News Features

 

BRS launches SDGs quiz for delegates at UNEA2
Not attending UNEA2? You can be there in spirit by taking our online SDG quiz, which will be shared with delegates throughout this week in Nairobi.

BRS launches SDGs quiz for delegates at UNEA2

BRS launches SDGs quiz for delegates at UNEA2

Not attending UNEA2? You can be there in spirit by taking our online SDG quiz, which will be shared with delegates throughout this week in Nairobi.

Profile of Regional Centre continues focus on Caribbean
Find out about the Basel Regional Centre for the Caribbean, located in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

Profile of Regional Centre continues focus on Caribbean

Profile of Regional Centre continues focus on Caribbean
 
E-waste technical guidelines finalised and now available online in 6 UN languages
Adopted at COP.12, these much-anticipated guidelines are a crucial resource for parties seeking to sustainably manage this fast-growing waste stream.

E-waste technical guidelines finalised and now available online in 6 UN languages

E-waste technical guidelines finalised and now available online in 6 UN languages
 
Sustainable management of chemicals and waste at UNEA-2
Delivering the environmental dimension of the SDGs means achieving sustainable management of chemicals and waste, the message at UNEA-2 in Nairobi, 23-27 May.

Sustainable management of chemicals and waste at UNEA-2

Sustainable management of chemicals and waste at UNEA-2

Delivering on the environmental dimension of the SDGs requires achieving the sustainable management of chemicals and waste, that is one key message which UNEA-2 is expected to underline and re-affirm. It is also the message brought by the BRS Secretariat staff travelling to UNEA-2 in Nairobi, 23-27 May 2016. Through participation in a series of side events, panel discussions, and civil society green room events the BRS Executive Secretary Rolph Payet, and Deputy Executive Secretary Kerstin Stendahl, will promote the implementation of the BRS Conventions as part of the efforts to integrate chemicals and wastes into national implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs.

The UNEA-2 Committee of the Whole (CoW) will meet throughout the week to prepare decisions for adoption. Important for chemicals and wastes will be the negotiations on the Omnibus Decision on Chemicals and Waste as a renewed commitment to strengthened implementation at national level. Sustainable consumption and production, marine plastic debris and microplastics, and air quality as well as many cross-cutting issues will also be of relevance as pieces in the jigsaw puzzle of SDGs implementation, themes which may well be developed in more detail (further explored?) at the 2017 Triple COPs.

On the first day, Monday 23 May at 1300, Rolph Payet will provide the Opening Remarks to UNEA-2’s first Side Event (#1), on “Advancing Sustainable Chemistry in a Sustainable Development Context”, organised by the Government of Germany, Federal Ministry of the Environment. On Tuesday 24 May at 1800, Kerstin Stendahl will join the Gender and Environment Forum event, co-hosted by UNEP and the Network of Women Ministers and Leaders for the Environment (NWMLE). Wednesday 25 May at 1030, Rolph Payet will speak at a Media Roundtable on “Marine & Plastic Litter: A global problem requiring global solutions” and then at 1300, the Rotterdam Convention President, Franz Perrez from Switzerland, and Rolph Payet will act as Panellists to the UNEP-facilitated Side Event (#19) on “The mutually supportive role and benefits of MEAs and the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development”.

Thursday 26 May begins with Kerstin Stendahl participating in the Ministerial Breakfast for Women Ministers of Environment at 0730, and then at 1300, Rolph Payet contributes as Panellist to the Norwegian Government’s Side Event (#24) on “Marine Litter and Microplastics”, whilst at the same time Kerstin Stendahl will moderate the Side Event (#26) on “The Impact of Childhood Exposure to Toxic Chemicals on Children’s Rights”, organised by the UN Special Rapporteur on Hazardous Substances and Wastes, co-sponsored by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and UNICEF. That evening at 1700, Rolph Payet will then feature as Panellist on the Global Universites Partnership/UNEP Green Room Event (#22)on “Innovation and Solutions: Environmental Education for Sustainable Development Goals”.

