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Environment

Kazakhstan to strengthen mine tailings safety and prevent water pollution, with UNECE support

Today marks the holding of the first meeting of the Working Group on Tailings Safety and the Prevention of Accidental Water Pollution (IIWG) in Kazakhstan – the first comprehensive dialogue on these issues between all relevant stakeholders and national authorities in the country. 

More stringent controls of heavy metal emissions enter into force in the UNECE region

Heavy metals such as mercury have led to great harm to human health and the environment, for example in the 1950s in Minamata, Japan, when the release of methylmercury in the industrial wastewater from a chemical factory poisoned many people. Even in smaller quantities, heavy metals released into the atmosphere and subsequently deposited on ecosystems, such as forests, water and vegetation, can cause significant environmental and health damage. 

Parties exchange good practices and lessons learned to overcome gaps in implementation of UNECE Industrial Accidents Convention 

“Countries need to take concrete actions to prevent, prepare for and respond to industrial accidents and reduce the risks of related technological disasters. The UNECE Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents and the tools developed for its implementation provide a means to do just that. Today’s seminar aims to raise awareness of the Convention’s tools, to demonstrate its implementation and to show cooperation across authorities and borders in doing so.

Entry into force of more stringent regulations on persistent organic pollutants in the UNECE region milestone in air quality and chemical management

Developed in the first half of the 20th century, persistent organic pollutants (POPs) have been regulated or banned as widespread public concern over their toxicological effects for human health and the environment has increased. Research has shown that exposure to POPs can lead to serious health effects including certain cancers, birth defects, dysfunctional immune and reproductive systems, greater susceptibility to disease and damages to the central and peripheral nervous systems.

In follow-up to the 2020 Beirut port explosion, UN/OECD seminar calls for action to better manage the risks of hazardous substances in port areas and beyond

“The explosion came at a very high cost with over 218 deaths, 6,000 injured, and at least 15 billion USD in destruction to infrastructure. In around 15 minutes Beirut lost over 15 years of development gains.

Novel Handbook tackles growing water allocation challenges in transboundary basins around the world

Which users may use how much water of a river, lake, aquifer or other source? For what purposes, where and when?

These are the questions which a new Handbook on transboundary ‘water allocation’–which is the process and/or outcome of determining how different stakeholders use water–published under the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention), UNECE, addresses.

UNECE Air Convention agrees on guidance for further emission reductions across sectors and stronger international cooperation to benefit human health, climate and biodiversity

Almost 2 years into the pandemic, we have all experienced long and repeated lockdowns. Recent news from New Delhi, however, tell us that the city has gone into another lockdown – this time because of heavy air pollution.  

Winter is also the season when air pollution problems in the UNECE region become more apparent. Sources such as residential heating and agricultural practices contribute to poor air quality in the winter as colder air traps the pollution but also doesn't whisk it away so that it stays in place for much longer. 

Tajikistan launches inter-institutional working group to strengthen mine tailings safety and prevent water pollution, with UNECE support

Today, the Inaugural Meeting of the Working Group on Tailings Safety and the Prevention of Accidental Water Pollution (IIWG) took place in Tajikistan, bringing together representatives of different national authorities, operators, international institutions and interested specialists to strengthen tailings safety in Tajikistan and beyond in Central Asia. The group agreed on the Terms of Reference of the IIWG and recommended its formal establishment under the government of Tajikistan.

UNECE, OECD, the EU and partners join forces to reduce chemical and industrial accident risks across borders and sectors

From the Sandoz chemical spill of 1986 in Schweizerhalle, Switzerland, to the rupture of a dam storing mine tailings containing cyanide in Baia Mare, Romania, 2000; and last year in Beirut, the explosion of ammonium nitrate stored in warehouse near residential areas, what these chemical and industrial accidents have in common is their devastating impact on people and the environment and that they could have been prevented.

UNECE 55th environmental performance review underway in Azerbaijan by a large and diverse international team of experts

UNECE is leading a large and diverse group of international experts carrying out the 55th Environmental Performance Review (EPR) since the establishment of the UNECE EPR Programme, 25 years ago. Azerbaijan has requested UNECE to review its environmental performance for a third time. To provide the groundwork for the review, a team of UNECE and international experts is participating in a mission to the country from 15 to 23 November 2021.