News Features

 

Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions adopts standardized e-mail addresses
Staff members of the Secretariat have new standardized e-mail addresses.  

Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions adopts standardized e-mail addresses

Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions adopts standardized e-mail addresses

As of 15 April 2013, each of our staff members have been assigned a new e-mail address in the standard format firstname.lastname@brsmeas.org. This new format applies to all members of the Secretariat, independently of whether staff are hosted by UNEP or FAO.

In addition to this standardized address, the UNEP staff will continue using e-mail addresses in the format firstname.lastname@unep.org and the FAO staff will continue using e-mail address in the FAO format firstname.lastname@fao.org.

The e-mail addresses in the pic.int and pops.int formats will continue to be functional for six months, to facilitate the transition to the new addresses. Rest assured that messages sent to our former addresses will still be delivered.

Secretariat fills three senior management positions
Selection of branch chiefs to fill the technical assistance, convention operations and scientific support branches has been announced by the Secretariat.  

Secretariat fills three senior management positions

Secretariat fills three senior management positions

The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions is pleased to announce the selection of Branch Chiefs for three of its four branches.

Abiola Olanipekun has been selected as Chief of the Scientific Support Branch.

Ms. Olanipekun has been heavily involved in the conventions, and has had a leadership role in its meetings for many years. Ms. Olanipekun worked for the Federal Ministry of Environment Nigeria (1987 to 2013) in the Chemicals Management Division of the Department of Pollution Control & Environmental Health and has coordinated the African region for over a decade in major international negotiations, policies and programmes on sound management of chemicals. She holds a Bachelors of Science and Masters Degree in Biochemistry and Environmental Science and Technology respectively from University of Benin, Nigeria and UNESCO-IHE, Delft, The Netherlands.

Ms. Olanipekun will officially join the Secretariat on 25 April 2013.

Maria Cristina Cárdenas-Fischer has been selected as Chief of the Technical Assistance Branch.

Ms. Cárdenas-Fischer has served as acting chief of the Technical Assistance Branch of the Secretariat since February 2012. She joined the Stockholm Convention Secretariat in October 2001 as a policy advisor, and over the years she has been responsible for managing the areas of work of the Secretariat pertaining to technical assistance (including the regional centres for capacity building and transfer of technology), the financial mechanism under the Convention, the national implementation plans, the reporting obligations and the expert group on BAT and BEP. From October 2009-February 2012 she was the coordinator for the technical assistance programme of the secretariat of the Stockholm Convention.

Prior to joining the Stockholm Convention Secretariat, Ms. Cárdenas-Fischer, worked for the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1993 to 2001) as special advisor for environmental issues. Ms. Cárdenas-Fischer is a Colombian national and holds a BA in Philosophy from Bristol University in the United Kingdom.

David Ogden has been selected as Chief of the Conventions Operations Branch.

Mr. Ogden has served as the acting chief of the Convention Operations Branch of the Secretariat since February 2012. He joined the United Nations Environment Programme in March 1997 and served as the coordinator of the Stockholm Convention through its negotiation and following its entry into force. He chaired the coordinators group that was responsible for the organization and conduct of the first simultaneous extraordinary meetings of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions in February 2010.

Mr. Ogden worked for the United States Environment Protection Agency from 1987 to March 1997 mostly within the Office of International Affairs where he served as the lead analyst for international chemicals management issues. Mr. Ogden holds a Master of Science degree in Environmental Science, a Master of Arts degree in International Affairs, a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and a certificate to teach social studies at the secondary level. He is an American.

 

COPs delegates invited to sail to Cheneviers waste treatment centre
In cooperation with the authorities of the Canton of Geneva, the Swiss host country is organizing an excursion to the waste treatment centre of Cheneviers on Sunday, 5 May 2013. Participants will travel from La Jonction by boat on the Rhône to the treatment centre. A morning excursion (...

COPs delegates invited to sail to Cheneviers waste treatment centre

COPs delegates invited to sail to Cheneviers waste treatment centre

In cooperation with the authorities of the Canton of Geneva, the Swiss host country is organizing an excursion to the waste treatment centre of Cheneviers on Sunday, 5 May 2013.

Participants will travel from La Jonction by boat on the Rhône to the treatment centre. A morning excursion (10:15 am – 2 pm) is being offered.

Interested registered delegates are invited to complete the excursion registration form. Due to security reasons, the excursion is limited to 200 participants. The first 200 delegates having subscribed will be able to participate. Please note that this excursion is for registered delegates only.

Download the excursion brochure.

Review of the synergies arrangements
Secretariat’s review of the synergies arrangements and UNEP/FAO synergies evaluation reports released.  

Review of the synergies arrangements

Review of the synergies arrangements

Secretariat’s review of the synergies arrangements and UNEP/FAO synergies evaluation reports released.

