The Swedish Chemicals Agency contributes to the work of the Swedish government to stage international conventions and the work involved in the International Strategy on Chemicals Management. We participate in Nordic cooperation and represent Sweden on the OECD Chemicals Committee. We cooperate with countries outside Europe and conduct international training programmes.
This website gives an overview of the Swedish Chemical Agency’s international work. See also Conventions and Agreements.
Each year the Nordic Council of Ministers allocates funds to different chemicals projects, such as decision documentation and consultancy studies. This work is always done with the cooperation of the Nordic countries.
The chemical authorities in Denmark, Finland, Island, Norway, Sweden and the Faroe Islands are represented in the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Chemical Group.
Enforcement cooperation in the EU
With a few exceptions, the rules on chemicals are uniform throughout the EU. In countries within the European economic sphere such as Norway and Iceland and
in countries outside the EU, the legislation is equivalent to EU rules in areas such as classification and labelling.
The Swedish Chemicals Agency supports the development of preventive chemicals control in developing countries and in countries whose economies are in transition. This support is taking place at bilateral, regional and global level.
Examples of its activities are:
- Providing support to establish national legislation.
- Building up and strengthening capacity at institutional level and providing training in core compentencies, particularly within the areas of risk assessment, risk management, systems for informing about risk (classification and labelling, safety data sheets) and enforcement.
- Facilitating educational programmes by cooperating with the relevant institutes.
- Acting as a support in implementing the global chemicals strategy (SAICM) and conventions in those areas concerned with chemicals.
The Swedish Chemicals Agency and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) have a cooperation agreement which is in force until 2018. The programme includes activities in the cooperation countries and regions in Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia.
The global work carried out by the Swedish Chemicals Agency in chemical management means that the Agency concentrates on activities to implement the chemical conventions and the global chemicals strategy (SAICM).
We participate in and monitor ongoing work within a number of organisations, and we contribute in the form of financial resources and expert knowledge.
- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
UNEP Chemicals and Waste website.
- SAICM (Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management).
- Within the framework of SAICM, Sweden and the EU have been involved in the CiP (Chemicals in Products) project which has highlighted the need for international cooperation in providing information on the chemicals contained in articles.
The UNEP website on the project.
- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The Swedish Chemicals Agency is represented on the FAO expert panel on pesticides. FAO website.
- United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The Swedish Chemicals Agency is the national contact point and contributes financially to the OECD Chemicals Programme.
Since 2007, the Swedish Chemicals Agency has been managing a regional cooperation programme in Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar (Burma) and Vietnam. The programme, "Towards a non-toxic environment in Southeast Asia", aims to facilitate good chemicals management.
These efforts include educating farmers and developing new agricultural methods. Measures to introduce biological diversity and chemicals safety in the school curriculum are also included, as is establishing legislation and improving enforcement.
The Swedish Chemicals Agency has been cooperating with Vietnam on several projects for a number of years, initially by supporting Vietnam in establishing its chemicals legislation, and later by cooperating with the Vietnamese authority, Vinachemia, on issues regarding a products register, enforcement, training for inspectors, the prevention of chemical accidents, and the consequences of European chemical legislation.
In partnership with the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, we are collaborating with the Chinese Ministry of the Environment. The issues under discussion in relation to chemicals have included Sweden’s experience in this area, ranging from establishing chemical legislation and assessing and managing risk and methods to identifying those substances whose properties and effects require special precautionary measures.
Since 2010, the Swedish Chemicals Agency has been working in cooperation with the regional centre for the Basle and Stockholm Convention at the Africa Institute. Countries such as Botswana, Lesotho, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia have participated in a project aimed at creating the prerequisites for conveying the need for effective legislation and chemicals control, which includes the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling (GHS).
In South Africa, we have collaborated with the Department of Labour, which carried out extensive measures for training inspectors to prepare them for the ongoing work of implementing GHS in South Africa.
In Tunisia, the Swedish Chemicals Agency has participated together with France and Austria in a so-called twinning project with CTC (Centre Technique de la Chimie) to reinforce the administration and harmonise Tunisian legislation with EU regulations.
The Swedish Chemicals Agency has been collaborating with central authorities in Serbia and Croatia to set up chemicals control procedures, develop the roles of the authorities and prepare these countries for EU membership.
Support for NGOs
The Swedish Chemicals Agency is providing support to the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) and the work of the international chemical secretariat, ChemSec, as part of the latter’s cooperation with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in developing countries. This work is focused on limiting the harm done to humans and the environment resulting from the use of hazardous chemicals, and on developing sustainable alternatives.
International training programme
The Swedish Chemicals Agency and the Swedish International Development Agency have an agreement to carry out the International Training Programme (ITP299) entitled "Strategies for Chemicals Management". The Programme is run twice a year, and is aimed at countries in Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa.
This training is intended for the ministries and authorities in these cooperation countries so as to provide the participants with the necessary knowledge and skills to establish a form of chemicals control that functions well in their own countries. This means that the prerequisites are put in place to develop the relevant legislation, institutional capacity and systems of enforcement.
The focus is on how the control of chemical products at national level can be established and organised. The Programme deals, for instance, with how a country can develop its knowledge about the chemical substances and mixtures available to it, how to retrieve and communicate knowledge about the properties of the chemicals, and how to carry out risk assessments. It also looks at the different strategies a country can apply to achieve risk reduction and to introduce methods for checking compliance with the regulations.
This training is also relevant in cases of bilateral collaboration, and many contacts are being established thanks to this Programme.