Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals

Policy Recommendations

SAICM and resolutions of the ICCM

The importance of implementing the GHS is recognised in SAICM's Overarching Policy Strategy (OPS) under the overall objective of “knowledge and information”. GHS is also included as a SAICM work area (#5) in the Global Plan of Action (GPA), referenced in 8 activities. Participants at the ICCM stressed the importance of training and capacity building for implementing the GHS as part of SAICM.

Resolution 2007/6 (July 2007) of the UN Economic and Social Council

This resolution, inter alia, endorsed the workplan of the UN ECOSOC Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and on the GHS  and "recalled the particular significance of the UNITAR/ILO/OECD Global GHS Partnership for building capacities at all levels" and encouraged strengthening of "support of the implementation of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals by providing financial contributions and/or technical assistance for capacity-building activities in developing countries and countries with economies in transition". Download

Resolution 2005/53 (July 2005) of the UN Economic and Social Council

This resolution, inter alia, endorsed the workplan of the UN ECOSOC Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and on the GHS and "recalled the particular significance of the UNITAR/ILO/OECD Global GHS Partnership for building capacities at all levels". Download

Resolution 2003/64 of July 2003 on the GHS of the UN Economic and Social Council

This resolution, inter alia, endorsed the workplan of the UN ECOSOC Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and on the GHS. Download

Special session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (Maputo, Mozambique; 9-10 June 2003)

At the special session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN), African Environment Ministers endorsed a draft Action plan for the environmental initiative of NEPAD with a view to submitting it to the summit of the African Union scheduled for early July in Maputo, Mozambique. The draft action plan includes GHS implementation as a cross-cutting issue.

Fifth Ministerial Conference "Environment for Europe" (Kiev, Ukraine; 21-23 May 2003)

In the Ministerial Declaration issued after the Fifth Ministerial Conference, it was noted that: "We welcome the adoption in December 2002 of the Globally Harmonized System for the Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. We encourage countries to implement this system without delay to improve the protection of human health and the environment through the sound management of chemicals, with a view to having the system fully operational by 2008." (ECE/CEP/94/Rev.1)

World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg, South Africa; August - September 2002)

At the WSSD in August-September 2002, governments adopted the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation which "encourage[s] countries to implement the new globally harmonized system for the classification and labelling of chemicals as soon as possible with a view to having the system fully operational by 2008." (para. 23c)

APEC Chemical Dialogue (Merida, Mexico; 22-23 May 2002)

The First Chemical Dialogue was attended by 50 participants from industry and government. The Dialogue recommended that as many economies as possible adopt and implement the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) on Hazard Classification and Labeling of Chemicals and Safety Data Sheets as soon as possible after its adoption by the United Nations in 2002. This recommendation was endorsed by APEC Trade Ministers in May 2002 and this year the Chemical Dialogue obtained APEC funding for a project to provide capacity building support to help economies implement the GHS guidelines.

IFCS Third Session (Salvador da Bahia, Brazil; October 2000)

At the Third Session, the IFCS recommended that:

"Guidance and other tools necessary for the implementation of the GHS should be made available to interested parties prior to Forum IV."

"All countries are encouraged to implement the GHS as soon as possible with a view to have the system fully operational by 2008."

"All countries subject to their capacities and capabilities, should take account of the development of the GHS in any proposed changes to existing systems for classification and labelling, and in the implementation and enforcement of their chemicals legislation." (IFCS/FORUM III/23W)