All activities

UN Secretary General calls for increased investment in waste management
With waste the theme of this year’s World Habitat Day, Antonio Guterres highlights the role of frontier technologies to transform waste into wealth, and stresses the need to reduce waste in the first place.

UN Secretary General calls for increased investment in waste management

UN Secretary General calls for increased investment in waste management
 
BRS Executive Secretary urges strong cooperation between chemicals and waste and regional seas conventions
With waste the theme of this year’s World Habitat Day, Antonio Guterres highlights the role of frontier technologies to transform waste into wealth, and stresses the need to reduce waste in the first place.

BRS Executive Secretary urges strong cooperation between chemicals and waste and regional seas conventions

BRS Executive Secretary urges strong cooperation between chemicals and waste and regional seas conventions
 
Parties invited to provide information to improve Basel Convention implementation
The final evaluation of the Convention’s Strategic Framework for implementation for 2012-2021 is underway, and Parties are asked to submit information by 31 January 2020.

Parties invited to provide information to improve Basel Convention implementation

Parties invited to provide information to improve Basel Convention implementation
 
E-waste: Deadline approaching for the Basel Convention’s follow-up partnership to PACE
The BRS Secretariat is still accepting applications for membership to the follow-up partnership to the Partnership for Action on Computing Equipment (PACE), and also inviting comments on the new work programme and terms of reference, with deadline 30 September 2019.

E-waste: Deadline approaching for the Basel Convention’s follow-up partnership to PACE

E-waste: Deadline approaching for the Basel Convention’s follow-up partnership to PACE
 
New plastic waste project underway in Bangladesh
Building on the recent Basel Convention plastic waste amendment, a new Norwegian-funded initiative has begun, with inception meetings in Dhaka for experts and stakeholders, 18 to 19 September, 2019.

New plastic waste project underway in Bangladesh

New plastic waste project underway in Bangladesh
 
More than 100 participants attend regional meeting to boost implementation of the Basel and Rotterdam conventions in Africa
Dakar, Senegal, hosts a capacity-building workshop for governments and other stakeholders working towards the sound management of chemicals and waste, including plastic waste. Funding support kindly provided by the Government of France.

More than 100 participants attend regional meeting to boost implementation of the Basel and Rotterdam conventions in Africa

More than 100 participants attend regional meeting to boost implementation of the Basel and Rotterdam conventions in Africa
 
Plastic waste and the oceans: new guest blog by BRS Executive Secretary for the World Ocean Initiative
Read Rolph Payet’s guest blog on plastic waste and the oceans and how the Basel Convention’s Plastic Waste Amendment can contribute to tackling the problem.

Plastic waste and the oceans: new guest blog by BRS Executive Secretary for the World Ocean Initiative

Plastic waste and the oceans: new guest blog by BRS Executive Secretary for the World Ocean Initiative

More than 300m tonnes of plastics are produced every year and the majority is not recycled. This leaves us with colossal amounts of plastic waste. Some of this is disposed of properly, but in many regions plastic waste is dumped on land and in rivers, eventually finding its way to our oceans”. So began the BRS Executive Secretary Rolph Payet in a Guest Blog on plastic waste, oceans and the Basel Convention’s 2019 Plastic Waste Amendment for The Economist’s World Ocean Initiative, published 13 September 2019.

Click here to read the article.

Click here for more info on The Economist’s World Ocean Initiative.

Read the Basel Convention press release on the entry into force of the Ban Amendment
Entry into force of amendment to UN treaty boosts efforts to prevent waste dumping.

Read the Basel Convention press release on the entry into force of the Ban Amendment

Read the Basel Convention press release on the entry into force of the Ban Amendment

Date: 13 September 2019 

Momentum and political will continues to grow for tackling the world’s ever-intensifying waste problem, with this week celebrating the threshold for the Basel Convention1’s Ban Amendment to enter into force being reached. The Ban Amendment prohibits the export of hazardous waste from developed countries (OECD, EU member states, Liechtenstein) to developing countries.

The Ban Amendment will enter into force on 5 December 2019 following the recent ratification by Croatia. At the time of its adoption in 1995, some felt the amendment was a way to address challenges faced by developing countries and countries with economies in transition to control imports of hazardous and other wastes that they were unable to manage in an environmentally sound manner.

The spirit of the Ban Amendment has been very much alive for many years, in spite of the time elapsed between its adoption and entry into force. Many developed country Parties to the Convention have already made use of their prerogative to ban the export of hazardous wastes, while many developing countries also made use of their prerogative to ban the import of hazardous wastes.

