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Regional Centres meet to enhance cooperation and coordination
The Annual joint meeting of Regional Centres under the Basel and Stockholm Conventions takes place in Geneva on 27-28 November 2014.

Regional Centres meet to enhance cooperation and coordination

Regional Centres meet to enhance cooperation and coordination
The Annual joint meeting of Regional Centres under the Basel and Stockholm Conventions takes place in Geneva on 27-28 November 2014.
Preparations intensify for triple conferences of the parties (COPs): Geneva, May 2015
Parties have been officially informed of the back-to-back meetings of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions COPs to be held in Geneva, 4-15 May 2015.

Preparations intensify for triple conferences of the parties (COPs): Geneva, May 2015

Preparations intensify for triple conferences of the parties (COPs): Geneva, May 2015
Parties have been officially informed of the back-to-back meetings of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions COPs to be held in Geneva, 4-15 May 2015.
Detoxifying  Development: How strengthened sound management of chemicals and wastes contributes to sustainable development
A summary of the United Nations Environment Assembly panel discussion held on 24 June 2014 in Nairobi.

Detoxifying Development: How strengthened sound management of chemicals and wastes contributes to sustainable development

Detoxifying  Development: How strengthened sound management of chemicals and wastes contributes to sustainable development

Detoxifying Development

FOCUS / BRIEF DESCRIPTION / MAJOR ISSUES DISCUSSED:

While chemicals contribute significantly to our well‐being, they can also pose a threat to human health and the environment if they are not managed well. Their potentially adverse impacts, combined with the limited capacity in many countries to deal with these impacts, make the sound management of chemicals and waste a key issue that cuts across many areas of our lives. In Johannesburg in 2002 governments agreed that, by 2020, chemicals should be used and produced in ways that lead to the minimization of significant adverse effects on human health and the environment. The 2020 target was further recognized in the Rio+20 outcome “The Future We Want”. The 2006 Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) also reaffirmed the Johannesburg 2020 goal.

Chemicals and waste management is traditionally considered an environmental issue. However, it also has significant benefits for the economic and social objectives of sustainable development. These benefits are demonstrated by a number of efforts and initiatives, e. g. the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paints, sound management of electrical and electronic waste, promotion of alternatives to highly hazardous pesticides, to name just a few.

Sound management of chemicals and wastes has the potential of supporting progress in a wide range of thematic areas: poverty eradication, health, agriculture, water, industrial growth, and employment. It therefore has a catalyzing potential to support relevant sustainable development goals (SDGs) currently under development.

This can be done through the full and effective implementation of the existing agreed frameworks in the chemicals and waste cluster, including legally binding and voluntary instruments, efforts and initiatives, such as the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, the Minamata Convention on Mercury and SAICM – all contributing to sustainable development and the protection of human health and the environment. SDGs need to reflect the importance of international commitments, including those made in multilateral environmental agreements and to stress the need of the Post‐2015 framework to be consistent with and build on these commitments.

In order to positively contribute to the achievement of sustainable development, it is important to enable and require the effective coordination of local, national, regional and global environmental policy and legal frameworks for effective implementation and enforcement of their provisions. These coordinating efforts are expected to strengthen institutional frameworks and policy coherence. At the national level, implementation can be strengthened by enhanced cooperation and coordination among relevant stakeholders. For example, Nigeria established a national committee on chemicals management which engages relevant ministries and key NGOs. Mainstreaming of chemicals and wastes into the national development agenda is another opportunity for linking it to the sustainable development process.

In addition to actions taking place at the international and national levels, regional efforts have a catalyzing role to play for implementation of existing MEAs and promotion of coherent chemicals and waste management.

OUTCOME / WAY FORWARD:

  • Recognize that the sound management of chemicals and waste contributes to the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainable development.
  • Promote efforts for the coordinated implementation of the existing global policy and legal regimes in the chemicals and waste management cluster.
  • Ensure that chemicals and waste management is properly reflected in the SDGs, including as targets under the SDGs on health, sustainable agriculture, poverty reduction, sustainable production and consumption, industrialization, water and sustainable cities.

