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UNICEF Corporate and Philanthropic Partnerships

Pure Earth and Clarios Foundation

Pure Earth, Clarios Foundation and UNICEF announce global partnership to protect children from lead exposure

UNICEF Image
© Pure Earth
Children playing in ash from battery recycling in Pesarean, Indonesia.

Around 1 in 3 children – up to 800 million globally – have blood lead levels indicative of lead poisoning. Lead is a potent neurotoxin that can cause irreparable harm to child development. Lead poisoning in babies and children under the age of five damages their brains before they have had the opportunity to fully develop, leading to lifelong neurological, cognitive and physical impairment.

Informal, illegal and unsafe recycling of lead acid batteries is one of the biggest causes of lead exposure in areas where children play, live and go to school.

On July 30, 2020, US non-profit, Pure Earth, Clarios Foundation and UNICEF announced a three-year partnership to work together as founding partners of the Protecting Every Child’s Potential (PECP) initiative to prevent children’s exposure to lead.  The PECP partnership aims to mobilize international action and prevent children’s exposures to lead from informal, illegal, substandard lead-acid battery manufacturing, recycling and smelting processes and other sources.   Bangladesh, Georgia, Ghana and Indonesia will be the first countries implementing PECP projects in collaboration with the three founding partners. Clarios Foundation and Pure Earth will integrate their work underway in Mexico.

 

 


Protecting children from lead exposure is critical to the development, their communities, societies and economies. This new partnership is a vital step in reducing exposure to lead and creating a safe environment for every child.” Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director


 

The partners are grounded by the fundamental belief that every child has a right to health and well-being and all children should have the chance to achieve their full potential.   They commit to a multi-stakeholder approach to work collaboratively with local and national governments, businesses, United Nations entities, academia and civil society to share best practices and model policies. 

The PECP initiative and website will be formally launched later in 2020. 

We call on other partners to join us to address the emerging health crisis caused by lead exposure, to Protect Every Child’s Potential, and help children to thrive in lead -free environments.

To learn more about the initiative and how you can get involved, please email nrees@unicef.org 

Protecting Every Child’s Potential (PECP) Guiding Principles

 

1. We are grounded by the fundamental belief that every child has a right to ‘health and well-being’ and all children should achieve their full potential.

2. We acknowledge we all have a role to help educate governments and public of the dangers of lead and how they can help protect their children. We are confident solu

tions to protect children from lead exposure are well within reach and they need not compromise growth, prosperity, or equity. 

3. We believe our efforts to protect children from lead exposure must be meaningful, measurable, equitable and ensure sustained progress towards improving the health and well-being of children.  

4. We appreciate that inherent in these principles is the need for government action to implement legislation and set and enforce standards that properly regulate the safe manufacture, usage and, most importantly, smelting of lead-acid batteries.

5. We commit to a multi-stakeholder approach to work collaboratively with local and national governments, businesses, United Nations system, academia and civil society to share best practices and model policies. 

6. We recognize that the task of addressing this global crisis poses a formidable challenge that will not be met overnight.  Actions and interventions may need to occur incrementally, and always with the awareness of local conditions and concern for livelihoods. 

7. We have the tools to track and measure our progress towards improving the health and well-being of children. 

8. It is time to do this. 


A new report published by Pure Earth and UNICEF states the issues and stakes of childhood exposure to lead. This video features the work of Pure Earth. 

About the partners

Clarios Foundation is funded by Clarios LLC and is a 2020 signatory of the United Nations Global Compact, committed to aligning its strategies and operations with universal principles focused on human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. Clarios Foundation supports three main focus areas: Children’s Health and the Environment, Circular Economy Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Sustainable Communities. 

Pure Earth has a strong track record in addressing lead pollution, solving toxic pollution issues in low-and middle- income countries, especially where human health is most at risk, raising awareness through groundbreaking research, and implementation of projects that show measurable impacts on health. 

The PECP Strategic Approach

A.  Mobilize collective action at the country level to prevent lead exposure in support of protecting every child’s potential: 

  1. Promote national ownership and leadership to address lead exposure in children. 
  2. Support the development of national plan(s) to action to address lead exposure, including support to mainstreaming in existing national programs, linked to WHO’s risk mitigation recommendations.   
  3. Develop institutional capacity for preventing lead exposure, monitoring lead exposure, education and awareness building, and eliminating the unsafe use of lead. 
  4. Promote community awareness on lead exposure and its impact on child health and well-being. 
  5. Contribute and collaborate with existing global and country initiatives that address lead exposure.  

B.  Address the existing sources of exposure to lead in low- and middle-income countries: 
Determine where people are most affected and identify the relevant sources of exposure to lead.   

  1. Identify, prioritize, and remediate contaminated sites to eliminate specific exposures to children. 
  2. Raise societal awareness of the harm caused by informal smelting and implement interventions to halt the illicit use of lead in products. 

C.  Assist governments to ensure responsible lead smelting and use: 

  1. Support development and implementation of policies to prevent harmful informal and illegal smelting as well as illicit use of lead in products. 
  2. Advocate for the adoption and enforcement of standards that provide the same level of protection for all people in all countries. 
  3. Facilitate best practice sharing across governments, the private sector, and civil society.   

D.  Mobilize the private sector action to: 

  1. Require batteries are stewarded through safe, responsible, and approved collection and smelting systems. 
  2. Ensure lead is appropriately used in a manner consistent with proven and safe practices and is obtained only from responsible sources. 
UNICEF Image
© Pure Earth
Women recycling used lead-acid batteries (ULAB) at a sub-standard, licensed facility outside Patna, India.

 

 

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