The OEWG’s meeting took place between 30 January – 3 February in Bangkok, Thailand. This meeting was a continuation of the session that began on 6 October 2022 in Nairobi. The task of the working group is to follow up on the the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) resolution 5/8, adopted on 2 March 2022, that decided on the creation of a science-policy panel on the sound management of chemicals and waste and on pollution prevention. The aim of these initial meetings is working out procedural details and the scope of the project, as well as securing funding for the panel, that is scheduled to begin its operation by the end of 2025, as the OEWG’s job is to be concluded by the end of 2024. During the meeting, participants (member state representatives, NGOs and observers) could attend “deep dive” sessions on the topics of functions and options for the scope of the panel.
Such global cooperation efforts for the reduction of chemical pollution has been called for, and very much welcomed by the chemistry community. On 26 January 2022, EuChemS was invited to the Royal Society of Chemistry’s (RSC), and the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs’ (Defra) Burlington Consensus, where high level scientists and policymakers discussed the need for a science based independent platform on the global issue of chemical pollution. The first step towards the realisation of this platform happened soon after the consensus, during the UNEA-5 conference in March 2022. The practical details of how such a global panel operate were further discussed in Lisbon, at EuChemS’ event at the 8th EuChemS Chemistry Congress, titled “Chemists’ contributions to the global approach for tackling pollution“.