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Workshop on “Chemicals & Children: Literature Research in Developing Countries – Activities and Next Steps”

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UNEP Chemicals, in collaboration with WHO Public Health and Environment, implemented a project on the evaluation of studies on chemicals and children’s health in developing countries of Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Four consultants from the 3 regions presented the results of research and literature reviews at a workshop that took place last 23- 24 March 2011 in Geneva. The reviews identified a number of environmental health issues affecting children in those regions, including chemicals exposure risks, and made recommendations for risk management strategies. Given the importance of introducing chemicals mainstreaming into the development planning of the CEH, the mainstreaming activities were briefly presented.

The workshop highlighted concrete risk management recommendations such as: mainstreaming of CEH into national development agendas and enhancement of sound management of chemicals (especially preventing illegal trade and waste dumping) in developing countries, and global harmonization of exposure and outcome measurements, among others.

  • Children Environmental Health Workshop – Consultants’ Outputs

A consultants’/experts’ group workshop was held back-to-back with the Steering Committee Meeting, on 23 March 2011. The workshop received the results of research and literature reviews by four consultants in three different regions, namely Asia, Africa and Latin America. This exercise included the assessments of health and environmental issues affecting children in those regions, including chemical exposure risks, recommendations for concrete steps to improve the current status of exposure risk research and to minimise risks faced by children.

The integrated approach of this systematic literature review consisted of the following:

  1. Comprehensive review of the published literature and the documents put out by governments on environmental (priority for chemicals) risks and risk management strategies in the region for at least the past 10 years. Literature review on chemicals risk and children’s health was regardless of study design.
  2. Setting of criteria and selection of participating developing countries and identification of key international partners and experts on Children’s Environmental Health (CEH) in the region.
  3. Desk study and/or conduct of survey with identified experts to review and prioritize environmental (priority for chemicals) risks and risk management strategies (including those that demonstrated effective approaches among children in developing countries).
  4. Drafting of report of findings, analysis and recommendations on chemical environmental health risks and risk management strategies among children in developing countries.
  5. Presentation of issues and recommendations based on prioritized chemical environmental health risks and risk management strategies. Recommendations could be basis for future policies to reduce chemical risks among children.

Next: Steering Committee

Linakges with mainstreaming

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Next steps of the project include a collaborative research effort to complement the economic assessment chapter on CEH in the Costs of Inaction Baseline Assessment Report: Data Search Framework of the Mainstreaming Programme. Such an assessment would, at a later stage, be incorporated into the Pillar II-Economic Implications Chapter of the Global Chemicals Outlook and eventually constitute a basis for the CEH policy and action.

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