News Features

 

Kerstin Stendahl appointed Executive Secretary ad interim of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions
Since April 2014, Kerstin has served as Executive Secretary ad interim of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions. Kerstin joined the Secretariat as Deputy Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions in November 2012.

Kerstin Stendahl appointed Executive Secretary ad interim of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions

Kerstin Stendahl appointed Executive Secretary ad interim of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions

Since April 2014, Kerstin has served as Executive Secretary ad interim of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

Kerstin joined the Secretariat as Deputy Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions in November 2012.

Kerstin leads the management of the Secretariat and performs the representational functions for the Secretariat. She is responsible for the operational implementation of the work programmes of the three conventions, overseeing their implementation, and monitoring and reporting on the delivery of the work programmes. Kerstin supervises and directs the work of the branches of the Secretariat, with a view to achieving synergies.

Formerly, Kerstin held the post of Director for international environmental governance at the Ministry of the Environment, Finland. From 2001 to 2006, she served with the Nordic Council of Ministers while based in London as Secretary for the Nordic Genetic Resources Council and helped prepare the Nordic countries for the access and benefit regime under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Kerstin is a citizen of Finland.

Seychelles becomes 82nd party to accept Ban Amendment
Seychelles deposited its instrument of acceptance of the Ban Amendment on 15 July 2015, bringing the total number of ratifications to 82 Parties.

Seychelles becomes 82nd party to accept Ban Amendment

Seychelles becomes 82nd party to accept Ban Amendment

Seychelles deposited its instrument of acceptance of the Ban Amendment on 15 July 2015, bringing the total number of ratifications to 82 Parties.

Re-live the COPs with the new BRS videos
A new summary video film captures the 2015 Triple COPs experience and summarises key data and outcomes.

Re-live the COPs with the new BRS videos

Re-live the COPs with the new BRS videos

Watch our COPs 2015 Videos!

 









Awards at COPs honour outstanding practitioners
Representatives from Cote d’Ivoire, Jamaica, Kenya, Phillipines and Nigeria were the winners of the special BRS awards for practitioners who have benefitted from Secretariat training opportunities, and used that training for national implementation.

Awards at COPs honour outstanding practitioners

Awards at COPs honour outstanding practitioners

 

Elections during BC COP-12, RC COP-7 and SC COP-7
At the recent Triple COPs, parties elected new bureaux and members of subsidiary bodies under the conventions. More

Elections during BC COP-12, RC COP-7 and SC COP-7

Elections during BC COP-12, RC COP-7 and SC COP-7

 

Global media coverage of the 2015 Triple COPs
More than 130 articles from more than 40 countries: view the articles online.

Global media coverage of the 2015 Triple COPs

Global media coverage of the 2015 Triple COPs
 
POPs smartphone game and animated video from China
As launched at the recent Triple COPs in Geneva, the Government of China/UNDP interactive smartphone game and animated video are now available online, as part of the campaign “Stop the POPs”.

POPs smartphone game and animated video from China

POPs smartphone game and animated video from China

 

PACE E-waste award-winning photos now online
View the 4 finalist E-waste photographs honoured at the COPs, including the winning entry from Kai Loeffelbein (Germany).

PACE E-waste award-winning photos now online

PACE E-waste award-winning photos now online

 

Triple COPs on track amid calls for action
The second week of the Triple COPs is underway as parties respond to calls, including from UNEP Chief Achim Steiner, for action on urgent waste and chemicals issues

Triple COPs on track amid calls for action

Triple COPs on track amid calls for action
 
Science Fair takes COPs back to basics
Dozens of events, hundreds of partners, and thousands of conversations: the Science Fair was closed by donor partner Finland on saturday having underlined the scientific basis for the three conventions

Science Fair takes COPs back to basics

Science Fair takes COPs back to basics
 
INTERVIEW: Look ahead to the Triple COPs with the three COP Coordinators
A look ahead to what to expect from the Triple COPs with Alain Wittig, Andrea Lechner, and Marylene Beau

INTERVIEW: Look ahead to the Triple COPs with the three COP Coordinators

INTERVIEW: Look ahead to the Triple COPs with the three COP Coordinators

INTERVIEW: Look ahead to the Triple COPs with the three COP Coordinators

Interview between Charlie Avis, BRS Public Information Officer, and the three COP Coordinators, respectively Basel: Alain Wittig; Rotterdam: Andrea Lechner; and Stockholm: Marylene Beau, Programme Officers with the BRS Secretariat.

