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News and opinion articles to inform on challenges, trends and achievements on the sound management of chemicals.

  • May 18
    Chemicals and Waste Briefing Updates on Negotiations, Progress Made

    Chemicals and Waste Briefing Updates on Negotiations, Progress Made

    The High-level Segment of the BRS COPs, taking place in connection with the Stockholm+50 conference, will provide an opportunity to raise awareness on the contributions of BRS Conventions to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Chemicals and waste, including mercury, are a priority issue in the 8th replenishment of the GEF Trust Fund. Sixteen countries have passed legislation to phase out lead in paint, and 21 paint producers in seven countries are receiving support to eliminate lead in paint, as a result of the SAICM-GEF process.

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  • May 18
    Greater Industry Engagement Key to Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste

    Greater Industry Engagement Key to Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste

    Although the integrated approach is an aspirational tool for involving industry, its concrete implementation has been hampered by a lack of clarity regarding what constitutes industry involvement. The study supports tracking progress in industry involvement, through the creation of an efficient tracking system to measure inputs, activities, outcomes, and impacts. The report identifies activities for industry involvement, grouped into regulatory measures, economic instruments, and voluntary measures, as well as mixed measures that may be voluntary or mandatory, depending on the country. 

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  • May 4
    Basel Convention Working Group Prioritizes Issues Ahead of June COP

    Basel Convention Working Group Prioritizes Issues Ahead of June COP

    Participants urged that further work to update the plastic waste technical guidelines fully reflect UNEA decisions on plastics. Some called for a moratorium on plastic waste shipments while Africa carries out an assessment on plastic waste using the new guidance on inventories for national reporting.

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  • April 21
    Agreement Scales Up GEF Funding to Address Biodiversity, Climate Change, Pollution

    Agreement Scales Up GEF Funding to Address Biodiversity, Climate Change, Pollution

    The total pledges for GEF-8 represent an increase of nearly 30 percent compared to GEF-7. Four focal areas will receive 89.2% of the GEF-8 resources, with biodiversity receiving 36%; climate mitigation receiving 16%; land degradation receiving 11.6%;  chemicals and waste receiving 15%; and international waters receiving 10.6%. 

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  • April 25
    Public Consultation: Lead Paint Law Compliance and Enforcement Guidance

    Public Consultation: Lead Paint Law Compliance and Enforcement Guidance

    Under the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint, the United Nations Environment Programme has developed draft Lead Paint Law Compliance and Enforcement Guidance in collaboration with a working...

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  • March 31
    GEF Provides Overview of Efforts to Better Manage Chemicals and Waste

    GEF Provides Overview of Efforts to Better Manage Chemicals and Waste

    As of March 2022, over USD 2 billion has been programmed to support work on chemicals and waste in developing countries and countries with economies in transition. Work under SAICM has focused on lead in paints, chemicals in products (including textiles), highly hazardous pesticides, and managing e-waste. Neonicotinoid pesticides—the most widely used insecticides in agriculture—have been linked to the decline in bee populations. 

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  • March 31
    Minamata Convention Parties Agree to Strengthen Action on Mercury

    Minamata Convention Parties Agree to Strengthen Action on Mercury

    The Minamata Convention aims to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury. Parties agreed to consult with Indigenous Peoples and local communities in developing national action plans on artisanal and small-scale mining, the largest source of mercury emissions. Parties adopted the Bali Declaration on Combatting Global Illegal Trade of Mercury, a non-binding political declaration that aims to enhance international cooperation, develop practical tools to monitor and share information, and exchange experiences and practices to combat the illegal trade of mercury. 

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  • March 24
    Pesticide Overuse Locked into European Agriculture, Says Paper on Pollution

    Pesticide Overuse Locked into European Agriculture, Says Paper on Pollution

    Excessive pesticide use is leading to severe water quality problems in Europe, with aquatic ecosystems negatively affected by the hazardous effects of past and present chemical pollution, according to a paper in Environmental Science and Policy journal. A transformation away from the lock-in of pesticide overuse and towards a sustainable chemical policy in agriculture is needed. Infrastructural and technological, institutional, and behavioral lock-ins all require “tremendous resources, time, or extraordinary windows of opportunity” to overcome, the authors explain. 

