We need a global science-policy body on chemicals and waste

Summary

Many countries and regional political unions have regulatory and policy frameworks for managing chemicals and waste associated with human activities to minimize harms to human health and the environment. These frameworks are complemented and expanded by joint international action, particularly related to pollutants that undergo long-range transport via air, water, and biota; move across national borders through international trade of resources, products, and waste; or are present in many countries (1). Some progress has been made, but the Global Chemicals Outlook (GCO-II) from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) (1) has called for “strengthen[ing] the science-policy interface and the use of science in monitoring progress, priority-setting, and policy-making throughout the life cycle of chemicals and waste.” With the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) soon meeting to discuss how to strengthen the science-policy interface on chemicals and waste (2), we analyze the landscape and outline recommendations for establishing an overarching body on chemicals and waste.

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