Charlie Avis (CA): Good morning, Alain, Andrea, and Marylene, you must be very busy right now with less than a week before the Triple COPs, so thanks for your time. Tell me, how are the preparations going?
Alain Wittig (AW): Good morning, Charlie and thank you! Yes indeed we are all very busy with the final preparations of the organization of the Triple COPs - all is going well. We had the great pleasure of meeting the 3 COP Presidents in Geneva last week to finalize arrangements for these meetings. We discussed, among others, the rotation of chairing the various joint sessions on joint issues and the arrangements for the meetings of the bureaux and contact groups. The entire Secretariat is now working hard in finalizing the last arrangements to ensure that all is in place for the opening of the meetings next Monday to enable the successful running of the meetings of COPs.

CA: What does it actually mean “COP Coordinator”, what do you actually do?
Andrea Lechner (AL): Everything! Well, actually each of us is in charge of the COP-related work under one of the Conventions. In preparing for the COPs, we make sure that all meeting documents are prepared on time and that the organization of work provides sufficient time for discussing all agenda items. We also coordinate the intersessional work with the bureaux and the presidents of our COPs in terms of follow-up to decisions taken, bureaux meetings and ensuring that Convention-specific activities are incorporated into the Secretariat’s work plans and are duly implemented as requested by the COPs. 

CA: You seem to work very much as a team - which would suggest there is a lot in common to your individual responsibilities. Is this how you identify “synergies”?
Marylene Beau (MB): Indeed, although we have specific areas of responsibilities, we very much work together as a team to organize these meetings. The Conventions, through the synergies process, have a joint secretariat (UNEP part) which facilitates the implementation of consistent approaches and processes across the three conventions. This is done at different levels, e.g. programmatic or administrative levels. Regarding the servicing of the meetings of the COPs, a lot of synergies have been identified and the best practices have been retained and improved throughout the years to enhance the efficiency of the Secretariat’s functions in this regard.

CA: Let’s turn to the COPs themselves. Is the agenda for this coming Triple COP organised any differently to the previous one? Will there be joint sessions featuring all three conventions together?
AW: The Triple COPs this year will in many ways be organized in a similar manner as in 2013, but they will also feature some differences. For example, this year there will be no high-level segment or simultaneous extraordinary meetings. Regarding some of the similarities, the three COPs are again being organized back-to-back and will include joint sessions on joint issues. Another similarity is that the joint sessions will be followed by sequential sessions of each individual COP meeting, starting with the SC COP, followed by the BC COP and finally the RC COP. The last day of the meetings will again feature a joint session to consider the outcomes of the joint contact groups and would discuss any outstanding joint issues, before each COP closes its meeting.

CA: Can you describe the process: how do decisions get made in the COPs, and how does that eventually influence national implementation?
AL: Decisions at the COPs are generally taken by consensus. The texts for these decisions are prepared by the Secretariat and presented in pre-session documents or so-called Conference Room Papers. For more complex items, contact groups are set up at the meetings to prepare draft decisions for adoption in plenary. Having the three COPs meet during the same two-week period allows them to take harmonized decisions on common issues. After the COPs, it is up to each country to implement these decisions at the national level. For some more substantive decisions, such as those to amend the convention for example in order to list new chemicals, parties to the conventions might need to amend their national regulations in order to reflect the decision taken by the COP.

CA: So what is coming up next week, which is common to the three conventions?
MB: The upcoming COPs will include some joint sessions during which issues that are common to two or three of the conventions will be considered. The items for the joint sessions were agreed upon by the bureaux of the COPs. The objective of the joint sessions is to strengthen implementation and interlinkages between the areas of work under the different conventions or to address cross-cutting organizational matters. Items that will be considered in joint sessions include POPs wastes, technical assistance, financial resources, compliance under the Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions, international cooperation and coordination, programmes of work and budgets.  

 CA: Are there interesting things happening alongside the COPs?
AW: Yes, many interesting events will take place in the margins of the COPs! A science fair will take place in parallel to the negotiation process from 7 to 9 May 2015 under the common theme of this year’s Triple COPs - ‘From science to action, working for a safer tomorrow’. The aim of the Fair is to increase the understanding of the scientific basis and related processes of the three conventions and to increase awareness of the in-depth scientific considerations relating to decision-making under the three conventions. In addition to the science fair, more than 35 side events will be held during lunch breaks and in the evenings on major issues covered under the conventions. The Government of Switzerland will organize a number of events, such as a reception during the evening of Monday 4 May, and a boat trip on Sunday 10 May 2015, to give a warm welcome to delegates to Geneva.

CA: And the million dollar (chemicals and waste) question: what are your expectations for next week, what will be decided?
AL: There are a number of “standing” items on the agenda of every COP that we expect guidance on from the parties: These include for example the Secretariat’s technical assistance programme, financial resources for chemicals and wastes and last but not least the programme of work and budget for the next biennium. From COP coordinator side, the most exciting discussions at the upcoming COPs will be related to the adoption of technical guidelines under the Basel Convention, the listing of new chemicals under the Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions and the possible adoption of procedures and mechanisms on compliance under the Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions. We look forward to the decisions parties will take on these matters.

