Please click on the dates below to see some interventions given by IPEN and Partners at the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions 2017 Conferences of the Parties.
IPEN Closing Statement, given by Pamela Miller, IPEN Co-Chair:
Good afternoon Presidents and Distinguished Delegates. My name is Pamela Miller and I have the privilege to serve as Co-Chair of IPEN, a network of organizations from 100 countries around the world working together for a toxics-free future for all.
We participated these past two weeks as members of civil society to bear witness for the billions of people around the world who could not be here, but whose health, well-being, and human rights are affected by the decisions that have been made. We represent vulnerable communities of women, children, and workers. We are troubled by the disproportionate exposures of Indigenous communities of the Arctic, Africa, & Oceania and elsewhere around the world. We are aware of the pandemic of diseases and transgenerational harm caused by toxic exposures.
We came with high hopes that delegates would do everything possible to keep the promise of the Conventions—to keep the promise to act in a precautionary manner to eliminate harmful exposures that affect health and human rights. In 2001, 16 years ago, the global community adopted the Stockholm Convention, the promise to eliminate some of the world’s worst toxic chemicals, POPs. We believe this COP was a missed opportunity to create a future de-toxified.
It will be difficult to do our work as civil society if we are excluded from participation in the work of the COP and its intersessional activities. We are extremely concerned about compromises to the Convention by listing chemicals with long lists of unjustified and prolonged exemptions, as in the case for decaBDE and SCCPs. We are concerned that standards for low POPs content are not health protective. And the recycling of POPs into everyday products is unconscionable and a violation of the Convention. There must also be a way forward to end the stalemate in the Rotterdam Convention and justly list chemicals such as paraquat and chrysotile asbestos that have met the criteria of the Convention. As we leave this Convention, we request that you protect the right of civil society to participate fully as observers.
Tomorrow, we will return to the communities in which we live and work and where children are exposed to dangerous chemicals in their everyday lives. We continue to see people suffering and dying. As we come to a close, we would like to recall the opening statement of UNEP Deputy Executive Director who said, “we have a moral responsibility to act when there is a doubt, not when victims emerge.” We look forward to have the opportunity to work with you in a constructive and collaborative manner as things move forward.