The head of Swetox, Åke Bergman, was invited to a high-level meeting with Environment Minister Karolina Skog in Stockholm on March 12, together with among others the Finnish Environment Minister, Ambassadors and Representatives of FAO, UNEP, IKEA and CHEMSEC.
At the meeting, a continuation beyond the year 2020 was discussed, regarding the sustainability work on chemicals and waste initiated with the Strategic Approach for International Chemicals Management (SAICM) and the Dubai Declaration on International Chemicals Management.
The dispersion of persistent organic pollutants has been limited by the Stockholm Convention (2004) and for Mercury by the Minamata Convention (2013). But the large and growing amount of other potentially harmful and environmentally polluting chemicals and their residues requires renewed efforts.
Participants agreed on the growing problems and the importance of making people feel safe with the chemicals they are exposed to from products, their environment and foodstuffs. Many lives can be saved through sound management of chemicals and residues / waste.
Initiatives must come from everything from citizens and organizations through industry and industry all the way up to the political leadership layer. There were different opinions about whether this was best achieved through action plans, legislation or international conventions. An agreement similar to the Paris Treaty, directed against chemicals, was discussed.
Anchoring the decisions requires an overarching vision that easily communicates a “human face” to the efforts required for sound management.
–I particularly appreciated the statement from the Finnish Minister for Environment, Energy and Housing, Kimmo Tiilikainen, that the Nordic countries also need to uphold the competence in chemical risk assessment in order to continue to contribute to sustainable development globally, says Åke Bergman.
The discussion and conclusions are summarized in a document (pdf).