News Features

 

Focus on regional implementation switches to Africa
Find out more about the work of the Basel and Stockholm Regional centre in Pretoria, South Africa.

Focus on regional implementation switches to Africa

Focus on regional implementation switches to Africa

South Africa was selected as a site to establish Basel Convention Regional Centre for English-speaking countries in Africa in 1997. Africa Institute for the Environmentally Sound Management of Hazardous and other wastes, the Africa Institute in short, was established for this purpose as an inter-governmental organization in March 2004 through an agreement between member states.  Botswana, Lesotho, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania, South Africa and Zambia have ratified the agreement as of today. The BCRC South Africa was formally established through a framework agreement that was signed between the Africa Institute and the Secretariat of the Basel Convention in 2012.

The same centre was nominated also to serve as Stockholm Convention regional centre in July 2010 for English speaking African Parties and has been endorsed since 2011 as the Regional Centre for Capacity-building and the transfer of technology by the Conference of the Parties of the Stockholm Convention.

In keeping with the synergy decision that was taken by the Parties to the Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam conventions, the Africa Institute also serves within the region to address the Rotterdam convention capacity-building initiatives as well. The Institute positions itself as a suitable vehicle that the countries in the region will use to also implement the Mercury treaty once it is finalized. Since the New Inception of the Institute (2009), a number of partnerships have been forged successfully and cooperation started working with:

  • Government of Denmark
  • Government of Sweden, through The Swedish Chemical Agency(KemI)
  • Government of Finland, through MFA and with Finnish Environment Authority (SYKE)
  • Relevant United Nations Agencies, such as UNEP, UNIDO, UNITAR 

These Institutions provide much needed financial and technical support to the Institute, and allowed it to mount the critical skills, through current professional staff of the Institute. It was through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland that three professional staff members were employed; these are highly qualified personnel with Masters and Ph.D. qualifications in Chemistry, Environmental Management and Ecology. The Institute has implemented and executed a range of projects in most of the member countries, including the following:

  • Program and Institutional Support for Establishment and Operation of the Africa Institute for Environmentally Sound Management of Hazardous and Other Wastes
  • Management of Chemicals in English Speaking Africa Countries
  • Ports Management – “Probo Koala” Project
  • Capacity Strengthening and Technical Assistance for the Implementation of Stockholm Convention National Implementation Plans (NIPs) in African Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Islands Developing States (SIDS).

Parties served

Angola, Botswana, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

For more information visit: www.africainstitute.info

Seasons Greetings and a Happy New Year
The Executive Secretary and staff wish all parties, observers, collaborators, partners and donors a peaceful and successful (Triple COPs) 2017.

Seasons Greetings and a Happy New Year

Seasons Greetings and a Happy New Year
BRS 2017 seasons greetings
Strengthening enforcement of environmental law in Europe
The Secretariat recently extended its agreement with IMPEL on illegal waste and chemicals trafficking to include cooperation relevant to all three conventions.

Strengthening enforcement of environmental law in Europe

Strengthening enforcement of environmental law in Europe

The Secretariat recently extended its agreement with IMPEL on illegal waste and chemicals trafficking to include cooperation relevant to all three conventions.

Rotterdam Convention works with parties, EU and NGOs to reduce pesticide risk in eastern Europe and central Asia
Tackling the legacy of an estimated half of the world’s stockpile of obsolete pesticides requires capacity-building for risk reduction and sustainable management.

Rotterdam Convention works with parties, EU and NGOs to reduce pesticide risk in eastern Europe and central Asia

Rotterdam Convention works with parties, EU and NGOs to reduce pesticide risk in eastern Europe and central Asia

Tackling pesticide risks in former Soviet Republics

Rome, November 2016 – In countries across the former Soviet Union, the use of harmful pesticides and the prevalence of obsolete toxic chemicals present significant problems for populations and ecosystems.

An EU/FAO co-funded project, between the Rotterdam Convention (RC), PAN UK and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in six countries has been working to raise awareness in affected areas, with the aim of promoting safer practices. A second target is to bolster national government decision-making processes to reduce the risks among those groups deemed most vulnerable – such as farmers, children, women and seasonal workers.

