Links to UN bodies

Links to site map

Main Links

    [an error occurred while processing this directive]

Links to Sustainable Development Topics by Alphabetical Order

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

2010/2011 CSD Topics

[an error occurred while processing this directive]


Secondary Links

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Environmentally sound management of "toxic chemicals" is the topic of Chapter 19 of Agenda 21. A substantial use of chemicals is essential to meet the social and economic goals of the world community, and these can be used with a high degree of safety when best practices are followed. However, much remains to be done. Two of the major problems, particularly in developing countries, are

  1. lack of sufficient scientific information for the risk assessment, and
  2. lack of resources of assessment of chemicals for which data are at hand.

Gross chemical contamination, with grave damage to human health, genetic structures and reproductive outcomes and the environment, has been continuing within some of the world’s most important industrial areas, and restoration will require major investment as well as the development of new techniques.

Chapter 19 contains six programme areas, as follows:

  1. expanding and accelerating international assessment of chemical risks;
  2. harmonization of classification and labelling of chemicals;
  3. information exchange on toxic chemicals and chemical risks;
  4. establishment of risk reduction programmes;
  5. strengthening of national capabilities and capacities for management of chemicals; and
  6. prevention of illegal international traffic in toxic and dangerous products.

In paragraph 23 of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (2002), Member States renewed the commitment, as advanced in Agenda 21, to sound management of chemicals throughout their life cycle and of hazardous wastes for sustainable development as well as for the protection of human health and the environment, inter alia, aiming to achieve, by 2020, that chemicals are used and produced in ways that lead to the minimization of significant adverse effects on human health and the environment, using transparent science-based risk assessment procedures and science-based risk management procedures, taking into account the precautionary approach, as set out in principle 15 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and support developing countries in strengthening their capacity for the sound management of chemicals and hazardous wastes by providing technical and financial assistance.