In Europe, the Registration, Evaluation and Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals Regulation (REACH) entered into force on the 1st of June 2007. This legislation replaces the patchwork of many different directives and regulations which has developed historically and puts in place a comprehensive system for chemicals control in Europe.
But the regulation of chemicals in Europe also occurs through the implementation of UN level agreements and conventions such as the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling (GHS), the Stockholm convention, the Rotterdam convention and the Basel convention and the 10 year framework of programmes aimed at sustainable consumption and production known as the Marrakech Process.
At the UN level indeed, two initiatives were developed in parallel by UNEP (The United Nations Environmental Programme) further to the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development in September 2002: the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) and the Marrakech Process.
The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM)
Adopted by the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM) on 6 February 2006 in Dubai, the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) is a policy framework to foster the sound management of chemicals. SAICM is a non-binding agreement, which objective is to achieve the sound management of chemicals throughout their life-cycle so that, by 2020, chemicals are used and produced in ways that lead to the minimization of significant adverse effects on human health and the environment. More than 100 countries have adopted this international approach to stimulate the safe production, transport, storage, use and disposal of chemicals.
The European Union’s main contributions to SAICM are: REACH, the European GHS Regulation, and the Basel Convention, the Rotterdam Convention and the Stockholm Convention.
The Marrakech Process
The Marrakech Process is a global process to support regional and national initiatives to promote the shift towards Sustainable Consumption & Production (SCP) patterns.
In the European Union, the Marrakech Process is leading the development of an EU Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) Action Plan that entails amongst other things the Integrated Product Policy (IPP) and Green Public Procurement (GPP).
Through its involvement in the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA), Cefic participated in the dialogue and assisted in the adoption by the UN of SAICM and of the Marrakech Process.