmental organizations
(business, labour, public interest and science), with their alternates and advisers.

        Seven Working Groups were formed, chaired respectively by G. Bengtsson from Sweden (A3);
C. Barnes, from the U.S.A. (D5), R. Hickman (Past President from Canada (E3), G. Ungváry from Hun-
gary (Children), D. Roopnarine, from Trinidad and Tobago (OSH), W. Sanders, from the U.S.A.
(SAICM), and R. Mokhtari, from Iran (Addressing the widening gap). M.Kern from Germany led the
Steering Group (E4). Working Groups as a whole had representatives from 26 countries, all IOMC or-
ganizations and 4 non-governmental sectors, and many of those in several working groups.

        According to the IFCS Terms of Reference, participating Governments are to be represented at
the Plenary Sessions that take place every 2 to 3 years by a Senior Official in charge of chemicals man-
agement. A similar recommendation is aimed at the individual Government office where the National Fo-
cal Point is to be located.
        During the 2000-2003 period, Ministries of Environment continued to be the first choice for host-
ing representatives and focal points, Ministries of Health coming next. Their performance, however, de-
pends greatly on the existence of intersectoral coordinating mechanisms and access to the decision-
making level.

        With the aim of contributing to the on-going process of awareness-raising and subsequent call-to-
action for global chemical safety, the Bahia Declaration on Chemical Safety and the IFCS Priorities for
Action beyond 2000 have been prepared in poster and brochure format and distributed to all IFCS partici-
pants and a wide and general audience of stakeholders with responsibilities for chemicals management.
         The IFCS website “” was enhanced and expanded and it is updated regularly
by the Secretariat. It provides ready access to Forum documents, reports of all IFCS meetings, compre-
hensive information on IFCS activities and procedures, and links to other websites dealing with chemical
safety issues.
         An IFCS Information Circular was initiated in September 2001 to inform on ongoing and planned
efforts undertaken by the FSC and other participants in the IFCS. The Information Circulars are pub-
lished in English, French and Spanish and distribute to 1800+ contacts listed in the IFCS database.
Through mid 2003, 14 issues of the Information Circular have been prepared. The Circulars are produced
as news and information becomes available.
         Nominations for the IFCS Award of Merit were announced and the respective material prepared
and distributed in the 6 working languages of the IFCS. The Award recognizes persons or organizations
for outstanding contributions to international activities in chemicals management and will be presented at
Forum IV.
        A Directory of Chemical Management Officials in National Government was compiled and is
available on the IFCS website. The Directory lists the IFCS National Focal Point, Focal Points for the
Stockholm Convention on POPs, Designated National Authorities for the Rotterdam Convention on Prior
Informed Consent (PIC), Basel Convention Focal Points, and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemi-
cal Weapons National Authorities.

         Simple indicators to monitor progress on the IFCS Priorities for Action beyond 2000 were drafted
and a survey conducted in 2002. Results of this survey are available on the IFCS web site and were used
as basis for Section 1.3, Chapter 1, in this Report. Additional information on the implementation of Pri-
orities was collected at Regional meetings.
        Considerable effort and funding are required to have IFCS documents made available in all 6
working languages, and interpretation services provided in some of the meetings. FSC and working group
teleconferences are held in English. In order to circumvent the language barrier that nonetheless exists,
preliminary steps have been taken to establish Internet discussion groups that would operate in French
and Spanish thereby allowing for potentially greater participation by representatives of approximately 80

         Contributions from donor countries and organizations to the Trust and the Twinning funds, both
direct and indirect, financial and in kind, allowed IFCS to cover the expenses required to maintain the Ex-
ecutive Secretariat staff, cover the costs of services, supplies, operating expenses and participants that re-
quire support with the means to communicate and to attend FSC, regional and working group meetings.
        In total financial terms, both funds received contributions and pledges in the period 2001-2003 to
an amount of over US$ 2.0 (million, donated by Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Nether-
lands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, United States of America, and by or-
ganizations including VCI-Germany, International Council of Chemical Associations-ICCA (and CE-
FIC), and Crop Life.
        Contributions in kind by participants and donors, among which Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Euro-
pean Commission, Germany, Hungary, ICCA, Japan, OECD, OPCW, Senegal, Sweden, Thailand, Trini-
dad and Tobago, UNEP, UNITAR, United States of America, WHO, were necessary to maintain and
support national focal points, working groups, Officers and FSC members, Secretariat staff, INFOCAP,
and to host Forum III and Forum IV, regional meetings and other activities.
       A specific mention is made to the significant financial support received from the Global Envi-
ronment Facility - GEF as the principal entity of the interim mechanism for the Stockholm Convention on
POPs, probably the most important financial contribution to the chemical safety program so far.
         Sufficient funding for a medium-term perspective of IFCS activities and Secretariat support re-
mains one of the principal unresolved difficulties. Remarks contained on this subject in the Forum II re-
port are still valid.
        Accounting and other support services were provided by the World Health Organization.

        Guidelines and Procedures
         The FSC, at its 38th, 44th and 49th meetings, approved proposed amendments to the existing Guide-
lines regarding the roles of Vice Presidents and FSC National Focal Points, and Guidelines and Criteria
for Selection of Hosts for Plenary Sessions. The proposed amendments will be considered for adoption by
Forum IV. The FSC also agreed on guidelines for the Development of Decision/Working Documents, and
the process for the Award of Merit and instituted a Special Recognition Award to recognize those con-

tributing in an exceptional way on a special chemical topic or activity. However, the proposed introduc-
tion of new Guidelines, such as the Role of the Executive Secretary, did not meet with consensus by the
       Being in charge of conducting the process for electing new Officers and members of the Forum
Standing Committee at Forum IV, with term of office until Forum V, the President issued a set of rec-
ommendations concerning the pre-conditions to be observed by the candidates to those positions.

1. 2 – Meetings and Events

        Forum III
         The Third Session of the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (Forum III) met in Salva-
dor, Bahia, Brazil, from 15-20 October, 2000. Eighty three governments, ten intergovernmental organiza-
tions (IGOs) and twelve non-governmental organizations (NGOs) participated in the meeting.
        Forum III reviewed progress made by national governments and the international community on
the program of action for the sound management of chemicals included in Agenda 21, Chapter 19 and, in
particular, on the IFCS Priorities for Action originally adopted in 1994.
         The 1994 Priorities were revised taking into account the potential for improvement in chemical
safety at all levels; prevention or reduction of adverse health and environment effects of chemicals
throughout their life-cycle; suitability for immediate implementation by most countries with the existing
tools. All IFCS partners - countries, international organizations, industry, labour unions, public interest
groups - were called upon to actively participate in realizing these Priorities within a defined time-frame.
Forum III also considered and made recommendations for work on prevention of illegal international traf-
fic in toxic and dangerous products, elimination of barriers to information exchange for the sound man-
agement of chemicals, development of a mechanism for information exchange for chemical production
decision-making, establishment of Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (PRTRs) / Emission Invento-
ries, and creation of an Information Exchange Network on Capacity Building for the Sound Management
of Chemicals.

