The hybrid meeting of the fifth United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA-5), entitled “Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”, and its preparatory (the Open-Ended Committee of Permanent Representatives – OECPR), will focus on five thematic areas: plastics, nature-based solutions and biodiversity, chemicals, green recovery and circular economy, and organizational and administrative matters. IPEN has sent an international delegation to contribute to the in-person negotiations.
Under the plastic pollution thematic area, the main focus will be on discussing a mandate to start negotiation of a treaty on plastic. If agreed, the mandate would convene an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) to negotiate a legally binding instrument on plastic pollution. Under consideration are three draft resolutions: one proposed by Rwanda and Peru and supported by over 50 countries; another by Japan; and the last one proposed by India. Details about these proposals and IPEN’s positions can be found in IPEN’s Quick Views on UNEA 5.2.
Under the chemicals thematic area there are 3 resolutions that will be discussed. In our quick views we focus on two resolutions: one on the Science-Policy Panel on chemicals, waste, and pollution and the resolution on Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste. In our quick views and global science policy documents, we outline many specific issues and recommendations, highlighting the need for precautionary action and as well as adequate funding for the sound management of chemicals and waste.
Undoubtedly there is a lot of energy behind a new, ambitious instrument. However, there is still much work to be done on other issues, and increased efforts must be made to urgently address the Emerging Policy Issues and Issues of Concern such as Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, Highly Hazardous Pesticides and Chemicals in Products. A coordinated international response to prevent all sources of lead, cadmium, and arsenic exposure before they are allowed to impact human health and pollute the environment would be welcome. A special effort should be on accelerating actions to eliminate lead paint, noting that this goal for 2020 has not yet been met.
IPEN, Arnika and 16 European NGOs call on leaders to lower threshold values for POPs in waste, which enter recycling and waste exports
Wednesday, 22 December 2021
The problem: the European Commission currently proposes industry friendly ‘middle-ground’ POP limits for waste based on economic criteria instead of strong and health-protective values.
The European Commission (EC) is proposing to adopt new limit values for persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in waste. The Stockholm Convention requires the destruction of wastes that exceed POPs limit values (known as Low POP Content Levels set by the Basel Convention) and bans the recycling of wastes contaminated with POPs to maintain toxic-free material cycles. However, the EC is proposing weak POP limits, which will allow plastic and other wastes contaminated with POPs to be, in practice, recycled by industry in the EU. The transition to high-quality and toxic-free material cycles cannot be achieved while allowing POPs recycling in materials.
IPEN, Arnika, and 16 NGOs urge in their letter to Members of the European Parliament and Member States to support stronger limit values for POPs in waste than what the EC proposes. The weak limits currently proposed by the EC undermine the Stockholm Convention and will lead to POPs recycling that is incompatible with the European Green Deal.
European Commission Proposal for amending Annexes IV and V to the Regulation (EU) 2019/1021 of the European Parliament and of the Council on persistent organic pollutants: An opportunity for the EU to prevent toxic recycling and contamination of the circular economy through the substantial strengthening of limit values for POPs in waste
Civil society comments and briefing for European Union Member States and Members of the European Parliament
IPEN's Regional Hubs in Southeast Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean have recently organized several webinars on several important issues, including the threat of chemicals in plastics, issues related to plastic waste and recycling, consumer labeling, nanotechnology, and lead in paint. Experts in these subjects have provided critical information about the dangers of chemicals to human health, the need for greater controls and regulation, the role that industry must play in both reducing toxics and in protecting consumers, and the steps that individuals can take to protect themselves from harm and to engage with others in raising awareness about and action on toxic chemicals.
We recently created a Webinars page that consolidates the most recent gatherings. Because nearly all of these webinars have one or more simultaneous translations, viewers may access playlists for each webinar to see what language translations are available. Subscribe to our Youtube channel to get the fastest updates for new additions: https://www.youtube.com/c/IPENToxicsFreeFuture
The right to science plays an essential role in both public communications regarding toxics and the science-policy interface
Tuesday, 21 September 2021
Geneva Following the release of the Special Rapporteur on Toxics and Human Rights, Professor Marcos A. Orellana’s report, “Right to science in the context of toxic substances” at the 48th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) and the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) issued the following statements.
The COVID-19 pandemic has already had negative effects on waste management, significantly contributing to increases in medical waste and household waste, and a substantial slowdown in recycling efforts. This upsurge in hazardous waste particularly endangers developing countries that are destinations for waste exports via the global waste trade.
While governments of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have individually taken action to address incidents of illegal waste shipments from affluent and more developed countries, the 10-member bloc has yet to unify and boost up efforts to protect the region from the drawbacks and hazards of the global waste trade.
Published by the environmental health and justice group EcoWaste Coalition with the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN), the report finds the current legal and policy responses inadequate to stop the entry of illegal waste, and more importantly, insufficient to protect the health of both people and the environment.