News Features

 

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.

Outstanding independent scientists sought to fill vacancies within the GEF’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel
Candidates in the areas of Biodiversity and Chemicals/Waste Management are being sought by deadline of 31 January 2014.  

Outstanding independent scientists sought to fill vacancies within the GEF’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel

Outstanding independent scientists sought to fill vacancies within the GEF’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel

Outstanding independent scientists are invited to apply for vacancies that will become available in July 2014 within the Global Environment Facility’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP). The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is currently searching for two qualified candidates in the areas of Biodiversity and Chemicals/Waste Management. STAP Panel Members are expected to be able to provide a minimum of 60 days per year to the work of STAP, and up to a maximum of 90 days if needed depending on work program circumstances. 

Formal Terms of Reference for each position may be found on the GEF website, along with instructions for submitting applications.

Applications should be submitted to recruitment.stapgef@unep.org, by the closing date of 31 January 2014. To assist the work of the Search Committee, qualified candidates are referred to the website above for detailed information on the position and application instructions.

For further information about STAP, the Panel, and its work program please consult the STAP website.

Please do not hesitate to contact Thomas Hammond, the STAP Secretary (thomas.hammond@unep.org), for further clarification on this process if needed.

Season's Greetings and Best Wishes for the New Year 2014
The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions

Season's Greetings and Best Wishes for the New Year 2014

Season's Greetings and Best Wishes for the New Year 2014

From the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions

Season’s Greetings and Best Wishes for the New Year 2013
First joint meeting of the Chemical Review Committee and the POPs Review Committee strengthens scientific synergies
Committees establish intersessional working group to prepare guidance on PIC POPs chemicals.

First joint meeting of the Chemical Review Committee and the POPs Review Committee strengthens scientific synergies

First joint meeting of the Chemical Review Committee and the POPs Review Committee strengthens scientific synergies

Committees establish intersessional working group to prepare guidance on PIC POPs chemicals.

The first joint meeting of the Chemical Review Committee and the POPs Review Committee took place in Rome on 20 October 2013, attended by 75 participants. The Committee exchanged information on their respective mandates and review processes, and discussed ways to strengthen scientific synergies and enhance collaboration and cooperation among the committees.   

The committees established a joint intersessional working group to develop guidance to assist parties to the Rotterdam Convention and the Chemical Review Committee in their work when a chemical under consideration is a POP listed under the Stockholm Convention. The intersessional working group will be co-chaired by Ms. Mirijam Seng (Germany) and Mr. Azhari Abdelbagi (Sudan).

The report of the meeting is available from the joint meeting page.

Training extends conventions’ corps of highly qualified chairpersons
A pilot training on chairing meetings of the Basel, Rotterdam & Stockholm conventions will be offered in Glion, Switzerland, from 3 to 5 March 2014

Training extends conventions’ corps of highly qualified chairpersons

Training extends conventions’ corps of highly qualified chairpersons

Place and Date: Glion, Switzerland, from 3 to 5 March 2014

Background: In order to strengthen the implementation of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions, and build synergies, there is a need to expand the number and diversity of trained, confident and willing chairs for the various meetings of the conventions.  These may include ordinary and extraordinary meetings of the conferences of the Parties, subsidiary bodies and contact and drafting groups as well as other meetings.

While the three conventions have enjoyed good fortune in the past in finding qualified chairs for their meetings, there are challenges in finding willing and experienced chairs from all regions and in maintaining gender and regional diversity among the chairs.

Secretariat launches BRS MEAS photo gallery on Flickr
BRS MEAS is the new photo gallery of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions on Flickr, the latest addition to the conventions’ panoply of social media services. The BRS MEAS collection consists of more than 900 photographic images taken by the Secretariat and organized into 12 thema...

Secretariat launches BRS MEAS photo gallery on Flickr

Secretariat launches BRS MEAS photo gallery on Flickr
 
Building an Effective Future-proof International Chemicals and Waste Regime
Franz Perrez, Swiss Ambassador for the Environment, writes about synergies milestones and future cooperation between the three conventions.  

Building an Effective Future-proof International Chemicals and Waste Regime

Building an Effective Future-proof International Chemicals and Waste Regime

Franz Perrez, Swiss Ambassador for the Environment, writes about synergies milestones and future cooperation between the three conventions.

Read the article.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the United Nations Environment Programme.

 

Interactive map displays parties to the conventions
Up-to-date information on the status of ratifications merely a click away.

Interactive map displays parties to the conventions

Interactive map displays parties to the conventions
Up-to-date information on the status of ratifications merely a click away.
Synergies app launched at 2013 COPs
The mobile app is expected to increase transparency and participation in Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm convention meetings. Available for Android and iPhone/iPads.  

Synergies app launched at 2013 COPs

Synergies app launched at 2013 COPs

The mobile app is expected to increase transparency and participation in Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm convention meetings. Available for Android and iPhone/iPads.

The Secretariat announced the release of the free mobile phone app Synergies on the opening day of the ordinary and extraordinary meetings of the conferences of the parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions (COPs).

