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UNEP Global Chemical Outlook Addresses Green Economy Transition

UNEP5 September 2012: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has released the report on its first comprehensive assessment of chemicals, titled “Global Chemicals Outlook: Towards Sound Management of Chemicals.” The report calls for coordinated action by governments and industry to reduce the growing risks to human health and the environment posed by the unsustainable management of chemicals.

According to UNEP, the chemical “intensification” of economies means that synthetic chemicals are quickly becoming the largest constituents of waste streams and pollution around the world, and consequently increasing the exposure of humans and habitats to chemical hazards. The report notes that how the world manages chemicals will play a key role in the transition to a global green economy.

The 44-page report recommends approaches for a global transition to improved chemicals management, with a focus on developing and emerging economies. Recommendations include: mainstreaming, through the integration of sound chemicals management into national social and economic plans; multistakeholder approaches to developing policies with the full involvement of the private sector; the development of policies that focus on preventing risks and promoting safer alternatives, rather than remediating hazards only; and building capacity in developing countries to promote innovation and the use of safer chemicals to attract investments. [UN Press Release] [UNEP Press Release] [Publication: Global Chemicals Outlook: Towards Sound Management of Chemicals] [Summary of Press Conference]