“We cannot accept this as a normal side effect of life” – Intervention by WECF @ BRS COPs

BRS CoP 2022, Intervention of WECF / IPEN on Gender, June 9th, 2022
by Johanna Hausmann
Featured image provided by CEJAD, taken at the Dandora dumpsite.

Thank you, Madame President,

I am representing WECF, Women Engage for a Common Future, member of IPEN.

We very much welcome the report on gender related activities implemented by the Secretariat. These also include our case studies in Indonesia, Nigeria, Kyrgyzstan, Bolivia, and soon Kenya, and Tunisia.

In these studies we found amongst others high levels of pesticides in breastmilk and also levels of PCBs, we found mercury in the body burden of rural and indegenious women. We found women waste pickers being exposed to high levels of toxic fumes from burning waste. This is also true for women burning household waste.

These results are very alarming.

All genders are impacted differently from the exposure to harmful chemicals due to biological reasons and gender roles. Exposure to toxic chemicals from different sources damages women’s health, including reproductive health – all over the world. We cannot accept this as a normal side effect of life.

Women are not only a vulnerablae group in regards of exposure to toxins. Women’s expertise and perspective is crucial to make a change. Women leadership is already driving the transition to a  non-toxic circular future. We see more and more people champtioning gender equality.

And we also see: more is needed.

This is why the further implementation of the gender action plan is essential.


  • As Lesotho mentioned we call on the parties to develop and implement Gender Action Plans for the implementation of the BRS conventions at the national level.
  • We call on the Secretariat to keep on, creating capacities – to tackle these important challenges related to the different impacts of chemicals on all genders.
  • We also call for women to be represented equally in decision-making here and in other policy processes, such as Minanamata, SAICM and the coming plastic treaty.

Finally: We call on the parties to urgently move forward to regulate and phase out all toxic chemicals, in particular POPs, in order to improve the quality of life of women, men, children, all genders and social groups,

and the future generation.

Thank you!