Future Policy Award for the Protection from Hazardous Chemicals

Hamburg/Geneva/New York/Paris, 10th November 2020 – 55 policies from 36 countries enter the race for the “Oscar on best policies”: The Future Policy Award (FPA) 2021 is looking for the world’s best policies that protect people and the environment from hazardous chemicals. The Call for Nominations reached over 40,000 experts from intergovernmental organisations, non-profit organisations, academic and research institutions, government agencies, and other notable organisations active in this field.

The Future Policy Award, an annual prize awarded by the World Future Council (WFC), showcases legislation and policies that create better living conditions for current and future generations. It is the first award for laws and policies and is celebrated on an international level. Each year, the World Future Council focuses on one topic on which policy progress is particularly urgent. The Future Policy Award 2021 highlights exemplary laws and policies that protect people and the environment from hazardous chemicals.  A dramatic number of deaths and illnesses are attributed to hazardous chemicals as well as air, water and soil pollution and contamination. Many children globally are born “pre-polluted” in utero, with numerous contaminants that impact on several of their rights. It is therefore critical that the protection from hazardous chemicals is strengthened – through inclusive, effective, inspiring, and innovative laws and policies.

The categories for which experts could nominate were as follows: The protection of human health and the environment from chemicals across the lifecycle  (14 nominations received), Highly Hazardous Pesticides (23), Lead in Paint (11), Policies that tackle hazardous (child) labour dealing with chemicals  (4) and Environmentally Persistent Pharmaceutical Pollutants (3). No policy on Chemicals in Plastic Products was nominated.

We received nominations on the national, regional, and urban/communal level. See full press release including list of nominations here.

Hamburg, Geneva, Paris, Nairobi. 4 March 2020  –  This year, the world renowned Future Policy Award, also known as the “Oscars on best policies”,  will celebrate the world’s best laws, policies, and legal frameworks that regulate or ban the use of chemicals that threaten the environment and human health. Each year, the World Future Council, in collaboration with UN agencies, highlights exemplary policies in one field where innovation and action are particularly urgent.

Around 40,000-60,000 chemicals are in use worldwide, some of which cause irreversible harm to humans and the environment; many of these are particularly problematic chemicals that end up in our food chain and the environment. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated the burden of disease from exposure to selected chemicals at 1.6 million lives in 2016, and many more cases of illness. Children are especially vulnerable, and can be affected already before birth with long-lasting effects.

“The global chemicals industry is projected to double by 2030. Strengthening the sound management of chemicals and waste is urgently required, in view of achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The Future Policy Award will honour best practice examples in this regard,” said  the German Federal Minister of the Environment, Svenja Schulze.

"Adverse effects of chemicals can impact present and future generations. Therefore, we must find effective ways to manage hazardous chemicals throughout their lifecycle to protect humans and the environment," said the President of the German Environment Agency, Prof. Dr. Dirk Messner.

“Children in the global South are particularly exposed to dangerous chemicals. But also in Western countries, environmental toxins find their way into the human organism and our environment, where they can cause lasting damage, especially to our youngest,” says Alexandra Wandel, Executive Director of the World Future Council Foundation.

“Chemicals are an important part of our lives, but they can harm our health and our environment. Countries should work together in developing better policies for managing chemicals more efficiently and effectively,” said Masamichi Kono, Deputy Secretary General of the OECD.

“Workers are among those most exposed to hazardous chemicals and waste in various sectors around the world and it is our duty to reaffirm the right to a safe and health working environment for all working people,” said Guy Ryder, ILO Director General.

With the Call for Nominations, we seek comprehensive policies, laws and legal frameworks that protect human health, specifically the health of children, and the environment. We are particularly interested in the regimentation of chemicals in products including plastic, highly toxic pesticides, and lead in paint. We also warmly welcome nominations for the protection of children and youth from dangerous work and exposure to toxic chemicals.

The Future Policy Award will be awarded in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as well as the German Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU), the German Environment Agency (UBA), the Michael Otto Foundation and the Jua Foundation. The award ceremony will take place during the 5th International Conference on the Management of Chemicals in July 2021 in Bonn.

Published on Tuesday, November 10, 2020
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