In addition, the BRS secretariat will have an information Booth at UNEA-2 where interested delegates will be able to access, electronically, a range of important documents and publications and where BRS staff will be asking questions of delegates concerning the SDGs and chemicals and waste. The Secretariat will also be communicating latest news and updates live and direct from Nairobi through live-tweeting on @brsmeas. Follow us on twitter in order to stay up-to-date with what is happening at this important event, which has become known as “the global parliament for the environment”.

For more information on UNEA-2 please consult the UNEP website http://web.unep.org/unea/.

Two BRS staff receive UN Long Service Medal Awards
Marking 25 years of service to UNEP, BRS staff Laura Meszaros from Argentina, and Ariel Dayao from the Philippines, were recently honoured at the Palais des Nations, Geneva.

Two BRS staff receive UN Long Service Medal Awards

Two BRS staff receive UN Long Service Medal Awards

Marking 25 years of service to UNEP, BRS staff Laura Meszaros from Argentina, and Ariel Dayao from the Philippines, were recently honoured at the United Nations, Geneva. 

During a special awards ceremony at the Palais des Nations on 12 April 2016, the Director-General of UNOG, Mr. Michael Møller, presented them with silver medals and expressed appreciation for their dedication and commitment, highlighting that the Organization’s achievements were made thanks to their spirit of teamwork and cooperation.

Focus on Regional Centres switches to Africa
The second feature in our series on regional implementation highlights the Stockholm Convention Regional Centre in Nairobi, Kenya.

Focus on Regional Centres switches to Africa

Focus on Regional Centres switches to Africa

The Stockholm Convention Regional Centre in Kenya (SCRC-Kenya) is hosted by the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), in Nairobi. 

The icipe, founded in 1970, was nominated by the Africa region to serve as a Stockholm Convention Regional Centre in July 2010.Its primary objective is to research and develop alternative and environmentally friendly pest and vector management strategies that are effective, selective, non-polluting, non-resistance inducing, and which are affordable to resource-limited rural and urban communities. The Centre was endorsed by COP5 in 2011 as a regional and sub-regional centre for capacity building and the transfer of technology for a period of four years. Further, in 2015 the COP7 evaluated the performance of SCRC-Kenya; took note of its excellent performance and endorsed it for another term of four years. The Centre provides assistance mainly to almost all the African countries but could also support countries in other continents having similar issues.

Being hosted in icipe, SCRC Kenya focuses at undertaking research and development for non-chemical alternatives to the use of hazardous pesticides including persistence organic pollutants (POPs) for management of pests and disease vectors. It also promotes capacity-building and transfer of technology to farmers and other stakeholders. Alternative technologies and conservation efforts contribute to reduction in the use of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and other hazardous chemicals in vector and pest control in Africa, and thus reduce their negative impacts. The activities of the SCRC-Kenya are particularly important because most of the POPs that are listed under the Stockholm Convention are pesticides.

A key solution to reducing the impact of hazardous synthetic pesticide substances is to shift to the use of non-chemical alternatives for control of pests and disease vectors. In Africa however, many countries face major barriers to the accomplishment of the shift to the use of non-chemical alternatives that include inadequate expertise, resources, relevant information, technology, and development assistance and policies.

SCRC-Kenya has a long tradition of collaboration, with over 100 partner institutions in Africa and elsewhere in the world that include National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS), NGOs, universities, other international organizations. The Centre’s R&D work involves rural communities and  members, farmers and farmer groups, national extension service providers and community-based organizations. SCRC-Kenya has formulated innovative approaches through Public-Private Community Partnerships (PPCPs) to create better and more effective products, processes, services and technologies

SCRC-Kenya works in a holistic and integrated approach through a 4-H paradigm comprising “Human Health, Animal Health, Plant Health and Environmental Health”. Research and development has led to a number of effective alternatives that are contributing to reduction in the use of hazardous pesticides including persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in Africa. Some of the most successful initiatives taken by the centre that led to significant reduction in the use of chemical based pesticides include:

