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The fourth session of the Meeting of the Parties to the UNECE-WHO/Europe Protocol on Water and Health to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes took place on 14-16 November 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting  was held in the Palais des Nations,  started on Monday, 14 November 2016. Mrs. Emma Anakhasyan  AWHHE NGO representative participates in the meeting.



Measuring progress in achieving equitable access to water and sanitation
Date: Monday, 14 November 2016 Time: 13.30-14.30
Venue: Emirates Room (Room XVII) Interpretation: English, French, Russian

Equitable access is key for the realization of the rights to water and sanitation but also for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 on water. The Protocol on Water and Health also states that “equitable access to water and sanitation, adequate in both quantity and quality, should be provided for all members of the population, especially those who suffer a disadvantage or social exclusion” (art. 5). The successful realization of this objective relies on adequate support from all relevant actors and the definition of robust indicators and appropriate tools for measurement of progress. This further includes prioritizing and targeting, as well as ensuring participation of specific groups, such as women.

The event will discuss the importance of using disaggregated indicators to establish the right level of measurements to monitor the implementation of SDG 6 targets. It will also seek to identify the roles of specific actors, in particular women, in achieving equitable access to water and sanitation at all levels. More importantly, it will focus on ensuring that the process to ensure equity is actually understood and that progress is achieved. Presentations will provide background information on the topic while the panel discussions will identify main challenges and solutions based on the participants’ experiences.

13:30-13:35 Opening remarks
Rose Alabaster, WaterLex

13:35-13:50 Presentations – Frameworks for monitoring equitable access to water and sanitation
Enabling framework for adequate monitoring of compliance with the human rights to water and sanitation
Lenka Kruckova, WaterLex
The need for gender-disaggregated indicators to track equitable access to water and sanitation
Emma Anakhasyan, Women for Water Partnership

13:50-14:25 Panel discussion – Sharing good practices and challenges faced to improve equitable access on the ground
Facilitator: Diana Iskreva, Women for Water Partnership
Yannick Pavageau, French Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
Natasha Dokovska, Journalists for Human Rights
Anna Tsvietkova, Ukrainian National environmental NGO “MAMA-86”
Robert Bos, International Water Association
François Münger, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (tbc)
Rick Johnston, WHO
Discussions between the audience and the panellists

14:25-14:30 Summary and closing remarks
Diana Iskreva, Women for Water Partnership

Date: 27 October 2016, 16:00 p.m.

Event: Meeting with participation of different concerned ministries, organizations and NGOs

Venue: UNICEF, UN office in Armenia, c. Yerevan

Title of presentation: “Summary of results of research on lead in enamel paints sold in Armenia”

Speaker: Mrs. Knarik Grigoryan, “Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment” NGO expert on chemical safety

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(Gothenburg, Sweden) Many decorative paints sold in over 40 low- and middle-income countries contained dangerous levels of lead, sometimes in direct violation of national regulation, according to a new report released by IPEN today. The report, Global Lead Paint Report, brings together data from paint studies conducted since 2009 in 46 low- and middle-income countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. The majority of these countries lack regulation limiting the lead content of paint.

“While major producers have begun removing lead from their products in a number of developing countries in Asia, there is an alarming amount of lead paint still sold in all developing regions of the world. It is really quite shocking that a parent who paints their child’s nursery a sunny yellow or someone who runs a colorfully painted child care center may be, through no fault of their own, exposing a child to permanent brain damage caused by lead exposure,” said Dr. Sara Brosché, Project Manager, IPEN Lead Paint Elimination Campaign.

IPEN released its Global Lead Paint Report as a part of worldwide activities during the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action (ILPPWA), October 23 –29, 2016, co-led by theUnited Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Health Organization (WHO). In addition to the report, IPEN Participating Organizations also released new reports on lead in paint in nine countries and conducted lead awareness activities in more than 25 countries.

