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AWHHE News

2021, again a year to remember; full of activities despite the lockdowns and postponements as a result of the COVID19 -pandemic. Of course, the main focus was on advocacy; knowledge exchange and research; to our regret a lot of local activities could not take place. Chapter two is dedicated to the core activities of WfWP as far as WfWP is supporting or directly involved, however, there are many more projects carried out by our members and some of them you will find reported below and on our website. Members enabled members and local women’s groups to implement projects in inter alia Armenia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Mali, Ukraine, South Asia. Next to other SDGs, these projects contribute mainly to SDG’s 4, 5 and 6 (par 2.1). The Commission on the Status of Women and the virtual Stockholm World Water Week were again a highlight, but WfWP participated in many other actions and events (see annex) to advocate for a recognized, improved and visible position of women as sustainable water managers (par 2.2). In terms of knowledge development, work started on the second phase of our governance research on the impact of participation of women, the seed-funding proposals and research on the blue fund and developing a framework for mentoring; all of this made possible through a grant we received from giz, Germany. All of this work will continue well into 2022. (par 2.3) In terms of governance both the General Assembly and the Steering Committee showed decisiveness and commitment even though all discussions and decisions had to be taken via email consultation and Skype or Zoom meetings (par 3.1 and 3.3). The group of partners went through some changes (par 3.4). Many efforts were made to raise funds for WfWP and some of these applications are still pending. (par 4.4). Facebook, our YouTube channel including the website were, also in 2021, important means to communicate with the outside world (par 4.1). The update of our website started. 

 

“Armenian Women for Health and Health Environment” (AWHHE) NGO joined the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint – a joint program of WHO and UNEP within the framework of the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (ILPPW) held on 23-29 October, 2022.

The campaign  aimed to draw public attention to the effects of lead on human health, especially children, to highlight the importance of countries’ efforts to prevent this exposure, and to demand that governments achieve the universal goal of phasing out lead paint through stricter legislation.

Within the framework of the week of action, AWHHE conducted a Roundtable discussion to summarize the NGO’s ten-year effort to phase out lead paint and outline the necessary steps that can contribute to solving this problem. The event took place on October 28 in the Conference Hall of the Institute of Mechanics of the RA National Academy of Sciences.

It was attended by representatives of civil society organizations interested in the problem of lead paints (“Consumers Support Center” NGO, Dalma Sona, “Ecoteam” NGO, Yerevan Aarhus Center, “Ecological Union” NGO, “EcoLur” NGO) and experts. At the end of the discussion, the following recommendations were presented:

  • Armenia, as a member of EAEU, should immediately propose an amendment to paragraph 11 of the draft technical regulations of the Customs Union “On the safety of paint materials” from 2013, noting that paint materials should not contain chemicals, including metals, belonging to the 1st class of hazard, the amount of which in terms of dry residue exceeds 0.009% (90 ppm);
  • Submit a recommendation to the National Assembly of Armenia to support the listing of lead chromate in the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade;
  • Send a letter to the Focal Points of SAICM of the RA Ministry of Environment and the RA Ministry of Health with a request to make the problem of lead paints in the priorities of the action plans of the relevant ministries, ensuring risk reduction and protecting the health of the population, especially children;
  • Contact the NGO Consumers Support Center to strengthen monitoring and enforcement of existing lead paint regulations. National bans on lead paint should include provisions for enforcement and the consequences of non-compliance;
  • Submit an appeal to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in order to ensure the use of safe paint and varnish materials in the construction and reconstruction of children’s educational institutions (ADB conducts a wide program in Armenia for the construction and reconstruction of children’s educational institutions);
  • Submit an appeal to local importers of the paint and varnish industry to limit the import of paints to Armenia with a lead content of more than 90 ppm, provide a list of brands of manufacturers of paints containing lead not more than 90 ppm.

Interview for Mariam radio about Lead in Paint

 

(Press Release)

 “Armenian Women for Health and a Healthy Environment” (AWHHE) NGO emphasizes the threats to children from lead paint during the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week.