 

Season’s Greetings and Best Wishes for the New Year 2013
From the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions  

Season’s Greetings and Best Wishes for the New Year 2013

Season’s Greetings and Best Wishes for the New Year 2013

From the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions

Season’s Greetings and Best Wishes for the New Year 2013
2012 was a year of major innovation in international environmental governance, in particular in the area of hazardous chemicals and wastes. The Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm convention secretariats were successfully merged into one secretariat as a result of the Party-led synergies process.  ...

Accomplishments of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions during 2012

2012 was a year of major innovation in international environmental governance, in particular in the area of hazardous chemicals and wastes. The Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm convention secretariats were successfully merged into one secretariat as a result of the Party-led synergies process.

The new matrix management structure of the Secretariat was put into effect as from 18 February 2012 and  is intended to increase cooperation, coordination and efficiency among the three conventions so that cost-effective services to parties are improved.

Significant progress was made under a Basel Convention subsidiary body this year to complete a framework on the environmentally sound management of hazardous and other wastes for the “country-led initiative”.   

For the first time since the Rotterdam Convention entered into force in 2004, the Convention’s Chemical Review Committee recommended adding a severely hazardous pesticide formulation (containing paraquat dichloride) to the prior informed consent list, continuing to ensure that countries’ right to know and to safely trade chemicals are respected. 

In 2011 the Parties agreed to list endosulfan in Annex A to the Stockholm Convention, with specific exemptions. Endosulfan becomes the 22nd POP to be listed under the Convention.

Parties to all three conventions benefited from increased use of information and communication technology (e-media) to support capacity building and outreach on a global scale.  The ‘webinars’ programme was expanded to all three conventions with twice weekly online seminars, while a new Twitter service (@brsmeas) was launched to increase transparency and information exchange among Parties, stakeholders and the general public.

Overall, the synergies process has strengthened the Secretariat’s ability to support parties in implementing their obligations under the three conventions. The restructuring of the Secretariat and joint implementation of synergies activities in the respective programmes of work have yielded administrative efficiency and cost savings at global, regional and national levels.  Progress on synergies was commended in the Rio +20 outcome, ‘The Future We Want’, for increasing coordination and cooperation among chemicals and waste conventions.  The three conventions will continue to contribute to sustainable development and international environmental governance.

 

UNEP Pays Tribute to Angela Cropper
Angela Cropper, the former Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has passed away following a long and courageous battle with cancer.

UNEP Pays Tribute to Angela Cropper

UNEP Pays Tribute to Angela Cropper
 
Consultative meeting held in Mexico City from 5 to 6 September 2012 sought advice from governments and other stakeholders The Stockholm Convention has a financial mechanism, which provides new and additional resources to eligible parties to enable them to implement treaty obligations. The Global En...

Update on the UNEP Executive Director’s consultative process on financing options for chemicals and wastes

Consultative meeting held in Mexico City from 5 to 6 September 2012 sought advice from governments and other stakeholders

The Stockholm Convention has a financial mechanism, which provides new and additional resources to eligible parties to enable them to implement treaty obligations. The Global Environment Facility is entrusted, ad interim, with the operations of this mechanism. But there is, as yet, no integrated approach for the financing of chemicals and waste challenges more broadly. While finding agreements on possible new and additional funding approaches can be exceedingly difficult in difficult economic times, governments have signalled that they wish to make progress in this area. The Secretariat is participating in and contributing to UNEP’s consultative process on financing options for chemicals and wastes to support governments in finding solutions.

Follow the conventions on Twitter @brsmeas
The new Twitter service of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, BRS Conventions lets you follow the latest developments of the conventions.  

Follow the conventions on Twitter @brsmeas

Follow the conventions on Twitter @brsmeas

The new Twitter service of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, BRS Conventions lets you follow the latest developments of the conventions.

 

Global MEAs for Atmosphere, Hazardous substances and Biodiversity: What are the lessons for Future Synergies?
Jim Willis will present on the conventions’ experience with synergies at a Rio+20 side event, being held at Athletes Park, UNEP Pavilion from 13:00 to 14:45:on 22 June 2012.

Global MEAs for Atmosphere, Hazardous substances and Biodiversity: What are the lessons for Future Synergies?

Global MEAs for Atmosphere, Hazardous substances and Biodiversity: What are the lessons for Future Synergies?

The Rio+20 side event “Global MEAs for Atmosphere, Hazardous substances and Biodiversity: What are the lessons for Future Synergies?” will be held at Athletes Park, UNEP Pavilion from 13:00 to 14:45 on 22 June 2012.

Bakary Kante, UNEP, Director of Division on Environmental Law and Conventions, will introduce the session and moderate a panel discussion on the way forward on synergies. The discussion will explore which good practices can be distilled from experiences, and needs and opportunities for synergies at the international and national implementation levels.

