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Costs of Inaction Initiative

UNEP DTIE Chemicals Branch, with the support of the Government of Sweden and the Government of Norway and in collaboration with Governments from developed and developing countries, IOMC organizations, other organizations, private sector and civil society, is currently developing a practical way forward on bringing further clarity and policy relevance to the issue of the costs of inaction (COI) on sound management of chemicals (SMC).

  • Why a Costs of Inaction Initiative?

There is a widely held view in the international environmental policy community that work to improve the sound management of chemicals (SMC) is a seriously underfunded area of work. This is due to a lack of an emerging global consensus on the costs of inaction on SMC stated in monetized or at least quantitative accounts. There is a lack of global consistency of message on the economic costs of inaction that makes the prioritization of SMC at the national and international levels substantially more difficult.

The aim of this initiative is therefore to raise political awareness of the economic benefit of providing resources to sound management of chemicals, including strengthening the rationale for inclusion of sound chemicals management priorities into national development plans and building capacity for ongoing assessment of the costs of inadequate chemicals management at the national and international levels.

  • What the Costs of Inaction Initiative aims to achieve?

The Cost of Inaction Initiative is attempt to produce for the first time a more complete global picture than we have had to date on the costs of inaction on sound chemicals management. The goal is to provide decision makers at all levels of governance with the information necessary to fully consider increasing investments in SMC, consistent with international agreements and decisions and to address national priorities to protect human health, the environment and the sustainability of development.

  • Report on Cost of Inaction on the Sound Management of Chemicals

The Cost of Inaction report includes an extensive review of the literature in order to identify the available economic information on the health, environmental and development planning effects of harmful chemicals. The report presents the readily available quantified and monetized data. While the information remains incomplete and for the most part underestimated, the report highlights that the available data can be very useful to raise political awareness of the benefits of sound management of chemicals in economic terms.

Next: COI Initiative Steering Committee

Cost of Inaction Report

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UNEP Cost of Inaction Report 

This publication provides a practical and useful assessment of the current state of knowledge of the economic costs of inaction on the sound management of chemicals. It makes available early research findings and the evidence needed to support the argument for enhanced political actions. This report on the “Costs of Inaction on the Sound Management of Chemicals” shows that these costs – borne by all segments of society, including business, from the production, use, and disposal of harmful chemicals – are too high.  To reduce these costs and more effectively achieve national development planning goals, improvements in chemicals management are required.

The Costs of Inaction report includes an extensive literary review in order to identify economic information on the health, environmental, and development planning effects of harmful chemicals.  Chemicals reviewed within the scope of study include commodity, high production volume (HPV), industrial, specialty, minerals and metals, agricultural, household chemicals and pharmaceuticals.