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A Toxics-Free Future

Focus on a Green Economy at the 8th Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference

Dr. Emma Anakhasyan from NGO Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment speaking during a side event on "Emerging Environmental Health Challenges in the UNECE Region."

IPEN and Participating Organization (PO) representatives from Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment (Armenia), Greenwomen (Kazakhstan), Independent Ecological Expertise (Kyrgyzstan), Eco-Accord (Russia), Volgograd Ecopress (Russia) and others participated in the recent 8th Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference in Batumi, Georgia (8 - 10 June, 2016). The theme of this year’s Conference was “Greener, Cleaner, Smarter,” and much of its content focused on a green economy. See detailed information here.

At the meeting, IPEN, Eco-Accord, Independent Ecological Expertise and HEJSupport co-hosted a side event on "Greening the economy through promoting sound waste and chemicals management - NGO view.” The side event was opened with remarks from representatives from Georgia's Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection and the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development. Presentations in the side event included the experience of the “Clean-Up Georgia Campaign” (Khatuna Chikviladze- Orkisi), an outline of problems on hazardous waste management in Georgia (Avto Dolidze- Ecological Awareness and Waste Management), and how to ensure public control over the movement of toxic substances throughout their lifecycle - from production to disposal and waste management (Slide from the presentation by Oleg Pecheniuk (8th EfE June 2016)Oleg Pecheniuk- Independent Ecological Expertise). A presentation by Eco-Accord and IPEN highlighted the NGO contribution to the implementation of the Pan-European Strategic Framework for Greening the Economy. Please see that presentation made by Olga Speranskaya (IPEN Co-chair) here (Russian). The agenda for the event can be found here.

One outcome from the side event was a Resolution calling on governments of the UN ECE region to accelerate the shift towards sustainable consumption and production and encourage innovation and cooperation among all stakeholders to achieve poverty eradication, social and economic development, and reverse environmental degradation for good. See that Resolution here.

Another side event at the meeting, "Emerging Environmental Health Challenges in the UNECE Region" was co-organized by IPEN Participating Organizations and colleagues Women in Europe for a Common Future, AWHHE, ALGA (Kyrgyzstan) and RCDA (Georgia).

Additionally, European EcoForum (which includes numerous IPEN POs as members), Eco-Accord and IPEN created a short film that was screened in plenary at the meeting. The film calls on Environment Ministers to take the lead on transitioning to a green economy and outlines, amongst other items, the key principles of a green economy and the actions needed to implement them. The film can be viewed here.

The European EcoForum also prepared a declaration, formulated by representatives of 50 international, European and national environmental citizens organizations from 20 countries, to outline recommendations to the governments attending the meeting.

Prior to the meeting, governments and organizations were asked to share their voluntary commitments towards a green economy. IPEN, Eco-Accord, Independent Ecological Expertise and the Foundation in Support of Civil Initiatives submited information about their voluntary commitments towards phase-out of the manufacture and sale of decorative paints containing lead and eventual elimination of the risks from such paint, and establishment of multistakeholder cooperation to address the obligations of the three chemical conventions (Stockholm, Basel and Rotterdam). These relate to focus areas 5, 4 and 9 of the Pan-European Strategic Framework for Greening the Economy and the submitted information can be found here.