The meeting was the third international gathering on pollution convened by Blacksmith at Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center in Italy. The Bellagio Center has incubated other far-reaching international efforts like the global AIDS vaccine initiative.
Coordinated by Blacksmith, the unprecedented alliance is supported by the World Bank, the European Commission and UNIDO, among other agencies.
"We expect GAHP to make an impact on global pollution cleanup by making it easier for countries to take concrete action," explains Fuller. " In a sense we are a one-stop shop. We can help match problems with programs and solutions."
GAHP is already starting to work. For example, GAHP members and observers recently came together to see what each could do to help the Philippines. The USAID Philippines mission expressed interest in dealing with artisanal gold mining issues, while the World Bank plans to support a US$50 million initiative to begin cleanup of the Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando river system.
GAHP membership is open to all.
To join GAHP or seek GAHP help, contact the GAHP Secretariat at email@example.com
Blacksmith Keeps Mercury Cleanup in Focus at INC4
On June 27 to July 2, Blacksmith attended the fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC4) in Uruguay. Led by the United Nations Environmental Porgramme's (UNEP) Chemicals Branch, the mercury negotiations is working towards a legally binding international treaty to reduce and, when possible, eliminate mercury emissions to protect human health and the environment. Blacksmith's participation ensured that the identification and cleanup of contaminated sites was not left out of the discussion.
"Right now, it looks like the work to identify and cleanup contaminated sites might fall under the category of "voluntary" work. If this is the final decision to be adopted during INC5 next February, developing countries will find it very difficult to accomplish the letter of the treaty due to the lack of financial resources and technical assistance," says Lillian Cora, Blacksmith's government relationship advisor for South America.
"So our presence at INC4 was especially important because of the help we can offer with the new Global Alliance on Health and Pollution (GAHP). We want countries to know that they are not alone in tackling cleanup."
Under the letter of this new treaty, GAHP will have an important part to play in helping countries complete the assessment of toxic hotspots under Blacksmith's Toxic Sites Identification Program (TSIP) and evaluating the technical and financial resources available.
At the meeting, Blacksmith met with representatives from Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay, Surinam, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Santa Lucia, Bahamas, Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago, among other countries, to explore GAHP collaborations.
Essential Reading: Q&A with Author of "Visit Sunny Chernobyl," and More
Blacksmith's 2011 annual report has just been released with updates on cleanup projects around the world.
The latest issue of the Blacksmith Journal of Health and Pollution is also out. Read about the emerging
use of non-toxic borax in artisanal gold
mining, X-ray fluorescence analyzers and more.
In The Pollution Blog this month, read Blacksmith's Q&A with Visit Sunny Chernobyl author Andrew Blackwell. When doing research for his new book, Blackwell had consulted Blacksmith's list of World's Worst Polluted Places. Writing about his travels as a "pollution tourist," Blackwell has produced one of the best accounts of how lives are lived everyday in some of the worst hotspots.
Look for Blackwell at a Blacksmith Pollution Talk event soon.
Save the date: Blacksmith's Annual Golf Benefit
Join us for a good cause on October 1 when we tee off at the Sleepy Hollow Country Club in New York. Blacksmith's golf benefit raises thousands of dollars each year for crucial cleanup of some of the world's worst polluted places. Spend a day on the green, win some prizes, save some lives. Register today.
Blacksmith Institute works in some of the world's worst polluted places to solve
pollution problems and clean up contaminated sites in order to save lives.
Blacksmith is currently engaged in over 40 projects in 19 countries.
475 Riverside Drive Suite 860, New York, NY 10115 | www.blacksmithinstitute.org
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