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 Road access for all would be costly, but not so much for the climate
10.07.2020 | Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung

nachricht Innovative grilling technique improves air quality
01.07.2020 | Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP

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: The spin state story: Observation of the quantum spin liquid state in novel material

New insight into the spin behavior in an exotic state of matter puts us closer to next-generation spintronic devices

Aside from the deep understanding of the natural world that quantum physics theory offers, scientists worldwide are working tirelessly to bring forth a...

Im Focus: Excitation of robust materials

Kiel physics team observed extremely fast electronic changes in real time in a special material class

In physics, they are currently the subject of intensive research; in electronics, they could enable completely new functions. So-called topological materials...

Im Focus: Electrons in the fast lane

Solar cells based on perovskite compounds could soon make electricity generation from sunlight even more efficient and cheaper. The laboratory efficiency of these perovskite solar cells already exceeds that of the well-known silicon solar cells. An international team led by Stefan Weber from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz has found microscopic structures in perovskite crystals that can guide the charge transport in the solar cell. Clever alignment of these "electron highways" could make perovskite solar cells even more powerful.

Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. During this process, the electrons of the material inside the cell absorb the energy of the light....

Im Focus: The lightest electromagnetic shielding material in the world

Empa researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range – and they are unrivalled in terms of weight.

Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic...

Im Focus: Gentle wall contact – the right scenario for a fusion power plant

Quasi-continuous power exhaust developed as a wall-friendly method on ASDEX Upgrade

A promising operating mode for the plasma of a future power plant has been developed at the ASDEX Upgrade fusion device at Max Planck Institute for Plasma...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Contact Tracing Apps against COVID-19: German National Academy Leopoldina hosts international virtual panel discussion

07.07.2020 | Event News

International conference QuApps shows status quo of quantum technology

02.07.2020 | Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

X-ray scattering shines light on protein folding

10.07.2020 | Life Sciences

Looking at linkers helps to join the dots

10.07.2020 | Materials Sciences

Surprisingly many peculiar long introns found in brain genes

10.07.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>