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A Toxics-Free Future


IPEN Quick Views: 3rd session of the ad hoc OEWG on a Science-Policy Panel

Access to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, including a safe and healthy working environment, is a universal human right. This includes the right of access to information and requires science-based policies to protect the human rights of individuals and communities exposed to hazardous substances and wastes. In addition, the Convention on the Rights of the Child states that the dangers and risks of environmental pollution must be taken into account in the right to health. The work of the Science-Policy Panel must contribute to upholding the enjoyment of these rights, and should be based on precaution, prevention, the polluter-pays principle, and the industry’s duty to disclose information.

To be credible and trustworthy, the Panel and its work must be:

  • Inclusive and Participatory: The Panel must effectively integrate views, information, and data from consumers, stakeholders, and communities impacted by chemicals, waste, and pollution, including groups in especially vulnerable situations, Indigenous Peoples, and workers. Gender, regional, and sectorial balance must be ensured. There must be participation of civil society representatives in all work of the Panel and its subsidiary bodies. Knowledge must be broadly defined to include traditional and Indigenous Knowledge systems, as well as citizen science.
  • Transparent: Work processes, prioritization of issues, sources of information, and decision-making must be traceable, and documentation must be publicly available and accessible. No information or data submitted to the Panel and its subsidiary bodies, or used by the Panel and its subsidiary bodies, should be treated as confidential, to safeguard the integrity of the Panel and align with other science-policy panels.
  • Free from conflicts of interest: The development and implementation of a strong conflict-of-interest policy will be crucial to ensure that the Panel provides independent, scientifically sound data, suitable to inform policy work. The policy should take both current and previous engagements into account and apply to all involved experts and participants. The policy must apply to the decision-making body, subsidiary bodies, committees, and other processes. The policy should require disclosure of all real, potential, and apparent conflicts of interest, and the Panel should have procedures to actively prevent conflicts of interest throughout all its work and decision-making processes. All information related to conflicts of interest disclosures should be made publicly available online, including evaluations of conflicts of interest. See IPEN’s submission on this topic here.


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