“The dissolution of the Soviet Union has created particular opportunities and challenges for these countries over the last 25 years. One of these is the legacy of large quantities of obsolete stocks; it is estimated that around half the world’s obsolete pesticides are in the former Soviet Union,” said Sheila Willis, Head of International Programmes at the UK’s Pesticide Action Network (PAN UK).

“It is also very important that the management of pesticides is strengthened in these countries, as elsewhere, and risks are reduced from the pesticides that are in use today,” she added.

Independent studies demonstrate the economic, environmental and social benefits of sound chemical management

A 2015 study published by FAO, PAN UK and partners showed that farming communities in Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, and Ukraine have all reported incidents of acute pesticide poisoning with symptoms ranging from headaches, nausea and rashes through to convulsions, loss of consciousness and even death.

In Kyrgyzstan, a pilot survey of farming families in the Chui, Jalal, Abad and Osh regions, revealed that up to 56 percent of women and more than 25 percent of children under 18 interviewed described using pesticides in their work.

“While the problem of poisoning of farmers, women and children with pesticides is very urgent, no one is interested,” said Dr. Arslanbop, a doctor working in rural Kyrgyzstan.

Both in Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine, more than half of the adults consulted had experienced symptoms of acute pesticide poisoning. The vast majority of those individuals, however, did not consult their national health services or authorities.

In Moldova, the study focused on teenage children from farming families. Almost 40 percent of these young people said they had used pesticides.

Reducing pesticide exposure in children and pregnant women is an important part of the FAO-PAN-UK partnership.

The report found that women in each country surveyed, often encountered dangerous chemicals while working in agriculture and, also, while carrying out domestic chores such as washing contaminated clothes by hand. Most do not know how dangerous this is.

“Think about the moment a rural farmer identifies a pest destroying their crops, their harvest, or their only source of money. Their immediate reaction is that a pesticide is their best friend,” said Elisabetta Tagliati, FAO Programme Officer for the Rotterdam Convention.

While the reliance on pesticides in an ongoing problem, there are often safer options and methods of reducing the risks of using them.

Protecting vulnerable groups and preventing environmental degradation

Other common practices presenting dangers included not wearing protective equipment when handling pesticides, using food and drink containers for pesticide storage purposes and failing to dispose of chemicals in a safe manner. The burning or discarding of pesticide packaging in fields threatens human health and the environment.

Another challenge is that agricultural workers often have poor employment security and little legal protection. They may also lack the relevant language skills to understand pesticide labels and safety instructions. In Georgia, of the Azeri speakers interviewed in the survey, just one percent were able to read the pesticide labels in Georgian.

The ex-Soviet bloc makes a substantial contribution to global agricultural output; up to 20 percent of global wheat production comes from these countries. Despite important progress, much remains to be done to ensure future generations in rural areas can prosper.

The findings of the studies are helping that push for change by informing the debate among decision-makers, national NGOs and the public. As a result, in Kyrgyzstan, parliamentarians visited affected rural communities to discuss the issues with farming families.

In Georgia, an additional study with a focus on vulnerable women, concluded this year. Authorities responded to its findings by tightening legislation on the packing and labelling of pesticide products. They also reported a number of serious incidents involving acutely toxic pesticides that in future may fall under article 6 of the Rotterdam Convention.

Strengthening data collection on the use of pesticides and related poisoning incidents at field level helps to inform decision-makers, such as pesticide registrars, enabling them to manage resources more effectively.

FAO’s future targets for the region include developing a series of national and regional initiatives to promote a more sustainable approach to food production and to increase the uptake of schemes including Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which emphasises sustainable management of pests and diseases.

Download the report of "Supporting evidence-based pesticide regulation and risk reduction in Georgia, with a focus on vulnerable groups".

Text by Sarah Barden, Communications Officer, FAO.

Outcomes of the joint bureaux meeting
The report of the joint meeting of the COPs bureaux held on 3 and 4 November 2016 is now available.

