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Global Lead Network: Who we are and what we do

Mission:  The Trust for Lead Poisoning Prevention promotes environmental health in the developing world through integrated approaches to prevention that highlight lead poisoning and toxics pollution as key case studies.  The Trust’s overarching goal is to help catalyze and replicate internationalized solutions to sustainable development:  solutions that engage all elements of the international system in reinforcing action – from the community to the international.

 

OperationThe Trust uses policy innovation, advocacy, partnership promotions, proactive education/outreach, and law reform to accomplish its mission. The Trust is chartered as a charitable, public interest organization with its offices in the Washington, D. C. area.  The Trust is directed by an independent Board with interdisciplinary expertise.

 

BackgroundThe Trust was formed by the Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning and internationally renowned leaders to carry on the Alliance’s international programs, which had waged a comprehensive interdisciplinary attack on lead poisoning and toxics pollution in the developing world for over a decade.  Global Dimensions of Lead Poisoning first documented that lead poisoning and pollution is a serious environmental health hazard to children and adults in virtually every country – both developed and developing.  That report formed the basis for the1994 Global Dimensions of Lead Poisoning: The First International Prevention Conference, which attracted over 260 diverse participants from 37 countries in every region.  Myths and Realities of Phasing Out Leaded Gasoline authoritatively refuted key misconceptions that had impeded global leaded gasoline phase-out.

 

Current Initiatives:  The Trust has three focus points for its current activities:

 

International Action Plan for Preventing Lead Poisoning – The Action Plan (www.globalleadnet.org/policy_leg/policy/intlactionplan.cfm) is widely recognized as providing the policy framework for coordinated prevention efforts at the community, national, regional, and international levels. It identifies the most effective roles each level of governmental organization and set of actors can play in prevention.  The Trust disseminates the Action Plan – now available in English, Arabic, French, Russian, and Spanish – through the global lead network and utilizes it as the foundation of its policy advocacy.

 

Based on the Action Plan, the Trust coordinates its work in international fora, such as the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and Habitat, with national and community efforts in order to implement international commitments on lead poisoning prevention and toxics pollution control and to integrate such action into broader environmental, health, and sustainable development initiatives like urban pollution and global climate change.  The Trust is also active in regional fora.  The meetings it previously convened in conjunction with the Santiago Summit of the Americas, for example, demonstrated that exchanges of experience and best practices among countries within a region based on models of competitive emulation are often the most effective way of developing prevention-based solutions.

 

Partnerships – The Trust is a participating partner in two post-World Summit on Sustainable development partnerships.  The Trust was a founding partner of the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV) eight years ago.  Because leaded gasoline constitutes the most dispersive source of lead, the Trust along with other partners successfully urged the PCFV to identify the global elimination of leaded gasoline as one of its core objectives.  Today, success is on the horizon because leaded gasoline has been eliminated in all but a handful of countries for ordinary vehicular use.

 

In order to take advantage of the increasingly rapid momentum toward worldwide phase-out, the Trust is advocating a FINISH THE JOB project that responds to the current opportunity to eliminate leaded gasoline completely and to address the continuing threats posed by the reservoir of lead deposited in the environment through its past use.  The “finish the job” project includes the following elements:  assessing the range of still legal uses of leaded gasoline (such as aviation fuels, agricultural equipment, and vintage and racing cars) and options for their elimination; cutting off any black markets in leaded gasoline; excluding other metallic additives (such as the manganese-based additive, MMT) as substitutes for lead additives in fuels; and conducting projects to remediate lead contamination in soils and other media.

 

The Trust is also a nominated partner in the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead in Paints.  From its inception, the Trust has catalyzed awareness-raising campaigns to call attention to the underestimated or ignored contribution of lead-based paint to the international dimensions of lead poisoning, partially attributable to the erroneously assumed effectiveness of the international white lead-based paint treaty executed in the 1920’s and exacerbated by the rising incidence of paint applications in societies that historically have not used paint.  The Trust has been active in utilizing successful lead-based paint hazard control laws and programs in the U. S. as instructive models and best practices for coordinated internationalized initiatives.

 

The comprehensive worldwide elimination of leaded gasoline and lead-based paint would represent a signal public health victory that should in turn serve as a springboard to control and eliminate the other, multiple sources of lead and toxics.  The Trust is urging a follow-up process that would systematically address under the principles of its Action Plan other sources of lead exposure (such as batteries), while concurrently developing the framework for a coordinated approach to metals pollution (e. g., mercury, cadmium, lead, and manganese).

 

Internationalized Approaches – The Trust fosters projects that tie community-based initiatives into international perspectives.  The Trust’s network facilitates communities working together through interlocal communication and exchange of best practices and lessons learned.  Moreover, the Trust convenes side events at UN meetings to engage local groups in international processes relevant to sustainable communities.  The Trust works to ensure that possible international contributions to lead poisoning and toxics pollution (through consumer products, cottage industry, waste streams, cultural practices) are enfolded into community needs and resources assessments.