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Africa Regional Meeting on SAICM

IPEN Team at the Africa SAICM Regional Meeting, Accra, Ghana, 27-29 June 2022 Right hand Dr. Leslie Adogame (SRADev – Nigeria) Mr. Kwame Ofori (AKO Foundation Ghana) Ms. Semia Gharbi (AEEFG, Tunisia) Left hand Mr. Silvani Mng’anya (AGENDA, Tanzania) Dr. Gilbert Kuepouo (CREPD, Cameroon) Ms. Adetonah Sounkoura (GAPROFFA, Benin) Mr. Emmanuel Odjam-Akumatey (Ecological Restoration, Ghana). The aim of the Regional Meeting (also convened in other regions) was to undertake strategic discussions to prepare for the fourth meeting of the intersessional process considering SAICM and the sound management of chemicals and wastes beyond 2020.  This included among others discussion on items not considered during the Virtual Working Groups (VWGs) and the outcomes of the VWGs, logistics for IP4 and regional representation given the funding limitation.

The new instrument will succeed if there is sustainable financing.  The Region, among others means, noted the need for full Secretariat funding to enable developing countries to implement the new SAICM instrument, and financial mechanism to include but not limit to industry contribution from its annual revenue, institute the Polluter pays principle and internalization of cost.

BRS COPs – CEJAD,Kenya
CEJAD team participated in the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions Conference of Parties from 3rd to 17th June 2022 to support the call for stricter measures and guidelines on persistent organic pollutants listing highly hazardous and control of trans boundary movement of waste. CEJAD got an opportunity to highlight the need for gender equality and leadership in policy and chemicals management spaces as well as the need for youth inclusion and representation in planning, implementation and negotiations of the treaties during the side events.   
During the meeting, the toxic PFAS chemical PFHxS, together with its about 80 related substances, was listed under the Stockholm Convention for global elimination, with no exempted uses. These “forever chemicals” are used e.g. in stain-resistant fabrics, fire-fighting foams, food packaging, and as a surfactant in industrial processes. Also, PFOA, another chemical in the PFAS family that was listed for global elimination under the Stockholm Convention in 2019 with a range of exemptions, was now adopted for listing under the Rotterdam Convention that controls transboundary movement of hazardous chemicals.
E-waste was listed under the Basel Convention, mandating a Prior Informed Consent procedure for transboundary movement of this type of waste.

Communities mobilize against fossil fuels as Shell-Impact’s seismic blasting case is heard in Gqeberha -
 
From 30 May to 1 June 2022 while the Impact/Shell case was heard in Gqeberha High Court, South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) stood in solidarity with other organizations and coastal communities to boycott Shell and Impact’s associated companies.
 
From last December to February, we celebrated five courtroom victories for Wild Coast and Atlantic Coast communities against Shell and Total Energies – and their local ally, Johnny Copelyn of Impact Oil & Gas – to prevent them from conducting destructive seismic blasting in search of fossil fuels. Although these battles were fairly won, the war is far from over, because Shell and Impact refuse to accept the findings. Now our allies on the Indian Ocean must argue the obvious: no more gas and oil can be extracted if future generations are to survive the climate catastrophe.
 
CSOs want to make this an obvious case, in the immediate wake of the Rain Bombs that killed more than 500 of us in KwaZulu-Natal, doing R25billion in damage, with scientists claiming the storms are likely due to climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions.

International campaign to strengthen POPs waste limits (Low POPs Content Levels) -Tanzania
AGENDA for Environment and Responsible Development (AGENDA) participated in the International Campaign to Strengthen POPs Waste Limits (Low POPs Content Levels). AGENDA issued a press release and organized a media briefing to share the report Chemical Health Hazards Found in Plastic Products from 11 African and Arabic Countries. The new report finds that many toys and other products made from recycled plastic sold in Africa and Arabic countries contain dioxins at levels equivalent to hazardous waste.
Independent laboratory testing found high levels of toxic flame retardant chemicals and brominated dioxins, including substances banned under international agreements, in toys, kitchen utensils and other consumer products made from recycled plastics. The testing of the products purchased from 11 African and Arabic countries showed that 61 products contained levels of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) above the protective limits called Low POPs Content Levels (LPCLs) proposed by African countries for defining hazardous waste under the Basel Convention.
Among the recycled plastic products that tested positive for the highest concentrations of BFRs, brominated dioxins, and other highly toxic chemicals were a cup for pencils (office supplies), hair clip, Rubik’s cube toy and others purchased in Tanzania. The report was also shared with the National Basel and Stockholm Convention Focal Point.

