2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018

Looking back at the ICTA General Assembly in Carlsbad

Looking back at the ICTA General Assembly in Carlsbad
This November the ICTA members gave together in Carlsbad (USA) for the second General Assembly of the year. The minutes of this meeting can be found on the ICTA extranet.

During the meeting Alexa Burr (ICCA) and Willem van Lanschot (ICTA) presented their organization’s views on sustainability (see below). Subsequently the members were informed of the ICTA progress of the past year.

The attending members concluded that much has been achieved, both regarding interest representation at the various UN institutions and regarding the professionalization of our association. For example, ICTA is closely involved with the drafting of the UN policy framework for chemicals management after 2020. One of the contentious points in these negotiations is the UN vision on chemicals. ICTA is resisting proposals to aim for a “toxic free environment”. Such a view on chemicals and risk management (i.e. looking only at hazard, not at exposure) could have far reaching consequences for our industry. ICTA also works to ensure that the role of chemical distributors is acknowledged in official UN reports, such as the Global Chemical outlook. Thanks to ICTA involvement, the UN General Assembly recognized the importance of cooperation with distributors on Improved Explosive Devices while also taking economic interests and efficiency into consideration.

As you may know, ICTA now has three committees. The new committees would benefit from the expertise of company representatives. If you are, or you know someone who is interested in joining one of the committees, please contact the secretariat, here. The three committees are:
-              Substance Safety Health Environment
-              Transport and Security
-              Responsible Care/ Responsible Distribution

After the General Assembly a cocktail reception, kindly sponsored by Cornelius, was held on a terrace overlooking the rolling hills of Southern California.
ICTA stresses importance of preventing diversion in chemical supply chains

ICTA stresses importance of preventing diversion in chemical supply chains

The G7 Global Partnership has revised its strategic vision to focus more on chemical weapons, a global culture of chemical security, capacity building and working with industry to raise awareness. In his role as chair of the Chemical Security Working Group, the representative of the Department of Homeland Security stressed the need to engage industry effectively. At that moment, however, ICTA was the only chemical industry representative in the room. It was noted that evidence shows Syria exploited weak links in international supply chains to source substances for their chemical Weapons of Mass Destruction program.

During the meetings the OPCW advised that their program and budget for 2019 had been approved. OPCW is recruiting for ten new posts to support the new work plan. There is broad support for OPCW’s work on verification, national implementation and terrorism, but some political divisions remain as key questions. There was for instance a perception that some members of OPCW sought to block effective OPCW action in response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria and UK (Salisbury). Verification planning in Syria is ongoing, but the planned work budget currently has a €800k shortfall. OPCW is also looking to fund cyber security, business continuity and physical infrastructure.

The EU gave a presentation stating that CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) threats are real. Internet terrorist propaganda and handbooks are spreading quickly, despite counter efforts. The attack in Salisbury was an eye opener at EU level. It has triggered actions to strengthen resilience to attacks with chemical weapons. The EU has therefore launched a CBRN Centre of Excellence initiative with €156m funding to build capacity. The EU is also developing a common list of threat chemicals, which it has almost finalized and is based primarily on the USA CBRN list. The EU’s next steps is to intensify dialogue with private actors in the precursor supply chain. The EU also wants to improve detection technology and first response capabilities.

On behalf of ICTA, Peter Newport welcomed the redevelopment of an EU list of threat chemicals. He pointed out that the existing list is based on risk perception, not science. He expressed the importance of taking a scientific approach when composing the new list and the importance of sharing the new list with industry. Without information sharing, there can be no effective control of listed substances. It became clear that the EU still concentrates on post supply chain diversion detection technologies, instead of on preventing the diversion in the first place. Meetings have been held with detector technology and equipment vendors, but not yet with chemical vendors. ICTA has expressed its firm belief that the focus should be on preventing diversion.

ICTA will continue to be involved with chemical security in 2019. Chemical security events in Bangladesh and Brussels (for EU & Turkey) took place and are expected to take place in March respectively.

The official report can be found here.