Published: 13 Sep 2021

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 et dissemination of toxics and on how Geneva contributes to bringing together the actors working in reversing the toxic tide.

About the Geneva Toxic Free Talks

Out of the three interrelated environmental crises we are facing – climate, nature, and pollution -, the wide intoxication of our planet and of our bodies through multiples ways of contamination, is the one that today remains in the shadow. Notably, it does not have a global treaty, like the UNFCCC for climate change or the CBD for the preservation of biodiversity and ecosystems.

However, this does not mean that the issue is unaddressed. On the contrary, a number of international instruments and institutions exist, such as the Basel convention which regulates wastes, the Stockholm convention on eliminating persistent organic pollution or the Rotterdam Convention which enforces prior informed consent for international trade of hazardous chemicals. The secretariat of these three conventions is located in Geneva, which also hosts the Minamata Convention on mercury. Other Geneva-based UN institutions, most notably WHO and ILO, are also concerned and trying to regulate the use of toxic substances. Since 1995, we can add to the list the mandate given by the UN Human Rights Council to a Special Rapporteur to look at how toxic substances impacts on the enjoyment of human rights.

Obviously, Geneva is a central place for those struggling against the threat of contamination from toxic substances. As the Special Rapporteur reports every Fall to the Council and to the UN General Assembly on these issues, Earthjustice and its partners take this opportunity to reflect on the challenges posed  by the production, use et dissemination of toxics and on how Geneva contributes to bringing together those working in reversing the toxic tide.

Events

In 2021, after the important Ministerial Summit on marine litter and plastic pollution in Geneva, two events are are scheduled, presenting the reports of the Special Rapporteur:

The right to science in the context of toxic substances

HRC48 Side Event | 22 September 2021 | 13.30 – 15.00 CEST | Online

Plastics and Human Rights

HRC48 Side Event | 23 September 2021 | 13.30 – 15.00 CEST | Online

Links