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Global Chemicals Outlook - GCO

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), is developing a Global Chemicals Outlook to frame current understanding of trends in chemicals production, use and disposal, economic implications of these trends, and policy options.

The GCO Synthesis document is now available in the six official UN languages!

Global Chemicals Outlook Report Synthesis  document English

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 


This section provides further information on the Global Chemicals Outlook, the process of its development, and links to related documents and websites. Click on the links in the section’s map to access specific sub-sections. 

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GCO - Full Report now available

Global Chemicals Outlook report 

GCO-Timeline and Milestones


GCO-Links to other Activities


The Global Chemicals Outlook is being 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)