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HEAL and members participate at 2016 IPEN Global Meeting and Toxic-Free Future Forum

HEAL joined more than 120 environmental, health and human rights leaders from over 50 countries working locally and globally to ensure a just and healthy future for everyone by eliminating exposure to toxic chemicals gathered during the IPEN Global Meeting and Toxic-Free Future Forum from 14 – 18 November in San Francisco.

Photo credit: John Wickens

IPEN’s 2016 Global Meeting and Toxic-Free Future Forum brought together more than 120 environmental, health and human rights leaders from over 50 countries working locally and globally to ensure a just and healthy future for everyone by eliminating exposure to toxic chemicals.

The two-part meeting and forum addressed IPEN’s 2020 strategy, global policy updates, skill sharing, capacity-building, networking, and movement building to reduce toxic chemicals. The list of participants and their biographies is available here.

Photo credit: Genon Jensen, HEAL

Global meeting topics centered around IPEN’s 5-year 2020 Plan, and ranged from global chemical policy to specific on-the-ground efforts to eliminate mercury, lead paint and highly hazardous pesticides, to skill-building strategies for more effective communications and resource mobilization. Scientific experts from the Endocrine Society and partners from the Project TENDR (Targeting Environmental Neurodevelopmental Risks) also presented their findings on the impact of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and neurotoxicants on human health.

Global Toxics-Free Forum

The forum focused on priority and emerging chemical issues, including children’s, women’s, and human rights as they relate to chemical safety. IPENers showed their solidarity to groups who face injustice at home, and whose work is becoming more complicated and difficult due to political developments and pressure from the industrial lobby. The forum opened with a powerful presentation by former South Korea Samsung worker Hye-kung Han and her mother, Kim Syong, that was moderated by Jeong-Ok Kong, an occupational physician in Korea.

Caption: Former South Korea Samsung worker Hye-kung Han (right) and her mother, Kim Syong (right) with HEAL Executive Director, Genon Jensen. Photo credit: John Wickens

IPEN POs have signed a statement of solidarity with the workers, their families, and former workers of Samsung, condemning the treatment of the company’s workers and demanding safety in the workplace.

Goldman Environmental Prize winners and joint reception

IPEN was fortunate to develop a cooperation with the Goldman Environmental Foundation, and convene the IPEN Global Meeting in San Francisco, as several IPEN participating organizations are recipients of the Goldman Environmental Prize," note Olga Speranskaya, IPEN co-chair and 2009 Goldman Prize recipient. "As a result, we were able to introduce our partners to new opportunities to advance their work in their communities and globally. This support and solidarity with those who struggle for clean environment, safer and better life for all is crucial to sustain our work."

IPENers were enriched by the participation of so many Goldman Environmental Prize winners during the meetings, and HEAL was pleased to get to hear more and meet many of those Prize Winners attending.

Caption: Lois Gibbs, Founder of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) and 1990 Goldman Prize winner (left) and HEAL Executive Director Genon Jensen. Lois’s story begin Niagara Falls, N.Y. in 1978, when she discovered that her home and those of her neighbors sat beside 20,000 tons of toxic chemicals. This shocking finding spurred Lois to lead her community in a struggle to protect their families from the hazardous waste in their own backyards. CHEJ is an inspiration for their frontline work in the fight for environmental health for 35 years.

Caption: Ricardo Navarro, Founder of the Salvadoran Center for Appropriate Technology (CETA), 1995 Goldman Prize winner for his work to restore El Salvador’s environment, decimated by 12 years of civil war.

HEAL’s Genon K. Jensen and Lisette van Vliet both participated during the whole week together with HEAL members ALHem – Safer Chemicals Alternative from Serbia, Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment (AWHHE) and Women in Europe for a Common Future Germany (WECF).

Caption: Posters from HEAL at the IPEN exhibition. Photo credit: HEAL.

Caption: Posters from HEAL member amnika Randelovic ALHem – Safer Chemicals Alternative, Serbia at the IPEN exhibition. Photo credit: HEAL.

HEAL secretariat and member organisation participation in IPEN meeting:

• On 14 November Jasminka Randelovic of HEAL member ALHem – Safer Chemicals Alternative from Serbia participated in a panel to discuss chemicals without harm.

• On 16 November, Johanna Hausmann and Alexandra Caterbow of HEAL member WECF Germany participated in a session on sustainable chemistry: solutions for a toxics-free future?

• On 17 November, HEAL’s Executive Director Genon K. Jensen presented on the state of European Union policies to address EDCs. WECF Germany’s Alexandra Caterbow co-chaired this session.

• On 17 November, Gohar Khojayan of HEAL member AWHHE in Armenia highlighted how testing revealed unsafe children’s products and weak regulations in six countries.

• On 18 November, Alexandra Caterbow of HEAL member WECF Germany presented in a session on women’s rights: gender and toxic chemicals.

Photo credit: John Wickens

Useful resources
-  IPEN’s website and multi-lingual resources

-  Presentation by Genon K. Jensen, presented during the IPEN meeting

Last updated on 20 December 2016

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The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »


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