CA: Any surprises in store?
MB: A lot of the issues at the agendas of the COPs have been consulted and discussed among regions and countries during the preparatory process leading to the meetings, either through the bureaux or the regional preparatory meetings that took place in March-April.  We thus feel much more aware about issues that could come up than in the past. However, for large meetings like the Triple COPs, we can always expect some surprises, which we hope will be good ones!  

CA: Thank you very much for your time, good luck next week.
AW, AL, MB: Thank you very much Charlie for this opportunity and we wish a successful COP to all participants.

 

Countdown to the Triple COPs – Presidents’ Joint Meeting takes place in Geneva
The Presidents of the conferences of the parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions met on 21 April 2015 to finalize arrangements for the preparation of the upcoming Triple COPs

Countdown to the Triple COPs – Presidents’ Joint Meeting takes place in Geneva

Countdown to the Triple COPs – Presidents’ Joint Meeting takes place in Geneva



Countdown to the Triple COPs: FAO and the Rotterdam Convention
FAO’s Elisabetta Tagliati answers your questions on the Rotterdam Convention and the relationships between pesticides, agriculture and environment.

Countdown to the Triple COPs: FAO and the Rotterdam Convention

Countdown to the Triple COPs: FAO and the Rotterdam Convention
 
Umoja, a new way of managing the United Nations administration, is being deployed
As part of a United Nations (UN)–wide initiative, UNEP and the BRS Secretariat will be implementing a new enterprise resource planning system named ‘Umoja’ with effect from 1 June 2015.

Umoja, a new way of managing the United Nations administration, is being deployed

Umoja, a new way of managing the United Nations administration, is being deployed

BRS Secretariat and the implementation of Umoja

As part of a United Nations (UN)–wide initiative, UNEP and the BRS Secretariat will be implementing a new enterprise resource planning system named ‘Umoja’ with effect from 1 June 2015.

Umoja, which means ‘unity’ in Kiswahili, is the United Nations’ administrative reform initiative, which involves a complete re-work of the way the organization manages its administration, in both business processes and Information Technology solutions.  A single modern technology platform will replace outdated and disparate systems and will change the roles and responsibilities of staff and the way the United Nations interacts with its service providers.  The system, which uses industry-leading technology and best practices, will improve decision-making processes, automate financial processes and improve reporting of information. Once the system is implemented, all areas of administrative work, including finance and budget, procurement, travel and human resource management will be managed in a more efficient and automated manner.  

The BRS Secretariat has appointed Mr. Osmany Pereira, as the focal point for BRS and, as the person to answer any queries you may have with respect to the implementation of Umoja (osmany.pereira@unep.org).

Long term benefits of Umoja

Umoja will bring many benefits including streamlined business processes, better financial control, reduced time spent on administrative processes, harmonized use of administrative data and information and self-service for Secretariat staff and managers:  

  • The Secretariat will be able to provide real time financial data, reports and analysis to the Parties of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm       Conventions by allowing faster data access.
  • Data for vendors, consultants and partners will be centrally stored and better integrated with finance.
  • Procurement procedures and financial statements will be automated.
  • Umoja automates processing based on the existing United Nations (UN) Rules and Regulations.
  • Travel of participants to be funded by the Secretariat to meetings, consultancies and procurement will continue to be managed by the        Secretariat according to the applicable UN Rules and Regulations.  

Short-term challenges of Umoja

Business will be affected during the periods prior to and after implementation of the system.  In preparation for the implementation of Umoja, the Secretariat will be required to ramp down its activities from April 2015. There will be a two week blackout period from 15 to 31 May, during which the data from the current system will be converted to Umoja. After Umoja is launched and during the period from June to July, there will be an initial slowdown of business as staff learn how to operate in the new environment.  The Secretariat has reviewed activities scheduled to take place during the period from April to July and set deadlines with the affected periods in mind and wish to request the understanding and cooperation of Parties during this period.

Although this is not expected to affect the organization and delivery of the Triple COPs from 4 to 15 May 2015, some delays in the processing of payment disbursements and travel claims may occur.

We would like to assure you that all measures have been taken to ensure that the blackout period leading to Umoja will cause minimal operational disruptions and contingency plans have been put in place.  Staff training in relevant areas is ongoing and a UNEP Deployment Team will provide hands-on user support to the Secretariat during the initial months of implementation.    

The Secretariat thanks its Parties and partners in advance for their patience and understanding during the introduction of Umoja.

Interview with FAO’s Christine Fuell
Find out all about Rotterdam Convention implementation and the role of FAO in the latest of our interview series marking the Countdown to the Triple COPs.

Interview with FAO’s Christine Fuell

Interview with FAO’s Christine Fuell

 

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