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The inception workshop was co-hosted by the Government of the People’s Republic of China and UNEP’s Chemicals and Waste Branch, on the 25th to the 27th of April 2016 in Beijing, People’s Republic of China.

Lead is a cumulative toxicant particularly hazardous to young children and pregnant women.  Currently there is no safe level of lead established. Lead in paint is a major route of lead exposure, particularly for children. Lead paint is still widely available in developing countries. The estimated economic cost associated with childhood lead exposure in low- and middle-income countries amounts to 1.2 % of world GDP in 2011 i.e. a total cumulative cost burden of $977 billion international dollars per year. 

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has been engaged in action to address the environmental and health risks posed by lead, focusing to date on the phasing out lead in fuels and paints. UNEP, in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO), supports the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paints (Lead Paint Alliance), a global partnership aiming at phasing out the use of lead in paint by 2020.

The project entitled “Promoting elimination of the use of lead paints in China and Africa” also responds UNEA Resolution 1/5 Chemicals and Waste VI Lead and Cadmium (June 2014) that continues to recognize the significant risks to human health and the environment arising from releases of lead and cadmium into the environment.

The project objective is to minimize and ultimately eliminate the manufacture, export, import, sale and use of decorative lead paint in China by promoting the elimination of the use of lead paints in China. While the project focus attention on promoting the elimination of the use of lead paints in China, the project is conceived as a key element of further concrete South-South cooperation specifically with African countries.  i.e. Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia and Tanzania.

The current project also aims to enhance the capacity of developing countries, both in China and in those African countries, to implement their environmental obligations and to achieve their environmental goals, targets and objectives through strengthened institutions and the implementation of legal and regulatory frameworks laws, in relation to lead, and cadmium, and in particular to addressing the elimination of lead in paint.  

The specific objectives of the workshop are:

  • Share the understandings of the health and environmental risks of the lead in paint and the relevant components of the project,
  • Exchange information on the government policies and key stakeholders actions in China, and available tools and experiences towards the elimination of lead in paint, and
  • Agree on the future actions in relation to relevant components of the project.