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Jeudi 09 février 2017 @ 23:06:17   Auteur: Rolande

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Paper submitted on behalf of a coalition of CSOs involved on Sustainable Development and Chemical Safety issues in Togo

Submitted by Dr. Yahya Khamis Msangi

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The significance of SAICM and the critical role that SAICM has played in ensuring that impact of chemicals on human and environment health is well documented and recognized by many particularly in the developing countries of the south. It is suffice to mention just a few of the critical achievements.

In Africa SAICM has facilitated prioritization of chemical safety issues at the national, sub regional and regional levels. Many countries have included chemical safety issues particularly in their Occupational and Safety Acts and in the National Environmental Policies and legislations. Those who already had included chemical safety in the policies and legislations used SAICM particularly the GPA to improve or review their policies and legislations.

Under its Multistakeholder doctrine SAICM also facilitated the establishment of good working between civil societies and government departments particularly ministries of environment and health.

SAICM also assisted civil societies to overcome the traditional challenge of accessing finance through the now defunct financial mechanism i.e. the QSP. This allowed CSOs to bring into the table meaningful and tangible contributions. This also promoted the good working relationship with the government.

To a certain extent SAICM assisted in harnessing resources from the chemical industry though much more resources are needed from the producers and the main beneficiaries of the trade in chemicals. Before SAICM it was extremely difficult for others to access finance from the industry.

The institutional mechanism under SAICM served as a good example to many other UN processes including the UNFCCC process, the Rio+20 process and the Post 2015 Development Framework process.


  1. i.                    The time lag

It is important to note that by 2020 the SDGs process will be 5 years old giving it a 5 years head-start. This mean that the SAICM process beyond 2020 will have to catch-up for it to fit into the 2030 agenda. We need to ask ourselves what will SAICM miss in between 2015 and 2020?


By 2020 SAICM would have missed a critical phase of Agenda 2030 process since this is the period when many governments in the developing world are supposed to design their National SDGs Implementation Plans or Strategies. It is the period where nationally determined goals, targets and indicators for each of the 17 SDGs will be crafted and adopted. This period is synonymous with the lactating period of an infact: If an infact misses this period it may die or grow into an unhealthy child.


Another key question is for us to ask ourselves can this baby SAICM catch – up?

The truth is that we have lost a lot of critical period but if we are committed to the future of SAICM we can make this baby catch up. We must stop thinking of the future from 2020 but reflect back to 2015. We have 3 years remaining before we reach the year 2020 ; it is what we do between now and 2020 that will determine the future of SAICM beyond 2020 as we move towards 2030.


  1. ii.                  The new thinking

Under current development paradigm a discussion about SAICM beyond 2020 is basically a discussion about the role or position of SAICM in Agenda 2030. Therefore the thinking must shift from the current approach of ensuring protection of human and environment health into how SAICM can contribute to sustainable development under the new development framework. As SAICM stakeholders we should think beyond sound management of chemicals and waste and look at SAICM as a tool for driving economic and social progress. We must lead the way in shaping for example how SAICM can contribute to poverty reduction, gender equality, reproductive health, access to clean and safe water, achievement of democracy and good governance, guarantee for decent work and social protection for all, etc. In principle we have to bring SAICM into life in the 17 SDGs.


This is what some of us including the trade union movement attempted to achieve during the dialogue phase through lobbying for a stand-alone goal on chemical safety.


  1. iii.                The needed critical actions
    1. a.       Gap analysis

In order to assess the gap between 2015 and 2016 countries should be requested to provide an update on national process. We need to know the status of implementation in order to evaluate the gap. The secretariat may develop a template that will provide guideline and ensure uniformity. We need to know to what extent national SDGs implementation plans have accommodated chemical safety issues. Without this baseline knowledge it will be illogical to plan for the future.


  1. b.      Operationalizing the new SAICM

SAICM implementation was based on the Global Plan of Action (GPA) hence the new SAICM will require a review of the GPA. We cannot use the old engine to run a new car! The GPA should be reviewed to reflect all the 17 SDGs as its core elements. SAICM stakeholders should design required goals, targets and indicators for all the 17 SDGs. SAICM stakeholders have the experience and expertise on this area unlike other stakeholders dealing with the SDG process. Mainstreaming of SMCW in all 17 SDGs will ensure guarantee the transformation from a SAICM that is narrowly confined to SMCW for protection of human and environment health into a SAICM that is a driver of sustainable development. The drafting of the new GPA can be trusted into the hands of the OEWG.



  1. c.       Other actions

The future of SAICM will also depend on past experience particularly on the past mistakes or persistent weaknesses.


  1. i.                    The Multistakeholder approach

The success of SAICM can be largely attributed to its concept of involving every stakeholder. Unfortunately and without plausible reasons under SAICM this concept was badly damaged when a new exclusive financial mechanism was brought in to replace the QSP. The new financial mechanism excluded CSOs. This was a serious setback in the implementation of SAICM. The participation of CSOs in the implementation of SAICM has dramatically reduced to almost zero. There is a need to bring back the inclusive nature of SAICM in the financial mechanism if we need SAICM to perform under Agenda 2030 that itself calls for ‘leave no one behind’.