Synergies provides a window to information about the meetings of the global chemicals and wastes conventions. It gives quick and easy access to essential information about the 2013 COPs. More than 1,700 participants are expected to attend the two-week long conference.

The app provides Alerts, Schedule, Agenda, News, ExCOPs, Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conference documents, and General Information for the COPs. It was designed by Zero to Heroes Media (Vancouver, Canada) working closely with the conventions' Secretariat, based in Geneva.

The free app can be downloaded from the Apple App store for iPhone/iPad users and from Google Play for Android users.

After the 2013 COPs, Synergies will continue to provide similar information at future major meetings of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions.

 

New cooperation fostered between regional centres in Brazil and Czech Republic
RECETOX and CETESB regional centres sign MOU at the closure of the Regional Fair at 2013 COPs.

New cooperation fostered between regional centres in Brazil and Czech Republic

New cooperation fostered between regional centres in Brazil and Czech Republic

The Memorandum of Understanding laying down cooperation between the RECETOX and CETESB to support the implementation of the Stockholm Convention in Europe and Latin America and Caribbean countries was signed at the closure of the Regional Fair "Synergies through Regional Delivery" in Geneva on Friday, 3 May 2013.

The Regional Fair was organized as a platform to enhance cooperation between regional centres of both Stockholm and Basel Conventions in the margins of the joint meetings of the conferences of the parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions held in Geneva 28 April – 10 May 2013.

Director of RECETOX, Prof. Ivan Holoubek and Regional Centre Director Ms. Kateřina Šebková signed the MoU on behalf of RECETOX, the CEO of the CETESB, Mr. Otavio Okano and his vice-president Mr. Nelson Roberto Bugalho signed the document on behalf of the CETESB.

The centres will cooperate in particular on data collection and management for the purpose of the Global Monitoring Plan for the Stockholm Convention and on capacity building, training and educational activities. RECETOX experts have already provided support in capacity building activities in CETESB for the ambient air monitoring in the LAC region in 2012 and March 2013. Additional cooperation and training of CETESB staff in RECETOX is underway for mid 2013.

The Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment (RECETOX), Czech Republic is the Stockholm Convention Regional Centre for Capacity Building and the Transfer of Technology the Central and Eastern European Region. The Regional Centre is a part of the RECETOX, which is an independent Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment operating within the Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic. The RECETOX Centre provides long-term support in chemicals management to 23 countries of Central and Eastern Europe and serves as a strategic scientific partner for over 30 countries in Africa and Asia.

CETESB serves as the Regional Centre of Stockholm Convention on POPs for Latin America and the Caribbean Region. Among it regional activities, CETESB has led a project on management of contaminated sites with POPs for GRULAC countries: Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezula, and hosted capacity building workshops on new POPs and the updating of National Implementation Plans and reporting requirments for Latin America.

Regional Fair accents "Synergies through regional delivery"
The Regional Fair Roundtable ‘Synergies through regional delivery’ examines barrier and opportunities to enhance delivery of services to parties at regional and national level.  

Regional Fair accents "Synergies through regional delivery"

Regional Fair accents "Synergies through regional delivery"

Conferences' presidents Franz Perrez, Magdalena Balicka and Osvaldo Álvarez-Pérez will inaugurate the Regional Fair dedicated to ‘Synergies through regional delivery’ on Wednesday evening, 1 May, kicking off three days of activities of the theme at the 2013 COPs.

The Fair's inaugural ceremony will take place on 1 May at 6:15 p.m. in the CICG exhibition area.

The main aim of the Regional Fair is to enhance the relation between the regional centres, donors and countries served by the centres, highlight the capacity building activities and projects of the regional centres and demonstrate what expertise, capacities the regional centres have which could be mobilized to assist Parties in the implementation of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

Immediately after the opening ceremony, the Regional Fair Roundtable will be held to explore synergies through regional delivery. Panelists will be invited to discuss any barriers to permitting regional centres to serve parties in implementing all three convention; opportunities for enhancing cooperation between centres and with regional offices of UNEP and FAO; and how to secure long-term financing and support for achieving the 2020 goal of sound management of chemicals and wastes.

The Panelists for the Roundtable are:

  • Ms. Jill Hanna, European Commission;
  • Ms. Fiorella Leon, Peru;
  • Prof. Oladele Osibanjo, Director, Basel Convention Regional Centre for the African Region;
  • Dr. Jinhui Li, Executive Director, Basel Convention Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific/Stockholm Regional Centre in China;
  • Mr. Ibrahim Sow, Secretariat of the Global Environment Facility.

Ms. Maria Cristina Cardenas, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, will introduce the topic for discussion; and Mr. Michael Jones, Secretariat, will moderate the panel.

The Regional Fair will conclude with an awards ceremony at 6:15 p.m. on 3 May.

The tentative schedule of side events includes further information on Regional Fair side events.

Download the Basel and Stockholm conventions Regional Centres and FAO, UNEP regional offices brochure.

Download the Regional Fair Programme

Page 10 of 12First   Previous   3  4  5  6  7  8  9  [10]  11  12  Next   Last