IPEN was launched in June 1998 at the first session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a POPs Convention in Montreal, Canada. Below are some milestones since its inception:
Reducing and Eliminating the World’s Most Hazardous Chemicals
Strengthened the Stockholm Convention & global ban of the pesticide PCP: In May 2015 more than 90 countries took the unprecedented step of voting for a global ban on pentachlorophenol (PCP) – a pesticide widely used to treat utility poles. This historic vote is the first vote the Stockholm Convention Conference of the Parties (COP) has ever taken. This action demonstrates that the Treaty remains a vital tool for global chemicals management and that in a moment of difficulty, delegates can be persuaded to take meaningful action and not simply delay and obfuscate. IPEN worked hard to advance PCP through the POPs Review Committee (POPRC), and educate delegates at COP7 about the science and alternatives to PCP.
New POPs advance towards global bans under the Stockholm Convention: IPEN worked to advance four chemicals for global bans under the Stockholm Convention. The pesticide dicofol (linked to DDT); the flame retardant DecaBDE (widely found in e-waste); industry solvent and flame retardant short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs); and PFOA (also known as the Teflon chemical) are now advancing in the evaluation process and will be considered by governments in 2017 and 2019.
Promoting Stronger International Chemicals Standards
Global policy adopted on Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) & Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs): In October 2015 at the global SAICM meeting (ICCM4- 4th International Conference on Chemical Safety), over 100 governments adopted a consensus decision to take concerted action on HHPs, with an emphasis on promoting agroecology as an alternative. This outcome recognizes the success of a joint campaign that IPEN and PAN International launched in 2013. In addition, at the ICCM4 meeting governments also agreed that endocrine disrupting chemicals can harm humans and wildlife and action is needed.
Halting the Spread of Toxic Metals
Lead paint elimination with paint manufactures and national policies: By the conclusion of 2015, 80% of the paint market in the Philippines had committed to IPEN’s “Lead SafeTM Paint” 3rd Party Certification Program. In addition, lead paint regulations are now in place or promised by governments in all 7 Asian countries that participated in IPEN’s Asian Lead Paint Elimination Project (including the Philippines). Reports finding high levels of lead in paints released in 2015 in 4 African countries have helped to begin the process for bans in those countries and other African regions, noting representatives from 15 Africa countries called to phase-out lead-paint by 2020 in December.
Mercury treaty ratification advanced: In 2014 IPEN launched the International Mercury Treaty Enabling Activities Program (IMEAP), and by 2015 activities to promote treaty ratification and awareness-raising were underway in 29 countries, and is set to expand with new resources in 2016 to promote treaty ratification and awareness-raising.
Building a Global Toxics-Free Movement
Publications that Build the Capacity of NGOs: IPEN’s Citizens’ Report 2012 – 2015 details more than 500 activities to implement SAICM in 65 countries by more than 120 IPEN NGOs. In 2015, IPEN also produced: Eliminating Lead in Paint in Seven Asian Countries; POPs in Chicken Eggs from Hotspots in China; Toxic Toy or Toxic Waste: Recycling POPs into New Products; Guide to Listing the 2015 POPs Candidates (available in 5 languages); Worldwide Data on Lead in Paint: Published Studies and Reports; and Eliminate Lead Paint: Protect Children's Health (Africa Project) (available in 3 languages). The publications can be found in IPEN's Knowledge Center. IPEN also worked with partners to translate the “Little Things Matter” video and the Introduction to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals booklet.
Policy & Technical Trainings: In 2015, IPEN coordinated participation in 13 key international chemical safety meetings, and organized the participation of over 120 NGO representatives from more than 45 countries to contribute to these chemical policy events. IPEN convened four global NGO trainings related to both chemical policy and/or technical skillsharing, with more than 145 NGO representatives from over 50 countries. These events included: IPEN Basel-Rotterdam-Stockholm Convention COP Policy Training; IPEN Asia Regional NGO Meeting; Lead Paint Project Regional Training; and a policy training for ICCM4. In December, IPEN’s Africa Regional Lead Paint Elimination Project held a training in Ethiopia for government representatives from 15 African countries, following an Africa Regional Workshop organized jointly by IPEN and UNEP.
Collaborations & Alliances: In 2015, IPEN continued to nurture collaborations that help bridge the work of scientists to that of chemical policy advocates and that strengthen support for positive changes in chemical policies, noting:
• Global endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) awareness initiative: IPEN and The Endocrine Society (ES) initiated a partnership in 2013 to impact international policy on EDCs. In 2015 IPEN continued to build on the collaboration with the ES, to promote the translation and distribution of the Introduction to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals into all UN languages.
• Global action on highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs): IPEN and PAN jointly pushed for a Global Alliance to Phase-out HHPs and distributed policy papers to thousands of government delegates. During ICCM4, IPEN and PAN successfully advocated for action on HHPs through interventions, one-on-one conversations with delegates, press releases, handouts, eye-catching buttons, and a side event.
• Enhancing partnerships with international research institutes: IPEN renewed and expanded its relationship with the Biodiversity Research Institute to conduct global mercury monitoring in 2016 and beyond.
• Action on plastics in the ocean, and opposing incineration: IPEN worked swiftly to encourage its Participating Organizations to sign-on to an open letter spearheaded by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) to the Ocean Conservancy about its report “Stemming the Tide.” The report promotes incineration in Asia as a "solution" to the problem of ocean plastics.