The entry into force of the Ban Amendment has significant political weight, acting as a flagship of international efforts to ensure that those countries with the capacity to manage their hazardous wastes in an environmentally sound manner take responsibility for them, while still allowing Parties wishing to receive wastes required as raw materials for recycling or recovery industries.

International efforts to reach the threshold for entry into force – 66 of the 87 Parties as at 22 September 1995 – included a multi-year country-led initiative by Indonesia and Switzerland launched in 2011, assistance by the Basel Convention Secretariat to individual Parties facing difficulties in ratifying the Ban Amendment, as well as awareness-raising activities by many other stakeholders.

Reflecting on these latest developments, the Executive Secretary of the Basel Convention, Rolph Payet, said today that “public awareness of the scale and impact of our waste problem has risen enormously in recent years and Parties are stepping up their efforts to collectively tackle this, both at home through innovative measures and also globally through international, multilateral action. The Basel Convention has continually evolved to reflect these new challenges and the entry into force of the Ban Amendment is another milestone towards minimising risks from the adverse effects of transboundary movements of hazardous waste. Quite simply, the world will be a safer, healthier place from now on.”

NOTES for EDITORS:

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal is the most comprehensive international environment on hazardous and other wastes and is almost universal, with 187 Parties. With an overarching objective of protecting human health and the environment against the adverse effects of hazardous wastes, its scope covers a wide range of wastes defined as hazardous based on their origin and/or composition and characteristics, as well as two types of waste defined as “other wastes”, namely household waste and incinerator ash. For more info see www.basel.int

The Ban Amendment was adopted by decision III/1 at the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties in 1995. It added a new preambular paragraph, an additional paragraph to Article 4 and a new Annex VII to the Convention. The Ban Amendment provides for the prohibition by Parties listed in Annex VII (members of the EU, OECD and Liechtenstein) of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes to States not in Annex VII. For more information: http://www.basel.int/Implementation/LegalMatters/BanAmendment/Overview/tabid/1484/Default.aspx

The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions, or BRS Secretariat, supports Parties implement the three leading multilateral environment agreements governing chemicals and waste, in order to protect human health and the environment. See www.brsmeas.org for more info and follow the @brsmeas twitter feed for daily news.

Media enquiries, interviews, more information, contact:

Charlie Avis
Public Information Officer, BRS Secretariat
Charles.avis@brsmeas.org
Tel: +41-79-7304495

Substantive questions related to the Ban Amendment, contact:

Yvonne Ewang-Sanvincenti
Legal Officer, BRS Secretariat
yvonne.ewang@brsmeas.org
Tel.: +41-22-9178112


1 The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal was adopted in 1989, entered into force in 1992, and as of today has 187 Parties. Its overarching goal is the protection of human health and the environment against the adverse effects of hazardous wastes.

Pacific countries welcome the Basel Convention’s Plastic Waste Amendment
At the recent regional High-Level Minister’s Talanoa in Apia, Samoa, Pacific countries welcomed the recent amendments to the Convention and urged action on implementing the new controls.

Pacific countries welcome the Basel Convention’s Plastic Waste Amendment

Pacific countries welcome the Basel Convention’s Plastic Waste Amendment
 
Basel Convention’s Ban Amendment to enter-into-force
With Croatia’s recent ratification of the @UN Basel Convention’s Ban Amendment, the threshold has now been reached, strengthening the prohibition of unwanted shipments of hazardous waste from developed to developing countries. Entry-into-force is 5 December 2019. Official Press Release to follow.

Basel Convention’s Ban Amendment to enter-into-force

Basel Convention’s Ban Amendment to enter-into-force
 
Household waste challenge takes centre stage as Basel Convention stakeholders meet in Trinidad
The second meeting of the Household Waste Partnership takes place in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, 4 to 6 September.

Household waste challenge takes centre stage as Basel Convention stakeholders meet in Trinidad

Household waste challenge takes centre stage as Basel Convention stakeholders meet in Trinidad
 
Meeting report from the recent Basel Convention COP now available
The meeting report of the recent COP-14 is now accessible (Advance English version).

Meeting report from the recent Basel Convention COP now available

Meeting report from the recent Basel Convention COP now available
 
Follow-up to recent Basel Convention COP decisions for sound management of wastes, including actions to address plastic waste
Parties and observers are kindly invited to respond to requests from the recent COP-14, for follow-up to the decisions taken by Parties in Geneva, in May.

