World nears safer standards on chemical use says UN agency

The world has moved significantly closer towards safe production, use and disposal of chemicals, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced today at the close of a major international conference.The International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM2), which wrapped up its 11-15 May gathering in Geneva, has made progress in several key areas and has defined its priorities for future work, UNEP said in a news release.UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said he was particularly encouraged by the focus on the four emerging issues of nanotechnology, e-waste, chemicals in everyday products, and lead in paint. “Reaping the benefits that chemicals offer to a modern society while reducing their potential for harm to the lowest level possible is a task for everyone,” including governments, international agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and scientists, stressed Mr. Steiner.Established in 2006 by the first session of the ICCM in Dubai, the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) brought together some 800 delegates to discuss issues related to the safe use of chemicals and make concrete recommendations.“SAICM this week really has proved its worth as the one worldwide forum which brings together the people who can make change happen,” added Mr. Steiner.Coordinator of the SAICM secretariat Matthew Gubb noted that the ICCM “also considered how to ensure that sufficient resources are available to give meaning to the Strategic Approach in developing countries.”The SAICM has already created a start-up trust fund “which is currently running projects worth $20 million in close to 80 countries,” said Mr. Gubb. 15 May 2009The world has moved significantly closer towards safe production, use and disposal of chemicals, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced today at the close of a major international conference.