70th birthday of Professor Ivan Holoubek!

11 Apr 2021 Kateřina Šebková

On April 11th 2021, Professor Ivan Holoubek, one of the founders of the RECETOX and an important personality in science, research and teaching in the field of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), celebrated his 70th birthday. Ivan has been working at RECETOX since its establishment (as the “Department of Environmental Protection and Creation” at that time) and he was its director between 1990–2013.

I would like to recall almost 40 years of his teaching and training contribution at the national and international level. He formed several generations of current leading Czech, Slovak, but also Central and Eastern European experts. He transferred and continues to pass on his knowledge on chemical pollution, risks and impacts associated with it. For the last 30 years of teaching at Masaryk University, Ivan has been teaching courses exploring the fate of persistent organic pollutants and analysis of environmental risks associated with their presence. In 2005, he also created the week-long RECETOX International Summer School on Toxic Substances. By 2020, the RECETOX summer school has had more than 550 participants from almost 80 countries globally.

Ivan, in collaboration with colleagues from RECETOX and the University of Lancaster, also set up the POPs in the ambient air MOnitoring NETworks (MONET) which have been operating for almost twenty years in the Czech Republic, Europe and Africa. He started a professional network of more than 150 Czech and Slovak experts on toxic substances from various fields (environment, health, industry, technology) and also created a support bridge between science and policy in the Czech Republic (the National Centre for Toxic Substances, 2005) and internationally (the Stockholm Convention Regional Centre supporting the CEE region, 2007). Until 2012 he led both these capacity-building centres. At the global level, he also contributed to global professional networks and knowledge exchange, be it in the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (2001-2009), in the POPs Monitoring Group (2007-2012), Effectiveness Evaluation Committee of the Stockholm Convention (2014-15), PCB Expert Group, or in the Expert Group on Best Available Technologies and Best Environmental Practices Group, BAT-BEP (2009-present).

Moreover, In collaboration with international organizations such as the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Ivan has been involved in mapping the status, use and pollution of POPs in more than 50 countries and has repeatedly worked in, for example, Turkey, Moldova, Armenia and Ukraine. In dozens of capacity building projects and hundreds of seminars, Ivan trained experts from the practice, industry, legislation, but also government agencies around the world. He will always be associated with topics how to map pollution sources, improve technologies for processing or removing POPs from air, water or waste, but also on how to understand risks stemming from toxic substances and what measures to implement to reduce them effectively. He prepared, commented on or reviewed dozens of national POPs inventories or national implementation plans globally. And he led the preparation of the first National Implementation Plan of the Stockholm Convention in the Czech Republic (2005), the regional POPs monitoring report for the Central and Eastern European region (2008) and participated in their updates at the national and regional (UN region of the Central and Eastern Europe) level in the field of POPs monitoring and future POPs management and continues to do so until now.

On behalf of all at the National Centre for Toxic Compounds and Stockholm Convention Regional Centre, I would like to wish Ivan a continuous supply of good health, a lot of energy and a good mood. We look forward to our continued cooperation and spreading the word on Czech Republic’s expertise and knowledge around the world.

Happy 70th Birthday, Ivan!

Kateřina Šebková
Director of the National Centre for Toxic Compounds and of the Stockholm Convention Regional Centre

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