The world needs a Paris Agreement on toxic chemicals

News 2018 / July

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World needs a Paris Agreement on toxic chemicals

Many people know that pollution is a big problem in the world. What many people might not be aware of is the magnitude of the problem.

Pollution, which includes toxic chemicals, is the largest environmental cause of disease and premature death in the world today. In 2015, diseases caused by pollution were responsible for an estimated 9 million premature deaths – that is 16 % of all deaths worldwide.

Ministers from eight countries came together and wrote a joint statement

The number is staggering. It is three times more deaths than from AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined, and 15 times more than from all wars and other forms of violence.

Seeing as pollution is not often visible to the naked eye it might be hard to spot, but it is present everywhere. A major culprit are toxic chemicals.

“The world needs an ambitious global agreement on chemicals and waste”

This is why ministers and vice ministers from eight different countries came together and wrote a joint statement, insisting on a global political commitment to tackle the problem of toxic chemicals in the world.

“We want to take this opportunity to make it clear to decision makers, organizations and companies that the world needs an ambitious global agreement on chemicals and waste, just as we needed the Paris Agreement on the climate”, they write in the statement.

The Strategic Approach for International Chemicals Management (SAICM) is an existing political framework dealing with the issue, but it expires in 2020 and a new strategy will be needed.

The eight ministers say they will press for discussions regarding a global agreement until then.

“If we want to achieve the goals set in Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, it is extremely important that we work together globally on chemicals and waste”.

“We have embarked on a mission and we encourage other actors to join us”

“We have embarked on a mission to secure an ambitious global agreement and we encourage other actors to join us”, they write in conclusion.

The next step in this process will be taken at the UN High-level Political Forum in New York on July 17th, where ChemSec will be present as well.