Outcomes of the joint bureaux meeting

Outcomes of the joint bureaux meeting

The report of the joint meeting of the COPs bureaux held on 3 and 4 November 2016 is now available.

Sustainability begins at home for BRS and its housekeeping
The Secretariat is proud to be climate neutral for 2015, thanks to the signature of an agreement with UNFCCC to offset its CO2 emissions.

Sustainability begins at home for BRS and its housekeeping

Sustainability begins at home for BRS and its housekeeping
 
BRS briefs World Trade Organisation on hazardous chemicals and wastes
E-waste and the forthcoming Triple COPs were the subject of discussions at the WTO Committee on Trade & Environment, on 14-15 November 2016, in Geneva.

BRS briefs World Trade Organisation on hazardous chemicals and wastes

BRS briefs World Trade Organisation on hazardous chemicals and wastes

On 14-15 November 2016, on the occasion of the regular session of the Committee on Trade & Environment (CTE) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) - i.e. the ‘CTE regular’ - now chaired by the Ambassador of Chile to the World Trade Organization, his excellency Mr. Héctor Casanueva, WTO members and observers discussed and focused more particularly on importance issues related to the relationship between Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) and the WTO Agreements.

Several Secretariats of MEAs were represented and offered briefings on recent and forthcoming meetings of their respective Conferences of the Parties (COPs), as well as presentations on technical matters. Among these MEAs, one may highlight: the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions on hazardous chemicals and wastes.

The Executive Secretary of the BRS Conventions, Dr. Rolph Payet, opened the morning session of 15 November, with some introductory remarks on the mutual supportiveness of trade and environment, as formally recognized in the provisions of the BRS Conventions – e.g. the preambles of the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions. He then briefed on the outcomes of the 2015 meetings of the BRS Conventions COPs, followed by a briefing on the joint and specific issues at stake at the forthcoming meetings of the COPs, including the High Level Segment, to be held back-to-back from 24 April until 5 May 2017 in Geneva. Then Mr. Matthias Kern, Senior Programme Officer, offered a presentation on e-Wastes, as there was a strong request by WTO membership on this particular topic. The presentations were followed by some questions and comments by delegations, among other things, on the listing of chemicals, intersessional work and compliance.

The BRS presentation on the conventions and on e-waste under the Basel Convention can be downloaded.

With respect to the matters covered by the BRS Conventions, some countries then shared their national experiences, including on their implementing institutional, legal and policy frameworks and other measures: Chile provided an overview on the recently adopted framework law for waste management, extended producer responsibility and promotion of recycling; Canada made a presentation on their approach to chemical management. Also, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) presented its work on e-waste management.  

For more information on the above, please consult the BRS Conventions’ websites, and on the WTO Trade & Environment cluster as well as the CTE, consult:

The three bureaux agree on the organisation of the 2017 COPs
The bureaux met on 3 and 4 November 2016 and agreed on the organization of the 2017 COPs and discussed other organizational matters, such as the high-level segment.

The three bureaux agree on the organisation of the 2017 COPs

The three bureaux agree on the organisation of the 2017 COPs
 
Dates agreed for high-level segment of 2017 Triple COPs
The high-level segment of the next Triple COPs is scheduled for the afternoon of Thursday, 4 May and the morning of Friday, 5 May 2017.

Dates agreed for high-level segment of 2017 Triple COPs

Dates agreed for high-level segment of 2017 Triple COPs
 
Do you get the monthly BRS #Detox Newsletter?
Ahead of the Triple COPs in April 2017, get the latest in everything connected to the sound management of chemicals and waste straight to your inbox each month.

Do you get the monthly BRS #Detox Newsletter?

Do you get the monthly BRS #Detox Newsletter?
 
Uruguay playing lead regional role in sound management of chemicals and waste
Our regional focus switches to Latin America and the role of The Uruguayan Technological Laboratory (LATU) in Montevideo, which assists parties implement the Basel and Stockholm Conventions

Uruguay playing lead regional role in sound management of chemicals and waste

Uruguay playing lead regional role in sound management of chemicals and waste

In 1997 Parties to the Basel Convention selected Uruguay to host a Basel Convention Regional Centre. The Uruguayan Technological Laboratory (LATU) in Montevideo - with the management support of the Ministry of Housing, Land Planning and Environment - has hosted the Centre physically in its premise since then. The same Centre was then nominated in 2007 to serve as a regional centre under the Stockholm Convention and was endorsed by the Parties as a regional centre under the Convention in 2009, initially for four years and then recently re-endorsed for another term of four years.