  • ‘Push–pull’ habitat management strategy
  • Biopesticides
  • Fruit-fly Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
  • Diamondback moth biological control
  • Classical biological control against the spotted stemborer Chilo partellus
  • Tsetse repellent collars; traps for control of tsetse flies
  • Habitat management for mosquito control; solar-powered mosquito traps; plant-derived mosquito control products
  • Honeybees; African Reference Laboratory for Bee Health
  • Training of African scientists
  • Training of rural community members in Africa

For more information on these initiatives and other information relating to icipe SCRC-Kenya please visit the website: www.icipe.org and for more on other Regional Centres, see http://synergies.pops.int/Implementation/TechnicalAssistance/RegionalCentres/tabid/2636/language/en-US/Default.aspx

New DDT Toolkit on sound management now available
Visit the one-stop shop for resources on the life-cycle management of DDT, within the context of the chemicals and waste conventions and pulling together information from WHO, FAO and others.

New DDT Toolkit on sound management now available

New DDT Toolkit on sound management now available
 
Preventing illegal trade in environmentally - sensitive commodities
Green Customs Initiative: the BRS Secretariat hosts the 11th meeting of the GCI Partners in Geneva, 14-15 April 2016.

Preventing illegal trade in environmentally - sensitive commodities

Preventing illegal trade in environmentally - sensitive commodities
 
Special Programme on Chemicals and Waste: Call for Proposals Open
Aiming to strengthen national institutions and to promote the mainstreaming of sound management of chemicals and wastes, the 1st Call for Proposals is open until 4 July 2016.

Special Programme on Chemicals and Waste: Call for Proposals Open

Special Programme on Chemicals and Waste: Call for Proposals Open

The Special Programme aims to strengthen national institutions and to promote the mainstreaming of the sound management of chemicals and waste. Key activities supported by the programme provide countries to advance institutional capacity for the implementation of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, the Minamata Convention and SAICM. Activities supported by the programme intend to strengthen national capacities, monitor implementation and enforcement of legislation and regulatory frameworks, and this includes developing national plans, budgets, policies, legislation and implementation frameworks for the sound management of chemicals and wastes throughout their life-cycle and at all levels.

Fundamentally linking chemicals and waste management with the economic, environmental and social development agenda is essential to sustainable development. It creates new impetus for the implementation of international chemicals and waste agreements, as well as other relevant international commitments and policy frameworks, including the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM). The integration of sound management of chemicals and waste in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a major achievement.

Project proposals should include a timeline for completion within three years. In some cases, project allocations may be increased up to a maximum of US$500,000, where adequate justification and evidence is given for a comprehensive approach to institutional strengthening at the national level and taking into account as well, the amounts of funds available in the Trust Fund.

More information on www.unep.org/chemicalsandwaste/SpecialProgramme/SpecialProgrammeCallsforProposals/tabid/1061027/Default.aspx 

First ever MOOC on E-waste - now underway
You can still register for, and since 4 April 2016 join, the first ever Massive Open Online Course on the E-waste Challenge, now underway.

First ever MOOC on E-waste - now underway

First ever MOOC on E-waste - now underway

With our growing appetite for electrical and electronic products, combined with rapid innovation and ever-shorter product lifespans, e-waste has now become one of the fast growing waste streams.

This course will help you to understand why and how we must manage e-waste in an environmentally sound manner and how you can take action on e-waste in your own life, business, or organization.

The aims of the course are to:


  • Show how sound management of e-waste can help reduce GHG emissions, mitigate climate change and prevent hazards to health and the environment in accordance with the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions
  • Share best practices, technological innovations, and sustainable e-waste recovery and recycling business models
  • Explore how the value in e-waste can be extracted in a way that supports the local economy and protects people’s health and the environment.

The E-waste challenge MOOC was developed by the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions Secretariat and Climate-KIC in cooperation with KU Leuven, in Belgium, and the World Resources Forum, an International non-profit organization based in Switzerland. The course will provide at least one ECTS to students who can take it at KU Leuven.

