Pamela Miller’s, Biologist and Executive Director of Alaska Community Action on Toxics, suggestions for how tribes can engage in the Stockholm Convention Process:
Even though the US is not yet a party to the Convention, tribes have consultative government-to-government status with the State Department and EPA, and can participate and make views known. EPA and the State Department are always really good about organizing calls prior to the sessions of the POPs review committee, as well as before the conference of parties. Tribes do have the direct government-to-government consultation.
We have this very small group of technical people that are part of IPEN that participates directly in the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC). Participating directly in the POPs review committee as well as the conference of parties is really another way that people can engage and tribes can particularly engage.
I mentioned the global indigenous caucus, which has been a real force in the implementation of the treaty.
I think we all need to work toward TSCA reform to ensure that we get a strong law in place and that allows for ratification of the treaty so that the US can participate as a party.
Tribes also have the right to participate on a consultative status basis with the United Nations, as organizations such as International Indian Treaty Council and Inuit Circumpolar Council have.
International Actions to Protect Health and Future Generations: The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants ("POPs Treaty") and Its Relevance to Tribes
Pamela Miller, Biologist and Executive Director of Alaska Community Action on Toxics, will discuss the history and importance of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. The Stockholm Convention is a global legally-binding treaty under the auspices of the United Nations to protect human health and the environment from persistent organic pollutants (POPs). POPs are chemicals that remain intact in the environment for long periods, become widely distributed geographically, accumulate in the fatty tissue of living organisms and are toxic to humans and wildlife. POPs circulate globally and can cause damage wherever they travel. The United States has not yet ratified the treaty. The Preamble of the Stockholm Convention acknowledges that: "Arctic ecosystems and Indigenous communities are particularly at risk because of the biomagnification of persistent organic pollutants and that contamination of their traditional foods is a public health issue." This presentation will discuss the chemicals included under the treaty, provisions for adding new chemicals, and how individuals and tribes can become engaged to ensure that the Convention is implemented in order to protect the health of tribal communities.
Pamela Miller founded Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT) in 1997. Pam serves as a Principal Investigator for community-based research supported through a 5-year grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) that include faculty from universities in Alaska and New York. These research projects rely on collaborative efforts with tribes in Alaska to address environmental health and justice issues. In 2012, she was elected to the Steering Committee for the International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN) in recognition of her work on the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). She participates as part of an IPEN technical team in the deliberations of the international scientific committee of the Stockholm Convention. Pam is known for her work to prompt state, national, and international chemicals policy reform to protect environmental and human health in the Arctic. She was selected as a fellow for the Reach the Decision Makers program from the University of California San Francisco, Reproductive Health and Environment Program (2011) and to serve as a mentor (2013). In 2012, she received the Meritorious Service Award from the Board of Regents of the University of Alaska for her service to the community. She holds a master’s degree in environmental science from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.
Pamela Miller, Executive Director, Alaska Community Action on Toxics: