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Norwegian scientists support the establishment of an international pollution panel

Foto: Colourbox

Senior scientist Dorte Herzke at NILU is one of the initiators of an open letter to Espen Barth Eide, the Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment. In the letter, almost 200 Norwegian scientists give their support to the establishment of an international science-policy panel for measures against chemicals, waste and pollution.

The 192 researchers who have signed the letter are employed by 28 Norwegian universities, research institutes and other institutions. They say that the Norwegian scientific community’s opinion is clear:

“We see an urgent need for the UN to establish an international scientific panel with a similar mandate as the International Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) and the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).”

They further state that the establishment of such a panel is crucial to meet the global threat related to increasing pollution of chemicals and waste.

Up for vote in the UN Environment Assembly

The establishment of this panel will be discussed and voted on in the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA5.2). It will be held in Nairobi, Kenya from 28 February – 2 March 2022, and will be chaired by Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment Espen Barth Eide. According to the scientists, this provides an excellent opportunity to show Norway’s strong international commitment to protecting the environment at an international level.

“While drafting the letter, we learnt that both the Norwegian Government and Minister Eide support the establishment of a pollution panel,” say the scientists. “We are very happy to hear this. Nevertheless, it is important to publish this letter to show the Norwegian scientific community’s support for the Norwegian government’s position.

Broad international support

Other countries that support the establishment of a pollution panel include Austria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Costa Rica, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay.

In other words, the Norwegian researchers are in good company. Colleagues in several other countries have signed similar letters. In total, more than 2,000 researchers around the world have signed a global petition to support the establishment of this panel.

“A clear signal from the international scientific community is that the current international framework is ineffective in preventing this type of pollution. Science-based action is needed at a global level”, say the scientists.

The researchers organizing the letter were

  • Hans Peter Arp, Expert Adviser, NGI, Professor II, NTNU (Environmental Chemist)
  • Bert van Bavel, Sjefsforsker, NIVA (Analytical Chemist)
  • Andy Booth, Sjefsforsker, SINTEF Ocean (Environmental Chemist)
  • Claudia Halsband, Seksjonsleder, Akvaplan-niva (Marine Ecologist)
  • Dorte Herzke, Seniorforsker, NILU, Associate Professor II, UiT (Environmental Chemist)
  • Bjørn Munro Jenssen, Professor, NTNU, UNIS (Environmental Toxicologist)
  • Amy Lusher, Forsker, NIVA, Associate Professor II, UiB (Marine Biologist)
  • Thomas Maes, Seniorforsker, GRID Arendal (Pollution Scientist)
  • Luca Nizzetto, Seniorforsker, NIVA (Environmental Chemist)
  • Martin Wagner, Associate Professor, NTNU (Environmental Toxicologist)