WHO Chemicals road map

The Seventieth World Health Assembly approved the road map to enhance health sector engagement in the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management towards the 2020 goal and beyond. The WHO Secretariat has developed a workbook that offers a structured way to assist Member States to work through the road map, choose priorities and plan activities. The road map materials, with a suite of WHO chemicals related documents, are also available on the self-learning format at the PAHO Virtual Campus on Public Health.

The WHO Secretariat was requested to prepare the road map by WHA resolution 69.4 (2016) The role of the health sector in the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) towards the 2020 goal and beyond. The road map identifies concrete actions where the health sector has either a lead or important supporting role to play in the sound management of chemicals, recognizing the need for multi-sectoral cooperation. The actions are organized into four areas: risk reduction; knowledge and evidence; institutional capacity; and leadership and coordination. For each action, the main actor, or lead, within the health sector has been identified.

The road map is designed to be applicable to and used by Member States at all stages of development, as well as a broad range of stakeholders. Member States and stakeholders can use the road map in identifying areas of primary focus for engagement and additional actions relevant for chemicals management at the national, regional, and international levels. It is envisaged that the various components of the health sector will define their own implementation plans for this road map, which will consider the need to engage and cooperate with others as appropriate.

The timeline of the road map is towards the 2020 goal and beyond, taking into account the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 72nd WHA in 2019 considered a progress report on the implementation of the road map. A further progress report will be made to the 74th WHA in 2021. As well, the road map will be updated according to the outcome of the intersessional process to prepare recommendations regarding the Strategic Approach and the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020.

One of the actions in the Chemicals Road map mandates the Secretariat to establish a Global Chemicals and Health Network, with links to existing subregional, regional and international networks, to facilitate health sector implementation of the road map. Over 70 Member States have joined the WHO Global Chemicals and Health Network including 19 from the Latin America and the Caribbean (Argentina, Barbados, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, St Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, USA).