What We Do

UNITAR's Chemicals and Waste Management Programme (CWM) provides support to governments and stakeholders to strengthen their institutional, technical, and legal infrastructure and capacities for sound chemicals management. Project activities take place within the framework of implementing international agreements such as the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), the Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions, or the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS), which are aimed at protecting human health and the environment while ensuring sustainable industrial development. The UNITAR approach to capacity building supports a country-driven and integrated approach to chemicals management as endorsed at the first International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM-1), held in Dubai in February 2006, and is linked to the 2020 goal to achieve the sound management of chemicals as adopted at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002. To-date, with UNITAR support:

  • more than 100 countries have completed a National Chemicals Management Profile
  • some 30 countries have initiated a National Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals
  • about 50 countries have participated in skills-building workshops for sound action plan development
  • more than 80 countries/organisations are undertaking enabling activities for SAICM implementation
  • 5 countries have an operational national PRTR system in place and 13 countries are designing national PRTR systems
  • 10 countries have initiated a National GHS Implementation Strategy
  • 4 countries have developed mercury emissions inventories
  • 3 countries have a mercury risk management plan

Since 1996, UNITAR has been a member of the Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC) — a collaborative agreement among FAO, UNDP, UNEP, UNIDO, UNITAR, ILO, WHO, OECD and the World Bank. Other strategic partners include the Secretariats of the Stockholm, Rotterdam, Basel, and Chemical Weapons Conventions. Core donors have included Switzerland, the United States, The Netherlands, the European Commission, Canada, UNDP, UNEP, and GEF.

Programme areas at present include: SAICM, POPs, PIC, GHS, PRTR, Mercury, Nanotechnology, Waste ManagementRisk Management, and Knowledge Sharing.