International regulation and control of the production and use of chemicals "revisited"

Hans-Wolfgang Micklitz, Marco Rizzi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review


The purpose of this chapter is to analyse one of the most significant developments in the international regulation and control of chemicals, and its impact on the issues that were of concern twenty years ago. It appears that international initiatives in the field of chemicals, while positive in specific sectors, are still unable to deliver effective results when it comes to setting a common ground of understanding of health and environmental protection. The reason is not so much a lack of political commitment – in fact considerable progress has been made in the last twenty years. However the analysis will demonstrate that the nature and scope of the proposed instruments is not always clear. This, combined with institutional weaknesses and lack of economic means, slows down the process towards the effective international management of chemicals. The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) is an attempt to put the aforementioned idea of “an international convention” into practice as it shows a fully comprehensive regulatory ambition. This article will focus primarily on the SAICM. The analysis starts with an overview of the back- ground of the initiative and the players (governments, IO, representatives of the civil society) involved in its formation. It then moves on to the scope and plan of action of the SAICM and how they are structured, and finally addresses the short- comings and conflicts that (hitherto) have hinder its effective implementation. Four problematic issues will be outlined: structural incoherence within the SAICM; conflicts among developed countries’ approaches; the developed/developing countries divide; conflicts between trade and health considerations. It will have to be shown that we are still a long way down the road from a fully- fledged convention as an effective tool to fight the health, safety and environmental risks of chemicals.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReflections on the constitutionalisation of international economic law
EditorsMarise Cremona, Peter Hilpod, Nikos Lavranos, Stefan Staiger Schneider, Andreas R. Ziegler
Place of PublicationNetherlands
PublisherMartinus Nijhoff Publishers
ISBN (Electronic)9789004228832
ISBN (Print)9789004228825
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


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