The Centre has been involved in various trainings and technology transfer activities since its establishment. Life cycle approach in the management of chemicals and wastes is central to the Centre’s plans, projects, and activities and it thus provides opportunities in promoting synergy among the chemicals-related Conventions. The centre has a long experience in organizing regional and international meetings related to the Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions. Apart from its training and capacity building activities, the centre has also been involved in developing technical guidelines on hazardous waste management.

Through LATU, a public private initiative established in 1965, the centre can offer to its clients, and the beneficiaries the services in following areas:

  • Quality management, ISO certification etc.
  • Laboratory services on POPs analysis in various matrices
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Ecotoxicology
  • Biotechnology
  • Enterprise development and management and Environment Management System consultancy

Some of its flagship projects include:

  • Minimization and environmentally sound management of mercury containing waste, affecting most exposed populations in various economic sectors, including the health sector, in countries of Latin America and the Caribbean supported by USEPA.
  • Global Monitoring Programme Phase I executed in collaboration with UNEP Chemicals. The objectives were to build regional capacity on data analysis for POPs in air and breast milk among others.
  • Implementation of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) and sound chemical hazard communication for government, business and industry, and public interest and labour organisations.
  • Diagnosis of Legal and Institutional infrastructures for sound management of chemicals.
  • Environmentally sound storage and disposal of surplus mercury in two countries of LAC, Argentina and Uruguay.
  • Capacity Building on Hazardous Waste and Promotion of Best Available Technologies and Best Environmental Practices (BATs and BEPs), training in Hazardous Waste.

Parties served: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Panama, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of).

For more information visit: http://www.ccbasilea-crestocolmo.org.uy/en 

Regional focus switches to Kuwait
This month we highlight the work of the Stockholm Convention Regional Centre for Kuwait.

Regional focus switches to Kuwait

Regional focus switches to Kuwait
 
Press Release: UN chemical experts pave way for more sustainable management of chemicals
The outcomes of the recent Rotterdam Convention CRC-12 and Stockholm Convention POPRC-12 meetings are now available online, featuring proposed new chemicals listings at the COPs in Geneva in 2017.

Press Release: UN chemical experts pave way for more sustainable management of chemicals

Press Release: UN chemical experts pave way for more sustainable management of chemicals

PRESS RELEASE : For a FUTURE DETOXIFIED

UN chemical experts pave way for more sustainable management of chemicals

Geneva & Rome: 26 September 2016 - Experts and observers joined members of the Rotterdam (RC) and Stockholm (SC) Conventions’ Review Committees in Rome in recent days to consider available scientific evidence concerning a number of hazardous chemicals for inclusion in annexes of the two Conventions, both of which aim to protect human health and the environment.

The Rotterdam Convention – which currently has 155 Parties – provides an early warning on the trade of certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides, through the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure, a mechanism for disseminating the decisions of importing Parties. The Stockholm Convention – with currently 180 parties – aims to eliminate the use of certain toxic chemicals, specifically those referred to as “Persistent Organic Pollutants” (POPS). The latter obliges governments to regulate the production, use and trade of specific chemicals throughout their life cycles.

The 12th meeting of the Chemical Review Committee (CRC) of the Rotterdam Convention, which concluded on 16 September, agreed to recommend the listing of carbofuran suspension concentrate 330 g/L as a severely hazardous pesticide formulation in Annex III of the Convention, following a proposal from Colombia.  The meeting also finalized draft decision guidance documents on two highly toxic pesticides – carbofuran and carbosulfan – used to control insects in a wide variety of crops.

