Tag Archive | "UNEP"

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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Sustainable lighting service now available in the UAE

It is estimated that lighting consumes 20% of overall electricity worldwide and up to 75% of that can be reduced by switching to efficient lighting (LED).
Today, GE Lighting and The Change Initiative announced a joint venture initiative to promote energy-efficient lighting across residences and commercial establishments in the UAE. The joint initiative will drive a ‘direct to home’ service that makes it extremely easy for UAE residents – both residential and commercial – to access sustainable and aesthetic LED lighting products.

The joint initiative aims to service at least 7,000 households with efficient lighting systems through the ‘direct to home’ service.

GE Lighting will offer LED lighting solutions through direct to home service which will be facilitated by The Change Initiative. The direct to home service currently offers range of sustainable solutions like ECOVER home cleaning solutions, accessories, services like indoor air quality measurement and other energy saving solutions for homes.

Savings from lighting has been identified as the most immediate and cost effective method to immediately reduce the carbon footprint around the globe by UNEP (enlighten programme).

George Bou Mitri from GE said: “With the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy targeting a reduction in energy use by 30% by 2030 and Abu Dhabi targeting 7% renewable energy generation capacity by 2020, the nation has demonstrated its strong focus to strengthen environmental sustainability. Our new initiative plans to effectively reach both residential and commercial end-users in retro-fitting existing buildings with energy efficient LED solutions.”

GE is showcasing its advanced and innovative LED solutions for residential, retail, hospitality, commercial and outdoors at Light ME.

 

 

 

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Upgrading the UNEP

After 40 years of sustained growth, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is being recognised, strengthened and upgraded by the UN General Assembly this year

Global challenges, from diminishing water resources to changing climatic conditions, have been mounting in urgency since the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was established at the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. Unlike the standard response to these challenges which are usually weak and fragmented, this year the United Nations has chosen to make a greater difference.
The UN has chosen the UNEP to be the new “voice of the environment” in its system. Now the agency is authorised to assist in developing the environmental policy consensus with a constant review of the global environment. They are also responsible for notifying governments and the international community about the emerging issues related to the environment. The General Assembly offers the UNEP with a secure and stable increase in financial resources from the regular budget of the UN. Other UNEP donors are requested to increase their voluntary funding.
Prior to the action initiated by the General Assembly, UNEP’s Governing Council consisted of 58 members. However, after the decision was made the assembly permitted all 193 UN member states to be given full participation at the UNEP Governing Council from February 2013. The first meeting of the enlarged Governing Council was held at the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi from 18th to 22nd February. Earlier it was through the Global Ministerial Environment Forum, created by the then UNEP, that brought the world’s environment ministers under one roof for high-level meetings with the Governing Council. The newly included member states have already implemented some provisions to this resolution; one in particular includes the necessary arrangements for the future of the Global Ministerial Environment Forum. The other provisions include the first practical initiative taken by the UN General Assembly, implementing the commitment made by world leaders at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development at Rio+20 last June to improve the institutional framework for sustainable development.
“Universal membership of UNEP’s Governing Council establishes a new, fully-representative platform to strengthen the environmental dimension of sustainable development, and provides all governments with an equal voice on the decisions and action needed to support the global environment, and ensure a fairer share of the world’s resources for all,” says UNEP’s Executive Director Achim Steiner, who also holds the title of UN Under-Secretary-General.
The General Assembly’s decision tries to improve global cooperation, promote the integration of the social, economic, and environmental pillars of sustainable development, as well as improving coordination within the UN system.
“The resolution reaffirms UNEP’s role as the UN’s authority on the environment, and provides the mandate to enhance our ongoing work on bringing the latest science to policy-makers, directly supporting national and regional environmental efforts, improving access to technology, and other key areas. For UNEP and the environmental community, this is a truly historic day,” says Steiner.

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EAD kicks off two of Eye on Earth side events at Rio+20

The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) launched two of the scheduled ten Eye on Earth side events at the Rio+20 Athlete’s Park exhibition, under the Abu Dhabi Environmental Data Initiative.

The exhibition is set to focus mainly on results from last year’s Eye on Earth Summit in Abu Dhabi. Critical environmental issues will also be addressed, reflecting values required to be adopted to achieve ‘access to environmental and societal data and information by all those who need it’ in order to achieve sustainable development.

Several key speakers shared their views about the collaboration between organisations for one cause, Peter Gilruth, Director of the Division of Early Warning and Assessment, UNEP and partner to the summit emphasised a few points.

He stressed the importance of keeping the environment under review, continuing the momentum created last December at the summit in Abu Dhabi. Peter also highlighted how the event worked to bring together unique partnerships across disciplines for one cause, which would rarely work together.

 

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