Special Session: Establishment of a Science-Policy Panel for Pollution Prevention

Special Session Proposal SETAC Asia Pacific 2024: Establishment of a science-policy panel to contribute further to the sound management of chemicals, waste, and pollution prevention.

Organising Committee: Michelle Bloor and the SETAC Advisory Panel on Chemicals Management (CheM)


SETAC established an advisory panel on chemicals management (SETAC CheM Panel), in December 2022, to coordinate SETAC’s contributions to the policy dialogue at UNEP and the Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) for the establishment of a science-policy panel to contribute further to the sound management of chemicals and waste and to prevent pollution (SPP CWP). The members of the SETAC CheM Panel are appointed by the SETAC World Council, guided by the SETAC principles and ensuring sectoral balance, interdisciplinarity, and focus on science-based objectivity.


In 2023 at the SETAC Europe Annual Meeting, SETAC’s CheM Panel held its first introductory Special Session on the development of the new UNEP SPP CWP that will be established by 2024-25. The Special Session was an opportunity to engage with the European SETAC community to explain the UNEP processes that are in place to establish the science-policy panel, how SETAC is contributing to the process, and how SETAC members could get involved. The Special Session included talks from a range of international speakers, a panel discussion and audience participation, live Mentimeter polls, and the CheM Affinity Group was launched.


Following on from this session, the CheM Panel has arranged Special Sessions at the SETAC Australasia, Latin America, Africa, and North America Annual and Biennial Meetings in 2023. In 2024, a Special Session is accepted for SETAC Europe and proposed for the Asia Pacific meeting. These Special Sessions are to enable the CheM Panel to undertake a global consultation with the membership to explore the Global Horizon Scanning Project previously undertaken by SETAC. This work is being undertaken in collaboration with the lead authors of the SETAC Global Horizon Scanning Project. The aim is to determine if regionally the questions identified through the original scan are still relevant, if there is a desire to add new questions based on 2023-24 knowledge, and if so, what are those questions. This exploration is of great interest to UNEP and will be shared with them, in the form of a publication, to feed into the new science-policy panel preparation process. Horizon scanning is one of the five functions of the new panel, but since the panel is several years away from its establishment, the information and evidence provided by SETAC, and other stakeholders will provide insight to help the discussions and process development.


The #SETACAsiaPacific Special Session will explore SETAC’s Asia Pacific Horizon Scanning publication (Leung et al., 2020). The Special Session will mirror the format used for the CheM Panel’s Global Horizon Scanning events in other Geographical Regions to ensure standardization. The Special Session structure is outlined below (Special Session duration 80 minutes, but this can be longer if time permits – we had two hours for the Australasia and North America events, which also worked well):

  • Chair(s) will provide introduction to the Special Session and the CheM Panel. The Chair(s) will provide background to the OEWG and future science-policy panel, the process so far and hopes for the future, and the relevance of stakeholder involvement in the process (10 minutes).
  • To set the context for the Special Session discussion, an author of the Asia Pacific SETAC Horizon Scanning publication (invited speaker) will provide background to the European Horizon Scanning process, final themes, and questions. The themes and questions will be presented to the audience on slides, so no prior knowledge of the process is needed to participate in the Special Session. A QR code linking to the publication will also be shared with the audience (10 minutes).
  • Chair(s) will share each theme and associated questions with the audience on a slide and will provide background context. Using Mentimeter polls, the audience will be asked to rank the questions under each theme. The audience will also be asked (1) if the questions identified through the original scan are still relevant, (2) if there is a desire to add new questions based on 2024 knowledge, and if so, (3) what those questions are. A Mentimeter poll will be launched for each theme so that the audience can upload their new question responses (30 minutes).
  • Following on from the data collection, the Special Session Chair(s) will lead a discussion with the audience based on the data collected through the Mentimeter polls. The data collected through the Mentimeter polls will be visible to the audience on an AV screen. The discussion will be an opportunity for the audience to explore the collected data and share their thoughts in real-time (25 minutes).
  • Chair(s) will lead the plenary and will bring the session to a close with their final thoughts, and next steps (2 minutes).


Output from the session


The data collected from the live polls, presentations and the discussion captured during the Special Session in Asia Pacific will be combined with data gathered from the Special Sessions held in Australasia, Europe, Latin America, Africa and North America meetings and will be used to prepare a journal paper publication.