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

  • 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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  • September 29
    WHO, UN Partners Compile 500 Actions to Reduce Health and Environment Risks

    WHO, UN Partners Compile 500 Actions to Reduce Health and Environment Risks

    The compendium is the first resource of its kind that brings together expertise from across the UN system to address health and environment. Almost 25% of deaths worldwide could be prevented by fully implementing the listed actions. Maria Neira, WHO, said implementing the actions should be part of a healthy and green recovery from COVID-19 and is essential to attaining the SDGs.

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  • September 29
    Growing Threat of E-waste Affecting Millions of Children Worldwide, WHO Warns

    Growing Threat of E-waste Affecting Millions of Children Worldwide, WHO Warns

    More than 18 million children and adolescents, some as young as five, are engaged in the informal industrial sector, of which waste processing is a sub-sector. A record 53.6 million tonnes of e-waste was produced globally in 2019, increasing 21% in just five years. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the “tsunami of e-waste” deserves the same attention as is being given to protecting the ocean and its ecosystems from plastic and microplastic pollution.

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  • September 16
    Special Rapporteur Highlights Right to Science, Impact of Plastics on Human Rights

    Special Rapporteur Highlights Right to Science, Impact of Plastics on Human Rights

      A UN Special Rapporteur has issued two reports on human rights in the area of hazardous substances. One report addresses the stages of the plastics cycle and their impacts on...

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  • September 10
    Largest Source of Lead Pollution Phased Out in All Countries

    Largest Source of Lead Pollution Phased Out in All Countries

    Leaded petrol was the world’s largest source of lead pollution. UNEP announced that its use has ended around the world, following a multistakeholder campaign that began in 2002.  UNEP stresses that there is still an urgent need to stop lead pollution from paints, batteries, and household items. 

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  • September 1
    OECD Releases Guidance on Selecting Safer Chemical Alternatives

    OECD Releases Guidance on Selecting Safer Chemical Alternatives

    The guidance seeks to help industry, NGOs, and the public sector select appropriate methods and tools in order to respond to the growing interest in substituting harmful chemicals. The document focuses on minimum assessment criteria and recommended assessment practices for determining whether alternatives are safer. The guidance complements ongoing efforts on sustainable chemistry within the EU and other OECD countries.

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  • August 25
    UNEP Report Spotlights Best Alternatives to Single-Use Plastic Products

    UNEP Report Spotlights Best Alternatives to Single-Use Plastic Products

    Around 50% of all plastic produced is produced for single-use purposes, according to a new report. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented significant challenges for countries to reduce pollution from single-use plastic products. Life-cycle assessment studies compared SUPPs and their alternatives - both single-use and reusable - including for shopping bags, beverage bottles, take-away food packaging, beverage cups, tableware, nappies/diapers, pads and tampons, and face masks.

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  • August 4
    Chemicals and Wastes Conventions Make Progress between In-Person Meetings

    Chemicals and Wastes Conventions Make Progress between In-Person Meetings

    The parties to three global conventions on hazardous chemicals and wastes convened online to make decisions enabling operations to continue until a face-to-face meeting is possible. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin notes that in addition to the key policy achievements resulting from this meeting, two central challenges endure: financial support for the sustainable management of chemicals and waste, and the meaning—and operationalization—of universal access and participation.

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  • August 2
    Webinar Provides Updates on Indicators for SAICM Beyond 2020

    Webinar Provides Updates on Indicators for SAICM Beyond 2020

    To provide information and ideas for the development of SAICM beyond 2020, information on targets, reporting, and indicators used in three UN frameworks or agreements were presented. All three examples include an instrument for national implementation, with associated targets, indicators, and reporting. An independent evaluation of SAICM identified a need for ‘impact’ indicators on the state of the environment and public health regarding chemicals and waste. 