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  • March 10
    UNEA Launches Negotiation of Plastic Pollution Treaty, Science Body on Chemicals

    UNEA Launches Negotiation of Plastic Pollution Treaty, Science Body on Chemicals

    Governments at UNEA 5.2 agreed to negotiate an internationally legal binding instrument by 2024 to end plastic pollution and to establish a science-policy panel on chemicals and waste and to prevent pollution. The plastics treaty is expected to address the full lifecycle of plastics, including production, design, and disposal. UNEP notes that the timeline for drafting the treaty is very short (approximately two years), while most global treaties require five to ten years of negotiation.

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  • March 2
    Global Plastic Outlook Calls for More Circularity, National Roadmaps

    Global Plastic Outlook Calls for More Circularity, National Roadmaps

    In 2019, plastics generated 1.8 billion tonnes of emissions, with 90% from their production and conversion from fossil fuels. The report investigates the ways in which plastics use and waste have been affected by COVID-19 across sectors and regions. The report provides a picture of the full lifecycle of plastics globally, including production, consumption, waste, recycling, disposal, leakage, and GHG emissions.

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  • February 17
    Pollutant Registers Used to Assess Progress on Sustainability

    Pollutant Registers Used to Assess Progress on Sustainability

    The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development published a report on using pollutant release transfer register information to evaluate progress towards SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production). PRTRs collect and disseminate information on environmental releases and transfers of pollutants from industrial and other facilities, but have not previously been analyzed for tracking progress toward the SDGs. Future work could be expanded to include additional pollutants and economies. 

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  • February 9
    Pesticide, Plastic Stabilizer among Chemicals Advanced for Stockholm Review

    Pesticide, Plastic Stabilizer among Chemicals Advanced for Stockholm Review

    The POPRC agreed to recommend that the COP decide to list the pesticide methoxychlor under Convention Annex A, without exemptions, which would effectively eliminate its production and use. POPRC-17 also reviewed three chemicals that were nominated due to their persistence, bioaccumulation, long-range environmental transport, and adverse effects. For UV-328 and Dechlorane Plus, the POPRC followed a precautionary approach, agreed global action is warranted, and moved the chemicals to the final review stage.

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  • January 17
    In-Person Segment of UNEA-5 to Address Chemicals, Marine Plastics, Green Recovery

    In-Person Segment of UNEA-5 to Address Chemicals, Marine Plastics, Green Recovery

    Environment ministers are expected to adopt a declaration on strengthening actions for nature to achieve the SDGs. Draft resolutions call for establishing a negotiating committee on a legally binding instrument on marine litter and plastic pollution, and for establishing a science-policy panel to support action on chemicals, waste, and pollution.

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  • January 12
    Ecolabeling a Critical Tool to Manage Chemicals in Electronics

    Ecolabeling a Critical Tool to Manage Chemicals in Electronics

    According to a report from UNEP, ecolabels can recognize best practices and are a practical tool for the industry to enhance transparency and traceability through the value chain and drive progress beyond regulations. Because electronic products have value chains spanning the globe, the report calls for increasing alignment and interoperability of criteria across labeling initiatives. Labeling initiatives can be used both as tools for consumers to make informed choices around product purchase, use and end of life, as well as to incentivize producers to trace and improve life cycle management of chemicals present in products. 

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  • December 16
    Study Finds 55 Chemicals of High-Concern Used in Building Materials

    Study Finds 55 Chemicals of High-Concern Used in Building Materials

    The study suggests inhalation is the dominant exposure route, followed by dermal intake, while dust ingestion is negligible. Fifty-five substances were identified as chemicals of high concern, underscoring the need for more refined investigations to select safer alternatives. This study was funded by the GEF project on Global Best Practices on Emerging Chemical Policy Issues of Concern under SAICM.

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  • December 16
    Study Estimates Risk of Chemicals in Products to Young Children

    Study Estimates Risk of Chemicals in Products to Young Children

    The study aims to develop a mouthing exposure model to predict migration into saliva, mouthing exposure, and related health risks from a range of chemical-material combinations in children’s products. The model represents a green and sustainable chemistry tool that industries can apply to assess whether the chemicals present in their products could pose a risk to children.

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  • December 13
    GEF Council Work Program Features Chemicals and Waste and International Water Projects

    GEF Council Work Program Features Chemicals and Waste and International Water Projects

    The GEF’s Biodiversity, Climate Change, Chemicals and Waste, Land Degradation, and International Waters focal areas are addressed in the GEF Work Program, which is worth USD 190.7 million and represents 5% of the entire GEF-7 replenishment. The LDCF/SCCF Council adopted a Work Program for three projects to address urgent climate change adaptation priorities in Malawi, São Tomé and Príncipe, and the Solomon Islands.