         Perhaps the single most important document to issue from Forum III was the Bahia Declaration, a
commitment by IFCS participants to strengthen efforts and build partnerships in order to accomplish spe-
cific targets during the following decade. Key goals were specified in the Priorities for Action. The Dec-
laration recognizes the importance of providing technical and financial assistance and technology transfer
to enable accomplishment of IFCS priorities and recommits to challenges set out in Chapter 19, Agenda
         The UNEP Governing Council endorsed the Bahia Declaration and the Priorities for Action be-
yond 2000 and called for the Executive Director to act as a recipient of and disseminator for the informa-
tion made available pursuant to Chapter II, paragraph 2 of the Bahia Declaration, and to assist in develop-
ing the information exchange network on capacity building for the sound management of chemicals. The
Executive Director was also asked to report to the Governing Council on the UNEP‘s contribution to the
implementation of the Bahia Declaration and the Priorities for Action Beyond 2000.

        The contribution of IFCS to chemical safety has gained wide and continuous recognition, having
been recently acknowledged at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), in Johannes-
burg. The WSSD Plan of Implementation refers to the Bahia Declaration and IFCS Priorities for Action
as the basis for further development of a strategic approach to international chemicals management and
includes specific recommendations regarding the achievement of four Priorities.

        Forum Standing Committee Meetings
        The Forum Standing Committee – FSC has 25 members chaired by the President, and includes
the 5 Vice Presidents, mentioned above. In the period 2000-2003, government members were Madagascar
and Nigeria (Africa); China, Iran and Papua New Guinea (Asia and Pacific); Russia and Slovenia (Central
and Eastern Europe); Honduras and El Salvador (Latin America and the Caribbean); and Australia, Ger-
many and the United States of America (Western Europe and Other Groups.) The IOMC organizations
are represented annually by the temporary Chair, in this case successively ILO, UNITAR and UNIDO.
And the Non-governmental entities were represented by ICCA (business), IUF (labour), IUPAC (sci-
ence), and PAN (Public interest). The immediate Past President, in this case from Canada, and the host
country of the subsequent Plenary Session, that is Thailand for Forum IV were also FSC members. The
Executive Secretary supports the FSC.
         There were 21 FSC meetings held regularly from October 2000 to October 2003, three of them
face-to-face in Salvador da Bahia (Brazil) in 2000, Port-of-Spain (Trinidad & Tobago) in 2001, and
Bangkok in 2002 (Thailand), and the remainder by telephone conference. Face-to-face meetings attracted
over 50 participants in Trinidad and in Thailand, whereas and teleconference attendance on the average
was of 25 persons, with verbal participation of about one third of the participants. Most frequent subjects
on the agendas were: Preparations for Forum-IV, Follow up on Working Group Progress, SAICM and
Reports on International Meetings.

        IFCS Regional Meetings
        Positive results were obtained in terms of exchange of information and follow-up on the progress
of the Priorities for Action from regional meetings held during the period respectively: once in Dakar,
Senegal in 2002 (Africa); Quito, Ecuador in 2003 (Latin America and Caribbean); and Tokyo, Japan in
2002 (Asia and Pacific); and twice in Budapest, Hungary in 2001 and 2003 (Central and Eastern Europe).
The WEOG group (Western Europe and Other Groups) met regularly on the occasion of OECD technical
sessions in Paris. Either or both the President and the Executive Secretary were present at the regional
        Another relevant outcome of some regional meetings was a list of those Priorities that were more
meaningful to the needs of the respective region. Even though not all countries provided answers to the
surveys, respondents in Africa indicated obsolete stocks (D2), GHS (B1), capacity building (E3), major
accidents (D4), and information exchange and infrastructure (C1), whereas

        In Latin America and Caribbean preference was shown at first for capacity building (E3), INFO-
CAP (E4), information exchange (C1), poison centres (D7) and national policies and plans (E2). More re-
cently, concern was expressed with regard to obsolete stocks of pesticides, and the inclusion of other

toxic chemicals such as asbestos (D2), illegal traffic (F), and the consideration of other vulnerable human
        In Asia and the Pacific more emphasis was placed on national policies and plans (E2), GHS (B1),
information exchange (C1), safety data sheets (C3), and the Stockholm Convention (D3). A Steering
Group, formed of a limited number of country representatives to provide support to the Regional Vice
President also regularly met.

        International Meetings and Events
        The President attended and intervened as a speaker, as panellist or in the debate at meetings of the
UN Commission on Sustainable Development - CSD in New York, the UNEP Governing Council in Nai-
robi and Cartagena, the World Summit on Sustainable Development, its side events and PrepComs in Jo-
hannesburg, Bali and New York, the Global Environment Facility - GEF General Assembly in Beijing,
and of former Chairs of the CSD in Paris.

        Other opportunities for the President and the Executive Secretary to publicize the work of IFCS
and to raise awareness on the issue of chemical safety were meetings of professional or trade associations
on toxicology, occupational safety and health, responsible care, sanitary engineering, metals and mining,
and with Ministers of Health and Environment of the Americas, and League of Arab States.

1. 3 – IFCS Priorities for Action Beyond 2000

        Forum III adopted a set of Priorities for Action identifying specific tasks and targets to be met
from the year 2000 until 2010. The complete text of Priorities for Action beyond 2000 is available on the
IFCS website “”. They cover a broad range of subjects, and aim at the implementation
by Governments of chemical safety measures and initiatives with the support of other IFCS participants,
such as intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental sectors and entities.

         Priorities are subdivided into Areas A to F, as defined in Chapter 19 of Agenda 21, and progress
in meeting the respective targets in the past 3 years is described with remarks on the relative ability or dif-
ficulty encountered by IFCS in performing its role as facilitator. Monitoring of progress was carried out
at the end of 2002 through a questionnaire answered initially by 56 (later expanded to 69) out of the po-
tential 123 IFCS national focal points and complemented for specific items at regional meetings for a to-
tal of 98 countries, as indicated below.

        About three fourths of the confirmed focal point countries responded entirely or in part to survey
questionnaires, and a total of 139 countries participated in at least one event during the period. However,
data from certain countries that are relevant in terms of production, consumption and trade in chemicals
was not made available. The following table shows the distribution, by regions, of survey results by
countries, the number of IFCS focal points, confirmed or not since 2000, and the total number of UN
member nations.

                                                         Central &     Latin
                                              Asia &                                Europe &
                                  Africa                  Eastern    America &                     Total
                                              Pacific                                 Other
                                                          Europe     Caribbean

Number of Countries having
initially responded to the          13          11           11           10            11           56
simple indicators survey
Number of Countries having
responded to the survey and         24          25           15           22           12            98
to regional questionnaires

Numer of IFCS focal points
                                    34          26           18           23           22           123
confirmed since Forum III
Total number of identifiable
IFCS focal points (confirmed        41          34           21           30           26           152
or not)
Number of UN member
                                   49           54           27           32           29           191
         According to the IFCS Terms of Reference, all Member States of the United Nations, of its Spe-
cialized Agencies and of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) shall be invited to participate
in the Forum (“Government Participants”). Associate Members of any of the Specialized Agencies shall
also be invited to participate, without the right to vote, in the Forum. The Indicators Report takes into ac-
count the consolidated total of those countries that amounts to 206.

