Chemicals &

  [You are here: Mainstreaming > Global Chemicals Outlook > Development of the GCO Report ]

Development of the GCO Report

Introducing UNEP’s Global Chemicals Outlook

UNEP, in close collaboration with OECD, WHO and other organisations of the Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC), has developed a Global Chemicals Outlook to frame current understanding of trends in chemicals production, use and disposal, economic implications of these trends, and policy options.

Why a Global Chemicals Outlook?

Current trends show that patterns of global chemicals production, trade, use and disposal are changing towards developing countries and economies in transition. Understanding these changes in the chemicals production, trade, use and disposal - and the potential risks these pose - is essential to ensuring that chemicals are managed so that their contribution to improving quality of life is maximized and their related risks minimized. 

What is the expected impact?

The Global Chemicals Outlook aims to provide a coherent, comprehensive framework for assessing and setting priorities in chemicals policy to stimulate further international attention and action on sound management of chemicals. Building upon the findings of existing and concurrent studies, the Outlook covers three broad inter-linked areas:  

-         Pillar I – Trends and indicators in chemicals production, trade, use and disposal

-         Pillar II – Economic Implications of observed trends

-         Pillar III – Policy options and approaches for chemicals management 

Development of a Preliminary Report

Conceived as a firm basis for more extensive work in the second phase of the project, the goal of the Preliminary Global Outlook was not to explore each of the three broad themes in depth, but rather to identify promising avenues for further scientifically-based assessments and economic arguments for policy actions largely using existing knowledge and available data.

The objective of the preliminary report was to further mobilize support and attract interest from governments, private sector, civil society, academia and scientific societies to join this effort to demonstrate that we have, today, the human and technical capacity to translate the sound management of chemicals from an abstract concept to a concrete reality.

Rationale and Goals for the Global Chemicals Outlook Report
Scoping Document and Research Proposal for the Global Chemicals Outlook Report

The Global Chemicals Outlook Report

Building upon the preliminary results, the final Global Chemicals Outlook report is intended to be an effective, practical and relevant publication for decision makers in assembling scientific, technical and socio-economic information on the sound management of chemicals in order to implement policy change to protect the environment and human health. It will provide an extensive basis for the future priorities and activities of UNEP in the area of harmful substances and a continued and coherent framework for assessing and setting priorities among chemicals issues including emerging ones that are identified as being of major concern.

Given the close links between health and environment impacts of chemicals, the Global Chemicals Outlook will integrate the great amount of information generated within the UNEP-WHO Health and Environment Linkages Initiative, as well as the networks created through this initiative, especially the health-and-environment strategic alliance established in the Libreville Declaration on Health and Environment in Africa in 2008, Libreville.

The Global Chemicals Outlook has also been developed in close collaboration with the well-known Global Environmental Outlook - a consultative, participatory, capacity building process for global environmental assessment and reporting on the state of the environment, trends and future outlooks – which the Global Chemicals Outlook is expected to become part of.

The Global Chemicals Outlook responds to UNEP’s call on the Global Green New Deal to revive the global economy by motivating government and businesses to significantly increase investment in the environment as an engine for economic recovery, sustainable growth, decent job creation and poverty reduction.

Moreover, produced in concert with the full range of stakeholders under the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), the Preliminary Global Chemicals Outlook  contributed in particular to the regular International Conference on chemicals Management (ICCM2) strategic policy and program development under SAICM and identify opportunities for the sector to contribute not only to economic development while fostering the creation of jobs and the protection of vulnerable groups, but also to the reversal of global ecosystems degradation.

GCO-Timeline and Milestones

GCO-Links to other Activities

The Global Chemicals Outlook has been developed in close collaboration with a number of other international initiatives with connections to chemicals policy and management.

· WHO Global Burden of Disease

· OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050

· UNEP fifth Global Environmental Outlook (GEO 5)

· UNEP Green Economy Initiative

· UNEP Consultative Process on Financing Options for Chemicals and Wastes, and the ongoing synergies process for chemicals-related multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) and SAICM

The Outlook also benefits from synergies with ongoing UNEP Chemicals Mainstreaming Programme activities.

· UNEP-WHO Health and Environment Strategic Alliance (HESA)

· UNDP-UNEP Partnership Initiative for the Integration of SMC into Development Planning Processes

·  UNEP Costs of Inaction Initiative 

· UNEP Guidance on the Development of Legal and Institutional Infrastructures and Measures for Recovering Costs of National Administration (LIRA-Guidance)