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A Toxics-Free Future

IPEN 2016 Global Meeting

IPEN’s 2016 Global Meeting convened in San Francisco, California, USA from the 14th – 16th of November. This event brought together more than 120 environmental, health and human rights leaders from over 50 countries working locally and globally to ensure a just and healthy future for everyone by eliminating harm to human health and the environment from toxic chemicals. The Global Meeting was followed by a Toxics-Free Future Forum.

The Global Meeting, which was conducted simultaneously in English and Spanish, focused on global networking, policies, skillsharing, trainings and orienting participants to IPEN’s 2020 Plan and Operation. The objectives were to:

  • Strengthen the Toxics-Free Future Global Movement: Build and deepen relationships among IPEN Participating Organizations and allies working on chemical issues.
  • Learn from Each Other and Share Skills: Elevate awareness about and capacity on toxics issues via learning from each other and sharing skills / experiences on IPEN priorities.
  • Promote Organizational Capacity-Building & Development: Conduct practical trainings on several of the following issues: communication/message framing, organizational management/planning, fundraising, and international policy process orientation.
  • Celebrate Achievements: Acknowledge collective and organizational achievements.
  • Strategize around IPEN’s 2020 Goals & Program: Familiarize participants with IPEN’s 5-year program.

Throughout the meeting, a special Poster Exhibition provided the opportunity for all participants to present their work. Posters related to the IPEN priority themes of

  • Eliminating the World’s Most Hazardous Chemicals (POPs and the Stockholm Convention: dioxin/ waste; POPs pesticides; flame retardants; PFOS; PFOA; PCBs; incineration; POPs-contaminated sites, etc.)
  • Halting the Spread of Toxic Metals (lead and/or mercury)
  • Emerging Toxics Issues (highly hazardous pesticides; chemicals in products; electronics; endocrine disrupting chemicals; fracking/toxic energy sources; toxics & human rights)

During breaks specifically scheduled to view the posters, participants had a chance to look at them and learn more about their colleagues’ work.

Won Kim and Inja Choi with their WIOEH postersJonida Mamaj-Hafizi with EDEN Centre's poster












Program Overview:

November 14th:  

The IPEN Network: Working Locally-to-Globally for a Toxics-Free Future

The morning session of Day 1 focused on introductions of the participants and constituencies that participants work for/with, recognizing local challenges and the global diversity of IPEN Participating Organizations and partners. The afternoon session celebrated collective local and international accomplishments achieved over the past years. This was followed by a networking session focused on highlighting impacted communities. The final session included a visionary presentation, looking back several decades on how chemical safety has failed, and looking forward towards what could be achieved.

Ram Charitra Sah (CEPHED, Nepal) introducing himself to participants from the Asia region

Claret Vargas (Dejusticia, Colombia), Nilda Perez (RAP-AL Cuba) and Francisco Mercado (CILAS, Mexico)

Bruno Van Peteghem (ATC, France), David Azoulay (CIEL, Switzerland) and Kokou Elorm Amegadze (Les Amis de la Terre, Togo)

November 15th:

Impacting & Leveraging Chemical Policies: Global IPEN & Policy Outlook; Skillshares: Leveraging Global Policies

Day 2 began with a presentation about the “state of IPEN,” where the IPEN International Coordinator presented the 2020 Global Plan and the strategy to achieve the 2020 Goals. This was followed by updates from IPEN Co-Chairs and a Co-Chair of the IPEN Heavy Metals Working Group related to the three main international global policy arenas IPEN works within (Stockholm Convention, SAICM, and Mercury Treaty), covering the status of each policy and outlook. After lunch, a technical session on EDCs - led by members of the Endocrine Society - was convened. The afternoon saw parallel break-out sessions of groups sharing their on-the- ground/national experiences related to international chemical policies.

November 16th:

Strategies for Success: Data, Communication, Resources Mobilization & Alliances

Day 3 focused on core strategies IPEN and IPENers have used to be successful. Beginning with generating data, IPENers shared successful approaches and challenges they have faced. The communication session focused on strategies and tools that may enhance NGO efforts to communicate their messages. The resources mobilization session focused on the importance of framing proposals and goals to donors. The concluding session for the day related to emerging special themes, specifically related to plastics/marine pollution and sustainable chemistry.

On the evening of November 16th, IPENers enjoyed a dinner reception that was co-convened with the Goldman Environmental Foundation (GEF). GEF and IPEN invited several funders from U.S. foundations that support environmental, health and/or human rights efforts to the reception, which included recognition of Goldman Environmental Prize winners in attendance, a charming presentation of foods found in different neighborhoods analogous to San Francisco, and dancing.












The Center for Environmental Health was IPEN’s Local Host Organization for this event

Logo for the Center for Environmental Health (CEH)

For more information about IPEN’s 2016 Global Meeting, please contact