News Centre
By ROE News on 10/23/2016 2:07 AM
The international lead poisoning prevention week of action takes place between 23 – 29 October, with the aim of raising awareness of the health and other risks posed by lead and what can be done to combat them. This year’s theme focuses on lead in paint – the greatest risk of exposure for humans.

What exactly are the health risks posed by lead in paint? And is lead in paint really still a problem in the pan-European region? Kicking off the awareness-raising week, find out the answers to these questions and more about by reading the below Q&A with renowned Russian scientist Dr. Olga Speranskaya – named a UN Environment Champion of the Earth in 2011.


Dr Speranskaya has been garnering headlines...
By ROE News on 10/21/2016 5:37 AM
Soria, Spain - 28 September 2016: The owner of a recycling company has been sentenced to two years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to the illegal handling of electronic and toxic waste and releasing ozone-depleting and global warming refrigerants into the atmosphere. The man was also ordered to pay a daily fee during an eight-month  period and received a three-year ban from working in the recycling industry.

The sentence came about thanks to an investigation by the Environmental Protection Unit of the Civil Guards (SEPRONA) – previously recognised by UN Environment with an award.

The illegal activity had been taking place since July 2013. As a result of the investigation, 600 electronic items including 203 refrigerators were confiscated at the demand of the specialized Public Prosecutor. The investigation also found that over 40 kg of mercury compounds had been dumped into the soil, and that the chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerants...
By ROE News on 10/21/2016 4:37 AM
Central and Eastern European and Central Asian countries are making a stand about the risks of lead in paint, during the international lead poisoning prevention week of action on 23-29 October. 

Following the successful phase-out of lead in petrol - preventing more than 1.2 million premature deaths a year and reducing lead in blood levels by at least 90 per cent – there is a strong drive to eliminate lead in paint. 

Not only did the elimination of lead in petrol improve health, it lowered crime. Since lead is attributed to antisocial behaviour, it was estimated that 58 million crimes were avoided by the removal of lead in petrol – saving $2.4 trillion each year. 

The international week of action aims to portray the remaining issues with lead worldwide. European countries have been designing a number of events, for the week of action, to illustrate a need for change - including a flash mob in Albania, meetings with paint store owners...
By ROE News on 10/21/2016 1:36 AM
Products used in our daily lives can contain harmful toxins including lead, which can cause intellectual disability, among other issues. As the greatest chance of being exposed to lead comes from paint, toys covered in the substance are of particular concern - with children most at risk.

Chemicals that may be found in toys include lead and cadmium in metal clasps and paint, phthalates used as softeners, azo dyes used as colours and bisphenols in plastics– all of which pose numerous health risks[i].

Special rules have therefore been introduced for selling toys in the European Union banning many of the above, in addition to other legislation covering chemicals in products. The private sector can also help reduce lead and other harmful chemicals in toys – and there is a clear business case...
By ROE News on 10/19/2016 1:49 AM
·      - Rivers begin to dry up as the loss of Mt Kilimanjaro’s forests triggers water crisis

·     - Climate change has destroyed 13,000 hectares of the mountain’s forests since 1976 – equivalent to cutting off a year’s supply of drinking water for 1 million people

·     - East Africa’s glaciers expected to disappear within a few decades

19 October 2016 – Reforesting Africa’s highest mountain could help protect vital water supplies that are under threat across large parts of East Africa, according to a UN Environment report that looks at the impact of climate change on the region’s mountains.

Mt Kilimanjaro’s forests are a vital source of water for the surrounding towns and the wider region. Water from the mountain feeds one of Tanzania’s largest rivers, the Pangani, providing food, fuel and building materials to much of East Africa.

But higher temperatures as a result of climate change have increased the number of wildfires on the mountain. These fires have destroyed 13,000 hectares of forest since 1976. Because there are now fewer trees to trap water from clouds, the annual amount of dew on the mountain is believed to have fallen by 25%. This drastic decline is equivalent to losing enough drinking water to supply 1 million people every year. 

By ROE News on 10/18/2016 11:37 PM

The health of people and our planet go hand-in-hand, argues UN Environment's Regional Director for Europe in an op-ed for the European Sting political affairs news portal. 

The latest estimate is that 23% of all annual deaths worldwide are linked to environmental degradation. Yet work carried out by UN Environment and partners aims to reverse this. Political will, dialogue between ministries and healthy consumption choices by citizens can ensure that we all contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals, stresses Mr Dusik. 

To read the full opinion piece click here. For more information write to

By ROE News on 10/16/2016 10:52 PM

Nearly 200 countries struck a landmark deal on Friday to reduce the emissions of powerful greenhouse gases, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), in a move that could prevent up to 0.5 degrees Celsius of global warming by the end of this century.

The amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer endorsed in Kigali is the single largest contribution the world has made towards keeping the global temperature rise "well below" 2 degrees Celsius, a target agreed at the Paris climate conference last year.

To read a full press release please click here

By ROE News on 10/13/2016 11:47 PM
A biodiverse ecosystem can boast a rich abundance of species. More diverse systems often have lower rates of disease among animals, humans and plants. Biodiverse environments are also sources for modern medicine to develop new pharmaceuticals.

For example, tackling forest degradation across the pan-European region is an important step towards sustaining a biodiverse region and a healthy population. 

Over the last 20 years, the stock volume of trees across Europe has increased by 0.39 per cent, even if in some of the region’s biodiversity hotspots forests are still being threatened and illegal logging is still ongoing. It is important that we keep protecting forests and biodiversity in the region to continue growing towards a healthier future!

If this interests you, find out more on p.35 and p.231 in the sixth Global Environmental Outlook report for the pan-European region.

By ROE News on 10/11/2016 2:05 AM
Experts including UN Environment staff have contributed to a discussion on how a fresh EU drive to combat the illegal wildlife trade can take place most effectively on the ground.

The EU is taking one of the crudest environmental crimes by the horns and is calling for a global partnership to deliver its recently adopted Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking.

A workshop on ‘Delivering and enforcing the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking’ took place on 8 September in Brussels. It was attended by experts from UN Environment, the European Commission, Europol, the wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic, the UK Border Force, and the University of Northumbria.

During the discussion, all the experts stressed the importance of the Action Plan to put illegal wildlife trade higher on the political agenda but agreed it will come down to how well it is implemented. The Plan –supported...
By ROE News on 10/9/2016 11:40 PM
‘There are groups that are more vulnerable to climate change than others,’ Barbara Ruis - UN Environment Legal Officer – remarked, as she opened an expert panel discussion on ‘The rights of persons, groups and peoples disproportionately impacted by climate change’.

The conversation, organised by UN Environment last Thursday, addressed why precise groups were more susceptible to the negative impacts of climate change. Suggestions were also made on how this could be improved in the future. The most at risk were highlighted as: indigenous peoples, women, children, people with disabilities and small island developing states.

“Indigenous peoples continue to be the poorest of the poor,” explained Martin Oelz - Senior Specialist on Equality and Non-Discrimination, International Labour Office. He observed that this was because indigenous peoples tend to live in places that are susceptible to...