Chemicals, waste and pollution are considered one of the “triple threats” to humanity, along with climate change and the loss of biodiversity. With this motivation, the United Nations Assembly (UNEA) adopted a resolution in 2022 to create a new science-policy panel dedicated to contributing to the sound management of chemicals, waste and the prevention of pollution. The first face-to-face meeting of country delegates and observers was held in Bangkok from 30 January to 3 February 2023, resulting in draft language for the scope and function of this new panel.
RSC Fellow Miriam L. Diamond from the University of Toronto participated in the meeting as part of the delegation from the International Panel on Chemical Pollution, a group of independent scientists. Diamond was invited by the meeting secretariat to present her views on the function of the panel as part of two “deep dive” sessions held during the week. In her view, those functions include scanning the horizon for “emerging” and continuing issues, innovating to develop new solutions, inviting inclusive “ways of knowing” that respects lived experiences, and ensuring strict conflict-of-interest provisions. In addition, she intervened to express the need for independent scientist to be involved over the next two years as the panel is established. Overall, a very productive and encouraging outcome from the meeting and most importantly, the future of improved management of chemicals and waste and for reducing chemical pollution.