On April 4, 2018, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) announced that it has launched a public consultation on its draft Strategic Plan for 2019-2023. ECHA states that by 2023, it “aims to become the main source of scientific knowledge and technical know-how on chemicals, serving a wide range of [European Union (EU)] policies and stakeholders.” The draft Strategic Plan lists three strategic priorities that are to be achieved with a set of enabling components:
- Identification and risk management of substances of concern;
- Safe and sustainable use of chemicals by industry; and
- Sustainable management of chemicals through the implementation of EU legislation.
Activities intended to achieve the first strategic priority include:
- Concerted regulatory action;
- Enhanced mapping and prioritization of substances, including developing regulatory strategies and assessment methods for specific (groups of) chemicals or effects, such as nanomaterials and endocrine disruptors, supporting the development of alternative methods to animal testing, and exploring how these can be used in risk assessment; and
- Inducing faster action by industry.
Once final, the Strategic Plan will become the multi-annual part of the Programming Documents of ECHA for 2019-2021 and beyond. Steered by the strategy, ECHA will establish annual Work Programs containing specific actions and outputs planned for each year. The areas of operation in the Strategic Plan per each strategic objective and the enabling components aim to provide a framework for the annual Work Programs and are thus more generic. Comments on the draft Strategic Plan are due May 4, 2018.