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Activities at UN level

The Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) was agreed in December 2002 by an UN Committee of Experts and formally adopted by UN ECOSOC2 in July 2003.

The World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002 encouraged countries to implement the new GHS, as soon as possible with a view to having the system fully operational by 2008. The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICAM) that was adopted by the International Conference for Chemicals Management in Dubai on 6 February 2006 recognised the importance of the GHS and one of its objectives is “to promote implementation of the common definitions and criteria contained in the GHS”.

Commission proposal

The European Commission drafted a proposal for a Regulation to incorporate the GHS criteria into Community law:

Stakeholder consultation

In accordance with the Commission’s commitment to better regulation, a public consultation on this draft proposal was held in the third quarter of 2006.

Outcome of stakeholder consultation

Based on the analysis of the replies from the stakeholder consultation and internal consultation among the Services, the Commission revised the draft proposal and adopted the proposal on 26 June 2006.

Impact Assessment

The Commission carried out several studies on the impact assessment of the incorporation of the UN GHS criteria into the EU through a proposed Regulation on the classification, labelling and packaging of chemicals and its consequential changes to other related Community Legislation on chemicals (“downstream legislation”). It is based on impact assessment studies of RPA and London Economics and work by the Commission services.