Collective action for cleaner Oceans - Eco Ethics Kenya
Eco Ethics Kenya, an environmental and community development non-governmental organization based in the Kenyan Coast, organized for a meeting of stakeholders with ocean related activities to discuss solutions on beating ocean plastic pollution. As a result, a permanent Ocean stakeholder committee was formed to spearhead matters on the conservation and preservation of our oceans. From April the Committee planned and organized the commemoration of the World Oceans Day event. The celebrations of the World Oceans Day took place at Mombasa Beach Hotel Shoreline on 8th June 2022 with the theme Revitalization: Collective Action for the Oceans and the leading activities of the day included beach cleanup and underwater cleanup exercise that drew together over 300 people including members from the different stakeholder organizations and students from some schools along the Kenyan coast region.
 
 Photos and media links for the events:
https://www.voaswahili.com/a/kenya-yaungana-na-dunia-kuadhimisha-siku-ya-bahari-duniani/6608598.html
 
https://fb.watch/dwdkROClem/

We need control of used lithium-ion battery shipment to Africa
 
A Press Release by four IPEN Participating Organizations (POs) from Anglophone Africa and Researchers from Oeko-Institut (Germany) called for follow up, clear rules and better control of export of used lithium-ion batteries for second-life applications from Europe to Africa. The POs PAN Ethiopia (Ethiopia), the Centre for Sustainable Cycles (SCYCLES - Ghana), the Center for Justice Governance and Environmental Action (CJGEA - Kenya), and SRADev (Nigeria) noted that the countries have signed and are parties to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes, therefore they do not want the convention to be misused and make the continent as a dumping ground for the toxic waste of the North.  In view of the currently rapidly growing number of used batteries from electric vehicles, buses and e-scooters, the question of proper end-of-life management is becoming more and more urgent.

Conversion of Household biodegradable and Farm waste into Organic manure – SGG, Gambia
In The Gambia, disposal of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) is a major environmental problem propelled by the low capacity of the Government and Municipal Councils. The only available disposal facilities across the country are open dumpsites that are poorly managed particularly those in the cities and urban centers.

Stay Green Gambia (SGG) introduced a simple innovation of converting biodegradable waste into organic manure through composting it in portable containers as opposed to the traditional method of composting in pits and or heaps. The project is piloted in 13 villages, targeting women horticulturists, in 30 households where a total of 25 women gardeners were trained. The trained women each can now produce two bags of 50kg of organic manure in a month thus, significantly reducing the use of synthetic fertilizers, therefore impacting positively on the household income, health, and the environment (soil reconditioning organically).
Household waste is now being separated and filtered. This is now accepted by heads of participating households as good practice and popularizing in their communities.

Youth get equipped to tackle the ocean grab – SDCEA, South Africa

The ocean plays an integral role in the lives of many communities, from livelihoods to wellbeing, as well as being a crucial part of the biosphere. In recent months the ocean has been the centre of much controversy regarding the exploration of oil and gas. During the first part of 2022, The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) hosted over 100 learners from South Durban at Aliwal Shoal in Umkomaas as part of our ocean education sessions. Alwal Shoal Marine Protected Area (MPA) off the southern KwaZulu-Natal town of Umkomaas is one of the top dive sites in South Africa. These sessions were intended to create awareness around seismic surveys conducted in our oceans to drill for oil and gas, the affect they have on marine life especially sharks, climate change, the ocean grab currently taking place along South Africa’s coast, as well as what the learners can do to make a difference and protect the oceans.

Women empowered to decide on the chemicals management – BTB, Kenya
Back To Basics (BTB) organized training on Women and Chemicals to Igikero and Ndwaru Women Groups. The training covered on Gender dependent effects of chemicals-why women are affected more than men; Sources and types of hazardous chemicals that women encounter in their daily environment; Pathways of exposure; Health effects of hazardous chemicals on a woman’s body; Chemicals found in domestic and occupational settings and Ways of protecting themselves from exposure.
The main goals wereto raise awareness on hazardous chemicals and their health effects, taking gender into consideration; Build a broad women led leadership for addressing issues related to toxic chemical exposure, right from the grassroots level. Our Women and Chemicals Management (WCM) is slowly taking shape. It is vital to work with women because they are usually the key agents of change in their communities. It is said that when you educate a woman, you educate the community.

Mercury Inventory and Minamata Initial Assessment, ARECO, Rwanda ARECO Rwanda-NZIZA participated in the Workshop to review and validate Mercury Inventory and Minamata Initial Assessment (MIA) final report. The workshop was organized by Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) on 16 June 2022 and ARECO was among key stakeholders to provide comments for the final report.  

Annual Workshop for Land and Environmental Defenders – CJGEA, Kenya
“Strengthening commitments to protect land, ocean and environmental human rights defenders”
 
Center for Justice Governance and Environmental Action (CJGEA) organized the 6th annual workshop for Land and Environmental Defenders (LED) in Mombasa from 21-23 June with support from the Office of the High Commissioner of the HR (OHCHR) and UN-Environment (UNEP), brought together representatives from all 47 counties of Kenya and representatives from Uganda and Tanzania.
 
