Future Policy Award:
Protection from Hazardous Chemicals

Protecting people and the environment from hazardous chemicals

We face a dramatic number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals as well as air, water and soil pollution and contamination. This is impacting present and future generations as well as our environment. It is therefore absolutely critical that we strengthen the sound management of chemicals and waste – through inclusive, effective, inspiring and innovative laws and policies. More ambitious worldwide action by all stakeholders is urgently required. This is why in 2021, the Future Policy Award was dedicated to the most effective policy solutions that minimise the adverse effects of exposure to chemicals on human health, with a focus on children’s health, and the environment. The Award highlighted that solutions do exist; solutions that are ambitious and impactful

On 6th of July 2021, we celebrated the winners of this year’s Future Policy Award! You can watch the recording on our YouTube Channel.

Most recently, on World Environment Day 2022, we launched our new report “A Healthy Planet for Healthy Children” together with UNITAR, which provides key facts on how hazardous chemicals affect children’s health, inspires with award-winning policies and highlights the most critical policy recommendations for a toxic-free future.

The Future Policy Award winning policies were presented at numerous stakeholder conferences as well as at a number of self-organised online events that were specifically targeted to decisionmakers: On World Food Day 2021 we presented policies for sustainable & healthy agri-food systems, during the 1st Global Sustainable Chemistry Week we discussed success factors of chemical policymaking on the example of lead in paint, on World Health Day 2022 we focused on key elements of toxic-free public procurement and in the lead up to Stockholm+50 our online conference focused on children’s health and success factors for a future without toxics.

Gold Winners

Gold Award: Kyrgyzstan - Resolution No. 43 on Approval of the Chemical Hazard Classification System and Hazard Information Requirements - Labelling and Safety Data Sheet (2015)

Kyrgyzstan is one of the few countries in the world to make the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) legally binding. The GHS is an internationally agreed-upon system managed by the UN for classification of chemicals by types of hazard. The provisions are reflected in the work and budgets of all relevant government agencies and ministries. Employees of 219 public institutions, businesses, and NGOs have been instructed about the use of GHS in their sectors. Companies trained more than 6,500 employees to ensure safety at the workplace. All 14 pesticide suppliers and 42 fertilizer suppliers apply GHS hazard classification and labelling. Moreover, consumers are increasingly paying attention to product labelling. Kyrgyzstan’s visionary Resolution can inspire many other countries to implement the GHS.

Gold Award: Sweden, Region Stockholm - Phase-Out List for Chemicals Hazardous to the Environment and Human Health (2012-2016, revised for 2017-2021)

Region Stockholm has adapted two phase-out lists for chemicals hazardous to the environment and the health of citizens, employees, and patients. The lists comprise chemicals and chemical products e.g., in healthcare, laboratories, dentistry, IT, cleaning, textiles, and allergy inducing fragrances or preservatives. Furthermore, Region Stockholm prevent purchasing and procurement of chemicals and chemical products as well as articles and consumables containing toxic substances that fall within a large number of specified categories, such as: may cause cancer; and may cause inheritable genetic damage. The lists are mandatory for all chemical products procured by Region Stockholm. Since 2012 a significant proportion of hazardous chemicals have been phased out, especially from the healthcare sector. The healthcare sector saw a 90 percent reduction in the use of listed substances, decreasing volumes in weight from 1,100 kg to 115 kg. The phase-out lists serve as an inspiration for regions and countries around the world.

Future Policy Award Hazardous Chemicals - Winner Sweden

By loading the video, you agree to YouTube's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

Special Award Winners

Special Award Highly Hazardous Pesticides

Sri Lanka: Control of Pesticides Act No. 33 (1980, amended in 1994, 2011, 2020) and National Policy and Action Plan on Prevention of Suicide (1997)

Sri Lanka had one of the world’s highest suicide rates, and pesticide poisoning accounted for more than two thirds of all cases. The Pesticides Act ensures that only least hazardous pesticides are available. It has been used to ban a total of 36 HHPs. Sri Lanka’s pesticide regulations have contributed to one of the greatest decreases in suicide rates ever achieved in the world. The country’s suicide rate has been reduced by 70 percent, particularly in rural villages and among children and youth. The bans saved about 93,000 lives over 20 years at a direct government cost of less than USD 50 per life. Whilst at the same time, Sri Lanka has maintained its agricultural productivity. Internationally, the Sri Lankan experience recommends the banning of HHPs as one of the most cost-effective approaches for suicide prevention.

Special Award Lead in Paint

Philippines: Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds (CCO, 2013-24)

With the CCO, the Philippines became the first Southeast Asian country to successfully implement legislation towards lead-safe paint. The policy’s objective is to increase awareness of the toxicity of lead exposure and to provide safer alternatives to protect the health of the population and the environment. It comprises a roadmap with clear definitions, phase-out plans, and decisive instruments with special attention to children. The CCO combines a collaborative top-down and bottom-up strategy with successful implementation. While globally only a few countries have enacted comprehensive bans on the use of lead additives in all paints, the Philippines demonstrate that it is entirely possible to restrict the use of lead in all paints to the maximum limit of 90 ppm, including in industrial paints, which generally have lead concentrations that are up to 10 times higher. By 2020, the local industry had beaten the phase-out deadline for lead paints with a total of 1,395 paint products certified through the new Lead Safe Paint® Certification programme.

Special Award Environmentally Persistent Pharmaceutical Pollutants

Colombia: Resolution 371 Establishing the elements to be considered in the Management Plans for the Return of Pharmaceutical Products and Expired Medicines (2009)

Around 4,000 active pharmaceutical ingredients are being administered worldwide in prescription medicines, over-the-counter drugs, and veterinary drugs. While pharmaceuticals are stringently regulated for efficacy and patient safety, the adverse side effects they may have in the natural environment are a growing topic of concern. In 2009, Colombia introduced Resolution 371 as part of the national policy for regulating waste management from hazardous products. The Resolution’s remarkable feature is that it places the responsibilities and costs of implementation on the manufacturers and importers of pharmaceuticals and medications, in line with the ‘polluter pays’ principle. By 2018, a total of 680 manufacturers and importers participated in the policy, corresponding to 95 percent of the market share. Moreover, a total of 2,593 take-back points had been established to collect medicines, covering 70 percent of the population, and more than 930 tons of medicines had already been properly disposed of. As such, the Resolution represents the first successful compulsory medicine disposal programme in Latin America, which inspires neighbouring countries to develop similar approaches.


This project was funded by the Federal Environment Agency and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection. The funds are made available by resolution of the German Bundestag.

The publisher is responsible for the content of this publication.

With the support of the Michael Otto Foundation and the Jua Foundation.