The public health dangers posed by lead exposure have been recognized and documented since the mid-20th century. Despite the pervasiveness of lead-based paint in buildings, including homes and schools, experience has shown that laws can effectively address the issue by phasing out lead paint.
As of September 2019, 73 countries around the world have enacted laws that limit lead in paint. Although the adoption of national laws has demonstrated success in reducing lead paint exposure, binding limitations are still lacking in 120 countries. This November, the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE), whose Secretariat is housed at ELI, will host two "Compliance Conversations" webinars focused on the elimination of lead pain. The webinars, presented in partnership with the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint, will bring together policymakers, practitioners, and stakeholders in this field to discuss current global initiatives concerning lead paint, the challenges of enacting legislation to address lead paint, and what support is needed for communities working on this issue.
The Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint was formed as a partnership between the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) with the goal to eliminate lead paint through encouraging the establishment of lead paint laws in every country. Alliance partners developed a Model Law and Guidance for Regulating Lead Paint based on reviewing lead paint laws from several countries around the world, in response to requests from government stakeholders. The Advisory Group to the Alliance, lead by US EPA, consists of governments and international organizations, all of whom participate in strategic guidance and decisionmaking. The Model Law, as with other initiatives of the Alliance, is the product of collaboration with partners from governments, paint industry groups, and nongovernmental organizations.
UNEP’s goal was to create a living set of model provisions that contains legal text on the most important elements of an effective lead paint law that can then be adapted to a country’s circumstances, whether the country in question is enacting new legislation, amending existing laws, issuing regulations or using other legal instruments to establish enforceable requirements. The Model Law includes both a narrative guidance document and an appendix of model legal text. The guidance lays out background information on the importance of regulating lead paint, and identifies key elements of an effective lead paint law, including clear definitions, clear legal limits, and mechanisms for compliance and enforcement, among others, which allow for adaptation to local contexts. An appendix provides model legal text to operationalize these elements, and another appendix provides links to recommended international standards for sample preparation and testing methods.
Since the publication of the Model Law, the Alliance has worked to disseminate information and build capacity for the adoption of enforceable legal limits on lead paint. The Model Law has served as an important tool in supporting countries’ efforts to phase out lead paint, providing a basis for outreach to raise awareness of the need for lead paint laws, and serving as a reference or starting point for countries to develop laws suited to national or regional regulatory structures and legal systems. The information has been disseminated both through workshops and through direct assistance to governments. Alliance partners are using the Model Law as a basis to assist several countries in developing, establishing or refining lead paint laws. For example, Alliance partners assisted the Environment Ministry of Brazil in developing a draft law updating, expanding, and strengthening their 2008 lead paint law. Recent workshops in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), Africa, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and Central Asia, and Asia-Pacific introduced government officials to the Model Law, and provided for multi-stakeholder discussions of barriers to implementation and next steps in specific countries.
The Compliance Conversations will be held on November 1 and November 7. The webinars will serve as a forum where interested parties can make comments, voice concerns, and share ideas for addressing potential implementation and enforcement challenges. It will also enable stakeholders to directly inform Alliance members of what gaps remain and what is needed in their local contexts to effectively promote, implement, and enforce such legislation. Comments will be recorded and taken into consideration in planning outreach activities, communicating needs to the international community, and providing technical assistance to countries on lead paint legislation. Persons interested in participating may register here.
This blog is based on an article that originally appeared on the IISD SDG Knowledge Hub at: http://sdg.iisd.org/commentary/guest-articles/inece-compliance-conversations-bring-together-experts-and-practitioners-to-discuss-effectiveness-of-lead-paint-laws/.