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Heal Toxics is a member of the International POPs Elimination Network

This website provides resources on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) such as pesticides, dioxins, PCBs, and wastes. Valuable examples of community monitoring of health and environmental impacts of toxic chemicals are also furnished.

Further, there is an entire section devoted to chemical safety in its proper socio-political context or in relation to issues such as globalization and people's empowerment.

 

HEAL-Toxics
Health and Environment Alliance, Toxics

The Health and Environment Alliance, Toxics (HEAL-Toxics) has been formed to support and help facilitate effective engagement by public interest nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in global, regional and national efforts to promote chemical safety.

The Objectives of HEAL-Toxics

1) To provide a common platform for not-for-profit groups and individuals who are working to protect human health and the environment from injury caused by toxic chemicals.

2) To promote public education and awareness-raising activities related to toxic chemicals, and to promote alternative practices and policies to prevent the harm toxic chemicals cause.

3) To support the objectives of existing NGO networks active in the field of
chemical safety, to help fill gaps and to help facilitate communication and
cooperation between them.

4) To help facilitate information exchange on chemical safety issues and to help communicate the perspectives and experiences of NGOs active in this field to governmental and intergovernmental agencies and fora.

Background and Rationale

In recent years, and in all regions of the world, there has been rapidly growing public awareness about the devastating harm caused by toxic chemicals to human health and the environment. Public interest NGOs and civil society organizations in many countries have played an important role in calling public attention to these problems. These organizations have also already had some significant initial successes in influencing governmental and intergovernmental institutions.

Global examples include influential international NGO interventions into the development of new multilateral environmental agreements such as the Basel Convention on Wastes; the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent (PIC); and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). NGO have also play an important role in the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS) and participate regularly on its leading body, the Forum Standing Committee (FSC). NGOs also have an increased interest in interacting with the relevant divisions of intergovernmental organizations with a role in chemical safety including: the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); the Food Agriculture Organization (FAO); the World Health Organization (WHO); the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO); the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

However, the mechanisms available to enable NGOs to play an effective role in promoting chemical safety have not kept up with the level of public awareness and NGO interest; existing mechanisms have been greatly insufficient to enable appropriate NGO responses to growing opportunities. This is most importantly the case for smaller and mid-sized NGOs in developing countries and countries in transition – the most dynamic new force to have entered this field in the past decade.

Existing mechanisms have not allowed a sufficiently effective level of NGO intervention in global and regional chemical safety activities that have become especially important in influencing emerging chemical safety policies and regimes in the developing world. Existing mechanisms are also still unable to sufficiently enhance global and regional sharing of skills, experiences and information between NGOs active in this field.

The already existing NGOs and NGO networks in this field need enhanced support. HEAL-Toxics has been formed both to promote this enhanced support and also to fill gaps that are not currently being addressed.

HEAL- Toxics INITIAL WORK PLAN

HEAL- Toxics will provide organizational and logistic support to the Southern IPEN Co-Chair in carrying out IPEN and related duties; will provide some initial secretariat functions to support Public Interest NGO involvement in the IFCS and its Forum Standing Committee; and it will pursue other activities in support of HEAL- Toxics objectives.

HEAL-Toxics will seek to raise additional project funds to support work in the following areas:

1) HEAL- Toxics will facilitate NGO efforts relating to reductions and elimination of POPs and other persistent toxic substances in Southeast Asia, East Asia and the Pacific. This will include NGO capacity building; NGO participation in their country National Implementation Plan (NIP) preparations for the Stockholm Convention; Stockholm Convention ratification efforts; awareness-raising, public education and campaigns.

2) Provide to the newly formed Information Exchange Network on Capacity Building for the Sound Management of Chemicals (INFOCAP) an interface with smaller and medium-sized NGOs, people’s organizations (POs), community-based organizations(CBOs), and NGO networks engaged in chemical safety activities.

3) Provide full secretariat functions to support and enhance public interest NGO participation in the activities of the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety with emphasis on support to smaller and medium-sized NGOs based in developing countries and countries in transition.

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