Follow-up to recent Basel Convention COP decisions for sound management of wastes, including actions to address plastic waste

Follow-up to recent Basel Convention COP decisions for sound management of wastes, including actions to address plastic waste
 
Funding support available for sound management of chemicals and waste
The French government’s new fund supports activities in support of the global chemicals conventions in developing countries, and has a deadline for project proposals of 4 October 2019.

Funding support available for sound management of chemicals and waste

Funding support available for sound management of chemicals and waste
 
Behind the Scenes at the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions 2019 COPs - video
Watch the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions “Behind the Scenes” video for a better understanding of how the Triple COPs work.

Behind the Scenes at the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions 2019 COPs - video

Behind the Scenes at the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions 2019 COPs - video
 
7 million premature deaths per year from visible and invisible air pollution
On the occasion of World Environment Day, read the BRS Press Release highlighting the need to make the invisible, visible to beat air pollution.

7 million premature deaths per year from visible and invisible air pollution

7 million premature deaths per year from visible and invisible air pollution
 
Highlights of the 2019 BRS COPs captured on video
Watch key parts of the Triple COPs, including the moment Parties decided, by consensus, to amend the Basel Convention to tackle plastic wastes.

Highlights of the 2019 BRS COPs captured on video

Highlights of the 2019 BRS COPs captured on video
 
Global experts on marine litter meet at BRS Secretariat in Geneva
First plastics meeting since the COP decision to amend the Basel Convention sees GESAMP experts assess risks associated with plastics in the marine environment.

Global experts on marine litter meet at BRS Secretariat in Geneva

Global experts on marine litter meet at BRS Secretariat in Geneva
 
New era for plastic waste management as governments agree landmark actions on chemicals and waste
The 2019 Triple COPs concluded successfully with a raft of decisions to protect human health and the environment from the harmful effects of chemicals and wastes, including plastic waste.

New era for plastic waste management as governments agree landmark actions on chemicals and waste

New era for plastic waste management as governments agree landmark actions on chemicals and waste

Geneva, 10 May 2019 - Decisions on plastic waste have been reached today in Geneva, as approximately 180 governments adopted a raft of decisions aimed at protecting human health and the environment from the harmful effects of hazardous chemicals and waste.

Pollution from plastic waste, acknowledged as a major environmental problem of global concern, has reached epidemic proportions with an estimated 100 million tonnes of plastic now found in the oceans, 80-90% of which comes from land-based sources1. Governments this week amended the Basel Convention to include plastic waste in a legally-binding framework which will make global trade in plastic waste more transparent and better regulated, whilst also ensuring that its management is safer for human health and the environment. At the same time, a new Partnership on Plastic Waste was established to mobilise business, government, academic and civil society resources, interests and expertise to assist in implementing the new measures, to provide a set of practical supports – including tools, best practices, technical and financial assistance - for this ground-breaking agreement.

Other far-reaching decisions from the two weeks included the elimination of two toxic chemical groups, which together total about 4,000 chemicals, listed into Annex A of the Stockholm Convention, namely Dicofol and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and its salts and PFOA-related compounds. The latter has till now been used in a wide variety of industrial and domestic applications including non-stick cookware and food processing equipment, as well as a surfactant in textiles, carpets, paper, paints and fire-fighting foams.

Important progress was also made under the Rotterdam Convention, which provides a legally-binding framework for information exchange and informed decision-making in the trade of certain hazardous pesticides and industrial chemicals. Two chemicals, the pesticide phorate and the industrial chemical hexabromocyclododecane were added to Annex III of the convention, making them subject to the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure, through which countries can decide on future imports of these chemicals. A further decision, to approve procedures and mechanisms on compliance with the Rotterdam Convention – seen as a crucial step for further improving implementation of this key convention - was adopted with great appreciation by Parties.

Working for two weeks in Geneva under the theme of “Clean Planet, Healthy People: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste”, approximately 1,400 delegates from around 180 countries converged for the meetings of the Conferences of Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions (Triple COPs). Participants benefited from the numerous opportunities and events to exchange information on alternatives to these chemicals, as well as best practices.

Speaking at the closing session of the Triple COPs, Rolph Payet, Executive Secretary (UNEP) of the three conventions, said that “I’m proud that this week in Geneva, Parties to the Basel Convention have reached agreement on a legally-binding, globally-reaching mechanism for managing plastic waste. Plastic waste is acknowledged as one of the world’s most pressing environmental issues, and the fact that this week close to 1 million people around the world signed a petition urging Basel Convention Parties to take action here in Geneva at the COPs is a sign that public awareness and desire for action is high.”