In a statement prepared for this year’s ILPPWA, Dr. Maria Neira, Director of the Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health for the World Health Organization (WHO), said: “Exposure to lead poses a significant hazard to human health, especially for children. . .There is no need to add lead to paint – safer alternative chemicals can be used. The best way to ensure the availability of lead-safe paint is for countries to put in place laws, regulations or mandatory standards that prohibit the manufacture, import, export, sale or use of lead paint.”

The report documents that progress has been made since 2009 in eliminating lead paint:

  • Data on lead in paint is now available in 46 countries, with 15 additional studies scheduled for release by IPEN and NGO partners in 2016.
  • Binding regulatory controls limiting the lead content of paint have been enacted or are pending in 6 Asian countries and 4 African countries. The East African Community (EAC) has adopted mandatory standards restricting the use of lead in paint in its five member states.
  • The International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action generated activities in nearly 90 cities in 30 countries in 2015.
  • Akzo Nobel, the world’s second largest paint producer, has announced that it has removed lead from all its paint product lines. The world’s largest paint producer, PPG, announced that it has removed leaded ingredients from all its consumer paint brands and products in all countries and will completely phase out the use of lead in its products by 2020. In addition, major Asian paint producers in a number of countries have begun eliminating lead from their paint products.
  • Three major manufacturers (Boysen, Davies in the Philippines and Multilac in Sri Lanka) have been certified under the world’s first certification program, Lead Safe Paint®.

The report makes several recommendations to achieve the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint’s (GAELP) target date of 2020 for all countries having adopted legally binding laws, regulations, standards and/or procedures to control the production, import, sale and use of lead paints. GAELP is co-hosted by WHO and UNEP.

More country-level data on lead paint is needed. Data on the presence (or absence) of lead paints on the market is currently only available in 23 of the 126 countries that lack regulatory controls on lead paint. Without data it is hard for government officials to establish regulatory controls or to ask paint manufacturers to voluntarily remove lead from their paints.

More governments should begin developing lead paint regulations. Government agencies can begin now to establish multi-stakeholder consultations to address how lead paint controls will be formulated and the timeline for their entry into force. Regulations should include a 90 ppm total lead limit for all paints as well as budgets and protocols for monitoring and enforcement.

Paint manufacturers, paint industry trade associations and paint ingredient vendors should take voluntary action immediately to eliminate lead from all paints, with decorative and other paints used in and around homes and schools as a priority. Ethical manufacturers need not wait for government controls before they act. National, regional and international paint industry trade associations should send clear and strong signals to their members that now is the time to end all manufacture and sale of lead paints.

Donors should make significant new resources available for global lead paint elimination. Additional resources are needed for the collection of lead paint data and to assist national governments in developing and implementing lead paint standards and regulation.

Lead in household paints has been regulated in most highly industrial countries for more than 40 years. The United States and Canada recently established a regulatory limit of 90 parts per million (ppm) lead in response to growing concerns that even low-level lead exposures are harmful to children. Some other countries have established regulatory limits of lead in paint at 600 ppm lead.

Lead in paint is a problem because painted surfaces deteriorate with time and when disturbed. If there is lead in the paint, the lead then contaminates household dust and soils surrounding the home. Children ingest lead from dust and soils during normal hand to mouth behavior. Damage to children’s intelligence and mental development occurs, even when there are no obvious or clinical signs of lead poisoning. Recent WHO guidelines indicate that there is no known acceptable lead exposure level for children.[1] 

When children are exposed to lead, it tends to decrease their performance in school and their lifelong productivity as part of the national labor force. A recent study investigated the economic impact of childhood lead exposure on national economies and estimated a total cumulative loss of $977 billion international dollars per year for all low- and middle-income countries.[2] The estimated economic loss in Africa is $134.7 or 4.03% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

[1] Childhood Lead Poisoning, World Health Organization, 2010, Pages 31-2; http://www.who.int/ceh/publications/leadguidance.pdf and Blood Levels in Children Aged 1-5 Years – United States, 1999-2010, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6213a3.htm?s_cid=mm6213a3_w  See also: UNEP Report: Lead in Enamel Decorative Paints; National Paint Testing Results: A Nine Country Study, Section 3. Lead Exposure and its Health Effects.

[2] Economic Costs of Childhood Lead Exposure in Low­ and Middle­ Income Countries, by Teresa M. Attina and Leonardo Trasande: Environmental Health Perspectives; DOI:10.1289/ehp.1206424;http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1206424/ .

29 June 2016

The OSCE Office in Yerevan presented a prize to Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment non-governmental organization (AWHHE) for their project to improve entrepreneurial skills and income generating capacities of female farmers through the use of solar fruit- and herb-drying equipment and technologies.

Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan gave awards to twelve women entrepreneurs in the following categories: best employer, innovative entrepreneur, brand, young entrepreneur, start-up and exporter. Two winners were selected for each nomination: one from Yerevan and the other from Armenia’s region.

The OSCE Office in Yerevan together with other international partners presented awards to local partners that have promoted good and innovative practices through project activities.


Democratization Programme Officer at the OSCE Office in Yerevan David Gullette (c) hands out a prize to Elena Manvelyan, President of the Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment NGO at the annual Best Women Entrepreneur for 2016 Award ceremony, Yerevan, 29 June 2016. 


Yerevan Aarhus Center, June 2, 2016

Recent studies show that there are a large number of chemicals capable of disrupting the endocrine system. Penetrating into the human body by different routes of exposure, the endocrine disruptors (EDCs) act in an irregular manner, mimicking, blocking, or altering the natural hormones and their signaling systems. Endocrine disruptors are linked to a wide range of health effects, such as obesity, cancer, reproductive system diseases and disorders. Endocrine disruptors may be found in many everyday products that come into contact with our bodies or our environment, be it at home or in the workplace.

On the 2nd of June 2016, a seminar was held at the Yerevan Aarhus Center to discuss the problem of endocrine disrupting chemicals. It was organized by the “Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment” (AWHHE) NGO within the framework of the “Protecting women’s health from the impact of endocrine disruptors” project supported by the Global Green Grants Fund. The seminar was attended by the representatives from state authorities, environmental NGOs and the media.

Dr. Elena Manvelyan, President of AWHHE NGO, presented the issue of EDCs and the situation in Armenia, and particularly stressed the devastating impact of endocrine disruptors on the reproductive system, noting that the impact of these chemicals leads to males’ feminization, both in animals and in humans. She mentioned the huge economic burden of EDCs in EU.

Dr. Lilik Simonyan presented the work done under the project, in particular, the results of laboratory studies of breast milk sampled from nursing mothers in several villages of Ararat and Armavir provinces. The laboratory analyses showed that some samples contained DDT, HCCH and 2,4 D pesticide residues. Dr. Lilik Simonyan noted that breast milk should not contain them at all. She drew the attention of participants to the fact that the 2.4 D herbicide residues were found in breast milk for the first time. This herbicide is among the widely used pesticides, included in the list of pesticides approved for use in the Republic of Armenia. 2,4 D herbicide which is classified as an endocrine disrupting chemical is imported into Armenia under 11 trade names.

Dr. Heghine Gharibyan from the “Republican Center for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Laboratory Services” SNCO of the Ministry of Agriculture of Armenia presented the “Modern methods of detection of chemical contaminants in food products”

The seminar focused on the impact of endocrine disrupters on human health. The participants developed  recommendations for further submission to the relevant stakeholders.

For more information please call (+374 10) 52 36 04 or send an e-mail message to: office@awhhe.am.


According to UNEP (http://www.unep.org/dewa/Africa/publications/AEO-2/content/203.htmarmed conflict has multiple, long- and short-term impacts on development, and on environmental and human well-being. The affects are felt at various spatial levels. Conflict undercuts or destroys environmental, physical, human and social capital, diminishing available opportunities for sustainable development. Conflict impacts on human well-being, reducing quality of life, the capabilities of people to live the kinds of lives they value, and the real choices they have. It results in the loss of lives, livelihoods and opportunity, as well as of human dignity and fundamental human rights.

