Some 100,000 chemicals are present on the global market of which about 20,000 are considered dangerous. These substances can contaminate air, water, land, animals, food, and human beings and thus need to be managed safely.

Several UNITAR Programmes and Offices are engaged in supporting governments, organizations, and stakeholders in developing capacity to protect human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals and wastes:

  • The Chemicals and Waste Management Programme  comprises the core of UNITAR’s activities in this area. Project activities support the implemention of international agreements, such as the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), the Stockholm Convention, the Rotterdam Convention, and the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)
  • The Environmental Governance Programme supports countries in strengthening implementation of the UNECE Aarhus Convention and Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration which promotes public participation in environmental decision-making and development of community-right-to-know through Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers
  • The International Law Programme’s Diploma Course offers a module on International Environmental Law related to Hazardous Materials and Waste
  • The Local Development Programme strengthens capacity of local authorities in the area of waste management, through its CIFAL network
  • Building on geographic information derived from satellite imagery, UNOSAT offers services in areas such as mapping toxic waste dumping
  • The Public Finance and Trade Programme provides its experience in e-learning by supporting a course on Organic Agriculture