Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Action on Chemicals Pollution and Support for Africa Agreed at End of Global Environment Ministers Meeting

10.02.2003


Action on Chemicals Pollution and Support for Africa Agreed at End of Global Environment Ministers Meeting



UNEP’s 22nd Governing Council Starts Making Johannesburg Plan of Implementation Operational


A global crackdown on mercury pollution, an agreement to help rescue the environment of the Occupied Palestinian Territories and assistance for small island states to reduce their vulnerability to climate change, were among the key agreements made at the end of an international environment ministers meeting.


Over a thousand delegates and more than 130 nations attended the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) at its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.

Klaus Toepfer, UNEP’s Executive Director, said at the close: “ The level of attendance, the intensity of the negotiations and the fruitful outcome of our 22nd Governing Council undeniably underlines the growing importance of the environment, and its role in delivering, sustainable development”.

“It also underlines the importance that governments attach to our work in a wide range of fields. I have been particularly delighted to see the level of support given to the meeting from our host country. The Vice-President of Kenya, Michael Wamalwa, spoke at the opening of the ministerial session and we have been graced by the presence of not only the environment minister and his assistant minister but Kenyan ministers from areas such as trade and energy,” he said.

“The presence of President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal and his commitment to the environment component of the New Partnership for African Development only goes to further underscore Africa’s commitment to UNEP, and UNEP’s commitment to this Continent,” said Mr Toepfer.

Nations today re-emphasized their commitment to Africa and the environmental part of NEPAD and urged UNEP to work closely with not only governments on the Continent but bodies such as the specialized committees of the African Union, the African Development Bank and other UN organizations.

The mercury decision follows discussions on a global assessment report, compiled by UNEP and experts and presented to delegates earlier in the week, which highlighted the threat to humans and wildlife from this persistent, health-hazardous, heavy metal.

Countries agreed that ‘there is sufficient evidence of significant global adverse impacts from mercury and its compounds to warrant further international action to reduce the risks to human health and the environment”.

Under the action plan agreed today, UNEP has been asked to assist all countries, particularly developing ones and countries with economies in transition such as former states of the Soviet Union, in a wide ranging initiative to cut emissions of mercury from sources such as coal-fired power stations and incinerators.

Measures may include advising countries on cleaner coal methods, improving the efficiency of power stations and advice and help on switching to other forms of electricity generation including renewables such as wind and solar power. Assisting countries on reducing other sources and causes of mercury pollution, including contaminated waste sites, dental amalgams and equipment, will also be part of the plan.

The agreement also calls for UNEP to help develop public awareness programmes to alert the public to the risks, especially vulnerable groups such as pregnant women and babies and workers and communities involved in small-scale gold and silver mining.

Mr Toepfer said: “We have been meeting to make the Plan of Implementation, agreed five months ago at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), operational. In Johannesburg, it was agreed that by 2020 chemicals should be used and produced in ways that minimize significant adverse effects on human health and the environment. This decision on mercury sets us on course for delivering that in respect of one of the most worrying heavy metals”.

Today delegates also welcome the progress in phasing out of lead from gasoline and emphasized the need to press ahead with similar phase-outs in other areas such as paints and household water pipes.

Countries backed a new effort to strengthen environment laws and their use especially in developing countries and countries with economies in transition. The initiative, which has grown out of the Global Judges Symposium held at WSSD, aims to boost knowledge of environment laws among judges, prosecutors and other relevant individuals and groups.

One of the most intensively debated issues concerned the setting up of an Inter-governmental Panel on Global Environmental Change (IPEC). It was decided to invite governments, non-governmental organizations, intergovernmental organizations and scientific bodies, to submit their views to the Executive Director on issues, such gaps in knowledge in global environmental change. A report on these submissions will be prepared and submitted to the Global Ministerial Environment Forum next year.

Nations also gave backing to more research by UNEP in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization on the links between environment and cultural diversity.

A rescue plan for the environment of the Occupied Palestinian Territories was also agreed. (Please see UNEP News Release 2003/11 posted on www.unep.org today)

Nick Nuttall | alfa

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

nachricht Value from wastewater
16.08.2017 | Hochschule Landshut

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Molecular volume control

22.08.2017 | Life Sciences

When fish swim in the holodeck

22.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Biochemical 'fingerprints' reveal diabetes progression

22.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>