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UN Environment’s Work on Lead-Acid Batteries

The market for lead–acid batteries, which accounts for more than 80% of the global demand for lead, is increasing rapidly in developing countries. Nevertheless, in these countries, improper recycling of used lead–acid batteries (ULABs) is causing major sustainability and population exposure problems. In this context, the third session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in December 2017 adopted a resolution that ‘Promotes the Environmentally Sound Management of ULABs’. The resolution also requires UNEP to assist developing countries and nations with economies in transition to strengthen the implementation of the environmentally-sound management (ESM) of ULABs in close cooperation with the Basel Convention Secretariat. Accordingly, the UN Environment and Chemicals and Health Branch is jointly proposing projects that will build the capacities of developing countries to manage ULABs along the same lines. Such action will contribute to updating and testing the Basel Convention training materials. In addition, the projects will also assist the development of materials that will raise awareness of the inherent health risks associated with informal lead recycling, especially the adverse health effects on children and women of child-bearing age. The presentation will explain how UNEP is planning to implement an agenda that will build on the experience gained over the past 15 years of ULAB projects that have involved UN Environment Chemicals and Health, the Basel Secretariat, the International Environmental Technology Center, the International Lead Association, and Pure Earth.

Desiree Montecillo-Narvaez

Programme Officer - Chemicals and Health Branch, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations

Desiree Montecillo-Narvaez holds Bachelor, Medical and Master’s degrees from the University of the Philippines. She is currently responsible for the United Nations Environment Programme’s work on ‘lead’ from all sources. Previously, Desiree was involved with health and environmental linkage projects in the World Health Organization Western Pacific Region and the UN Environment Asia-Pacific Region.