Register for the e-waste challenge MOOC at this address. The course will launch from 4 April 2016.

Geneva chemicals and wastes workshop focuses on national implementation of SDGs
Governments, international organisations, civil society and the private sector come together to plan delivery of the SDGs, 11 - 13 April 2016.

Geneva chemicals and wastes workshop focuses on national implementation of SDGs

Geneva chemicals and wastes workshop focuses on national implementation of SDGs

Stakeholders from different part of the worlds representing governments, intergovernmental organizations, the private sector, academia and civil society will meet  at the International Expert and Stakeholder Workshop on the Integrated National Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and International Chemicals and Waste Agreements to seek common understanding, commitment and action to effectively integrate sound management of chemicals and wastes into national implementation of SDGs and development planning and, through this, minimize the adverse effects of hazardous chemicals and waste on human health and the environment.

The workshop is jointly organized by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Chemicals and Waste Branch, Secretariat of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), the Interim Secretariat of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), and the Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC). It will take place on 11-13 April 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland.

China Regional Centre in the spotlight
A news series highlights the vital work of the Basel and Stockholm regional centres, starting with the joint RC in Beijing, China.

China Regional Centre in the spotlight

China Regional Centre in the spotlight

The BRS network of 23 Regional Centres (RCs) for the Basel and Stockholm Conventions facilitates the provision of technical assistance and the transfer of technologies in order to assist developing country parties and parties with economies in transition to implement their obligations under the two conventions.

In its decision BC-III/19, the Conference of the Parties of the Basel Convention selected China as a site to establish a BCRC for Asia Pacific region in 1997. Soon after the adoption of the decision the Centre was established within the School of Environment of the Tsinghua University in Beijing. However only in May 2011 a framework agreement between the Government of China and the Secretariat of Basel Convention was signed for its establishment. In November 2007 the Centre was nominated to serve also as a Stockholm Convention centre and was later endorsed in 2009  by  the Stockholm Convention COP4 as a regional centre for capacity building and technology transfer under the Stockholm Convention for four years. Recently, the Stockholm Convention COP7 endorsed it again for another term of four years. The Centre covers not just China but also a very wide and diverse number of countries including Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cambodia, the Cook Islands, DPR Korea, India, Lao PDR, Maldives, Micronesia, Mongolia, Nepal, Niue, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Samoa, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam.

The China RC runs a large number of projects, in particular focussing on the sound management of POPs and on electronic waste, or E-waste. Highlights include the development and launch of an interactive “E-waste Information Platform” and the annual organisation of the International Conference on Waste Management and Technology (ICWMT), together with a host of other important national and regional fora, symposia, workshops, and training events. By August 2015 the BCRC/SCRC Centre had successfully completed more than 150 regional and international workshops featuring more than 4,000 representatives, for more than 60 countries. The RC implements these events, alongside information-sharing, communications, training and internships, and the provision of communities of practice on key issues, in order to overcome the identified problems and constraints in the region, which include lack of capacity, inadequate communication and cooperation between parties, to name a few. The Centre scored full marks on the performance evaluation undertaken by the conferences of the parties to the Basel and Stockholm Conventions in 2015.

A monthly newsletter is published detailing key policy developments from the region and globally, best practices and latest advances in scientific methods and research on chemicals and wastes, and updates on RC activities. The excellent website contains international and regional news, meetings highlights, technical assistance platforms and a wealth of information on the parties served in the region.

In addition, and crucially, the RC is the implementation agency for a number of high-profile initiatives including on the phase out of POPs, a sub-regional action plan for PBDEs management and reduction, and the feasibility of eliminating BDEs and PFOS in developing countries.

Led by Professor Li Jinhiu as Executive Director for BCRC for SCRC, the RC has institutional experience of more than 20 years on hazardous chemicals and wastes, and participates and leads very activiely across the global, regional, and national Chinese policy and research landscapes.

For more information on the RC, please go to the Regional Centres homepages.

Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Convention Presidents meet in Jordan
SC President Sam Adu-Kumi, Ghana; Rolph Payet, BRS Executive Secretary; RC President Franz Perrez, Switzerland; and BC President Mohammed Khashashneh, Jordan, met at Minamata Convention INC7.

Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Convention Presidents meet in Jordan

Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Convention Presidents meet in Jordan
 
New consultancy opportunities at BRS
Short-term consultants are sought for key Stockholm Convention assignments, deadline for applications 30 March.

New consultancy opportunities at BRS

New consultancy opportunities at BRS
 
Geneva has many inspiring women working for a better environment
BRS and GEN mark International Women’s Day by celebrating some of inspiring women working on environment in Geneva.

Geneva has many inspiring women working for a better environment

Geneva has many inspiring women working for a better environment

BRS and GEN mark International Women’s Day by celebrating some of the inspiring women working on environment in Geneva

On the occasion of 8 March 2016, International Women’s Day, the BRS Secretariat and the Geneva Environment Network (GEN) launched an exhibition and awards ceremony to recognize inspirational women in Geneva working to protect the environment. 

The Charter of the United Nations, signed in 1945, was the first international agreement to affirm the principle of equality between women and men. Since then, the UN has played a strong part of the efforts to advance the status of women worldwide. While it is essential that gender equality is promoted and ensured through internationally-agreed strategies, standards, programmes and goals such as the SDG number 5, the greatest impact is achieved through the daily on the ground work that both men and women do.   

With this notion in mind, a call for nominations of inspirational women in Geneva working to protect the environment was made in February 2016. As a result, a total of 160 submissions were received all of which deserved to be recognized. 20 nominees were selected by the committee to be part of an exhibition celebrating their achievements. The majority of them originally come from Europe and Northern America, however all UN regions were represented.

These 20 inspirational women represent a rich diversity of organizations, sectors, functions and nationalities. Some of these dynamic and enthusiastic women are from intergovernmental organizations: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the Secretariat of the Aarhus Convention, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN REDD+), United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), International Trade Center (ITC), International Organization for Migration (IOM), World Meteorological Organization (WMO), World Health Organization (WHO), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Civil society is represented by passionate and dedicated women from the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF International), International Institute on Sustainable Development (IISD) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Hard working, motivated women are also from the private sector, namely World Business Council for Sustainable Development and Transparency. The committee also acknowledged the important contribution of hardworking and insightful visionaries from the University of Geneva and the Swiss Parliament.

Here is the list of awardees:

  1. Ann-Kathrin Zotz, International Trade Center
  2. Berta Pesti, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation/United Nations Development Programme
  3. Cristina Buetti,  International Telecommunication Union
  4. Dina Ionesco, International Organization for Migration
  5. Elena Manaenkova, World Meteorological Organization
  6. Emily Bradley, United Nations Institute for Training and Research
  7. Fiona Marshall, Secretariat of the Aarhus Convention, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
  8. Isabella Marras, Sustainable UN Facility,  United Nations Environment Programme
  9. Isabelle Boutillon, World Intellectual Property Organization
  10. Laurence Boisson de Chazournes, University of Geneva
  11. Lisa Mazzone,  Verts genevois,  Swiss Parliament
  12. Maria Mendiluce, World Business Council for Sustainable Development
  13. Maria Neira, World Health Organization
  14. Monika Linn, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
  15. Nathalie Bernasconi, International Institute on Sustainable Development
  16. Nawal Ait-Hocine, Transparence SA
  17. Sarah Price, Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification
  18. Sheila Logan, Chemicals and Waste Branch, United Nations Environment Programme
  19. Silja Halle, Post Conflict and Disaster Management Branch, United Nations Environment Programme
  20. Susan Brown, Worldwide Fund for Nature

As a result of its success, it is hoped that this initiative will become an annual event to celebrate dedicated, hard-working and passionate women working to protect the environment. 

For more information about the exhibition, please visit the GEN homepages: http://www.genevaenvironmentnetwork.org/?q=en/women2016

 

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