The gathering of East African Land and Environment Defenders in Mombasa signifies hope for people and the planet. LED’s are working round the clock against adversity to ensure that the planet is preserved to sustain future generations. This push is also critical at the global level as the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) discusses the right to a clean and healthy environment for humankind. LEDs embody the inherent desire for all people of the planet to resolve the triple planetary crisis and hand over a healthy planet to our children. LEDs remain central to the achievement of this right. The future of the planet is in the work of LEDs globally. More support is needed for the work of LEDs.

UNEA Plastic resolution and NGOs engagement in the AA
The Hub organized a webinar on UNEA resolution on the plastic treaty and POs participation on 25.05.2022 (18 participants – 15 men and 3 women representing 13 POs and 7 countries participated including one PO from FA) - https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/ov9Wj6NQGiDET6JcXo2Y_soriIUk6XeaS3WYXbupPAhJt0BtM1XOGucdyHPn6b3a.aM88KRcGbo_tnLtZ
Access Passcode: 4&6bQWX7
From the meeting, there were a few questions including about the kind of treaty we need (legally binding with a right-based approach)?
The way forward included acquainting to UNEA 5.2 resolution, capacity building, engaging subregional and regional Focal Points/ Africa Union, using IPEN positions as lobbying tools and continuing with online meetings.

Engage Communities, Promote Policy Dialogue to Set up Regulatory and Policy Frameworks to Eliminate Chemical Waste – NaCEM, Sierra Leone
NaCEM implementing its Project: Communities Implemented Monitoring, Evaluating and Learning (CIMEL). This is community-led engagement on chemicals and waste, to increase the Knowledge-based Learning System for NaCEM membership on policy advocacy and leadership engagement on the best practices on health care waste, advocating for the right of waste pickers across Sierra Leone. Also, it engaged key stakeholders in efforts to eliminate the use of mercury and other hazardous chemicals and wastes in the mining communities. It engaged children and women who bear the disproportionate burden of poverty as a result of their age and gender. These key activities implemented were fully funded by NaCEM membership organization.

Facilitating Local Action for Sustainable Management of HHPs in Lagos State, Nigeria - SRADev Nigeria
SRADeV Nigeria executing this project aimed at establishing the current status of HHPs use towards facilitating a national concerted action for sustainable management and the promotion of safer alternatives in Nigeria. Outlined activities targeted at achieving the goal of the project are assessment of the national inventory of HHPs importation and their distribution in the country, Identification of HHPs registered and being used in one country and banned in another using the most updated Pesticide Action Network (PAN) HHPs criteria and PAN consolidated list of bans, To encourage and facilitate multi-level stakeholders responsible use, harmonize inter-ministerial platforms to ensure implementation/enforcement of laws and regulation and country-level agreed conventions.
SRADev started by analyzing and extracting identified HHPs from the import data received from NAFDAC as part of the baseline information developed by the organization.

Impacts of mercury to women and children - WEMECO
Western Media for Environment and Conservation (WEMECO) on 27 May 2022, organized an event at Tisaisland Parish Community in Tisai Sub-county, Kumi District with the aim to inform them about the negative impacts of mercury on women and children. 22 participants were in attendance. The response from the majority of women was about how they can identify products containing mercury like in cosmetics. This needs follow-up and more capacity building.

Youth Participation in the NIPs and Strategies to the BRS COPs - IPEN Youth Caucus
 
IPEN Youth Caucus organized a side event during the BRS COPs in Geneva on 15 June 2022 "Youth Participation in National Implementation Plans (NIPs) and Strategies to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions," call for NIPs and Strategies to be participatory and inclusive, and the voices of young people are reflected in the processes - youth opportunity to participate in decision-making processes (Recorded link- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VThq5UDZe1c).

Campaign to develop lead paint law in Zambia uses different approach - CEHF
Children’s Environmental Health Foundation (CEHF) has been campaigning for the development of lead paint law in Zambia for over four years now, taking different approaches and meeting different stakeholders. One of the meetings held in April 2022 was between CEHF’s Chairman, Michael Musenga and the President of the Law Association of Zambia, Mr. Abyudi James Shonga SC in Livingstone to seek their support.

Webinar on SAICM Developments Beyond 2020
groundWork (gW) of South Africa teamed up with Health Environment Justice Support (HEJSupport), the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC), and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and organized a webinar on the 24th of June 2022 to inform the NGO community, as well as country delegates, about SAICM developments on the Virtual Working Group (VWGs) outputs. The joint report “Results and analysis of SAICM VWGs” summarizing the results of the SAICM Virtual Working Groups, and is available here: https://hej-support.org/new-report-summarizes-results-of-saicm-virtual-working-groups/

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