Panellists reports on taking stock of experiences with synergies will be delivered by Jim Willis, Executive Secretary, Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions; John Scanlon, Secretary-General, CITES; Marco Gonzales, Executive Secretary, Ozone Secretariat; and Marcos Silva, Chief Knowledge Management, CITES.

In addition to the experiences of the multilateral environment agreements, the panel will examine informational synergies under UNEP’s InforMEA initiative.

Sustainability at the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions
In July 2011, a sustainability task force was set up in the secretariat to develop recommendations on improving the secretariat’s environmental and financial sustainability. Find out about the results of the task force and the sustainability performance of the secretariat, by consulting the ta...

Sustainability at the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions

Sustainability at the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions

In July 2011, a sustainability task force was set up in the secretariat to develop recommendations on improving the secretariat’s environmental and financial sustainability. Find out about the results of the task force and the sustainability performance of the secretariat, by consulting the task force’s report.

 

Quarterly management oversight reports increase transparency of secretariat
The secretariat presents new management oversight reports covering synergies between the conventions and their operations.

Quarterly management oversight reports increase transparency of secretariat

Quarterly management oversight reports increase transparency of secretariat

The secretariat presents new management oversight reports covering synergies between the conventions and their operations.

 

Sign up now for Wastes, PIC and POPs webinars
Our offer of online training has been expanded to address a variety of new issues relevant to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions. Find more by consulting the schedule of webinars for this year.

Sign up now for Wastes, PIC and POPs webinars

Sign up now for Wastes, PIC and POPs webinars

Our offer of online training has been expanded to address a variety of new issues relevant to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions.

Find more by consulting the schedule of webinars for this year.

A breakthrough year of synergies for the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions
In 2011, the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions embarked on a new, innovative and tangible phase the synergies process.  

A breakthrough year of synergies for the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions

A breakthrough year of synergies for the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions

In 2011, the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions embarked on a new, innovative and tangible phase the synergies process.

At the three meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Stockholm, Rotterdam and Basel conventions held in April, June and October2011, respectively, parties reached consensus on a path forward on synergies, as well as a number of significant technical and policy matters.

The Stockholm and Rotterdam meetings in Geneva resulted in new listings for control of hazardous chemicals and pesticides and new initiatives to strengthen the scientific underpinnings of chemicals management. The Basel and Stockholm COPs also agreed to new synergistic relations between an expanded number of designated Regional Centres serving to bolster implementation on the ground.

Meeting in Cartagena, Colombia, Parties at Basel COP10 agreed on a way forward on the amendment banning transboundary movements of hazardous wastes from OECD countries to developing countries. For a number of reasons, the Ban Amendment has not yet entered into force, while trade in hazardous waste for resource recovery has grown significantly in the intervening decades, including between developing countries.

Basel COP10 recognized this shift and in a historic decision agreed to an approach that will allow the Ban Amendment to enter into force for those countries who wish to adhere to it. At the same time, Parties agreed to a framework to build a regime for countries who may wish to trade in waste to ensure the minimization of health and environmental impacts.

In launching the synergies process, Parties established the goal of strengthening implementation of each convention while delivering services in an efficient, cost effective manner. Improving the delivery of service to parties is the sine qua non of the Secretariat.

Among the most visible benefits to Parties has been the integration of conference services and meeting support, which contributed to successfully holding our first three paperless COPs. The recent conferences drew praises or being among the smoothest and most productive meetings in the entire history of the conventions the “miracle of Cartagena”.

The COPs approved the proposed cross-cutting and joint activities for inclusion in the programmes of work of the three Secretariats for 2012–2013 and authorized the Executive Secretary to determine the staffing levels, numbers and structure of the Secretariat in a flexible manner within the ceiling established by the decision on financing and budget for the biennium 2012–2013.

Working in consultation with Parties through the bureaux, I have submitted a proposal for the organization of the Secretariats, including staffing levels, numbers and structure, to be implemented by 31 December 2012. The proposed future structure would establish a single integrated secretariat dedicated to serving all three conventions equally, and would consist of four branches covering administrative services, convention operations, technical assistance and scientific support.

The proposed future structure would also considerably simplify the organization of the secretariat, and ultimately reduce the number of senior managers.

Eliminating redundancies, identifying resource savings, building upon best practices, and strengthening the focus on delivery of services to Parties are key considerations that should translate into increased support to Parties.  A secretariat better able to deliver services related to all three MEAs simultaneously would be better able to influence synergies externally, for example through supporting synergistic projects delivered through regional centres or by IGO partners.

The synergies process of the chemicals and waste MEAs is part of a larger effort aimed at overcoming fragmentation within the global system of environmental governance. Our experience shows that it is indeed possible to break away from “business as usual” and do much more through cooperation and collaboration in ways that were once hardly considered possible.

