22 Sep 2023
Venue: Palais des Nations, Room H.307-2 & Online | Webex
On the sidelines of 54th Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC54), this year’s Toxic Free Talks took place from 20 to 22 September — three days of conferences and discussions, highlighting the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights, and of organizations in the struggle for the right to live in a toxic-free environment.
About this Session
The report of the UN Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights on the Right to Science is a crucial document in the negotiations to create a new Science-Policy Panel to Contribute Further to the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste and to Prevent Pollution. The report provides both a guide for the discussions and a benchmark for assessing the outcome of these negotiations, as the right to science:
- Implies the availability and accessibility of accurate scientific information to the general public and specific stakeholders.
- Requires that governments correct scientific disinformation.
- Implies an enabling environment where scientific freedoms may be realized and where governments foster needed scientific research on toxic substances that endanger human health and the environment.
The establishment of a Science-Policy Panel can help strengthen the scientific basis of policies related to chemicals and waste management, and contribute to more effective and sustainable approaches to preventing pollution and protecting human health and the environment. The Panel will rely on scientific expertise and guidance to policymakers on the identification, assessment, and management of hazardous chemicals and waste, as well as on the development of strategies to prevent pollution.
However, further engagement from and stronger links with the scientific community remain to be wanted. Ahead of the 2nd meeting of the Ad hoc Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) taking place in Jordan, from 11 to 15 December 2023, this discussion aims to enable scientists and the UN Special Rapporteur to exchange views on the process and forthcoming negotiation milestones.
About the Geneva Toxic Free Talks
The Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights reports every fall to the Council and to the UN General Assembly on issues related to his mandate. The Geneva Toxic Free Talks aim to harness the opportunity of this moment of the year to reflect on the challenges posed by the production, use, and dissemination of toxics and on how Geneva contributes to bringing together the actors working in reversing the toxic tide.
On the sidelines of HRC54, this year’s Toxic Free Talks took place from 20 to 22 September — three days of conferences and discussions, highlighting the work of the Special Rapporteur and of organizations in the struggle for the right to live in a toxic-free environment.
UN Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights
Principal Officer, Science-Policy Panel on Chemicals, Waste and Prevention of Pollution, UNEP
Programme Officer | Scientific and Technical Assistance Branch, Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions Secretariat
Human Rights Officer, Environment and Climate Change Team, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Co-coordinator, Global PFAS Science Panel & Former Chair, Green Science Policy Institute
Representative of Earthjustice to the United Nations in Geneva | Moderator
Livestreamed through Webex
Live in the Room