CONCLUSIONS / RECOMMENDATIONS:

Effective implementation of the existing international, regional and national legal and policy regimes addressing chemicals and wastes supports sustainable development, and help realize the future sustainable development goals. By striving for policy coherence and efficiency at the national level, and through improved use of resources and greater coordination among the key stakeholders for the implementation of the national legal framework, we can make strides towards achieving sustainable development.

UNEA should send a signal to the decision‐makers engaged in New York in the negotiations of the SDGs about the crucial potential that can be brought by the sound management of chemicals and wastes for the achievement of SDGs. At the moment, the integration of sound management of chemicals and waste into SDGs is an opportunity for the international community which should not be missed.

Appointment of the new Executive Secretary
The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions is pleased to announce that the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, has recently appointed Dr. Rolph Payet, Minister for Environment and Energy, Seychelles, as its new Executive Secretary. Dr. Payet has a Doctorate in...

Appointment of the new Executive Secretary

Appointment of the new Executive Secretary

The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions is pleased to announce that the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, has recently appointed Dr. Rolph Payet, Minister for Environment and Energy, Seychelles, as its new Executive Secretary.

Dr. Payet has a Doctorate in Environmental Science, degrees at master level in Integrated Coastal Zone Management, Business Administration (MBA) and Applied Environmental Economics, and an honours degree in Biochemistry.

In addition to having been the Seychelles’ Chief Negotiator for the Basel Convention, the Montreal Protocol and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Dr. Payet also established important multi-stakeholder platforms, such as the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) and and co-chaired the International Coral Reef Initiative. He was Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third and Fourth Assessments and was elected as Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS) in 2007, in recognition of his contributions to marine research. He established the first university in Seychelles in 2009, and is its present ProChancellor. He also holds an associate professorship at the University of Linnaeus in Sweden.

Dr. Payet will take up his new duties in Geneva on 6 October 2014.

Upcoming Webinars continue preparations for 2015 COPs
Environmentally Sound Management of Asbestos among the many webinars offered during October and November, as preparations for 2015 COPs intensifies.

Upcoming Webinars continue preparations for 2015 COPs

Upcoming Webinars continue preparations for 2015 COPs
Environmentally Sound Management of Asbestos among the many webinars offered during October and November, as preparations for 2015 COPs intensifies.
Joint meeting of the bureaux of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions COPs
The bureaux will meet from 11 to 12 November 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss preparations for the 2015 COPs.

Joint meeting of the bureaux of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions COPs

Joint meeting of the bureaux of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions COPs

The bureaux will meet from 11 to 12 November 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss preparations for the 2015 COPs.

Agencies and partners join forces to promote the implementation of environmental law through enhanced knowledge sharing and new tools
The Multilateral Environment Agreements and Knowledge Management Initiative seeks to develop harmonised information systems among 18 MEAs.

Agencies and partners join forces to promote the implementation of environmental law through enhanced knowledge sharing and new tools

Agencies and partners join forces to promote the implementation of environmental law through enhanced knowledge sharing and new tools
The Multilateral Environment Agreements and Knowledge Management Initiative seeks to develop harmonised information systems among 18 MEAs.
New Tool Goes Live for Finding Technical and Scientific Publications
The Secretariat is pleased to announce the launch of a new online tool for finding its many joint technical and scientific publications. The use of an integrated search engine combines publications from the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Convention processes for the first time, and enables interes...

New Tool Goes Live for Finding Technical and Scientific Publications

New Tool Goes Live for Finding Technical and Scientific Publications

The Secretariat is pleased to announce the launch of a new online tool for finding its many joint technical and scientific publications. The use of an integrated search engine combines publications from the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Convention processes for the first time, and enables interested browsers to search by keyword, life cycle phase, or chemical/waste name under the Conventions.

The tool aims to better facilitate the sharing of key information about sustainable chemicals management amongst stakeholders, ease the work of Parties and Observers to the three Conventions, is the latest in the ongoing process of harmonisation and improvement of knowledge management within the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions.

DD shouts out for Home Recycling on World Environment Day 2014
Luxembourg singer/songwriter Daniel Depienne’s Statement of Responsibility on how becoming a ‘Recycling Freak’ helps protect nature from electronic and other wastes.

