SAICM and the New Global Framework on Chemicals (GFC)

The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), adopted in February 2006 at the First International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM1) in Dubai, was a global framework designed to promote sound management of chemicals and waste. Its goal was to minimize the impact of chemicals and waste on human health and the environment by 2020.

The Global Framework on Chemicals (GFC), adopted in September 2023 at ICCM5 in Bonn, Germany, succeeds SAICM. Building on SAICM's goals, the GFC establishes more concrete targets and places a stronger emphasis on preventing harm caused by chemicals and waste.

The GFC's main goal to prevent or, where prevention is not feasible, minimize harm from chemicals and waste to protect the environment and human health. This is achieved through a series of 28 specific targets that focus on several key areas:

  • Strengthening legal frameworks and building capacity: The GFC aims to ensure strong legal frameworks and institutions are in place for effective chemical management. This includes building capacity in developing countries to implement these frameworks.
  • Providing comprehensive access to information: The GFC emphasizes the importance of providing comprehensive and readily available information about chemicals.
  • Identifying and addressing chemicals of major concern: The framework prioritizes identifying and addressing chemicals that pose a significant risk to human health and the environment.
  • Developing and using safer alternatives: The GFC encourages the development and use of safer alternatives to harmful chemicals.
  • Mobilizing resources and fostering partnerships: The framework recognizes the importance of mobilizing resources and fostering collaboration between governments, industry, and non-governmental organizations to achieve its goals.
  • Integrating chemical safety into decision-making: The GFC aims to integrate chemical safety considerations into all relevant decision-making processes.

Russia's involvement:

The Ministry of Industry and Trade represents Russia in the GFC, authorized by a government decree in September 2020. A Coordination Council, established in July 2023 by Order "On the Coordination Council on the participation of the Russian Federation in the implementation of SAICM", guides Russia's participation. It emphasizes openness, cooperation between government and non-government organizations, and achieving specific goals related to the SAICM and GFC. Notably, the Russian delegation, along with experts from the CIS Center, played a key role in advocating for national interests during ICCM5 negotiations, particularly regarding the interests of domestic manufacturers in the chemical sector.

  • A pilot project is underway, led by a collaboration of organizations including SAICM, the EU, and UNEP, to help African countries overcome barriers in implementing the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).
  • Previously, online Communities of Practice (CoPs) brought together experts for knowledge sharing on specific topics related to SAICM. These CoPs ended in December 2022, but discussions continue on relevant issues like chemicals of concern and capacity building.

Supporting Developing Countries: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Special Programme on Chemicals and Waste Management Programme supports developing countries in managing chemicals and waste safely. This program focuses on strengthening institutions, developing and enforcing policies and regulations, and creating conditions for implementing international agreements like the GFC. As of 2024, the program is funding 42 active projects in various countries, with a focus on engaging the private sector in sound chemical management practices.

The IWG contributes to the development of international standards and policies. The group's experts are involved in the process of updating SAICM international documents. Thanks to their expertise and experience, IWG participants actively put forward constructive proposals and recommendations to improve existing policies and approaches to chemicals management, which contributes to the creation of a more effective international regulatory framework reflecting modern requirements and challenges.

Geography of coverage


Current interesting projects


Pilot project to support African countries in overcoming barriers to the implementation of the UN GHS

The pilot project to support African countries in overcoming barriers to the implementation of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) is an initiative aimed at helping African countries effectively adapt and implement the GHS recommendations.

The project is a collaboration between SAICM, the European Union (EU), the International Council for Chemical Associations (ICCA), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

To date, the lack of scientific capacity, easily accessible information and resources is an obstacle for many countries trying to implement GHS. In the African region, so far only three countries, Mauritius, South Africa and Zambia, have implemented GHS. Four African countries are participating in this pilot project — Kenya, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.

Employees of the NP CIS CIC Association participated in a similar UNITAR GHS training project in Kazakhstan as teachers.


Community of Practitioners

Communities of Practice (CoPs) are a voluntary initiative within SAICM that brings together experts interested in a specific thematic area to regularly share knowledge and experience.

The goal of this community is to create an effective global network of SAICM experts with a space for information exchange and long-term interaction. Community discussions provide an opportunity to share knowledge, the latest research and developments.

SAICM created CoPs in 2020 as part of the SAICM project on new policy issues:

  • highly hazardous pesticides (OOP),
  • chemicals in products (CiP),
  • lead in paint (LiP),
  • Chemicals and the Sustainable Development Goals (CSDG).

The Community of Practitioners project has successfully achieved its goal of creating and using a platform for knowledge sharing and stakeholder discussions. The activities of the four communities were successfully completed in December 2022.

In 2023, the community of practitioners continues a series of discussions related to SAICM beyond 2020: issues of concern, including throughout the supply chain and capacity development. The community includes representatives from academia, governments, industry, intergovernmental NGOs and civil society.


UNEP Special Programme | Chemicals and Waste Management Programme

The Chemicals and Waste Management Program is aimed at supporting developing countries and countries with economies in transition. It aims to strengthen the sustainable institutional capacity of countries to develop, adopt, monitor and enforce regulations for the effective implementation of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, the Minamata Convention and SAICM.

The program promotes the development of sustainable mechanisms for the management of chemicals and waste, improvement of the legislative and institutional framework, as well as the creation of conditions for the adoption and effective implementation of international agreements in this area.

The Initiative provides technical and financial assistance, conducts training events and provides methodological support to participating countries.

The program currently finances 42 active projects with a total value of more than 11.5 million US dollars in various countries. The projects aim to involve the private sector in the field of sustainable chemicals and waste management in Argentina, Palau, Eswatini, Republic of Moldova on chemicals and waste in accordance with the Basel and Stockholm Conventions.

As the projects are completed, an in-depth assessment of their impact at the national level will be carried out.