Addis Ababa, 4 December 2015 - Government officials and stakeholders from 15 African countries joined by their counterparts from around the world at a workshop jointly organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Persistent Organic Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) in Addis Ababa agreed to cooperate to phase out the use of lead in paint by 2020.
The release of lead into the environment poses significant risks to human health and the environment. World Health Organization lists lead exposure as one of the top ten environmental health threats globally. No level of lead exposure is safe for people, and children are especially vulnerable. Paints that contain lead additives pose a risk of lead poisoning, especially for young children.
On November 25th, Centre de Recherche et d’Education pour le Développement / Research and Education Centre for Development (CREPD), IPEN’s Regional Hub for Francophone Africa, held a stakeholders workshop in Yaoundé, Cameroon and publicly released their new paint analyses results. The paints had been tested for levels of lead content. Representatives from industry, government ministries, pediatricians, academia from the faculty of medicine, UNIDO (the United Nations Industrial Development Organization), NGOs, and the media attended the workshop.
Eco-Accord, IPEN Regional Hub for Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA), prepared an overview of information from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and EECCA countries about the need to report emissions and releases from obsolete pesticide stockpiles through pollutant release and transfer register (PRTR) systems in EECCA countries.
Chemical Watch Briefing Global chemical safety – less talk, more implementation Joe DiGangi, senior science and technical advisor, IPEN
Each year, hundreds of millions of factory and farm workers are injured by accidents, pesticides and industrial chemical exposures – a subset of an even larger population of people exposed to, and affected by, harmful chemicals.
One international agreement that should address the multitude of chemical safety struggles around the world is the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (Saicm). But there is a long way to go to fulfil Saicm’s chemical safety mission.
The Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint, a voluntary partnership established to help achieve international goals to prevent children’s exposure to lead paint and to minimize occupational exposures to lead paint, has featured IPEN's successful Asian Lead Paint Elimination Project in its new newsletter, stating, "Through the work of Alliance Partner IPEN and its partners in its EU-funded Asian Lead Paint Elimination Project, several countries in Asia have enacted or are planning to enact new limits on lead in paint."
Fernando Bejarano, Director of RAPAM, IPEN’s Regional Hub for Latin America and the Caribbean, participated in a workshop on “Minamata Convention, challenges and opportunities in Colombia” that was held in Bogota, Colombia in mid-November. The workshop was organized by the University of Los Andes Group on Environmental Law, the Colombian Environment and Foreign Officers Ministries, and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), with sponsorship from the Swiss government.