UNESCO International Hydrological Programme

Emerging pollutants in water: Invisible threats to health and ecosystems

Tuesday 27 August | 09.00-10.30 | Room: M4

Emerging pollutants—pharmaceuticals, pesticides, personal care products,  chemicals and microplastics—is a new water challenge for world's countries, with no exception. Yet, scientific knowledge on their potential health and ecological effects is limited, whereas policies on managing these pollutants are lacking.

The session presents scientific and policy developments in managing emerging pollutants, including thematic and regional assessments, regulatory frameworks for monitoring and solutions to reducing their input into the environment. It will bring together leading international experts and policy-makers.

The session will be organized in two panels:

  • A panel of experts will present key findings of UNESCO thematic and regional assessments on emerging pollutants in different regions, complemented by the state-of-the-art knowledge from the scientific community.
  • A panel of policy-makers from national governments and regional organizations will discuss policy responses on managing emerging pollutants based on the available scientific evidence and will share new policy measures on regulatory frameworks for monitoring pharmaceuticals in EU, the Baltic region and USA, with the aim to encourage similar policy actions.

Consequently, the session will provide a platform for science-policy dialogue to facilitate evidence-based decision making towards more sustainable solutions.

Gold standard events are committed to ensure the gender balance in speakers/panellists and young professional representation in the session.


Moderator: Sarantuyaa Zandaryaa, Division of Water Sciences - International Hydrological Programme, UNESCO

09:00     Opening
Youssef Filali-Meknassi, Director, Division of Water Sciences, and Secretary, International Hydrological Programme, UNESCO

09:05    Emerging pollutants in water - Invisible threats to health and ecosystems
Key findings of UNESCO Project on Emerging Pollutants
Sarantuyaa Zandaryaa, Division of Water Sciences - International Hydrological Programme, UNESCO

09:20    Knowledge gaps and research priorities on emerging pollutants    
Recommendations from UNESCO-IHP International Initiative on Water Quality (IIWQ) Regional Training Workshops on Emerging Pollutants in Africa, Arab States, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean
Regional representatives:

  • Cassiana Montagner Raimundo (Brazil), Latin America and the Caribbean

Interactive participatory debate: Engaging participants in discussions with experts and policy-makers

09:40     Discussion with experts   

  • Piero Gardinali, Institute of Water and the Environment, USA 
  • Henry O Briceno, Water Quality Theme Coordinator at the UNESCO Chair on Sustainable Water Security, Florida International University, USA

10:00    Discussion with policy-makers and water professionals

  •  speakers (to be confirmed)

10:25     Summary & Conclusions    

10:30     End of session