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


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 today)

Nick Nuttall | alfa

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

nachricht Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

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: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>