IFCS Special Recognition Award
IFCS Special Recognition Award recognizes those contributing in an exceptional way on a special chemical topic or activity. Individuals, institutions or groups are eligible for the Special Recognition Award
Mrs Abiola I. Olanipekun
Chief Environmental Scientist
Pollution Control Department
Federal Ministry of Environment,
Housing & Urban Development
Fondly known as “Abiola” by her international colleagues, and as “Madame Chemicals” by many of her African colleagues, Mrs. Abiola Olanipekun has become widely recognized as the leading voice of the African region in many of the most important international chemicals management negotiations and processes of the last decade. Her abilities to plan, organize, and speak decisively on behalf of the African region, and to collaborate imaginatively and effectively with other stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations, have been key drivers behind Africa’s rising influence in the development of recent international chemicals management initiatives. Her outstanding contributions to Africa’s participation in these initiatives have enabled the global community’s efforts to achieve sound management of chemicals.
Mrs. Olanipekun has been actively engaged over the past twenty years in environmental protection and pollution control, with a special focus on sound management of toxic and hazardous substances. She has occupied key positions in the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committees for the development and implementation of the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions. She served as chairperson of the G77 and China during the intergovernmental negotiations for the Stockholm Convention in two consecutive sessions. Her leadership and persistence were critical in securing a financial mechanism to support implementation of the Stockholm Convention by least developing countries, developing countries, and countries with economies in transition.
Mrs. Olanipekun co-chaired the chemicals contact group during the 24th session of the UNEP Governing Council (GC-24). She served with distinction as Vice President for the African region in the Preparatory Committee for the development of a Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), and was a key advocate for the adoption of SAICM by the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN) during its 11th session. Mrs. Olanipekun currently is the African Regional Focal Point for the implementation of SAICM. Additionally, she serves as an adviser to the IFCS Vice President for Africa.
Throughout all of these processes, Mrs. Olanipekun has been a prominent advocate of key outcomes. In IFCS, she has been a champion for prevention of illegal international traffic in toxic substancesa topic that that has long suffered from inaction and neglect. At Forum IV, she chaired the contact group on this challenging issue and ensured that it was recognized as an IFCS “priority for action.” Then, she determinedly followed through by securing in 2007 a breakthrough decision at GC-24 on illegal international traffic of hazardous chemicals.
Mrs. Olanipekun’s current role as the African Regional Focal Point for SAICM requires her to actively foster cooperation and collaboration within the African region and with the other UN regions. She has dedicated herself to ensuring that chemical safety is given priority in key policy instruments at the national, regional and global levels, including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Environmental Policy, the Nigerian Environmental Assessment Report, and the African Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) Report.
Mrs. Olanipekun’s tireless efforts on behalf of the African region and the developing world in advancing the sound management of chemicals make her an extraordinary role model for how women in Africa and throughout the world can effectively and decisively provide leadership in the development of national and international environmental health policy.