Global mercury pollution has been recognised as a major problem that can only be tackled effectively by international regulation and government cooperation. Mercury is a hazardous neurotoxin that can cause many health problems in humans, and most exposure is caused by dietary impacts such as eating contaminated fish where mercury bioaccumulates.
The Minamata Convention on Mercury has been developed as the main international legal instrument to protect human health and the environment from mercury pollution with range of controls on trade, emissions, and use of mercury. The fifth Conference of the Parties (COP-5) of the Minamata Convention on Mercury (Mercury Treaty) will take place in Geneva from 30 October to 3 November 2023, and several important decisions will be discussed.
The Fifth International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM5) will meet in Bonn, Germany from 25 - 29 September 2023. It aims to approve a new Beyond 2020 Instrument for the sound management of chemicals and waste. In addition, a resumed meeting of the intersessional process (IP4) will be held to finalize recommendations for ICCM5.
New Report Outlines Science on Health Threats from Plastic Recycling
A new report from Greenpeace USA, in collaboration with IPEN and The Last Beach Cleanup, shows that recycling actually increases the toxicity of plastics and highlights the threats that recycled plastics pose to the health of consumers, frontline communities, and workers in the recycling sector. Along with previous research showing that very little plastic reaches recycling facilities, the report concludes that the upcoming global Plastics Treaty negotiations in Paris must focus on capping and then phasing down plastic production. Read the press release here.
From 1-12 May, IPEN members will participate in the Meetings of the Conference of the Parties (COPs) to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions taking place in Geneva, Switzerland. Check this page for updates throughout the meetings.
IPEN and its members have been contributing to the development of the Stockholm Treaty since its inception in 2001. The Treaty aims to protect human health and the environment from persistent organic pollutants, or POPs, such as pesticides, industrial chemicals, and their toxic by-products. We have also contributed to the Basel Convention and its work to protect human health and the environment from toxic waste, and to the Rotterdam Convention’s work on the international trade in hazardous chemicals.
IPEN is participating in the resumed Fourth Meeting of the Intersessional Process for SAICM (IP4.2) in Nairobi from 27 February to 3 March, 2023. The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) is a unique global strategy to create a world where chemicals are no longer produced or used in ways that harm human health and the environment.
Some sessions will be livestreamed: go to the SAICM page and under "Meeting Documents" look for "daily schedule." Registration is not required.
IPEN has engaged in the science-to-policy (Science-Policy) discussions under the BRS and Minamata Conventions, SAICM, and the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) for many years. In March 2022, UNEA adopted a resolution calling for the establishment of a new Science-Policy Panel to support action on chemicals, waste, and pollution.
The first meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC1) of the Plastics Treaty will meet from 28 November – 2 December 2022 in Punta del Este, Uruguay. See background on IPEN's work toward a Plastics Treaty, and check back to this page for updates, resources, and information during the INC-1 meetings.
IPEN is actively engaged in the August 2022 in-person SAICM IP4 (4th Intersessional Process) meeting in Bucharest, Romania. We have engaged with the SAICM process since the first Preparatory meeting in 2003 and continue to support the contributions of our member organizations around the world to the SAICM Process today.
In March 2022, 175 countries came together in an agreement to begin negotiations on a global treaty to address the plastic crisis. From May 30 to June 2, 2022, delegates from around the world met in Dakar, Senegal to set the terms for the next two years of work around a global Plastics Treaty.