AWHHE joins the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint (hereinafter – the Alliance) – a joint program of WHO and UNEP within the framework of the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (ILPPW), which will be held on 23-29 October. The Alliance highlights the urgent need to protect children’s health by taking action to eliminate the use of lead paint. During the week of action, AWHHE will conduct a Roundtable discussion to summarize the NGO’s ten-year effort to phase out lead paint and outline the necessary steps that can contribute to solving this problem.

AWHHE is a member of IPEN, a global coalition of over 600 public interest organizations in over 125 countries working to eliminate toxic substances and sources. IPEN is a founding member of the Alliance and a member of its Advisory Council. This year’s ILPPW events will mark the tenth anniversary of the annual effort to raise the global significance of the ongoing threats of lead poisoning, including lead paint, which continues to be used in Armenia and in most part of the world.

Since 2009, IPEN member groups have conducted more than 100 studies on over 4,000 paints from 59 countries, including in Armenia.

In 2016, AWHHE participated in the IPEN Lead Paint Elimination Initiative. A total of 16 points of sale in Armenia were surveyed, including specialized shops, paint shops and private shops. The result was a list of 49 brand paints in four colors (red, green, yellow and white). The study showed that the Armenian market has a large number of imported household paints. In 59% of the analyzed samples of brands of household paint (29 out of 49 samples analyzed), the lead content was high compared to the international maximum concentration limit for lead (90 ppm).

In September 2016, the results were presented at the workshop “Children’s Health Problems Due to Environmental Degradation and Climate Change”. The event was organized by the UNICEF office in Armenia and was attended by various stakeholders from the government, international organizations and organizations representing the Armenian civil society.

Decades have proven that there is no safe level of lead exposure. Lead is a powerful poison that affects many human body systems and is especially harmful to young children. Even in small doses, lead can affect children’s brain development, leading to lower IQs, behavioral changes such as decreased concentration of attention and antisocial behavior, and reduced levels of education. Lead exposure can also damage the kidneys, reproductive organs, immune system, and lead to anemia and hypertension. The neurological and behavioral effects of lead exposure are generally irreversible.

Currently, the draft technical regulation of the Customs Union “On the Safety of Paints and Varnishes” of 2013 does not require a detailed description of its composition to be included in the labeling of paints and varnishes. AWHHE is calling for a strict limit of lead in decorative paints to 90 ppm through outreach (letters and meetings) with relevant government agencies (Department of the Eurasian Economic Commission and Foreign Trade of the Ministry of Economy of Armenia, RA Ministry of Health). Unfortunately, at the local level, changes have not yet been achieved. Work should be continued at the regional level with the participation of interested NGOs from member countries of the Eurasian Union.

In addition, together with IPEN, AWHHE is calling for the listing of lead chromates under the Rotterdam Convention. Even countries with legally binding national bans find it difficult to enforce them when lead chromates, lead-containing pigments used in paints, continue to be sold around the world without prior notice or consent. The listing of lead chromates will trigger the Convention’s Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure and provide countries with the information they need to opt out of imports of lead chromates and lead paints.

“We have long known about the toxic threat of lead paint to our children and families, and many countries stopped selling lead paint decades ago. However, in most parts of the world, lead paint is still in use and poses a lifelong threat to the health of millions of children,” said Manny Calonzo, 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize winner, former IPEN Co-Chair and Founder of the IPEN Lead Safe Paint® Certification Program. “Our children cannot wait another ten years to get rid of lead paint – we need urgent action to stop lead poisoning in our children,” he said.

Even in countries where lead paint is banned, old houses painted with lead paint continue to cause lead-related health problems in millions of children. That is why urgent action is needed to eliminate lead paint worldwide – lead paint sold today will continue to pose a threat to children’s health for decades to come.

The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) launched the Synthesis Report of the SLE Projects titled Co-Creating Sustainable Ways of Living 24 Stories of On-the-Ground Innovations. This report elaborates on the essential points of the 24 projects globally including two in Armenia implemented by AWHHE. The projects were implemented in frame of the Sustainable Lifestyles and Education (SLE) Programme under the UN 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns (10YFP, which is now known as the One-Planet Network).  