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  • July 26
    Drafting Group Provides Recommendations for Post-2020 Chemicals Declaration

    Drafting Group Provides Recommendations for Post-2020 Chemicals Declaration

    An informal drafting group has concluded its work to develop essential elements for a possible high-level declaration on a post-2020 chemicals agreement. The co-facilitators have identified issues requiring further review, such as funding, peer review, science-policy interface, and capacity building. The group's recommendations will form the basis of a proposal for continued discussions on the declaration when face-to-face meetings resume. 

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  • July 26
    Cooling Paradox Must Be Addressed: Montreal Protocol Task Force

    Cooling Paradox Must Be Addressed: Montreal Protocol Task Force

    To continue facilitating the repair of the ozone layer, the Open-ended Working Group of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol held the second part of its 43rd Meeting. The technical discussions created a basis for the policy negotiations expected to take place at the combined meetings of the Vienna Convention COP and Montreal Protocol MOP in October 2021. Discussions addressed the unexpected increase in emissions of CFC-11 and related calls for improved monitoring and enforcement, and the need to shift to energy-efficient and low-global-warming-potential technologies,

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  • July 21
    Ministers Pledge Funding, Commitment for Chemicals Action

    Ministers Pledge Funding, Commitment for Chemicals Action

    During the Ministerial Dialogue, the Governments of Denmark, Germany, and the UK announced additional contributions to the UN Environment Programme’s Special Programme on Institutional Strengthening for the Chemicals Cluster. A Stakeholder Dialogue featured calls for the establishment of a science-policy interface on chemicals and waste. 

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  • July 21
    Report Highlights Opportunities for Coordinated Action on Climate, Chemicals

    Report Highlights Opportunities for Coordinated Action on Climate, Chemicals

    Interlinkages between climate change and hazardous chemicals management support the case for mobilizing resources to combat climate change. The authors say more information and data should be generated on links in such areas as groundwater, freshwater systems, pesticide usage projections, and desertification. 

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  • July 13
    Study Examines Prospects for Collaboration among Biodiversity, Chemicals and Waste Conventions

    Study Examines Prospects for Collaboration among Biodiversity, Chemicals and Waste Conventions

    The study seeks to enable the four chemicals and waste conventions to contribute to discussions on and implementation of the post-2020 biodiversity framework and future work of biodiversity-related instruments. Mercury, POPs, pesticides, and hazardous and other wastes are negatively impacting soil biodiversity, which can affect food security. Collaboration on plastics, e-waste, pesticides and pollinators, illegal trade, the sharing of monitoring data and scientific research, and shared communications and messaging could benefit both the biodiversity and chemicals and waste worlds.

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  • June 30
    SAICM Report Urges More Circularity for Building and Construction Materials

    SAICM Report Urges More Circularity for Building and Construction Materials

    Addressing chemicals of concern in building and construction provides significant opportunities for sustainable development. A building’s life cycle can last from several decades to centuries, creating a lag between the design and manufacturing stages of a construction product and its end-of-life stages. The global construction sector is expected to grow by 3.5% annually with its chemicals market estimated to increase by 6.2% annually between 2018 and 2023. 

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  • June 16
    Better Toy Safety Policies Needed to Protect Children: SAICM Report

    Better Toy Safety Policies Needed to Protect Children: SAICM Report

    An analysis of toy safety policies addressing chemicals of concern in toys was undertaken in low- and medium-income countries with the highest total import value of toys from China. The research indicates existing regulations in Tajikistan and Tanzania, but not in the other low-income countries reviewed. The report suggests that countries manufacturing or importing toys should establish enforcement mechanisms to ensure compliance with local regulatory requirements.

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  • June 23
    GEF Council Approves Over $280M for Biodiversity, Climate, Chemicals, and Water

    GEF Council Approves Over $280M for Biodiversity, Climate, Chemicals, and Water

    The projects will address the interlinked challenges of climate change, biodiversity and wildlife habitat loss, land degradation, ocean pollution and depletion, and dangerous chemicals. The five Executive Secretaries from the conventions for which the GEF serves as a financial mechanism raised the themes of collaboration and the need for synergistic action during a dialogue with the GEF Council. 

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