Jim Willis, Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions 

 

Synergies among the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions
Since 2005, the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions have undergone a unique development within the world of MEAs, known as “the synergies process”. The synergies process represents the establishment of an unprecedented mechanism for the achievement of coordination and cooperation ...

Synergies among the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions

Synergies among the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions

Since 2005, the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions have undergone a unique development within the world of MEAs, known as “the synergies process”. The synergies process represents the establishment of an unprecedented mechanism for the achievement of coordination and cooperation at all levels; providing Parties, the Secretariats and key partner organizations with a groundbreaking framework that will strengthen the impact of the work of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions at global, regional and national levels.

In launching the synergies process, Parties to the three conventions established the goal of strengthening implementation of each convention while delivering services in an efficient, cost-effective manner. 

Parties accelerated the process in 2010 with the establishment of a joint head for the secretariats of the Basel, Stockholm and UNEP part of the Rotterdam Convention. With a new single Executive Secretary for the parts of the secretariats provided by UNEP, a single, clear point of leadership and responsibility has been created to implement synergies.

A further step was taken in 2011, when Parties invited the newly appointed Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions to submit a proposal for organizing the joint management functions of the secretariats.

A proposal to restructure the secretariats to create a single, integrated secretariat was submitted to the bureaux of the three conventions and posted on the conventions’ webpages in December 2011. Several Parties provided comments on the proposal, and a new structure was implemented by the secretariat in February 2012 ad interim.

Welcome to the matrix

The new organizational structure of the secretariat is what is traditionally referred to as a matrix organization.  This means that reporting lines run vertically through the organization, with staff members of broadly similar skills or job functions pooled into the respective branches. Projects, on the other hand, generally are performed by teams, with a team leader, which function horizontally across the organization.

Under the new structure, four branches have been established covering administrative services, convention operations, technical assistance and scientific support. The matrix management approach generally conforms to UNEP’s management structure.

The primary intent of this proposal is to build a structure to better support synergies – in the case of the secretariat this means primarily identifying and implementing efficiencies that translate into increased support to Parties. As such, eliminating redundancies, identifying resource savings, building upon best practices, and strengthening the focus on delivery of services to Parties are key considerations.

The proposal also reflects a preference for a simpler, less hierarchical structure. Such a structure can significantly reduce the number of review and decision-making steps and better empower staff to manage their own work.  This can greatly facilitate teamwork horizontally across the organization, which is essential to a matrix structure.

Building a sustainable secretariat

Of almost equal importance is building a sustainable secretariat. It is intended that new treaties could be added to the structure if that is the wish of governments. Its structure will be buttressed by appropriate management controls to ensure the work is completed on time, is of high quality, and is appropriately budgeted and accounted for.

A sustainable secretariat will also be one having a well trained and regionally and gender balanced staff and management.

The proposal addresses only the UNEP part of the secretariat.  A full proposal to the 2013 COPs may be broader and include the FAO part of the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat and enhancing technical cooperation with FAO in the area of pesticides covered under the three Conventions. Changes to the final proposal would be made, if necessary, and build upon lessons learned from implementing restructuring during 2012.

Clearly the primary goal of this restructuring should be to support the relevant synergies decisions and activities approved by the COPs, as well as to be forward-looking in identifying and implementing additional synergies consistent with Party decisions.  A number of areas where this should occur include:

  • Resource saving through the consolidation and integration of like functions, e.g. reduced space and equipment requirements will result in reduced rental and leasing costs;
  • Increased efficiency by reducing redundancies, e.g. by eliminating the need for a separate technical assistance or conference management service for each of the three MEAs;
  • Improved delivery through the ability to establish coherent teams able to operate in greater depth to serve the needs of Parties;
  • Better integration enabling staff to be better able to deliver services related to all three MEAs simultaneously, and consequently better able to influence synergies externally, for example through supporting synergistic projects delivered through regional centres or by IGO partners. 

Farewell to fragmentation

The synergies process of the chemicals and waste MEAs is part of a larger effort aimed at overcoming fragmentation within the global system of environmental governances. It constitutes a unique development in the world of MEAs, as it reflects a strong collective commitment to evolve towards a common vision for change: capitalizing on commonalities, while fully respecting the legal autonomy of each Convention; strengthening existing mechanisms, while at the same time making them more efficient; fostering a regional approach towards the implementation of activities as well as enhancing national and regional capacities required for Parties to develop a more sustainable approach towards the full implementation of the three conventions.

The synergies experience of our conventions may provide a model of how to help defragment the sound management of hazardous chemicals and wastes to benefit human health and the environment.

Progress made by the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions on synergies has made a substantial contribution to the ongoing debate on governance of sustainable development.

How to catalyze synergies at the regional and global levels needs to be considered next.

 

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