International conventions and agreements


Sweden is a party in many international conventions and other international agreements. For several of these, the Swedish Chemicals Agency is participating in the work.

Agenda 2030 and the global sustainability goals

Agenda 2030 logotype

In 2015 the UN General Assembly adopted Agenda 2030 with 17 sustainability development goals (SDGs) and 169 targets which aims at achieving sustainable economic, social and environmental development in the world by the year 2030. Sweden shall achieve the goal of the agenda nationally, and contribute to the achievement of the goals globally.

Several of the SDGs have direct or indirect connections to chemicals. The use of chemicals is today prevalent in the whole society. Preventive chemicals control is therefore a prerequisite for a sustainable development and an important step to achieving most of the goals in Agenda 2030. One of the targets in Agenda 2030 is that by 2020 achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with the agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimise their adverse impacts on human health and the environment. This target is also related to the global chemicals strategy (SAICM), which is described further below on this page.

The Swedish Chemicals Agency’s work with preventive chemicals control, both nationally, within EU and globally is contributing to the implementation of Agenda 2030. The Swedish environmental goal “A non-toxic environment” is an important part of the work.

Read more about the Swedish Chemicals Agency and our work with Agenda 2030.

Read more about Agenda 2030 and the global sustainability goals on the website of the Swedish Government. External link.

Read more about the global sustainability goals on the website of UN. External link.

Read more about the Swedish Chemicals Agency's work with the Swedish environmental goal "A non-toxic environment".

Global Framework on Chemicals

The Global Framework on Chemicals – For a Planet Free of Harm from Chemicals and Waste (GFC) was adopted on 30 September 2023. Countries and stakeholders from around the world have now agreed on a roadmap for the sustainable management of chemicals throughout the life cycle. The framework is a successor to the Global Strategy, the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) from 2006. The new framework contains several new, important elements:

  • A clear vision,
  • Five overall strategic goals,
  • A number of time-bound concrete goals whose implementation must be made measurable through a system of indicators.

Most of the milestones must be implemented by the year 2030 and are in line with Agenda 2030 for sustainable development. One of the sub-goals is for all countries in the world to have functioning chemical legislation by the year 2030. In addition, the global framework contains a process for nominating and initiating measures for issues of concern.

The decision to adopt the Global Framework on Chemicals was taken at the Fifth International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM5). The meeting was attended by governments and representatives from industry, civil society and UN organizations. In addition to the global framework, the conference adopted the so-called Bonn Declaration. In this declaration, ministers, heads of delegation and stakeholders commit to implementing the global framework on chemicals. They also support that pollution from chemicals is the third global environmental crisis of our time, along with climate change and loss of biodiversity. Furthermore, a number of resolutions were adopted on, among other things, a global alliance on highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs) and a fund to support implementation.

The global framework, the Bonn Declaration and the various resolutions can be found here: Link to more information on the global framework on chemicals. External link.


Globally harmonized system of classification and labelling of chemicals (GHS)

The United Nations decided in 2002 to adopt a globally harmonised system of classification and labelling of chemicals (GHS). The system aims at ensuring availability of information on the dangerous properties of chemicals to enhance the protection of human health and the environment during the handling, transport and use of chemicals.

GHS contains criteria for classification of substances and mixtures based on their physical hazards and hazards to human health and the environment. The system also includes a common standard for labelling with hazard symbols (pictograms), hazard statements and precautionary statements, and a standard for the format and content for safety data sheets.

The implementation of GHS is an important part of sustainable management of chemicals, and this is also emphasised in the global strategy for chemicals (SAICM). To make GHS legally binding, each country or region need to implement the system in their legislation, and UN has urged all countries to do so. GHS was implemented in EU legislation in 2007, mainly by the CLP Regulation. The part of GHS concerning safety data sheets have been implemented in the Reach Regulation. Many other countries, including Australia, Canada, China, Russia, South Korea and the US, have implemented GHS in their national legislation, mainly in the area of workers’ protection.

Read more about GHS on the UN website External link.

Read more about the CLP Regulation

Read more about the Reach Regulation

Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)

The objective of the Stockholm Convention is a global phase out of substances that are persistent in the environment, are being absorbed by plants and animals, and have negative effects on human health or the environment. These pollutants are also called POPs, Persistent Organic Pollutants. The substances are transported over national borders via air, water and articles. Global bans contributes to the prevention of global spread and occurrence of these substances in imported goods and are therefore also protecting the environment in Sweden.

The Stockholm Convention contains a list of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) that are banned or restricted. There is a process for adding more substances to the list. The Swedish Chemicals Agency and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency are jointly responsible for following up and promoting Swedish activities in this work.

Read more about the substances that are regulated by the convention and about the Swedish priorities

Read more on the webpage for the Stockholm Convention External link.

POPs Regulation

The EU POPs Regulation is implementing the Stockholm Convention by banning or restricting the use of the POPs substances in both chemical products and articles within the EU. The POPs Regulation is also implementing the POPs Protocol to the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP).

The EU POPs Regulation

Read more about the EU POPs Regulation

Read more about the POPs Protocol under the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution External link.

Rotterdam Convention - Prior Informed Consent (PIC)

The Rotterdam Convention makes it possible for countries to in advance receive information about import and export of certain dangerous chemicals and pesticides that are banned or severely restricted in other countries. The countries can then choose to approve or reject the import in accordance with their national rules. This is called “Prior Informed Consent” (PIC). The convention entered into force in 2004 and is currently covering 50 substances.

The EU PIC Regulation is implementing the convention in EU and the Swedish Chemicals Agency is the Designated National Authority (DNA) for the implementation of the provisions.

Read more on the webpage of the Rotterdam Convention External link.

The EU PIC Regulation

Read more about the EU PIC Regulation

Minamata Convention on mercury

The Minamata Convention on mercury regulates mercury in a life cycle perspective, from primary mining to final disposal. It is banning or restricting mercury in different products and industrial processes as of 2020 and 2025. The convention entered into force in 2017. The Mercury Regulation implements the parts of the Minamata Convention previously lacking common regulations within the EU.

Read more on the webpage for the Minamata Convention (hosted by UN Environment) External link.

The EU Mercury Regulation

Read more about mercury and the rules regarding mercury

HELCOM and OSPAR – protection of the marine environment

Sweden is a party to two international conventions regarding protection of the marine environment, HELCOM (Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission – Helsinki Commission) and OSPAR (Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-Ease Atlantic – the Oslo and Paris Commissions).

Read more about HELCOM on the website of the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management External link.

Read more about OSPAR on the website of the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management External link.

The website of HELCOM External link.

The website of OSPAR External link.

Last published 23 May 2024