February 2019: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director has issued a progress report on eliminating exposure to lead paint and promoting environmentally sound management of waste lead-acid batteries. The report was issued ahead of the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-4).
The report titled, ‘Progress in the Implementation of Resolution 3/9 on Eliminating Exposure to Lead Paint and Promoting Environmentally Sound Management of Waste Lead-acid Batteries’ (UNEP/EA.4/14), outlines progress made since UNEA-3 and recommendations on the use of relevant tools and capacity building for developing national legislation and regulations for countries to strengthen implementation of environmentally sound management of lead in paint and waste lead-acid batteries. According to the report, implementation of these activities is driven by the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint (Lead Paint Alliance), which is a voluntary partnership formed by UNEP and the World Health Organization (WHO).
On lead in paint, the report notes efforts by the Lead Paint Alliance such as the publication of the UN Model Law and Guidance for Regulating Lead Paint, the release of a toolkit for establishing laws to eliminate lead paint and an update of the Global Status of Legal Limits on Lead in Paint. The report notes that a project with a large component on lead in paint, implemented by the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) and mainly funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), is expected to begin in January 2019.
The report recommends that UNEA-4 welcome and support the work being undertaken by UNEP and WHO towards achieving the 2020 SAICM goal of eliminating lead paint, including by recognizing the work and achievements of the Lead Paint Alliance. It also recommends that UNEP prepare a report on the significance of toxicity and other uses of lead and sources of lead exposure, and ways to minimize them.
On waste lead-acid batteries, the report references the market analysis of used lead-acid batteries for Asia and the Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean, and a needs assessment survey conducted among SAICM focal points, which confirmed the need for technical assistance on environmentally sound management of waste lead-acid batteries. The report highlights a capacity-building joint project by the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions and UNEP on environmentally sound management of the collection of waste lead-acid batteries and remediation of contaminated sites, currently in fundraising stage.
The report recommends concrete capacity-building activities on the environmentally sound management of waste lead-acid batteries, subject to availability of funding. It further recommends that UNEP prepare a report on “mapping environmentally sound solutions, best practices and considerations on alternative technologies as substitutes for lead-acid batteries.”
UNEA-4 convenes under the theme, ‘Innovative Solutions for Environmental Challenges and Sustainable Consumption and Production,’ from 11-15 March 2019, in Nairobi, Kenya. [Progress in the Implementation of Resolution 3/9 on Eliminating Exposure to Lead Paint and Promoting Environmentally Sound Management of Waste Lead-acid Batteries] [Global Lead Paint Alliance UNEP Webpage]