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GRID-Arendal is one of the leading institutes supporting an Intergovernmental Science-Policy Panel to take action on chemicals, waste and pollution at the upcoming UNEA 5.2. 

We, together with backing from the Norwegian Minister for Climate and Environment Espen Barth Eide, the Norwegian government and a whole range of scientists investigating the impacts of pollution on nature and human health at Norwegian universities and research institutes (~200 scientists), are expressing our support for establishing an "Intergovernmental Science-Policy Panel to support action on chemicals, waste and pollution.” This initiative is crucial for strengthening the global regulation of hazardous pollution for a sustainable future.

The establishment of such scientific panel is important for promoting cooperation globally, as well as raising the minimum level of regulation of hazardous chemicals. The resolution is already supported by Austria, Costa Rica, Ghana, Mali, Northern Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Uruguay. Given Norway’s prominent role in promoting progress on international environmental issues and taking into account that Norway has the presidency of UNEA 5, Norway will be a driving force for sustainable development here.

As scientists who do research on pollution, we are very concerned about the long-term impacts that hazardous pollution can have on both. Despite several international agreements, such as the Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm, and Minamata conventions, there are significant gaps in the international regulation of chemicals, including hazardous metals, pesticides, and persistent organic pollutants, many of which belong to the category of endocrine disrupting chemicals, as well as of plastic pollution. In addition, existing frameworks generally have no mechanisms for proactively capturing new and emerging threats. This is particularly worrying given that global production of chemicals and waste continues to increase, especially in countries outside Europe.

In the background reports to the UNEA 4 resolutions, UNEP describes the need for scientific assessments to support policy decisions aimed at reducing the risks of chemicals and waste at global, regional, and national levels. A recent report by the Nordic Council of Ministers, for instance, further highlights such need for plastic pollution. Such assessments must come from independent experts who work through an open and transparent process. Chemicals and waste are a global environmental threat that does not take national borders into account. As can be seen from the work against climate change and biodiversity loss, such complex problems can only be solved through coordinated efforts by the international community, guided by the best available science.

Tags: UNEA

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GRID-Arendal's activities support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


GRID-Arendal's activities are nearly always a cooperative undertaking made possible through collaboration with partners and donors.

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