        Area A: Expanding and accelerating international assessment of chemical risks
         A1: Risk assessment activities are conducted at the national, regional and international levels. In
the past (prior to the UNCED in 1992), minimal attempts were made to coordinate these assessments sys-
tematically. Forum III renewed the decision of Forum II and called on the International Program on
Chemical Safety (IPCS) and the Inter-Organization Program for the Sound Management of Chemicals
(IOMC) participating organizations to develop common principles for harmonized approaches for risk as-
sessment as soon as possible and set several specific target dates for target areas. Harmonization of ap-
proaches to chemical risk assessment is critical for developing a framework for comparing information on
risk assessments, and an understanding of the basis for exposure standards for specific chemicals in dif-
ferent countries. Achieving harmonization of approaches will also save time and expense by enabling the
sharing of credible scientific information.
         Since Forum III, significant progress has been made toward achieving the harmonization of ap-
proaches. The IPCS is continuing a Project on the Harmonization of Approaches to the Assessment of
Risk from Exposure to Chemicals. The project aims to improve access to, and understanding of, chemical
risk assessment methodologies to facilitate greater use of available risk assessments for national chemical
risk management. A framework for cancer risk assessment was completed in 2001. Harmonized termi-
nology for classifying effects seen in developmental toxicity studies was published on the internet in
2002, and further work on reproductive and developmental toxicity terminology is planned for 2004. In a
joint activity with OECD, the project produced draft terminology for generic terms used in chemical haz-
ard/risk assessment, for publication in 2003. IPCS has also produced harmonized terminology for expo-
sure assessment, in final form, in 2002, which will be considered by the relevant international society for

adoption by its members late in 2003. OECD has produced a monograph on sub-chronic toxicity assess-
ment methodology (2002) and on humane end-points in toxicity testing (2000).
        A2: The first step of risk assessment is hazard evaluation. Hazard evaluation should be carried
out in accordance with internationally recommended methodologies and in an open and transparent man-
        Forum III recommended that, in addition to ongoing national, regional and international evalua-
tion programs, through the industry initiative, an additional 1000 chemicals hazard assessments be pro-
vided by 2004.
        This objective will not be met by 2004. Final documentation is anticipated to be completed for
292 substances by 2004. It is also anticipated that an additional 140 substances will have passed final
discussions in SIAM, but final documentation will not be available by 2004. Since 2000, 80 chemicals
have been completed with documentation.

        Closer cooperation has been established under the auspices of the IOMC, between the two inter-
national chemicals assessment programmes of IPCS and OECD. Work on establishing a more common
format for reporting critical studies for hazard assessment is expected to result in greater efficiencies for
both programmes.
        Forum III also recommended that the cooperation of developing countries and countries with
economies in transition should be sought to ensure that all relevant data, including exposure data, required
to assess human and environmental risks are developed and assessed.

       Indicators                                                                        Number

       Number of substances for which final documentation has been
       Number of substances for which it is anticipated that the final
       documentation will be completed by 2004
       Number of substances that have passed final discussions (e.g. SIAM)
       and are considered complete, but final documentation is not available
       Number of substances for which it is anticipated will have passed final
       discussions (e.g. SIAM) and will be considered complete, but final                   140
       documentation is not yet available in 2004

        The cooperation of developing countries and countries with economies in transition is being
stimulated by the agreement of the OECD to provide access to non-OECD countries to its electronic dis-
cussion group concerning the investigation of High Production Volume chemicals. Work by IPCS to help
strengthen the ability of countries in the Americas sub-region to participate in such initiatives has shown
that more remains to be done to promote further mutual understanding of the principles and practices of
chemicals assessment, the availability of alternatives to conventional animal test data, and the potential
uses of chemical assessment reports prepared internationally.

         A3: Both the Priorities for Action Beyond 2000 and the Bahia Declaration on Chemical Safety
call for improved global consistency and collaboration in hazard data generation for existing industrial
chemicals and for enhanced accessibility of this data. This need was reaffirmed at WSSD. Specifically,
Forum III called for the Forum Standing Committee (FSC) to develop a proposal for an additional Prior-
ity for Action to be discussed at Forum IV.
         A FSC Working Group, with wide participation from regions and stakeholder groups, was formed
to respond to this issue and has produced a report for Forum IV on Hazard Data Generation and Avail-
ability. The report outlines the challenges for industry, governments and intergovernmental organizations
and proposes recommendations for an additional priority to further strengthen hazard data availability and
accessibility which will be discussed at Forum IV1.

          Area B: Harmonization of classification and labelling of chemicals
         B1: Forum III called for the full adoption of the Globally Harmonized System for Chemical Clas-
sification and Labelling (GHS) by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations – ECOSOC
prior to Forum IV and also encouraged all countries to implement the GHS as soon as possible with a
view to have the system fully operational by 2008, a goal that was endorsed at the World Summit on Sus-
tainable Development. A new United Nations Committee of Experts on the Transportation of Dangerous
Goods and a Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicalswas formed and
GHS was adopted by the ECOSOC in July 2003. GHS was also endorsed by the APEC Ministers respon-
sible for Trade in June 2002. Guidance material from the Committee, UNITAR and the ILO is available
to assist countries and organizations in the development of tools for implementation of the GHS.
        According to the IFCS Simple Indicators of Progress survey, approximately 49% of the respond-
ing countries have initiated work to adopt and implement the GHS. For further information, a detailed
survey on capacity building needs for chemical hazard communication and GHS implementation was re-
cently conducted by UNITAR and the ILO and shall be available at Forum IV. This survey was designed
to gather information on progress made by developing countries and countries with economies in transi-
tion towards achieving the 2008 implementation target. Resource issues and a lack of awareness within
governments and organizations about GHS have been identified as significant barriers to progress in this

          Area C: Information exchange on toxic chemicals and chemical risks
         C1: Forum III recognized that the resolution of communications gaps must assume high priority
and agreed to support a global effort to assure that government officials responsible for the sound man-
agement of chemicals have access to the internet. It was recommended that, by 2005, at least five coun-
tries in each region, and by 2010 most countries, should have fully operational arrangements in place for
the exchange of information on hazardous chemicals.
       Results from the Simple Indicators of Progress survey show that many countries have established
procedures for the exchange of information on hazardous chemicals and that strong efforts are being
made on the dissemination of information on hazardous chemicals. More than 50% of countries who re-

    FSC Working Group, Hazard Data Generation and Availability, IFCS/Forum IV/09w

sponded to the questionnaire have established websites and institutional directories listing sources of in-
formation and information centres are being developed in some countries (45%).
         The Chemical Information Exchange Network (CIEN) Project is a partnership between the
United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency
(U.S. EPA) and other key donors and partners, such as the Canadian International Development Agency,
the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Centro de Gestion Tecnologia e Informatica In-
dustrial (CEGESTI — Centre for Technology and Industrial Information Management). The CIEN Pro-
ject provides since 2000 electronic equipment and training for Internet access to chemical management
officials and other key chemical stakeholders. It also encourages continued networking between govern-
ments and stakeholders through electronic and other means. It has successfully trained over 580 chemical
officials and stakeholders in 39 countries in Africa and Central and North America. It also has provided a
total of over 70 computers and Internet access to most of the countries in Africa. To facilitate ongoing
dialogue and more readily provide CIEN information, the CIEN Project launched its web site at
“” in July 2003. Several countries have established their own CIEN country web
         Several obstacles to effective information exchange were also noted in surveys conducted by the
IFCS Vice Presidents in the Asia-Pacific and African regions: a lack of accessible information; need to
improve access to government agency data bases; poor access to information/internal communication sys-
tems; poor technology and equipment in the sector; insufficient means and finances; and a lack of experi-
ence in information exchange systems for chemicals.
        C2: Forum III encouraged all countries to ratify or accede to the Rotterdam Convention with a
view to its entry into force as soon as possible, preferably by Forum IV. The Convention establishes the
principle that export of a chemical covered by the Convention can only take place with the prior informed
consent of the importing party. The Convention initially covers 22 pesticides and 5 industrial chemicals,
but many more may be added.
        The Rotterdam Convention was adopted on 10 September 1998 by 73 signatories at the Confer-
ence of Plenipotentiaries on the Convention in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. It will enter into force 90 days
after deposit of the 50th instrument of ratification, and as of October 2003, there are 46 Parties to the Con-
vention. Secretariat functions are performed jointly by UNEP and FAO.
         Since adoption of the Convention in 1998, many sub-regional awareness raising workshops have
been conducted and are being planned, both through bilateral efforts and through the Secretariat. The de-
tails of these activities may be found on the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat web site at

         C3: Forum III agreed that by 2004, most countries should have procedures in place to ensure that
any hazardous material put into circulation is accompanied, at a minimum, by appropriate and reliable
safety information that is easy to access, read, and understand, consistent with the safety data sheets of the
ILO 170 Chemicals Convention.
        Ensuring reliable safety information with respect to hazardous chemicals in circulation appears to
be a priority in many countries. The IFCS Simple Indicators of Progress survey found that 75% of re-
spondents have procedures in place to ensure hazardous material is accompanied by safety information.