The next step will be for the Conference of the Parties at its meeting in 2017 to decide whether to list these two pesticides in Annex III of the Convention and subject them to the PIC procedure. 47 chemicals are currently listed in the Annex, including pesticides and industrial chemicals that have been banned or restricted by two or more Parties.

“It is important to note that the basis for the consideration of these pesticides by the CRC were decisions taken by developing countries. Decisions that are leading to action at the global level,” said William Murray, Executive Secretary of the Rotterdam Convention (RC) for the FAO.

According to the latest FAO data, international pesticide sales are valued at up to USD 480 billion a year. UNEP estimates that as many as three percent of those working in agriculture worldwide suffer from acute pesticide poisoning, with adolescents facing a higher risk.

When used appropriately, pesticides can help to protect food and other crops from excessive damage by pests and diseases. They can also protect humans and livestock from diseases. Misuse of pesticides however, is not only a threat to those earning a living through farming but also to the environment and the economy.

The Stockholm Convention’s Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC) then staged its 12th meeting, back-to-back with the CRC, and concluded its work on 23 September by agreeing to propose two new industrial chemicals for inclusion in the Convention’s annexes.

Short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs) are mostly used in manufacturing of products such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics, and used in metalworking fluids. These highly persistent and toxic compounds have been found in breastmilk of Inuit women in the Arctic, demonstrating their persistence and long-range environmental transport. Listing in Annex A for elimination by the COP is proposed.

The Committee considered and adopted additional information for decabromodiphenyl ether (commercial mixture, c-decaBDE), widely used as flame retardants, defining necessary specific exemptions related to automotive industry, for this chemical’s listing in Annex A of the Convention by the COP.

The Committee evaluated the new information on hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD) and concluded that there are unintentional releases of HCBD from the certain chemical production processes and incineration processes. In 2013, the Committee recommended listing of HCBD in Annexes A and C and in 2015, the COP listed it in Annex A. Annex C lists chemicals subjects to the measures to reduce or eliminate releases from unintentional production.

Progress was also made on pentadecafluorooctanoic acid (PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid), its salts and PFOA-related compounds, and dicofol, for which the Committee adopted the respective Draft Risk Profiles, moving them to the next review stage, requiring a risk management evaluation that includes an analysis of possible control measures. Finally, the Committee endorsed the guidance on alternatives to perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and its related chemicals to assist countries in phasing-out of those chemicals listed under the Convention.

“Both the CRC and POPRC meetings were effective and productive and have paved the way for important decisions to be taken at our triple COPs in April next year,” said Rolph Payet, Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions for UNEP. “These decisions will further protect human health and environment from hazardous chemicals and will guide the international community towards not just a future detoxified, but also towards implementing the SDGs through the sound management of chemicals and waste” he added.

The next meetings of the Conferences of Parties (COPs) for both conventions, together with that of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, will be held in Geneva from 24 April to 5 May 2017 under the title “A Future Detoxified: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste”.

Note for editors:

The Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade creates legally binding obligations for its currently 155 parties. It currently covers 47 chemicals,  pesticides and pesticide formulations.

The Chemical Review Committee consists of thirty-one scientific experts appointed by the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention charged with undertaking scientific review of chemicals proposed for listing. 

Carbofuran is a WHO class Ib pesticide and used to control insects in a wide variety of field crops, including potatoes, corn and soybeans. It is extremely toxic via the oral route and by inhalation (LD50 2 mg/kg in mice[1]) . It is also highly toxic to freshwater invertebrates and extremely toxic to birds.

Carbosulfan is a broad-spectrum carbamate insecticide used to control various insects, including locusts and different types of grasshoppers, mites and nematodes mainly on potatoes, sugar beet, rice, maize and citrus. It is highly toxic to birds, aquatic invertebrates and bees[3]

For more information, please contact:

For CRC/Rotterdam Convention: www.pic.int 

Christine FUELL, Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention (FAO), Rome: + 39-06-5705-3765, christine.fuell@fao.org

Erwin NORTHOFF, Chief of Corporate Communications (FAO), Rome: + 39-06-5705-3105, erwin.northoff@fao.org

The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, or POPs, creates legally binding obligations for its 180 parties and currently includes 26 chemicals listed within its annexes.