“We were able to list two out of 7 candidate chemicals and will continue working closely with parties to identify feasible alternative solutions to hazardous pesticides, taking due account of food security and market access aspects” added Hans Dreyer, Executive Secretary (FAO) of the Rotterdam Convention.

Notes for Editors:

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal is the most comprehensive international environmental agreement on hazardous and other wastes and is almost universal, with 187 Parties. With an overarching objective of protecting human health and the environment against the adverse effects of hazardous wastes and other wastes, its scope covers a wide range of wastes defined as “hazardous” based on their origin and/or composition and characteristics, as well as two types of wastes defined as “other wastes” – household waste and incinerator ash. See www.basel.int

Plastic Waste

With an estimated 100 million tonnes of plastic in our seas, 80-90% of which has come from land-based sources, the high public profile of this issue is understandable. Reducing waste generation at source, and improving waste management thereafter, would go a long way towards solving this problem. For more on this see:  http://www.brsmeas.org/?tabid=4332&blogId=5169 and http://www.brsmeas.org/tabid/7656/Default.aspx

The Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure (PIC) for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, is jointly administered by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UN Environment (UNEP). The 161 Parties to this legally-binding Convention share responsibility and cooperate to safely manage chemicals in international trade. As of the end of this COP, 52 chemicals and pesticides are listed in its Annex III. The Convention does not introduce bans but facilitates the exchange of information among Parties on hazardous chemicals and pesticides, and their potential risks, to inform and improve national decision making. In addition, through the PIC Procedure, it provides a legally-binding mechanism to support national decisions on the import of selected chemicals and pesticides in order to minimize the risk they pose to human health and the environment. See www.pic.int

Listing of Chemicals: Pesticides and Industrial Chemicals under the Rotterdam Convention

The newly-listed chemicals are phorate (a pesticide) and hexabromocyclododecane (an industrial chemical) these chemicals would be included in the prior informed consent (PIC) procedure enabling better-informed decision-making on the trade in chemicals, thereby protecting human health and the environment. More information on these chemicals is available at: http://www.pic.int/tabid/1185/Default.aspx

The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from chemicals that remain intact in the environment for long periods, become widely distributed geographically, accumulate in the fatty tissue of humans and wildlife, and have harmful impacts on human health or on the environment. Exposure to Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) can lead to serious health effects including certain cancers, birth defects, dysfunctional immune and reproductive systems, greater susceptibility to disease and damage to the central and peripheral nervous systems. The Convention requires its Parties to take measures to eliminate or reduce the release of POPs into the environment. As of today, this legally-binding Convention has 182 Parties, giving it almost universal coverage. As of the end of this COP, 30 chemicals of global concern are listed under the Stockholm Convention. See www.pops.int

Listing of Chemicals: Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) under the Stockholm Convention

The two new chemicals listed in Annex A to the Stockholm Convention are the pesticide Dicofol, and Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) its salts and PFOA-related compounds (some applications with time-limited exemptions). Listing in Annex A to the Convention obliges Parties to eliminate these chemicals from use. The two chemicals are listed on the basis of a robust review process addressing risks, management options and alternatives by the UN’s POPs Review Committee. Dicofol is used as a miticide on a variety of field crops, fruits, vegetables, ornamentals and tea and coffee and is known to cause skin irritation and hyperstimulation of nerve transmissions in humans as well as being highly toxic to fish, aquatic invertebrates, algae and birds. PFOA is a widely-used industrial chemical used in the production of non-stick cookware and food processing equipment, as well as a surfactant in textiles, carpets, paper, paints and fire-fighting foams. As a substance of very high concern, it is known to be linked to major health problems including kidney cancer, testicular cancer, thyroid disease and hypertension in pregnancy. More information on these chemicals is available in factsheets at: http://chm.pops.int/tabid/243/Default.aspx

For BRS conventions general media enquiries see: www.brsmeas.org or contact:

Charlie AVIS, Public Information Officer (UN Environment), Geneva +41-79-730-4495

 

 

 


1 Data from “Marine litter plastics and microplastics and their toxic chemicals components: the need for urgent preventive measures” by Frederic Gallo et. al. in Environmental Sciences Europe 2018; 30(1): 13, at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5918521/

Plastic Wastes: A World Problem
Plastic waste and especially marine plastic litter is an environmental problem occurring on a global scale today. The ubiquitous transboundary movement of plastic wastes and microplastics is becoming a major concern as their property of durability makes their particles remain for long period of time.

Plastic Wastes: A World Problem

Plastic Wastes: A World Problem
 
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