This information is, in most cases, consistent with the safety data sheet of the ILO Chemicals Convention.
Efforts are needed, however, for ensuring conformity with the GHS.

        Area D: Establishment of risk reduction programmes
         D1: The Priorities for Action Beyond 2000 call for most countries to have in place integrated and
ecologically sound pest management strategies by 2004 and also suggest that, where appropriate, specific
strategies for control of vectors (for communicable diseases) should be established.

         This appears to have been a high priority for countries as 68% of those that responded to the
Simple Indicators of Progress survey have prepared pest management strategies. Information was not
gathered on specific strategies for vector control for communicable diseases. It should be noted, how-
ever, that definitions of integrated pest management differ amongst countries.
       D2: At ISG2, African countries noted problems they were experiencing with obsolete chemicals,
mainly pesticides involved in agriculture which have not been used and deteriorating containers and
packaging, presenting a threat to human and animal health.
        Forum III agreed that by 2004, countries should have established relevant action plans, and at
least two countries in each region should have commenced implementation of their National Action Plans
with respect to disposal, considering the outcomes of relevant international agreements.
         Progress has been made in this area. According to the IFCS Simple Indicators of Progress sur-
vey, 57% of countries who responded have prepared an action plan for disposal of obsolete stocks of pes-
ticides and other chemicals. The goal of two countries in each region commencing implementation of
their National Action Plans with respect to disposal was nearly reached, with the exception of Latin
America and the Caribbean. The need for technical and financial assistance there has been identified as a
significant barrier to progress.
        The African Stockpile Project - ASP, is a new international, multi-agency initiative involving
many IOMC organizations, as well as NGOs and industry participants, established to assist with this
problem in Africa. Its purpose is to clean up and prevent further accumulation of obsolete pesticides.
This project should help to remedy the critical situation in the African region where several thousand ton-
nes of obsolete pesticides have accumulated over the last four decades. The Implementing Agency for the
ASP is the World Bank, with FAO providing the technical leadership, and significant funding assistance
from the Global Environment Facility – GEF, under the POPs Convention focal area, of the order of
US$150 million.

        Several IOMC organizations, notably the FAO, have undertaken activities related to the disposal
and prevention of obsolete pesticides. Awareness raising and data gathering exercises on the part of FAO
have catalysed the development of some projects to eliminate obsolete pesticide stocks in a number of
countries in Latin America, the Near East and Asia. Countries in all regions have approached FAO for
assistance in completing an inventory of obsolete pesticides with a view to developing a programme for
elimination and prevention. In some cases, these inventories overlap with the Stockholm Convention Na-
tional Implementation Plan, but extend beyond POPs pesticides to include all obsolete pesticides. FAO
continues to produce and disseminate technical guidance documents and advice to countries and to pro-
vide technical support to activities related to the prevention and elimination of obsolete pesticides.

       D3: Forum III called for special attention to be paid to persistent and bio-accumulating toxic
chemicals and for a strong and effective convention on persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
          Specifically, Forum III called for the adoption of a global convention on POPs and ratification as
soon as possible, preferably by 2004. At the Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Stockholm Conven-
tion on POPs, held 22-23 May 2001, the Convention was adopted and opened for signature; it remained
open at the UN Headquarters in NY until 22 May 2002. The Convention has received 151 signatories and
40 ratifications as of October 2003. It will enter into force 90 days after deposit of the 50th instrument of
         Further information on the Stockholm Convention and the activities that countries and interna-
tional organizations are undertaking to support this convention may be found on the Stockholm Conven-
tion Secretariat web site at “”. UNEP provides the Interim Secretariat for the conven-

         Forum III also called on the Forum Standing Committee to invite countries and regions to present
at Forum IV risk reduction initiatives on other chemicals of major concern. The FSC took the decision to
put this on hold, as information would be gathered in the indicators survey and through the collection of
input for the SAICM.
        It is worth noting here a decision by the UNEP Governing Council at its meeting in February,
2003, that national, regional and global actions should be initiated to protect human health and the envi-
ronment from mercury releases. The Governing Council also requested UNEP to facilitate and conduct
technical assistance and capacity building activities to support the efforts of countries to take action to
address mercury pollution. This decision was based on UNEP’s Global Mercury Assessment report
(, which concluded that there is sufficient evidence of signifi-
cant global adverse impacts of mercury to warrant international action.
         The UNEP Governing Council has also adopted a decision (21/6) concerning lead in gasoline and
calling on Governments that have not already done so to eliminate the use of lead in gasoline. UNEP has
established a lead risk reduction program ( to address lead in gasoline as well
as from other sources, such as paint.

        D4: Forum III set the target of having 70 or more countries implement systems aimed at prevent-
ing major industrial accidents and for emergency preparedness and response by 2002. The IFCS ques-
tionnaire on Simple Indicators of Progress attempted to elicit information concerning whether national
systems for emergency preparedness and response are currently in place. All the OECD countries seem to
have implemented systems in accordance with international principles and have a national law requiring
such a system. According to the Indicators survey, about 63% of responding countries have a national
system and 71% have a national law. The information gathered either in qualitative or quantitative terms
is not sufficiently accurate or homogeneous enough to consider this Priority target as having been met.
The institutional arrangement related to major industrial accidents is in many cases oriented to emergency
preparedness rather than to preventive measures, and also organized to face natural disasters as well.
Countries, whether industrialized or developing, having ratified the ILO Convention 174 on the Preven-
tion of Major Industrial Accidents are very few.

        D5: The poisoning of pesticide users, especially agricultural workers and small farmers in devel-
oping countries and countries with economies in transition, must be prevented. This is clearly recognized
in the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent which will address aspects of this problem, but
more must be done.
         At Forum III, the FSC was tasked with providing initial input on the extent of the problem of pes-
ticides poisoning and providing guidance for sound risk management and reduction, including options for
the phasing out of toxic pesticides where appropriate, and report to Forum IV.
         The FSC Working Group on Acutely Toxic Pesticides prepared an initial assessment of the prob-
lems commonly associated with acutely toxic pesticides, based on a review of reports and analyses of poi-
soning incidents. This report sets the stage for discussion at Forum IV and provides recommendations for
further action.
         The Working Group report also identifies obstacles to addressing this problem, including the lack
of effective surveillance and reporting systems concerning pesticides poisoning at the field level and in-
frastructure weaknesses. Several obstacles to progress were also identified during the 2002 Asia-Pacific
Regional Conference, and the Latin American and Caribbean meeting in 2003, including the lack of
awareness, exchange of experience among farmers, training programs for medical personnel, provision of
assistance through codes of practice and guidelines for dealers and operators at the national level, moni-
toring, as well as funding.