DD shouts out for Home Recycling on World Environment Day 2014

DD shouts out for Home Recycling on World Environment Day 2014
Luxembourg singer/songwriter Daniel Depienne’s Statement of Responsibility on how becoming a ‘Recycling Freak’ helps protect nature from electronic and other wastes.
May Webinars shine light on candidate POPs under review and PCBs inventories
Join the Webinars on Chemicals under Review by POPRC, 6 May, and enhancing PCB inventories, 13 and 15 May 2014.

May Webinars shine light on candidate POPs under review and PCBs inventories

May Webinars shine light on candidate POPs under review and PCBs inventories
Join the Webinars on Chemicals under Review by POPRC, 6 May, and enhancing PCB inventories, 13 and 15 May 2014.
A Brief Historical Perspective on International Progress in the Sound Management of Chemicals and Wastes
Jim Willis guest article published in IISD Chemicals and Wastes Policy & Practice on 28 March 2014.

A Brief Historical Perspective on International Progress in the Sound Management of Chemicals and Wastes

A Brief Historical Perspective on International Progress in the Sound Management of Chemicals and Wastes
Jim Willis guest article published in IISD Chemicals and Wastes Policy & Practice on 28 March 2014.
First e-learning tool launched to prevent illegal trade in hazardous chemicals and waste
INTERPOL and the BRS Secretariat launch e-learning module to help law enforcement officers identify and prevent illegal trade in hazardous chemicals and wastes

First e-learning tool launched to prevent illegal trade in hazardous chemicals and waste

First e-learning tool launched to prevent illegal trade in hazardous chemicals and waste
INTERPOL and the BRS Secretariat launch e-learning module to help law enforcement officers identify and prevent illegal trade in hazardous chemicals and wastes
17 participants strengthened their skills at the training session on chairing meetings of all conventions
Training contributes to gender and regional diversity in conventions’ corps of highly qualified chairpersons

17 participants strengthened their skills at the training session on chairing meetings of all conventions

17 participants strengthened their skills at the training session on chairing meetings of all conventions

Training contributes to gender and regional diversity in conventions’ corps of highly qualified chairpersons

The Pilot training session on chairing meetings of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) conventions took place in Glion, Switzerland, from 3 to 5 March 2014. The training was conducted by the Institute of Advanced Studies of the United Nations University in cooperation with the Secretariat. It brought together 17 participants from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, the Cook Islands, Ecuador, Egypt, Georgia, Indonesia, Japan, Malawi, Poland, the Russian Federation, Senegal, Sudan, and Switzerland.

The participants benefited from experience of former chairs who led various BRS processes, including the conferences of the parties, meetings of subsidiary bodies, contact groups and informal consultations. Through the combination of lectures, case studies, videos and simulation exercises the participants learned firsthand how to effectively chair intergovernmental meetings and guide them toward consensual outcomes.

“The pilot raining extends the conventions’ corps of highly qualified chairpersons, ensuring that we can call upon experienced chairs from all regions, while maintaining gender and regional diversity among them,” said Kerstin Stendahl, BRS Deputy Executive Secretary.

The training session was held through the generous support of the Government of Switzerland.
Chemicals and waste MEAs cross synergies milestones
2013 was marked by a year of achievements for the three conventions

Chemicals and waste MEAs cross synergies milestones

Chemicals and waste MEAs cross synergies milestones

In a milestone of the synergies process between multilateral environmental agreements, the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions held their first ever jointly held ordinary meetings of the parties in April and May 2013 to foster cooperation and collaboration between the conventions.

The conferences of the parties of the three conventions worked in joint contact groups to promote implementation and strengthen the management of harmful substances throughout their life-cycle. The COPs took more than 50 substantive decisions to fortify protection to health and environment offered by the conventions.

 The Parties to the Stockholm Convention agreed to list hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) in Annex A to the Convention with specific exemptions for expanded polystyrene and extruded polystyrene in buildings. HBCD is set to become the 23rd persistent organic pollutant to be listed under the Stockholm Convention. The Parties to the Basel Convention adopted a framework for the environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes and other wastes, and agreed to develop technical guidelines on transboundary movements of electronic and electrical wastes, or e-waste, the fastest growing hazardous waste stream globally.

