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UN Environment Programme

Climate love


Pollution is widespread – and often fatal.
“Pollution is an urgent global issue, on par with climate change and biodiversity loss,” says Tessa, Principal Coordinator of the (UNEP)-hosted secretariat of the ad hoc open-ended working group, which is tasked with preparing the foundational elements for establishing the panel. “What we’ve been missing is a strong and comprehensive science-policy interface to tackle the pollution pillar of the triple planetary crisis. Now the global community is constructively working towards a panel that can deliver policy impacts that save lives and protect the environment for decades to come.”
The new science-policy panel can help to translate scientific findings into action and is expected to work strategically with the recently adopted Global Framework on Chemicals and numerous Multilateral Environmental Agreements.
Later this month, delegates will gather in Nairobi, Kenya, for the sixth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-6), the world’s top decision-making body on the environment. They are expected to discuss how to strengthen implementation of international environmental accords and re-enforce the link between science and policymaking.
Ahead of that gathering, here is what to expect from the new science-policy panel.
What is the aim of the new science-policy panel?
It seeks to equip policymakers with the best available science, enabling them to make well-informed decisions and develop policies to lessen the toll of toxic chemicals, waste and pollution on human health and the environment.
“There’s a lot of information out there but the landscape is quite fragmented because of a tendency to look at issues chemical by chemical,” said Tessa “The panel has the potential to look at chemicals, waste and pollution in a more integrated way and offer the knowledge for more holistic solutions.”
Why is the new panel necessary?
Chemicals bring many benefits to society. But their unsafe and unsustainable management means hazardous and long-lived chemicals are polluting air, land and water. This threatens human health and ecosystems. For example, pesticides used to kill insects leak into rivers and lakes. Discarded medicines end up in wastewater. Contaminated liquids from waste dumps seep into soil.
Those problems are expected to mount. By 2025, the world’s municipalities will produce 2.2 billion tons of waste, more than three times the amount generated in 2009. The size of the global chemical industry is projected to double by 2030.
“We need urgent action because worldwide the issues are growing and the risks are wide-ranging,” Tessa said.
What are the science-policy panel’s key functions?
The panel is expected to conduct assessments of current issues and identify potential solutions, in particular those relevant to developing countries. It will also identify key gaps in scientific research, support communication between scientists and policymakers, and raise awareness. The panel will also assist information-sharing and capacity building.
When will the panel be up and running?
In 2022, an ad hoc open-ended working group was established to prepare proposals for the panel. The working group aims to complete this task this year. Once that is done, UNEP will convene an intergovernmental meeting where countries would consider the panel’s establishment.
Who will be on the panel?
The panel will be an independent intergovernmental body which governments will be invited to join. Member governments will make up the panel’s governing body and approve its programme of work.
Who else will be involved in the panel?
To produce policy-relevant deliverables, the panel will depend on the contributions of thousands of scientists around the world. It will also need to engage with local communities, workers and Indigenous Peoples, since they are often the ones on the receiving end of pollution. Engagement with the private sector is also relevant for addressing the source of pollution and waste, and for coming up with solutions. But careful attention must be paid to potential conflicts of interests.
How will the science-policy panel contribute to Multilateral Environmental Agreements?
These accords can both contribute to and benefit from the findings of the panel. They could invite the panel to look into specific scientific and technical matters that require global attention. Examples include the use of chemicals in products and the reduction of the footprint of high-impact sectors. Relevant agreements include the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, which set out measures for handling chemicals and waste, and the Minamata Convention to manage the use of mercury.

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  • johnte ndeto

    7 w

    If this agenda is achieved that will pose a positive impact on climate 💯

    • Ann Nyambura

      8 w

      It is a welcome development. I'm hopeful that this science-policy panel will lead to meaningful action and policies that can save lives and safeguard our planet.

      • Kevin

        8 w

        Good work by the UN

        • George Kariuki

          8 w

          This could be a game-changer in the fight against pollution.

          • Gorffly mokua

            8 w

            This new effort shows a commitment to tackling the issue of pollution & promoting sustainable practices that can protect both human health and the environment.💚👏

          • Joseph Githinji

            8 w

            Encouraging news, stopping pollution is a great way to create a sustainable environment. This is the right way to go.

            • Gorffly mokua

              8 w

              @joseph_githinji But ,instead they should work on sustainable projects!

              • Joseph Githinji

                8 w

                @gorffly_mokua I agree 👍

              • Felix mokaya

                8 w

                Good news that there is a new body ready to limit pollutions deadly toll . I believe that it is going to achieve its goal .

                • Gorffly mokua

                  8 w

                  @felix_mokaya Lets hope that they will deliver!

                • winnie nguru

                  8 w

                  Great.. I hope they achieve whatever they intend to achieve

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