AWHHE is concerned with the fact that in Nagorno-Karabakh, the conflict has contributed to the breakdown of social cohesion and the disruption of local governance systems. This in turn may result in established safety nets becoming unavailable. The destruction and decay of infrastructure not only affects the provision of essential services but leads to a breakdown in communication, through the loss of roads and telecommunications. This may increase the extent of isolation already experienced by rural communities; it may further diminish their sense of citizenship and contribute to a shrinking of civil society. Infrastructural decay results in the loss of market and other economic opportunities. Another problem is landmines. Some of the environmental problems associated with landmines include: habitat degradation, reduced access to water points and other vital resources, species loss, alteration of the natural food chain, and additional pressure on biodiversity.

This becomes particularly worrisome in view of the fact that Azerbaijani armed forces unleashed large scale offensive along the line of contact at the night of April 1 to April 2. The defense installations of the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army, civilian infrastructure, settlements came under heavy bombardment by artillery, tanks, armored vehicles, multiple rocket launchers, and air force, along the Line of Contact and deep inside the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. The units of the Azerbaijani army intruded Nagorno-Karabakh in several directions. The use of deadly offensive weapons included 122 mm caliber multiple launch rocket system “Grad”, heavy multiple rocket launcher “Smerch”, heavy flamethrower system TOS-1, 152 mm caliber howitzers and various-caliber mortars.

The first and decisive strike on which Azerbaijani armed forces counted for successful commencement of their military action was effectively resisted by the NK Defence Army. Azerbaijan lost significant amount of tanks, armored vehicles, number of combat, attack and other types of drones, 2 attack helicopters, as well as hundreds of troops. These figures are constantly updating but it is certain that Azerbaijan already paid a heavy price for its military adventurism and misleading reports on putative military gains will not be able to mitigate it. The NK Defence army endured casualties as well. So far over 70 servicemen were killed, over 100 wounded.

Azerbaijani Armed Forces in the course of their recent large-scale military offensive, intentionally targeted civilian infrastructures and civilian population, including children and the elderly. Among the first civilian victims were the 12 years-old boy, Vaghinak Grigoryan who was killed in front of the school-building as a result of a Grad missile attack, and two other wounded school-children. In the village of Talish of Martakert region of Nagorno-Karabakh, three elderly members of Khalapyan family, including the 92-year old woman Marusya Khalapyan were brutally tortured, mutilated and killed. A number of crimes were committed against the military personnel of the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army: three captive soldiers – Hayk Toroyan, Hrant Gharibyan and Karam Sloyan, were beheaded by Azerbaijani armed forces in ISIL style as social networks were full of photos of the Azerbaijani soldiers dancing and posing with chopped heads.

During the exchange of bodies of the deceased between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan carried out through the mediation of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, it was registered that 18 bodies of the deceased transferred by the Azerbaijani side had signs of torture and mutilation.

Those barbaric acts go beyond elementary norms of civilized world, constitute violations of core international instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Convention on the Rights of the Child, etc. It is imperative to specifically mention the blatant violation by Azerbaijan of Geneva Conventions of 1949, which inter alia address groups exposed to specific risks, such as children, women and elderly, and its Additional Protocols of 1977 and 1989.

Armenia has constantly raised the issue of ceasefire violations by Azerbaijan at the level of the Permanent Council since 2014. On numerous occasions Armenia agreed with the proposals of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs to establish investigative mechanism into possible ceasefire violations while Azerbaijan rejected all proposals of international mediators on confidence building measures aimed at the consolidation of ceasefire. Armenia called on strengthening the capacities of the Office of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office whose field officers monitor ceasefire regime, while Azerbaijan attempted to limit their permanent presence in the conflict zone. The reason why is more than evident today. Hence all efforts of Azerbaijan were aimed at limiting the international presence and preparing conducive conditions for its new military aggression against the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. Along this policy of undermining the peace process, Azerbaijan tried to get support of Turkey known for its hostile attitude towards Armenians. The provocative rhetoric of Turkish high level authorities before and after the recent escalation along with consistent support provided to the Azerbaijan armed forces are nothing less than open encouragement to commit new crimes against the Armenian people.