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Soundmanagement   POST-2015 DEVELOPMENT AGENDA
Sound management of chemicals and waste must be integrated into the Sustainable Development Goals

Among the main conclusions of a panel discussion held in Geneva at International Environment House II on May 6 was that the sound management of chemicals and waste should be included in the future set of sustainable development goals.

The panel discussion on “Integrating the Sound Management of Chemicals in the SDGs” was organized by the Geneva Environment Network Secretariat, in collaboration with several partners. The event was attended by over 70 participants from permanent missions to the UN in Geneva, representatives of international governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, civil society and industry. The discussion was chaired by Ambassador Franz Perrez (Switzerland).

Chemicals are inextricably linked to our lives, essential in areas from medicine and agriculture to consumer goods and clean technologies and to overcoming poverty. Yet chemicals and the pollution linked with their manufacture, use, and disposal come with a price.

Estimates for selected industrial and agricultural chemicals unintentional acute and occupational poisonings total 1.6% of deaths worldwide, more than the number of deaths caused by malaria. The cost incurred due to asbestos and contaminated drywall totals over US$ 125 billion and the figure is still rising.

Exposure to mercury results in health and environmental damage estimated at US$ 22 billion. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on the Costs of Inaction on the Sound Management of Chemicals also reveals that the estimated cost of poisonings from pesticides in sub-Saharan Africa now exceeds the total annual overseas development aid given to the region for basic health services, excluding HIV/AIDS.

These concerns take on a new level of urgency as the quantity and range of new and existing chemicals increase in developing countries and economies in transition. A vital element that underpins all aspects of a green economy, the sound management of chemicals, must become a national and international environmental, public health and development priority.

Panellists were Fatoumata Keita-Ouane, Head of UNEP Chemicals Branch, Kerstin Stendhal, Executive Secretary ad interim of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, Mohamed Ibrahim Nasr, Permanent Mission of Egypt, Ludovic Bernaudat, UNIDO, and Lena Perenius, Executive Director of the European Chemical Industry Council representing the International Council of Chemicals Associations.

More Information: here

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