        An Information Paper already accessible on the IFCS website ( will be pre-
sented at Forum IV by Secretariat for the Rotterdam Convention on the use of the Convention mechanism
to address severely hazardous pesticide formulations2.

         D6: The Priorities for Action outlined at Forum III note that the IFCS should support and encour-
age the FAO in its efforts to revise the International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pes-
ticides at its Biennial Conference in November 2001.

         The 123rd Session of the FAO Council, governing body of the UN Food and Agricultural Organi-
zation, adopted in November 2002 a Revised Version of the International Code of Conduct on the Distri-
bution and Use of Pesticides. The revised code improves standards over the promotion, sale and use of
pesticides and offers more advice to governments, regulators, traders, trade unions, international organi-
zations and industry. The Code also strengthens monitoring and observance of these standards. IFCS par-
ticipants will continue working with the FAO to further awareness and implementation of the revised
         D7: The Priorities for Action Beyond 2000 aimed at establishing, by 2002, poison control centres
in 30 or more countries, and further strengthening these centres in 70 or more countries where they al-
ready exist. Forum III also called for extensive progress to be made on national systems for the collection
of harmonized data, including categorization by, for example, type of poisoning, chemical identity, struc-
ture, use or function.

  Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides
in International Trade, IFCS/Forum IV/7 INF

         The Indicators of Progress survey results show that significant effort is needed in this area. Only
18% of responding countries have established new (since 2000) poison centres. No more than 16% are
initiating work to establish a poison centre in the target period 2002-2003.
        There are considerable differences between regions as to the type and level of services available
to the population in these centres. Survey results from developing indicated the lack of financial and
human resources, of contacts in the health sector, of awareness raising and perception by key stakeholders
as key barriers to progress.
        Action also remains to be initiated regarding the establishment of national systems for the collec-
tion of harmonized poisoning data, the improvement of facilities for treatment of exposed persons, and
the capability for chemicals assessment and management.
         D8: Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (PRTRs)/ emission inventories are recognized in
Chapter 19 of Agenda 21 as an important tool to raise public awareness about potential chemical risks and
as an effective environmental management instrument to stimulate chemical risk reduction. Forum III
called for at least two additional countries in each IFCS region to have established a PRTR/emission in-
ventory by 2004. Donors were called upon to provide financial and technical assistance to strengthen na-
tional capacities for PRTRs.
        As reported in the IOMC PRTR Coordinating Group Information Paper for Forum IV33, the Fo-
rum III objective was met in two of the five regions (Asia and Pacific; Central and Eastern Europe). Work
was also initiated to design a PRTR or emission inventory in 3-5 countries in those regions other than the
WEOG, where most countries already have them. This information is based on the Simple Indicators of
Progress survey results and on information available from the survey conducted by Australia on behalf of
the IOMC PRTR Coordinating Group. The understanding of what comprises a PRTR as compared to
emission inventories may vary and those results should be interpreted with that in mind.
         Capacity building activities to support national PRTR development have been conducted, but
funding in this area remains insufficient, thus presenting a major obstacle to PRTR development for many
countries. Significant awareness raising is also required to develop a critical national momentum towards
initiating PRTRs, in most developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

      Both the detailed Information Paper on progress and recommended next steps prepared by the
IOMC PRTR Coordinating Group and a report from the ICCA on progress achieved in implementing
ICCA policy on PRTRs, including interim voluntary disclosure, will be available at Forum IV.4

        Area E: Strengthening of national capabilities and capacities for management of chemicals
        E1 & E2: In the area of strengthening national capabilities and capacities for management of
chemicals, Forum III called for all countries to have designated an appropriate contact point (IFCS Na-
tional Focal Point) and to have established an intersectoral coordinating effort, by 2002.

  IOMC PRTR Coordinating Group, Report to Forum IV on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers/Emission In-
ventories, IFCS/Forum IV/5INF
  ICCA, Ongoing and Future Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers Capacity Building Projects that the Interna-
tional Council of Chemical Associations has been involved with or supported, IFCS/Forum IV/ 6 INF

        As of mid-2003, the number of official IFCS National Focal Points designated, grouped accord-
ing to region were respectively: Africa, 41; Asia-Pacific, 34; Central and Eastern Europe, 21, Latin
America and Caribbean, 30; Western European and Other Groups, 26, for a total of 152.
        National profiles assist countries in assessing their existing legal, institutional, administrative, and
technical infrastructures for the sound management of chemicals. Forum III renewed the call for countries
to prepare and regularly update their national profiles, identify capacity building priorities, and develop
sound national policies and action plans.

         Approximately 50% of the countries that completed the IFCS Simple Indicators of Progress sur-
vey have put in place the necessary mechanisms to ensure sound management of chemicals: 56% of coun-
tries surveyed have prepared national profiles; 53% of countries surveyed have prepared national policies;
56% of countries surveyed have prepared national priorities; 37% of countries surveyed have prepared
national strategies; and 35% of countries surveyed have prepared national action plans. According to
UNITAR, 71 countries have prepared national profiles and an additional 27 are in the process of develop-
ing a national profile. A limited number of mini-profiles have also been completed.
        An opportunity currently exists for countries to prepare/update national profiles as part of the
process of preparing National Implementation Plans under the Stockholm Convention. Funding is cur-
rently being provided through the GEF POPs window (enabling activities projects) to support countries in
the preparation or updating of National Implementation Plans. As of mid-2003, over 100 countries are
availing themselves of this opportunity.

         As a follow-up to National Profile preparation, some 15 countries have organized National Prior-
ity Setting Workshops and at least 6 countries have developed an Integrated National Programme for the
Sound Management of Chemicals with the support of UNITAR/IOMC.

        E3: Forum III recommended that the FSC should review assistance given to countries to support
capacity building for the sound management of chemicals and report back to Forum IV. The FSC Work-
ing Group created to respond to this recommendation agreed that it would carry out a qualitative review
and examination of past and present capacity building initiatives in the field of chemical safety with the

aim of identifying obstacles to successfully launching and carrying out such projects. Case studies for
this review were selected from Egypt, Madagascar, regional Africa, Jordan, Philippines, Thailand, Slova-
kia, Baltic States, Ecuador, and regional Central America.
        The analysis of these case studies and lessons learned have been compiled into a report for Forum
IV . This report articulates the major important elements of future approaches to capacity building co-
operation for the enhancement of the sound management of chemicals. The report to Forum IV notes the
low willingness of stakeholders to adopt a coordinated approach. It also suggests that for multi-donor ap-
proaches, coordination of interests remains a challenge.
         In addition to the FSC Working Group report, an IOMC paper outlining capacity building activi-
ties, with emphasis on a number of areas where Participating Organizations have directly cooperated, is
available at Forum IV6.
        Since Forum III, there have been many substantial capacity building efforts to improve the sound
management of chemicals. The reports mentioned above provide selected information on these efforts.
Although it is beyond scope of this report to provide details on these projects, it is worth noting one
unique and critical development in capacity building since Forum III: the establishment of a POPs win-
dow in the GEF. This window will make $250 million available for chemicals-related capacity building
in the 2002-2006 time period and will leverage extensive additional resources. Details may be found on
the GEF web site at “”.

