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A Toxics-Free Future

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3rd United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA3)

4 December, 2017

From 15:30 - 16:15 today in Nairobi, IPEN and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) held a press conference to announce a new partnership. The overall theme of the IPEN - UNEP Partnership is to contribute to the work on Gender and Chemicals, through a focus on women in the following areas :

  • Raising awareness of the health effects and other impacts to women and children as vulnerable populations from chemical exposures, including by creating opportunities for training and experience-sharing and collecting relevant sex-disaggregated data;
  • Promoting women's engagement and leadership in decision-making processes at national and global levels; and
  • Implementing and contributing to activities related to SAICM Emerging Policy Issues and other Issues of Concern, as well as related chemicals conventions and relevant Sustainable Development Goals.

IPEN Co-Chair Dr. Olga Speranskaya opened the press conference with a statement on the partnership, reminding attendees: "There are nearly 4 billion women and girls on the planet. Despite the fact that women make up roughly half of the population and chemical exposure is widespread, knowledge of exposure routes and the true impacts of chemical exposures on women aredifficult to determine because there is a lack of gender-disaggregated data." Read her entire statement here.

Other speakers at the conference included Ms. Imogen Ingram (Island Sustainability Alliance, Cook Islands), Ms. Eunice Atieno Juma (MOKAN Women’s Group, Kenya), Minster Karolina Skog (Minister of Environment, Sweden), and Dr. Ligia Noronha (Director of the Division of Technology, Industry and Economics, UNEP). Shradha Shreejaya (Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law & Development) facilitated.

To learn more about the speakers and the partnership, please see this introduction.


4 December, 2017:

IPENer Phyllis Omido (Center for Justice, Governance and Environmental Action- CJGEA, Kenya) participated in an event about environmental defenders: Stories from the front line of environmental protection. She was joined by John Knox (UN Secretary General’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment), Julius Opiyo (Global Witness), and Laetitia Zobel (UN Environment expert on indigenous people’s issues). For some background to the subject, please see: Global Witness Defenders of the Earth campaign.

2 December, 2017

Women and Chemicals Side Event

On 5 DecemberWECFBalifokusIPEN, and partners will premiere the film, "What Does Gender have to do with Chemicals?" during an event at UNEA3.

The documentary film addresses chemical and waste pollution areas, and looks at best practices from a gender perspective in Nigeria and Senegal. After the film, IPEN Steering Committee member Yuyun Ismawati from Balifokus will participate in a panel discussion on the topic of Strengthening Gender Policies for a Toxics-free Planet. At the conclusion of the panel, there will be a celebration of a new partnership on Women and Chemicals between IPEN and UN Environment. To see the flyer, visit this page.

1 December, 2017

A new video has been released by UN Environment at the 3rd Meeting of the United Nations Environment Assembly featuring Minamata Disease survivor, Ms. Shinobu Sakamoto.
Shinobu calls for an end to pollution: "The fetal Minamata disease patients including myself are getting worse, year by year. Many people are still suffering and struggling from pollution. Today, I must repeat my message--Minamata disease is not over. Pollution must end." 
The video is the result of a collaboration between Shinobu’s team, who attended the first Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention in Geneva, UN Environment and IPEN.
Prior to her participation in COP1, Shinobu launched the Honoring Minamata Campaign at the Mercury Treaty INC2, together with IPEN and Citizens Against Chemicals Pollution, JapanTo learn more about Shinobu’s story, click here.


27 November, 2017

Chemicals and Waste Panel
IPEN Co-Chair Olga Speranskaya participated in a panel on Chemicals and Waste at the Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum 27-28 November 2017, highlighting that children today are born already contaminated with hundreds of man-made chemicals and emphasizing the urgent need for strong global bans on toxic chemicals.
Olga Speranskaya speaking on the panel.


Marine Pollution Panel

Semia Gharbi and David Azoulay, representatives from IPEN Participating Organizations AEEFG and CIEL, spoke on a panel at the Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum to address Marine Pollution. The panel was moderated by Sascha Gabizon from WECF. Plastic pollution was a topic specifically emphasized, and representatives from the #BreakFreeFromPlastic member groups spoke on the development of the Break Free From Plastics movement. Solutions to address the problem of pollution in the ocean were discussed. 

17 November, 2017

IPEN has participated in the first two UN Environment Assemblies, and will now be participating in the third. Find out more about this year's Assembly here

See IPEN's Views of Selected Issues to be discussed at UNEA3 for information about IPEN's positions on specific resolutions.

Events of the meeting will be as follows:

  • 27-28 November: Civil society will host the Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum, which facilitates the participation of civil society in the Environment Assembly and associated meetings.
  • 29 November - 1 December: The Committee of Permanent Representatives will hold its third open-ended meeting.
  • 2-3 December: The Science, Policy and Business Forum will bring together top scientists, citizen groups, policymakers and business leaders to promote and operationalize science-driven policies and innovations that address planetary challenges and support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • 3-6 December 2017: The Sustainable Innovation Expo will take place on the margins of the Assembly and will complement the high-profile Leadership Dialogues. The Expo will showcase that science teaches problem solving; it will also encourage critical thinking in how important, though small, our world is. The Expo will also engage participants in the oldest science of all—astronomy.