Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM)


In 2006, the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM) adopted the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), a policy framework to foster the sound management of chemicals. SAICM is based on principles of multi-stakeholder and multi-sector engagement and supports the achievement of the World Summit on Sustainable Development goal that, by 2020, chemicals are produced and used in ways that minimize significant adverse impacts on the environment and human health. 

UNITAR provides technical assistance to countries in their efforts to implement SAICM. This includes developing or updating National Profiles, preparing national SAICM implementation plans, designing national pollutant release and transfer registers, and undertaking preparatory activities for implementation of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).


Since 2007, UNITAR has served as the international executing agency for more than 70 projects supported by the SAICM Quick Start Programme Trust Fund (QSPTF), coordinating more than USD 13 million in funding. A video outlining UNITAR’s support to the QSPTF can be viewed here UNITAR Support to the SAICM QSPTF.

To support national SAICM implementation, the SAICM Secretariat and UNITAR, in collaboration with the IOMC, developed Guidance for Developing SAICM Implementation Plans

Responding to one of the key functions of ICCM – to call for appropriate action on “emerging policy issues” as they arise and to forge consensus on priorities for cooperative action – OECD and UNITAR have been leading actions related to nanotechnologies and manufactured nanomaterials, with the support of the Government of Switzerland.

National Profiles


Assessing and diagnosing the existing infrastructure for the sound management of chemicals is an important step towards building national capacity in a systematic way. Through its National Profile Support Programme, UNITAR provides guidance, training, and technical support to assist countries in assessing their relevant legal, institutional, administrative, and technical infrastructure. At the country level, all ministries concerned with chemicals management, as well as industry and public interest groups, should be involved in the National Profile preparation process. By September 2018, over 120 countries, including several OECD Member States, have prepared or are preparing a National Profile following the UNITAR/IOMC National Profile Guidance Document.

A second edition of the guidance document was issued in 2012. This new edition takes into account developments that have taken place since the first edition (1996) and lessons learned in countries as they have developed National Profiles; more comprehensively covers the entire life cycle of chemicals management; and integrates the most effective parts of the 2007 IOMC National SAICM Capacity Assessment methodology into this revised National Profile guidance (Download).

At the international level, National Profiles provide others with a better understanding of the existing capabilities of countries, as well as their needs.

National Profile Homepage

The National Profile Homepage provides direct access to National Profiles, which have been made internationally available by countries.