          E4: The goal of INFOCAP is to facilitate the exchange and public accessibility of information re-
garding the planning, implementation, evaluation and coordination of capacity building projects for the
sound management of chemicals. Since Forum III, the INFOCAP Steering Group has made substantial
progress. Points of Contact within countries and organizations have been requested since mid 2003 to fa-
cilitate the compilation of information for the network services. The formal launch of INFOCAP was held
in July, 2003.

         A progress report7 and full demonstration of the INFOCAP will be provided at Forum IV. Net-
work services include: the listing of National Chemicals Management Profiles, Plans of Action, and Re-
source Needs; information on potential sources of support for chemicals management projects; informa-
tion on various chemicals management projects; a reference library of training and guidance documents;
and a listing of Points of Contact for INFOCAP.

        Area F: Prevention of illegal international traffic in toxic and dangerous products
       F1: The prevention of illegal traffic in toxic chemicals, a major area of importance outlined in
Chapter 19 of Agenda 21, was identified as a Priority for Action at Forum III and specially noted at the
World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002.

         Forum III called on the IOMC participating organizations to establish a working group on illegal
trafficking, drawing on expertise of the Forum and considering recommendations given by the regional
groups. UNEP agreed to lead this work. As a contribution to the work UNEP prepared a brief report for

  FSC Working Group, Assistance for Capacity Building – Report for Forum IV, IFCS/Forum IV/11w
  IOMC, IOMC Capacity Building Activities, IFCS/Forum IV/10 INF
  INFOCAP, Progress Report, IFCS/Forum IV/3 INF

Forum IV on ongoing activities undertaken by the IOMC organizations which will assist the Forum in
consideration of progress and deliberations of possible further actions8.
        The report describes ongoing relevant work in this field carried out under the Montreal Protocol,
the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, and other measures taken by UN agencies and their
partners, namely the UNEP Guidelines on Compliance and Enforcement, the WHO Program to Combat
Counterfeit Drugs, and the UNEP Green Customs Initiative, involving the World Customs Organization
and Interpol.
         Main issues identified as barriers to progress in this area include weaknesses in the control of
chemicals, absence of relevant legislation and limited customs infrastructure. Appropriate international
mechanisms to implement surveillance and preventive action, and training of customs officials have been
cited as priority steps to be taken on several occasions and regional meetings.
         Nonetheless, Priority for Action F1 had requested an assessment report to be prepared for Forum
IV by an IOMC Working Group containing recommendations with specific details. The Working Group
was not established nor the work initiated, therefore failing to involve other organizations noted in the
priority namely Interpol, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the World Cus-
toms Organization. The absence of action on this priority was remarked at all regional meetings held in
the period.

1.4 – New issues

        Subject to the availability of funds, the Forum Standing Committee may establish ad hoc Work-
ing Groups of Government and other agreed participants for a set period of time to undertake specific
tasks. This was case for certain issues described below, that included recommendations from Forum III
regarding Children and Chemical Safety and Occupational Safety and Health, a new initiative identified
as Addressing the Widening Gap that relates to the present condition of most of the developing countries
and their capacity to meet the targets, and the IFCS involvement in the SAICM process.

             a) Children and chemical safety
         An intensified focus on the special vulnerability of children exposed to serious health threats
from their environments has brought the issue of children & chemical safety to the forefront on the inter-
national chemicals management agenda. The Priorities for Action Beyond 2000 state that chemical safety
issues regarding susceptible groups, such as children, need to be clearly addressed in the assessment and
management of risks9. In response to requests from the Central & Eastern European region, the Interna-
tional POPs Elimination Network (IPEN) and the International Network on Children’s Health, Environ-
ment and Safety (INCHES), the FSC included the topic of children & chemical safety in the Forum IV
        A FSC Working Group was established and prepared a Decision Document to be submitted to
Forum . This document provides thought starting information and concrete recommendations to motivate
discussion and action. It cites examples of why children have special vulnerabilities to chemicals, pre-

    UNEP, Prevention of Illegal International Traffic, IFCS/ Forum IV/ 9 INF
    IFCS, Priorities for Action Beyond 2000, Introduction - paragraph 6

sents information on chemicals in the context of environmental health risks to children and proposes ac-
tions to ensure chemical safety for children. The Working Group also prepared a companion information
paper intended to provide background information and scientific rationale for the Decision Paper.10

           b) Occupational Safety and Health
        Chemicals in the workplace account for a major source of human toxic exposures and release to
the environment. Engaging employers and employees in the sound management of chemicals provides an
effective avenue for the prevention and control of hazardous exposure to chemicals.
        Forum III agreed that special attention should be paid to occupational safety and health concerns
caused by chemicals. As a result, the FSC created a Working Group, to address Occupational Safety and
Health concerns caused by chemicals. This Working Group has examined the global and national actions
that need to be taken to further worker safety and has prepared recommendations for consideration by Fo-
rum IV11.

        Several barriers will need to be overcome for progress to be made in this area. For example,
there is a need for improved data and the effective implementation of GHS in the workplace, for in-
creased employee access to information on chemicals, and for extensive capacity building programs.

           c) Addressing the Widening Gap
        At the 44th meeting of the IFCS standing committee held in Bangkok, Thailand from 27 th to 29th,
2002, a proposal was forwarded to the committee by the Islamic Republic of Iran. It addressed the “Wid-
ening Gap Among Countries in Following the Chemical Safety Policies”, and was welcomed by a number
of member countries.
       The FSC assigned a working group to introduce a decision document at Forum IV that includes a
background to the issue and the following suggestions:
           -   - an Ad hoc Expert Group be established to propose a systematic way of strengthening the
               sound management of chemicals in countries with an expressed need. Those countries could
               request, if appropriate, expertise available in the system to identify specific areas that would
               require basic development or further improvement. The system may at some point contribute
               to the SAICM process;
            - - recommend to countries requiring external assistance, as well as OECD countries and other
          IFCS participants, intergovernmental and non-governmental entities, and in particular the IOMC
          organizations, to prioritise this initiative as soon as the Ad hoc Expert Group is established and
          operational, in line with the conclusions of the working group on Priority E3 regarding the provi-
          sion of sufficient financial resources and technical assistance for the sound management of
            - - request that the Forum Standing Committee review the implementation of the system and
          report back to Forum V.

     FSC Working Group, Protecting Children from Harmful Chemical Exposures, IFCS/Forum IV/14w
     FSC Working Group, Occupational Safety and Health – Issues and Work of IFCS, IFCS/Forum IV/08w

        d) Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management - SAICM
       The need for a comprehensive and co-coordinated international approach to the sound manage-
ment of chemicals has been recognized for over 30 years at numerous major global meetings, from the
UN Conference held in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1972, to the World Summit on Sustainable Development
(WSSD), held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2002.
        The UNEP Governing Council in its decision SS.VII/3 mandated the organization to convene an
open-ended consultative process to develop the SAICM. In response to Paragraph 23 of the WSSD Plan
of Implementation and to the above mentioned UNEP Governing Council decision, Forum IV will review
and discuss the further development of a strategic approach to international chemicals management
(SAICM), based on the IFCS Bahia Declaration and Priorities for Action Beyond 2000.
         SAICM is to be completed by 2005 and presented at an International Conference on Chemicals
Management - ICCM. This Conference will be co-convened by IFCS, UNEP and other IOMC organiza-
tions, and preceded by at least two PrepComs. A Steering Committee, formed by UNEP, IFCS, IOMC
members, UNDP and the World Bank, met four times between October 2002 and July 2003.
         Forum IV is requested to discuss and identify any gaps in the IFCS Bahia Declaration and Priori-
ties for Action Beyond 2000 or in the implementation of these priorities, and suggest remedies for identi-
fied gaps. For that purpose, the Forum Standing Committee formed a Working Group that prepared a
Thought Starter11, with the assistance of an outside consultant, to stimulate thinking about those gaps and
to provide an analytical framework for discussion. Appended with this Thought Starter is a background
document in tabular format (Annex A), that identifies key themes in the Bahia Declaration and Priorities
for Action Beyond 2000, provided as an organizational aide in tracking discussion at Forum IV on gaps,
obstacles and potential actions.
       The outcome of Forum IV deliberations will be presented to the first PrepCom of the ICCM,
scheduled for 9-13 November 2003 in Bangkok, immediately following Forum IV.

