Tag Archive | "UN"

UNEP urges lead paints to be phased out

Children in the developing world are still exposed to “astonishingly high and dangerous levels of lead” through unsafe paints, finds a study by the UN Environment Programme, released Tuesday during the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action.

The study analysed enamel decorative paints from: Argentina, Azerbaijan, Chile, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kyrgyzstan, Tunisia and Uruguay. The research was organised by the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint, a group co-led by UNEP and the World Health Organisation.

Most of the paints tested would not meet regulatory standards established in most industrialised countries. Generally, white paints had the lowest lead content, while red, green and yellow paints had the highest lead levels.

Both Chile and Uruguay have national executive decrees that prohibit the production, import, distribution, sale and use of decorative paints with a lead concentration above 600 ppm, and all of the paints tested in these two countries had low total lead concentrations.

But in each of the other seven countries studied, two or more of the samples of enamel decorative paints had lead content greater than 10,000 ppm.

Lead in paint is a problem because painted surfaces deteriorate with time and disturbance, releasing the lead into household dust and soil outside.

An estimated 143,000 deaths a year result from lead poisoning, according to WHO data; lead paint is a major contributor to this death toll.

Worldwide, 30 countries have phased out the use of lead paint. The Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint has set a target of 70 countries by 2015.

Over the last seven years, similar studies found high average lead concentrations in Cameroon, Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania.

The UNEP report recommends:
National efforts to promote the establishment of legal and regulatory frameworks to control the manufacture, import, export, sale and use of lead paints and products coated with lead paints.

Paint manufacturers are encouraged to eliminate lead compounds from their paint formulations, and participate in programs that provide third party certification that no lead has been added to their paint. They are encouraged to label products to help consumers identify paints free of added lead.

 

 

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World Tourism Day on “Tourism and Water”: greater efforts on water preservation needed

Last Friday marked the United Nations´ calendar day highlighting tourism, a sector that is driving socioeconomic growth and development all over the world. On World Tourism Day 2013, dedicated to “Tourism and Water – Protecting Our Common Future” in line with the International Year of Water Cooperation, stakeholders called for greater global efforts in water preservation

Opening the official celebrations of World Tourism Day (WTD) 2013, hosted this year by the Maldives, President Mohammed Waheed Hassan Manik said “Solutions to the Maldives´ water challenges are in the tourism sector. I hope that the industry will pay attention to the way the Maldives has been addressing the water challenge. The Maldives must become an example of what can be done.”

The call by the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon on the responsibility of the tourism sector to safeguard and intelligently manage water was echoed by UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai: “As one of the world’s leading socio-economic activities, the tourism sector must take a leadership role and ensure companies and destinations invest in adequate water management throughout the value chain.”

The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture of the Maldives, Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Gafoo, stressed how “tourism has become a powerful force for environmental preservation and protection. For our country, the tourism sector constitutes a priority because it is an important asset for the creation of wealth and employment.”

“This is a crucial issue for PATA and its members. The growth of the tourism sector brings inevitable challenges of balancing sustainability. We are delighted to join the celebrations of World Tourism Day and support this important and timely initiative here in the Maldives” said Martin Craigs, CEO of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).

Tourism to lead in water preservation

As the highlight of WTD 2013, a high-level Think Tank on Tourism and Water gathered leading experts on water preservation, public and private sector tourism stakeholders and media experts to discuss key issues contributing to a more sustainable water future.

The following are the key insights of the Think Tank conclusions:

  • The Maldives is a paradigm of well-managed and sustainable water use in developing island States, where the availability of fresh water and the level of water consumption for tourism have become a particular concern.
  • With over one billion people traveling the world every year, the tourism sector can play an educational role as a water-conscious sector.
  • Though tourism only uses 1% of global water consumption, challenges remain for water use at destinations, since the sector often competes with other sectors for water.
  • There is significant room for increasing efficiency and reducing cost of water consumption in hotels (water accounts for 10% of utility bills in many hotels, most of which pay for the water they consume twice, first in buying fresh water and by disposing of it as wastewater).
  • Investing in green technology is economically beneficial, with profits from water sanitation and wastewater treatment having a return on investment (ROI) of one to three years.
  • Given tourism´s size and reach, the sector is well-positioned to make areal contribution to preserving the world´s precious water resources.

 

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‘Sustainable energy for all’ launched by Ban Ki Moon

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has launched an initiative to ensure equality in the world energy mix during his key note address at the World Future Energy Summit held in Abu Dhabi last month.
The ‘sustainable energy for all’ initiative is designed to ‘mobilise global, urgent action’, and calls for businesses, governments, investors community groups and academia to collaborate on establishing modern energy services; doubling the amount of renewable energy in the global mix; and doubling improvements in energy efficiency.
According to the UN, all objectives are ‘complimentary’ and must be achieved by 2030.
“Sustainable energy can revitalise our economies, strengthen social equity, and catalyze a clean energy revolution that benefits all humanity. Acting together, we can open new horizons today and help power a brighter tomorrow,” said UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon.
The fact that one in five people on the planet still lack access to modern electricity, was one of a number of shocking statistics recalled by Moon during the address. It was also reported that a progression to ‘resource efficient measures’ in the carbon, steel and iron industries in developed economies alone, could save US$2tr by 2030.
The Rio+20 conference, to be held in Rio de Janeriro June 20-22 this year, will be the ‘opening chapter’ of the sustainable energy initiative.
Visit www.sustainableenergyforall.org for more information.

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