Toxic chemicals exist in all ecosystems, and they affect biodiversity, food production (agriculture), water quality, environment and human health. Since 1970s, the production and use of chemicals has grown exponentially since the 1970s. Chemicals are part of our modern society, and each day we use various chemical-based products to make our lives more comfortable and productive. It is estimated that over 100 million man-made chemicals and chemical substances are used in every sector of the economy.
However, when chemicals and wastes are used improperly or disposed of unsafely or illegally traded, they can pose significant risks for the environment, human health, economy and social life. Many chemicals, such as Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and mercury travel long distance through air, migratory species and water currents. Without proper management practices in place, chemicals and the hazardous waste they generate will continue to pose significant risks to the environment.
Despite the risk chemical and waste pose, many developing countries including the ACP regions, treat hazardous waste in unregulated or uncontrolled conditions. These treatment facilities are often unlicensed and use conventional methods such as landfilling. This results in the production of severe environmental disasters. Heavy metals and POPs content in landfill leachate, create significant health risks to municipal workers, the public, and the environment.
Since the impacts of chemicals and wastes on human health and the environment is a global phenomenon, their use and movements are controlled by international law. Thus, the ACP MEAs Programme supports ACP countries to rectify, comply with and enforce the implementation these laws (MEAs).
Capacity, processes and infrastructure
We support national and regional development of policy instruments and procedural measures for MEAs enforcement to control the illegal trade in and mismanagement of chemicals and waste; and strengthen the capacity of parties to implement protocols under the Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm, Minamata conventions.
National frameworks and legislations
We strengthen governments’ capacities in the ACP region to develop specific environmental protocols, legal frameworks, legislations to promote and support shared responsibility and cooperative efforts among Parties to particular chemicals and waste MEAs.
We support national governments, stakeholders, and regional organizations in ACP countries through capacity development to generate relevant knowledge/skills and mechanisms for the effective implementation of MEAs related to chemicals and waste; including the and promotion of regional cooperation through exchange of experiences and policies.