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  • December 9
    Why We Need a Science Policy Panel on Chemicals, Waste and Pollution

    Why We Need a Science Policy Panel on Chemicals, Waste and Pollution

    Pollution is the largest environmental risk factor for premature death on the planet, responsible for 9 million deaths each year. One way to bring much needed visibility and focused attention to this critical issue is a science-policy panel on pollution, chemicals, and waste. At UNEA-5.2 in February/March 2022, governments are expected to decide whether to establish an intergovernmental panel for chemicals, waste, and pollution. 

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  • December 9
    OECD Offers Design Guidance for Sustainable Plastic Products

    OECD Offers Design Guidance for Sustainable Plastic Products

    The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development published a report on the benefits of integrating sustainable chemistry into the design process for sustainable plastic products. The report presents an integrated approach to selecting sustainable plastics from a chemicals perspective, identifying sustainable design goals, life cycle considerations, and trade-offs between life-cycle phases. It aims to help designers and engineers make informed decisions when searching for and incorporating sustainable plastic during the conceptualization phase of their products.

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  • December 9
    UNEP FI Report Explores Financing for Green Building

    UNEP FI Report Explores Financing for Green Building

    Modest adjustments to lending criteria and practices can result in more credit flows to green buildings, according to the UNEP FI research. Green finance products must consider local conditions, such as interest rates, building energy consumption features, and depth of capital markets. A UNEP team has been working with stakeholders in Sri Lanka to identify chemicals of concern in the construction material value chain and with manufacturers on end-product reformulations and alternatives. 

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  • November 8
    Minamata Parties Preparing First Long-Form National Reports

    Minamata Parties Preparing First Long-Form National Reports

    The Minamata Convention on Mercury entered into force in 2017, making it the “youngest” multilateral environmental agreement. The Fourth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties is convening in two parts to ensure the Convention can continue to work. At an all-virtual first part, Parties adopted the Convention’s 2022 programme of work and budget and agreed on 21-25 March 2022 as the dates for the second segment of the meeting, which will convene in person in Bali, Indonesia.

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  • October 20
    GEF-8 Draft Work Program Includes Plastic Pollution, Circular Economy

    GEF-8 Draft Work Program Includes Plastic Pollution, Circular Economy

    The GEF was created 30 years ago to support developing countries' efforts to address priorities such as deforestation, desertification, climate change, biodiversity loss, and ozone depletion. The proposed work program for GEF-8 includes an expansion of efforts to address plastic pollution, support a circular economy, and sustainably manage international waters.

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  • October 18
    Week of Action Aims to Accelerate Global Phase Out of Lead Paint

    Week of Action Aims to Accelerate Global Phase Out of Lead Paint

    The week is taking place several months after the UN Environment Programme announced that the use of lead in petrol gas had ended around the world. Governments, civil society organizations, health partners, industry, and others are encouraged to organize campaigns during this week of action. ILPPW aims to: raise awareness about the health impacts of lead exposure; highlight efforts to prevent exposure, particularly in children; and spur further action to eliminate lead paint through regulatory action at the country level. 

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  • October 14
    Two New Pesticides to be Recommended for Rotterdam Listing

    Two New Pesticides to be Recommended for Rotterdam Listing

    CRC-17 concluded that FRA notifications on terbufos and iprodione meet the criteria for listing banned or severely restricted chemicals. The CRC also discussed whether information Mozambique had submitted in its notifications was sufficient to fulfill the Convention’s requirements. The Rotterdam Convention COP is scheduled to convene face-to face in June 2022, jointly and back-to-back with the COPs to the Basel and Stockholm Conventions.

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  • October 4
    Countries Must Follow Science on Toxic Substance Exposure: Special Rapporteur

    Countries Must Follow Science on Toxic Substance Exposure: Special Rapporteur

    Orellana warned that disinformation about scientific evidence on hazardous substances has become a powerful tool for manipulating public understanding and debate, which has led to confusion, doubt, and mistrust in science. He highlighted plastic recycling as an example of disinformation in the context of toxics. The report highlights the ways in which States and other stakeholders should join efforts to establish a SPI platform on chemicals and waste that is free of conflicts of interest. 

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