The Parties to the Rotterdam Convention agreed to add the pesticide Azinphos-methyl and the industrial chemicals PentaBDE, OctaBDE and PFOS to Annex III of the Convention. This triggers an exchange of information between Parties and helps countries make informed decisions about future import and use of the chemicals. The addition of four substances is the largest number to be added to the Convention's prior informed consent procedure by any conference of the parties since the adoption of the Convention in 1998.

Call sounded for development of an international panel on chemicals

On 9 May 2013, over 80 ministers and vice-ministers met in a high level segment to consider the theme “Synergies and the implementation of the chemicals and wastes conventions at the national, regional and global levels” and to share their national experiences. Participants noted that the synergies process was not a time-finite event but a continuing process: synergies meant cost savings and those savings should be channeled into improving implementation at the national level.

Ministers called for the development of an international panel on chemicals integrating scientific expertise from industry, the private sector and academic institutions, similar to the International Panel on Climate Change, which could form the basis for a stronger science-policy interface. Existing models for monitoring networks could be expanded globally. 

The decisions of the joint COPs provide a solid foundation for the next two years of implementation of the three leading global chemicals and wastes instruments.

Strengthening the Conventions' Science-Policy Interface

The first joint meeting of the Rotterdam Convention Chemical Review Committee and the Stockholm Convention Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee took place in Rome on 20 October 2013, to promote synergies between the conventions by strengthening their science-policy interface.

Combating illegal traffic gets ENFORCEment boost

Under the Basel Convention, the newly established Environmental Network for Optimizing Regulatory Compliance on Illegal Traffic (ENFORCE) was launched in 2013 to prevent and combat illegal traffic in hazardous and other wastes through better implementation and enforcement of national legislation. 

Secretariat Acts to Promote Sustainability, Green Practices, gender and regional balance

The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions decreased its carbon footprint by 50% from 2010 to 2012, part of its concerted effort towards becoming climate neutral.
The Secretariat's senior management team achieved both gender and regional balance during 2013, with three men and three women currently serving as branch chiefs or as executive officers drawn from across all five major UN regions. A Gender action plan was also adopted.

Regional Centres aim to score a goal against chemical contamination
At annual joint meeting Regional Centres of the Basel and Stockholm conventions exchange plans for evaluating performance and sustainability  

Regional Centres aim to score a goal against chemical contamination

Regional Centres aim to score a goal against chemical contamination

At annual joint meeting Regional Centres of the Basel and Stockholm conventions exchange plans for evaluating performance and sustainability

The annual joint meeting to enhance cooperation and coordination between the regional centres under the Basel and Stockholm conventions took place in Geneva from 27 to 29 November 2013. The meeting was attended by 22 out of 23 Basel and Stockholm conventions regional centres.  

Jim Willis, Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, opened the meeting by inviting the centres to become more involved not only with the implementation of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions but also with the implementation of the international chemicals agenda and the Minamata Convention when expertise and support can be provided also to these international chemicals and wastes processes.  

The meeting focused its discussion primarily on issues relating to the performance and sustainability of the regional centres under the Basel and Stockholm conventions. The methodology for evaluating the performance and sustainability of the regional and subregional centres and the draft evaluation of all the centres based on the methodology were discussed extensively and recommendations were made on how to collect relevant information in order to undertake such an evaluation objectively.

The Secretariat shared with the Regional Centres drafts of a revised template for activity reporting and for preparing business plan/workplans by the Regional Centres. It also shared a questionnaire to collect feedbacks from the parties on the performance of the Regional Centres.

The Regional Centres worked in groups and shared their successes and challenges, institutional dreams and inspiration from the peers within their groups and later with everyone in an effort to strengthen the Regional Centres by enhancing cooperation and collaboration among themselves.  

Regional Centres from the GRULAC region discussed “Scoring a Goal Against Chemical Contamination”, a special awareness raising initiative on chemicals and waste. The initiative aims at raising awareness on the importance of the chemicals and waste agenda in Latin America and the Caribbean by capturing the opportunity of the FIFA World Football Cup scheduled to be held in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and other Brazilian cities in June and July 2014.

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