More information on the initiative as well as the report is available at the following link: https://www.iges.or.jp/en/pub/co-creating-sustainable-ways-living-v2/bi-enja-zz

The event was organized within the framework of  “Building Capacity in Armenia to Support the Phase-out of Mercury Additive Products” project implemented by the Ministry of Environment in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The aim of the workshop was to present to the staff of the Environmental Protection and Mining Inspection Body – which accomplishes  supervision in the sphere of environmental protection – the international conventions developed in recent years, the legislation streamlining  the field of chemical substances and wastes.

See more: http://www.mnp.am/en/news/workshop-dedicated-to-the-analysis-of-mercury-and-other-hazardous-substances-and-waste-legislation 

 

 

The event was organized within the framework of “Building Capacity in Armenia to Support the Phase-out of Mercury Additive Products”  project implemented by the Ministry of Environment in colloboration with UNEP.
 The event was attended by the officers of the National Academy of Sciences, non-governmental organizations and other interested institutions.
Knarik Grigoryan, Expert  on Chemical Safety of “Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment” NGO, presented the results of the research conducted in household lamp stores in 13 cities of 9 regions in Armenia. She noted that there were three main types of light bulbs in specialized lamp shops, building materials stores: mercury-containing fluorescent lamps, mercury-free incandescent lamps, and state-of-the-art (LED) lamps. 

For more information, please visit: http://env.am/en/news/it-took-place-a-workshop-on-raising-awareness-on-mercury-containing-products-and-data-validation 

Chilean press has published an article about the “Encouraging young specialists to power the agri-food value chains and building sustainable business models” project, the overall objective of which is to promote healthier lifestyles and power agri-food value chain by developing sustainable business models and encouraging young specialists to jointly-build capacities with Armenian rural communities.

To read the full article in spanish, please follow the link; https://www.revistaei.cl/…/el-aporte-de-la-universidad…/#

In Armenia, an UNDEF-funded project implemented by Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment aims to contribute to sustainable management strategies of natural water resources in the Ararat Valley. This project has a focus on empowering women’s groups to conceive and oversee sustainable strategies for using community water and sanitation resources. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the project has incorporated Covid-19 into its public awareness communications and has expanded its reach to additional communities. For the full article, please follow this link;  THE HOLIDAY ISSUE 

Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment” NGO, on April 15, 2020, announces a tender for the purchase of a photovoltaic system, in order to cover energy costs for a centrifugal water intake pump installed at the WUA (Water Users Association) pump station in the Solak community of Kotayk region.

The deadline for the tender is April 30, 2020.

The photovoltaic system should be installed on the recently reconstructed roof of the pump station.

Please provide design and cost estimate documentation for purchase and cost estimation of the photovoltaic system.

At the same time, please provide the license of your organization, information on labeling of components of the photovoltaic system, country of origin and warranty period:

Here you can find technical information about the pump being used and other relevant information.

Press Release

Yerevan, 30 January 2020: Everyone has the right to access to water supply and sanitation and everyone is obliged to pay for the services provided. The state should establish mechanisms to enable the socially disadvantaged groups to use these services and to ensure that people pay for these services.
Equitable access to water and sanitation and a number of other issues related to water supply and sanitation were addressed at a meeting held at the “Ibis Yerevan Center” Hotel on January 30, 2020 organized by the “Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment” NGO within the framework of the UNDEF – funded project “Enabling Women to Participate in Sustainable Water Management in Armenia”.
Representatives of state agencies, NGOs and communities involved in the project attended the meeting.
The speeches delivered at the meeting touched upon such issues like the tariff policy in the Republic of Armenia, the process of formation of drinking water, sanitation and irrigation water tariffs, social assistance to vulnerable groups, and other issues.
When talking about the tariff policy, the participants’ attention was drawn to the fact that the unified tariff is applied to all customers of the settlements included in the service area of “Veolia Djur” CJSC, including vulnerable and marginalized groups. However, there is no complete information on the tariffs for the settlements outside the above mentioned service area, as in these settlements, even access to water and sanitation is a common issue. In addition, at present the RA legislation does not define vulnerable and marginalized groups.
It was also mentioned, that there is currently a need to make legislative changes, in particular to the RA Water Code, relating to the inclusion of the definition of vulnerable and isolated groups and ensuring equitable access to drinking water for those groups.
At the end of the meeting, the participants presented a number of recommendations to ensure the exercise of drinking water supply and sanitation rights for vulnerable groups.