Regional Workshop for Central and Eastern Europe 19-20 March 2019, Almaty, Kazakhstan
Friday, 29 March 2019
IPENers from ten countries participated in a regional workshop organized by UNEP on the theme of promoting regulatory and voluntary action by government and industry to phase out lead in paint. IPEN's work, together with its participating organizations, was highlighted throughout the workshop, including presentations of the role of civil society, paint studies conducted in the region and working with SMEs to facilitate the phase out of lead from paint. Activities to eliminate lead paint by Greenwomen in Kazakhstan and Mama-86 in Ukraine were also presented, along with with information shared from the floor by several IPEN POs. Group discussions during the second day of the workshop provided additional opportunities for IPENers to provide their experiences and expertise in order to develop national approaches mapping out how new regulations on lead paint could be adopted, or existing ones strengthened.
IPEN Regional Hub Eco-Accord, in cooperation with the Independent Ecological Expertise, an IPEN Participating Organization in Kyrgyzstan, successfully organized and hosted the EECCA regional workshop in Kyrgyzstan from August 26-29. The meeting was held in one of the most beautiful places, Lake Issyk-Kul, located in the Tian Shan Mountains. It is the second largest saline lake in the world, warm enough to swim in.
The team of 24 NGO representatives from countries in the EECCA region worked hard to strengthen and adopt a revised Regional NGO Strategy for the current period until 2030, with its intermediate assessment in 2020.
The programme of the meeting was quite comprehensive, but the team allocated enough time for a fruitful discussion, communicating many different perspectives and expertise on a range of topics.
On September 28th and 29th, IPEN Participating Organizations from the Eastern Europe, Caucasus, and Central Asia (EECCA) region met in Erevan, Armenia. At the meeting, IPEN POs in EECCA discussed IPEN's current and future projects, campaigns and initiatives, as well as the role IPEN EECCA POs will play in these activities. IPEN new initiatives, including Women and Chemicals, Gender Strategy, Women’s Caucus, Ocean Pollution, and Chemicals in Products were on the agenda of the meeting and aroused great interest. Three presentations on gender and endocrine disrupting chemicals, POPs in breast milk and monitoring of heavy metals in food linked the work of NGOs with that of the EECCA scientific community.
In the nearest future, we expect a major and important event for all of us - the First Conference of the Parties of the Minamata Convention on Mercury. We invested a lot of effort into the development and promotion of the Convention. We congratulate all people who facilitated the event by their work, knowledge and devotion!
The Minamata Convention on Mercury prioritises environmental considerations over interests of global businesses used to pursue their financial gains in a resource-based economy that ignores environmental effects. It is not only associated with banning primary mercury extraction from global deposits, it also deals with tightening control over different industrial operations, particularly with extraction and processing non-ferrous metals ores, that are accompanied by uncontrolled releases of many tons of mercury into the environment.
IPEN Participating Organization MAMA-86 organized a press briefing with Ukraine’s Ministry of Health today in Kiev entitled: “Health without compromises – Ukraine’s Ministry of Health prohibits the use of asbestos and products containing it” to announce that Ukraine had formally banned asbestos. The event was addressed by Oksana Syvak, Deputy Minister for Public Health and European Integration, Olga Tsyguleva, Coordinator of the Program on Chemical Safety for MAMA-86, and Oleksil Shumilo, Head of Kharkiv City NGO “EcoPravo-Kharkiv.”
Two IPEN Participating Organizations - Arnika (Czech Republic) and EcoMuseum (Kazakhstan), together with local NGO Eco Mangystau - released a new report about POPs and heavy metals in camel milk samples from the Mangystau Region, which is found by the Caspian Sea in Kazakhstan. High levels of PCBs and zinc, and relatively increased levels of PAU, were found by analyses done in Czech laboratories.