Chapter 2 - IFCS in Bangkok: Forum IV and PrepCom1
         The Bahia Declaration and its companion document outlining key Priorities for Action beyond
2000 were the most important documents to issue from Forum III. They were commitments by IFCS par-
ticipants to strengthen efforts and build partnerships in order to accomplish specific targets during the fol-
lowing decade, taking into account the importance of providing financial and technical assistance, and
technology transfer to that effect. As such those documents were recognized at the World Summit on Sus-
tainable Development and by the UNEP Governing Council.
         IFCS has now been called upon to join other organizations in a partnership effort to further de-
velop a Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management - SAICM by 2005 and subsequently
co-convene an International Conference on Chemicals Management - ICCM. All those organizations are
invited to participate in the IFCS and several of them are already active in the IFCS. Their involvement is
necessary, along with that of other participants, in searching for consensual decisions at IFCS Plenary
Sessions like Forum IV. Most of the national governments that participate in IFCS, with sole voting

rights, are also represented in the Governing Bodies of IOMC members of IFCS, and thus in a position to
set their policies
         Forum IV is expected to evaluate the progress obtained so far in meeting the targets of the Work
Program and to review the present IFCS scope and other matters based on a number of factors, including
the need to inform PrepCom1/ICCM on the status and gaps in the implementation of the Bahia Declara-
tion, the Priorities for Action beyond 2000, and other recommendations from Forum III. The agenda for
PrepCom1 includes background, procedural and basic material for the eventual examination of substan-
tive issues pertaining to the SAICM process.

2.1 - Review of Priority Targets

        In chronological terms, the target dates established for the Priorities can be subdivided into past
and future as of Forum IV. The following tables summarize the situation at the time of this Report. Table
I contains an identification and description of each Priority, an indication on whether or not the target was
met, and a suggestion about continuing to pursue the work until its completion should it be the case.
       Table II informs on commitments beyond Forum IV and an evaluation of ongoing efforts for their
completion and effectiveness.

                        Table I: Priorities for Action - Commitments for completion until Forum IV
                                                                                                            Status at Forum IV
Code     Year    Summarized description                                                 Group
                                                                                                            Target       Should
                                                                                                             Met        Continue
 A3      2003    Data on all chemicals in commerce made available                   Report F-IV (WG)          Y            Y
 B1      2003    GHS                                                                Adopted ECOSOC            Y            Y
 C2      2003    Rotterdam Convention – PIC                                             Ratified              N            Y
 D3      2001    Stockholm Convention - POPs                                             Signed               Y            -
D3a      2003    Risk reduction initiatives for other chemicals of concern            Report F-IV             N            Y
 D4      2002    Accident prevention and emergency response systems                 Over 70 countries         N            Y
 D5      2003    Acutely toxic pesticides                                           Report F-IV (WG)          Y            Y
D5a      2003    Severely hazardous pesticides                                        Report F-IV             Y            Y
 D6      2001    Code of conduct pesticides                                           Adopted FAO             Y            Y
 D7      2002    Poison centres                                                     70+30 countries           N            Y
 E1      2002    National Profiles                                                   Most countries           Y            Y
 E1a     2002    Focal Points /Coordination                                          Most countries           N            Y
 E3      2001    Capacity Bldg. Cooperation                                         Report F-IV (WG)          Y            Y
 E4      2003    INFOCAP                                                            Implement (WG)            Y            Y
 F1      2003    Prevention of illegal traffic                                        Report F-IV             N            Y
Add´l    2003    Occupational Safety & Health                                       Report F-IV (WG)          Y            Y
Add´l    2003    Children & chemical safety                                         Report F-IV (WG)          Y            Y
Add´l    2003    The widening gap                                                   Report F-IV (WG)          Y            Y

         Table II: Priorities for Action - Commitments for completion after Forum IV
Code    Year    Summarized description                                                 Target                          Effort
                Common principles and harmonized approaches for risk methodolo-
A1       -                                                                             Adopted wherever possible       Y
A2      2004    Hazard evaluations in accordance with international methodologies      HPV 1000 chemicals              N

B1      2008    GHS                                                                    Fully implemented               Y

C1      2005    Information exchange arrangements                                      5 countries/region              Y

C1      2010    Information exchange arrangements                                      Most countries                  Y

C3      2004    Safety data sheets                                                     Most countries                  N

D1      2004    Pests and vectors management                                           Most countries                  N
                                                                                       Action plans established
D2      2004    Disposal of obsolete stocks                                                                            N
                                                                                       and 2/region implemented
D3      2004    Stockholm Convention                                                   Ratified                        Y

D8      2004    PRTRs                                                                  2/region implemented            N

D9       -      Right to know                                                          Regulated-consumer products     -

E2      2005    National, regional and international action plans and policies         Most countries & regions        N

       A brief analysis of the performance indicated on Table I above and a reference to Annex A of the
“Thought Starter” paper, to be presented and discussed at Forum IV along with this Progress Report
would allow for the identification of “obstacles” at the national or organizational level, or “gaps” in the
implementation of the IFCS Bahia Declaration and Priorities for Action beyond 200012.
         Priorities D4 (Major accidents), D7 (Poison centres), E1a (Intersectoral coordination), and F1 (il-
legal traffic assessment & recommendations report) which did not meet the targets, could be taken as ex-
amples, since the non-performer C2 (Rotterdam Convention) is very close to completion and the D3a
(Risk reduction initiatives) report was postponed.
         Thus, with reference to D4, lack of or inadequate legislation, insufficient training and financial
resources, lack of information exchange at the national level and of international cooperation in accident
prevention, detection and response, are identifiable obstacles and gaps. Suggested actions include the at-
tenuation or removal of those obstacles, as well as the adoption of available international guidance by
governments and process safety management by industries, coverage of all types of accidents and not just
the major ones, strengthening of WHO global alert and response system and expansion of international
health regulations to cover chemicals, and linkage to poison centres. Larger countries in size could con-
sider starting the implementation of future national systems at the local level and expanding them gradu-
        Regarding D7, many of the gaps and obstacles at the national level are similar to those in D4. Ac-
tions would include raising awareness at the national level on the importance of poison centres, strength-
ening the links with the work under the PIC and POPs Conventions and GHS, provision of regional cen-
tres where applicable. In order to add more significance to this important instrument perhaps an ample in-
ternational campaign that would attract major donors and charitable foundations could be launched by
IFCS under the leadership of WHO and IOMC organizations.
        With respect to E1a, most of the difficulties could be attributed to institutional capability, lack of
appropriate vertical and horizontal communication and coordinated work at the national level and interna-
tional organizations, resistances to and costs involved in including other stakeholders, financial and hu-
man resources and the importance of chemical issues in protecting human health and the environment.