The POPs Review Committee consists of thirty-one scientific experts appointed by the Conference of the Parties charged with undertaking scientific review of chemicals proposed for listing. 

More information on all the chemicals currently listed, or proposed and/or under review for listing, can be found on the Stockholm Convention homepages at: www. chm.pops.int

Kei OHNO WOODALL, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (UNEP), Geneva: +41-79-2333218, +41-22-917-78201, kei.ohno-woodall@brsmeas.org 

Charlie AVIS, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (UNEP), Geneva: +41-79-730-4495, charles.avis@brsmeas.org

Preparations intensify for 2017 triple conferences of the parties (COPs): Geneva, Switzerland
Parties have been officially informed of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions COPs, featuring a high-level segment, to be held in Geneva from 24 April to 5 May 2017.

Preparations intensify for 2017 triple conferences of the parties (COPs): Geneva, Switzerland

Preparations intensify for 2017 triple conferences of the parties (COPs): Geneva, Switzerland
 
 “The Silent Pandemic” - UN Human Rights Council discusses hazardous substances and wastes
The Human Rights Council has considered the latest Report by the Special Rapporteur on human rights and hazardous substances & wastes.

“The Silent Pandemic” - UN Human Rights Council discusses hazardous substances and wastes

 “The Silent Pandemic” - UN Human Rights Council discusses hazardous substances and wastes

The 33rd session of the UN Human Rights Council, in Geneva, recently considered the latest report of the Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes, which this year focuses especially on children’s rights.

On 15 September 2016, on the occasion of the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council, the latest Report of the Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes, Mr. Baskut Tuncak, was presented and discussed in Geneva, Switzerland. (See A/HRC/33/41).

The Report is the result of a broad consultative process with States, international organizations, civil society, national human rights institutions, and other stakeholders.

This year, the Report focuses particularly on children’s rights with respect to hazardous chemicals and wastes since, it comments, there is now what doctors refer to as a “silent pandemic” of disease and disability affecting millions during childhood and later in life. According to the Report, childhood exposure is a systemic problem everywhere, and not just limited to poisoning, as all around the world, children are born with sometimes huge quantities of hazardous substances in their bodies; pediatricians have now begun referring to some children as being born “pre-polluted.”  The World Health Organization estimated that over 1.5 million children under five died prematurely from toxics, pollution and other exposures; also, numerous health impacts are linked to childhood exposure to toxics, such as cancer, developmental disorders, learning disabilities and respiratory illnesses. 

The Report further states that, to remedy the situation:

  • Prevention of exposure is the best remedy.
  • The best interests of the child must be a primary consideration of States in protecting children’s rights. Which rights?
    • the right to life, to survival and development,
    • the right to physical and mental integrity,
    • the right to health,
    • the right to a healthy environment,
    • the right to be free from the worst forms of child labour,
    • the right to an adequate standard of leaving, including safe food, water and housing,
    • the right to non-discrimination, and
    • other rights implicated by toxics and pollution embodied in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • States have an obligation and businesses have a corresponding responsibility to prevent childhood exposure to toxic chemicals and pollution.

Finally, the Report ended on the Special Rapporteur offering recommendations to the various stakeholders to protect the rights of the child from toxic chemicals.

The presentation was followed by quite a few interventions by States, IGOs such as UNICEF, and NGOs: accountability and responsibility by businesses were often put forward. In his response further to the interventions, the Special Rapporteur stated that UNEP's chemicals work was largely driven by the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions as well as the – yet to enter into force - Minamata Convention, which together cover only 26 hazardous substances throughout their lifecycle, out of the thousands out there that would need regulation, and that this was a big gap. He further noted that SAICM, which he called an ambitious and broad mandate, has regrettably received insufficient financial resources. He also referred to the notable absence of compliance mechanisms under some of the previously mentioned Conventions. He also expressed his hope that Ministries of Health would be more involved in the topic of hazardous substances, and noted relative underfunding of the WHO Environment and Health Programme.

For more information on the above, consult:

Click here to read the entire report, in the 6 official UN languages.

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