  1. ii.                  Prioritizing the needs of developing countries

There has been too much lip service to some critical chemical safety issues raised by developing countries. A good example that stands out for all to see is the problem of illegal dumping and trafficking. This challenge was prioritized by the African region and was raised in many SAICM meetings. The challenge has not received the attention that it deserves; there are no concrete programs neither adequate financing to assist Africa to overcome this terrible challenge. We need to walk the talk otherwise it will be extremely difficult for SAICM to play a meaningful role inside agenda 2030. Agenda 2030 present more challenges in terms of diversity and intensity.


  1. iii.                Making the industry more accountable and responsible

The chemical industry has played some role in the SAICM process that need to be appreciated. However, it is evident that the industry did not live up to expectation of many stakeholders. Apart from in-house programs such as the product stewardship program and safe use program; the industry has failed to initiate programs that involve other stakeholders. For example CSOs could be of help in building awareness amongst workers, farmers and the general public but the industry has turned a blind eye on them. Its engagement with CSOs was limited to a few workshops and meetings or side events in SAICM meetings. The industry can do more; the industry has to do more if SAICM stakeholders wish to see a better SAICM under Agenda 2030.


  1. iv.                 Massive public education

Workplace and community education has been one of the strong points of SAICM. However, the scrapping or sun setting of the QSP that was accessible to those who played a vital to workplace and community education and replacing it with an exclusive special programme inflicted a heavy blow on achievements made under SAICM on this area. The success of SAICM as we move towards 2030 will depend on how as SAICM stakeholders we manage to revive the important role that Civil Societies played in educating key groups such as workers, farmers, women, indigenous people, livestock keepers and the like. A special fund for public education has to be established to finance this area. The chemical industry should be requested to contribute to this fund instead of running its own in-house but questionable public education programmes.


  1. v.                   An expanded SAICM Bureau

Agenda 2030 will widen the scope of expertise needed in order for SAICM to make a meaningful contribution to the agenda. There is therefore a need for the Bureau to accommodate more people with different expertise on sustainable development issues as per the provisions of the 17 SDGs. This increase in members of the bureau must take into account equality of representation in terms of gender, UN regions, and the Agenda 21 nine major groups. 


  1. vi.                 Strengthening regional mechanisms

Regional groupings played an important role in the negotiation and implementation of SAICM. Regional groups played a critical role in the design and review of the current Global Plan of Action (GPA) which is the basis of many activities and programs implemented under SAICM. Many of the current decisions and emerging issues are the result of regional meetings. Unfortunately very limited funds were made available to regional groupings making it difficult for the Secretariat to facilitate the work of the regional groups. The need for regional groups will be much higher under Agenda 2030. SAICM Regional groups will be required to inform the SDGs process on a regular basis while at the same time maintaining its cardinal duty of ensuring SMCW.  More financial support is therefore needed.


  1. vii.               Enhanced coordination

In many developing countries the chronic problem of non-coordination between line ministries persisted. The problem may be made more complex under Agenda 2030. Agenda 2030 require all government ministries to establish a closer coordination mechanism (institutional, policy and legal). As SAICM stakeholders we need to have a clear framework on coordination mechanisms that will be favourable to SMCW under Agenda 2030. Failure to do so will extend the weakness that has confined SAICM under one of two ministries (ministries of environment and health) only.


  1. viii.             Strengthening and maintaining an independent SAICM Secretariat

Since its establishment the SAICM Secretariat has done a wonderful job notwithstanding some various challenges. However, as we try to fit in SAICM in the 2030 Agenda we need to address certain challenges. First, as the Secretariat of a program whose foundation is based on the concept of Multistakeholder engagement the Secretariat need to be and to be seen as an independent body without any element of doubt or suspicion. Any stakeholder that needs to support the Secretariat should do so without compromising the independent nature of the Secretariat. The current placement of staff from the chemical industry inside the Secretariat compromises this requirement and should be corrected. It is our belief that the Secretariat was ‘forced’ to accept this kind of assistance due to financial limitation that has faced it for many years. The only way to avoid this is for SAICM partners to ensure the Secretariat is assured of adequate and timely financing particularly now that it will be handling matters related to Agenda 2030. To enable the secretariat to discharge its new role under Agenda 2030 two actions are needed: (i) recruitment of more staff (ii) establishment of regional offices particularly in regions representing developing countries.





  Projet E-waste in Togo

Mercredi 17 août 2016 @ 19:03:53   Auteur: Rolande

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e-dechet.JPG Welfare Togo is looking for partners to implement a project whose objective is to create green and decent jobs in the EWASTE sector in Togo. This is a fast growing industry in Togo and nearby countries of Benin and Burkinafaso.

It is employing around 40000 youths but there are serious human and environmental health concerns. There is also discrimination against women as the sector is dominated by men. WELFARE TOGO is welcoming any partner to work with it to transform the industry. Please contact us at or visit our webtv at


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