         As to F1, the Working Group on the Illegal Traffic should first be organized. Obstacles and gaps
identified for F2 were: a need to enact enabling legislation and regulatory frameworks, train customs offi-
cials and strengthen infrastructure and capacity for monitoring and analysis.

        There is indication that some of the numerical targets set for Priorities could be further increased,
and other priorities require extended work for their completion. For those reasons Table I suggests that
follow up and updating activities should continue for most Priorities.

         On the other hand, a preliminary appraisal of the progress to date of those Priorities and their tar-
gets included in Table II, recommends that renewed efforts are required to improve their performance, es-
pecially since five of them are due in 2004.

     FSC Working Group, Occupational Safety and Health – Issues and Work of IFCS, IFCS/Forum IV/08w

2.2 - Objectives and Tools

        It may be useful, at this point, to distinguish between the Objectives of the Priority strategy and
the Tools required to meet the targets. The Objectives fall mostly under two sets of priorities:
        a) - Hazard and Risk Assessment: Priorities A1, A2 and A3
        b) - Risk Management and Reduction: Priorities D1, D2, D4, D5, D7, D8, F;
        whereas the Tools are more easily identifiable under two other sets:
        c) - Institutional Strengthening and Capacity Building: Priorities C1, C3, E1, E2, E3, E4

        d) - International Cooperation and Multilateral Initiatives: Priorities B1, C2, D3, D6.
         Most common “obstacles and “gaps” under Objectives would be: scientific development, re-
search or methodological constraints, inter-agency/ inter-participant/intra-national coordination, language
barriers, lack of exposure data, national policies and strategies.
         Area A priorities, as in a), rely heavily on the organizational, financial and human resources of
OECD countries especially in terms of their scientific capability. The participation of scientists and insti-
tutions from non -OECD countries is an important element in the process and appropriate tools in items c)
and d) should be utilized for that purpose.
        Improved communication in other languages, as proposed by organizing Internet discussion
groups in French and Spanish to start with, would make for easier exchanges and the use of more familiar
terminology, therefore attracting further human resources to the program, motivating their contribution to
the general effort and providing them with capacity building opportunities. .
          Greater participation of developing countries is even more important with regard to Areas D and
F priorities, as in b), where most common “obstacles” and “gaps” might include: appropriate strategies,
consistent policies and awareness; specific regulations, enforcement; laboratory, communications, health
facilities and other infrastructure. The overall performance of both Priorities D4 and D7 indicate that
those “obstacles” and “gaps” have prevented many countries from meeting the targets for implementing
major accident prevention and response systems and the setting up of poison centres.

         “Obstacles” and “gaps” are also evident in the description of those priorities identified as Tools,
as in items c) and d) above, comprising institutional, human and financial resources considered as insuffi-
cient for the implementation of a chemical safety regime. Political will and proper understanding of the
importance of this issue so as to place it higher on the national agenda are necessary ingredients, since vi-
tal decisions must come from within each country.
       That is why the drafting of a National Profile and the setting up of an inter-sectoral coordinating
mechanism (Priorities E1 and E2) are so important, by providing the necessary basis for the development
and adoption of National policies suited to each particular set of circumstances.
         The Widening Gap Proposal, if adopted, would create an opportunity for the selection of appro-
priate tools by interested countries and allow them to progress significantly in the field of chemical safety.

2.3 - Other Relevant decisions

        IFCS participants at Forum IV and PrepCom1 may have to consider not only specific decision
items on the present draft agenda but also decide on relevant questions such as:

       I.- to maintain or adapt the scope and targets of Priorities for Action, based on a realistic assess-
       ment of their implementation until now, and the consideration of possible issues arising in the
       SAICM process that could be added to the present IFCS mandate;
       - introduction of additional chemicals: arsenic, asbestos, lead, mercury and endocrine disruptors;
       - consideration of the life-cycle concept;

       - identification of new subjects and interfaces with other bodies for the exchange of information
       of mutual interest on wastes (Basel), ozone (Montreal), chemical weapons (OPCW), pharmaceu-
       ticals, radioactive substances, food additives;
       - revision of Priority area F to encompass the broader trade issue and drug traffic;
       - addition of other vulnerable groups such as the poor and the aged;

       II. - to provide further resources to IFCS, improve the coordination of efforts within the IFCS in
       order to promote the overcoming of gaps and obstacles in meeting Priority targets and the effec-
       tive participation in the SAICM process;
       - consider the overall question of IFCS financing and set up a mechanism to fund the proposed
       Widening Gap Expert Group.
       - create 4 ad-hoc working groups, one for each of the above mentioned Priority sets {Objectives
       and Tools - a) to d)}, co-chaired by an WEOG country and a developing country,
       - invite individual sponsors for the selected Priorities;
       - provide additional support to the Secretariat to assist on those initiatives;

       III.- to review the proposed Rules of Procedure for adoption at PrepCom1, having in mind a pos-
       sible preference for a participatory consensus-oriented decision-making mechanism, that might
       include non-governmental members in the SAICM Bureau, and agree on guidelines for all IFCS
       participants and to IFCS designated representatives at meetings, working groups and the prepara-
       tion of decision documents in the SAICM process;
       Suggestion: draft proposals could be submitted for discussion in the Regional and Plenary Ses-
       sions at Forum IV under Items “President’s Progress Report” or “SAICM”.

        Another phase in the life of the IFCS will be closed at Forum IV. From 2000 to 2003 different
perspectives and opportunities came to the fore on the issue of chemical safety and have inspired deci-

sions by its diverse participants that represented visible progress in complying with our commitments and
meeting our targets.
        The flexible arrangement and informal approach continued to be dominant features at IFCS, an
enabling environment where governments of all continents and stages of development share their views
with society, in a continuous process.
        That is the added value of IFCS, allowing for the early involvement of social groups, with their
opinions and aspiration on how to proceed meeting the challenge of a world that depends on the safe and
sound management of chemicals, throughout their lifecycle, to ensure the protection of human health, es-
pecially of vulnerable groups, and the environment, its species and ecosystems.

         This report is a contribution of the outgoing President, written with the support of the Secretariat
and the collaboration of many participants, describing most of the events that took place at IFCS in the
past three years. Some opinions and recommendations were added to the text where they seemed to be
useful to the organization.
        A special word of recognition is due to the Executive Secretary Judy Stober and her staff, to the
Past President Roy Hickman and Vice Presidents Gunnar Bengtsson from Sweden, Eduardo Espín and
Mercedes Bolaños from Ecuador, György Ungváry from Hungary, Ibrahima Sow and Cheikh Sylla from
Senegal, and Akira Kawahara, Tohru Yamamoto, Tsutomu Matsuda and Sadao Nakao from Japan, to the
President´s Advisers in the SAICM Steering Committee William Sanders, Jack Weinberg, Rainer Koch
and Judy Stober, as well as to Forum Standing Committee members and their alternates, to Chairs and
members of Ad-Hoc Working and Steering Groups, to National Focal Points and all those who attended
the frequent meetings and teleconferences, for their dedication to IFCS and friendly assistance to the
        Finally, the President wishes to express his gratitude to the Government of Brazil and specifically
to Ministers of Environment José Sarney Filho, José Carlos Carvalho and Marina Silva for the honour of
his designation to IFCS and to the President´s staff members in Brasilia, Messrs. Georges Leonardos and
André Fenner, and Mrs. Yanaí Matorin for their invaluable collaboration and support.

                                                                           Henrique Brandão Cavalcanti
                                                                                        IFCS President


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