SDGs and Mainstreaming

Vision of mainstreaming

Sound management of chemicals throughout their life cycle to become a policy and investment priority to decouple sustainable development advances from the potential and growing risks to human health and the environment.

Rationale for mainstreaming

UN Environment Chemicals Branch work on mainstreaming is directly concerned with implementation of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) in support of the achievement of the World Summit on Sustainable Development goal that by the year 2020 chemicals are produced and used in ways that minimize significant adverse impacts on the environment and human health.

Implementing the sound management of chemicals at the national level requires a variety of actions that together form an enabling environment. Some of these actions are likely to be beyond the direct mandate of an environment ministry. Typically a number of ministries and state administrations may need to act and cost-effectiveness gains are available where actions are coherent and well-coordinated between national agencies. Ensuring that sound chemicals management needs are ‘mainstreamed’ – integrated into national policies and programmes, including sustainable development strategies, also facilitates support through national budgets, bilateral development assistance plans, and multilateral assistance framework processes.

Governments demonstrated support for a paradigm shift in environmental stewardship at the first meeting of the United Nations Environment Assembly, decisions related to the production, use and disposal of chemicals, they adopted the Special Programme to support institutional strengthening for the implementation of the sound management of chemicals and waste at the national level, as an element for an integrated approach to financing chemicals. Further reflecting their commitment to sustainable development and recognizing that current trends in chemicals management have far-reaching economic, social and health implications, they targeted chemicals and wastes in a number of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as health, water and sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Purpose of Mainstreaming

Make sound management of chemicals a critical factor in achieving sustainable development and SDGs: urgent and coordinated actions at national, regional, corporate and civil society level as well as international level so that the sound management of chemicals is perceived as a vital element that underpins each aspect of a green economy and sustainable development and should be integrated not only by investments in natural capital in the realm of agriculture, fisheries, forest and water, but also in the investment in energy and resource efficiency, manufacturing, waste management building and urban design, tourism and transportation.

Need to bring convincing economic arguments for the sound management of chemicals to prove that sound chemicals management is as valid an area for investment as education, transport, direct health care services and other essential public services and that it could foster the creation of many green, decent and healthy jobs and livelihood for developed and developing countries.