European Chemicals Agency Announces New Strategic Priorities

European Chemicals Agency Announces New Strategic Priorities

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) recently announced its new strategy defining its priorities, and their implementation, for 2019–2023. The ECHA’s plan will include revisions to the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation; the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulation; the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR); the Informed Consent Regulation (PIC); and the Waste Framework Directive (WFD).

To define its future strategy, the ECHA has identified three main areas of focus:

  • Identification and risk management of substances of concern.
  • Safe and sustainable use of chemicals by industry.
  • Sustainable management of chemicals through the implementation of European Union (EU) legislation.

“Our new strategic priorities lead us to making the best use of our unique source of information on chemicals in Europe and to focus our efforts where we can provide the most impact,” said Bjorn Hansen, the ECHA’s Executive Director. “This also means an increased focus on ensuring compliance with EU chemicals legislation.”

Increased Transparency Expected, With Some Challenges

In developing its strategy, the European Commission targeted the need for:

  • An in-depth evaluation of REACH under the Better Regulation Programme, as well as  a fitness check for other chemicals legislation, including the BPR and CLP.
  • An evaluation of the link between chemicals, product and waste legislation under the Circular Economy Action Plan.
  • The development of a non-toxic environment strategy.

Implementation of the strategy, however, may not be an easy task. The ECHA anticipates there will be some challenging times ahead as a result of:

  • Brexit-caused doubt regarding future relations between the EU and the UK.
  • The end of the current Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF), which determines the EU’s spending budget for a period of at least five years. The new MFF is set to begin in 2021.

The ECHA’s New Mission & Vision

The ECHA’s new strategy supports the organization’s new mission: to work together with its partners for the safe use of chemicals. As part of its vision, the ECHA pledges “to be the centre of knowledge on the sustainable management of chemicals, serving a wide range of EU policies and global initiatives, for the benefit of citizens and the environment.”

“This strategy goes a long way in preparing ECHA for the next five years but also for the long-term future,” said Sharon McGuinness, Chair of the Management Board at the ECHA. “It is very important to have clarity on our mission and have the right priorities in place, so that all our stakeholders can rely on them.”

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