Women in Europe for a Common Future


 Moscow.  The High Level International Expert Conference in Moscow, Russia, was organised by civil society organisations with participants from the Russian Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Committee on Natural Resources, Natural Resource Use and the Environment of the Russian Parliament, the European Union representation in Russia, ministries (Foreign Affairs and Environment) and embassies of Germany, the Netherlands and France, the head of the United Nations Rotterdam Convention, the World Health Organisation, the International Labour Organization, coming from 9 countries. 

The conference participants adopted a resolution, which recommends the Government of the Russian Federation to access the Rotterdam Convention as soon as possible, preferably before the next Conference of the Parties in June 2011. This should encounter no barriers since relevant legislative provisions are already in place, and will protect the Russian Federation from uncontrolled imports of hazardous chemicals. In the welcome sessions the European Union representation in Russia, explained that the European Union have implemented legislative measures to protect public health from hazardous chemicals. The representative of the French government, Mrs Anne Bourdy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, shared lessons learnt from asbestos use in France, which along with 50 other nations has banned all uses of asbestos, indicating that the mortality from asbestos in France has reached more than 35.000, and could rise to an estimated total of 50 to 100.000. She also emphasized that asbestos was the leading cause of occupational cancer in France.

The representative of the German government, Mr. Alexander Nies, presented the case of Germany, where the cost of each person with diseases caused by asbestos, mostly chrysotile, receive an average of 130.000 Euro until their death.

WECF is an international network of 100 women and environment non-governmental organisations working for a healthy environment, including safe management of chemicals.