All activities

BRS' Tatiana Terekhova answers your question on Gender
Second in the popular Countdown to the Triple COPs series of UNEP “Expert-of-the-Day”, Tatiana explains the importance of gender for the sustainable management of chemicals and waste

BRS' Tatiana Terekhova answers your question on Gender

BRS' Tatiana Terekhova answers your question on Gender
 
Technical Guidelines on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
Ottawa, Canada, will host the next meeting of the Small Inter-Sessional Working Group on POPs, to be held from 17 to 19 March 2015, at which the Technical Guidelines will be further developed.

Technical Guidelines on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)

Technical Guidelines on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
 
Gender – UN urges more action to achieve equality
Gender in the spotlight: As the UN sets equality targets for 2030, find out what the BRS Secretariat is doing to achieve gender equality.

Gender – UN urges more action to achieve equality

Gender – UN urges more action to achieve equality
 
Towards improved inventories on hazardous wastes
The Expert Group Meeting on a Generic Inventory Tool for Hazardous Wastes, in Geneva from 12 - 13 March 2015, will lead to progress towards better monitoring and management of hazardous waste

Towards improved inventories on hazardous wastes

Towards improved inventories on hazardous wastes

Parties to the Basel Convention are required to transmit to the Secretariat, at the end of each calendar year, their respective national reports pursuant to Article 13, paragraph 3. The national report questionnaire contains qualitative and quantitative information. This is a mechanism that allows Parties to share information with each other and it also indicates some level of the implementation of the Basel Convention.

Based on the needs observed through workshops conducted in 2011 and 2012 in the area of reporting, the Secretariat has been requested by the Conference of the Parties,at its meeting in 2013, to develop a generic inventory tool for hazardous wastes and other wastes. This tool shall serve multiple countries that do not have the means to develop or to buy such system and it should assist them in managing the quantitative data of inventories of hazardous wastes and other wastes to be submitted in their national reports.

This expert group meeting aims to discuss, among experts in the area of inventory of hazardous wastes, the features required for the generic a inventory tool for hazardous wastes and other wastes. Experts will show some examples of tools used in this context and the group will define what are the key elements to be present in the tool, how to deal with the issues related to the data collected in inventories, including classification systems, units conversion, and which main waste streams should be the priority to be tacked by the tool. 

The outcome of the meeting will be the list of features that such a tool should have. Based on this exchange among experts, the Secretariat of the Basel Convention will then engage an IT consultant to develop the tool later in 2015. Once ready, the tool will be given to developing countries, so that they can organize their data on inventories of hazardous wastes.

Thanks to the support of German government, the Secretariat is able to organize this meeting and to invite experts in the field of inventories of hazardous wastes to participate in the discussions.

Interview: Science as the Bottom Line
Abiola Olanipekun, Chief of the BRS Scientific Support Branch, explains that rigorous and inclusive scientific processes underpin the 3 conventions

Interview: Science as the Bottom Line

Interview: Science as the Bottom Line

Interview with Abiola Olanipekun, Chief of the BRS Scientific Support Branch by Charlie Avis, BRS Public Information Officer

Charlie Avis: Abiola, why will a Science Fair accompany the forthcoming triple COPs of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions here in Geneva, from 7-9th May 2015? 

Abiola Olanipekun: Thank you. We are staging a 3 day Science Fair in order to raise awareness amongst delegates, parties and stakeholders, concerning how science underpins the implementation of the three conventions. The event will feature interactive displays, special events, film viewings, hands-on exhibits, panel discussions, lots of presentations and posters, and this diversity reflects the enormous range of stakeholders who together are moving forward the agenda for sustainable management of chemicals and waste.

CA: How does science underpin the conventions’ implementation, then?

AO: The science/policy interface is of supreme importance, in a world shaped by often largely political and economic interests. Right since the negotiation and adoption of the three Conventions, a sound scientific base was seen as necessary to give the Conventions both the information, and the credibility, they need in order to pursue their goals of protecting human health and the environment.

CA: More specifically?

AO: Scientific analysis is central to every step of the process. If a chemical is to be listed, it first has to be proposed for listing by one or more parties, accompanied by a scientific justification as to why it is seen as hazardous. A hazard assessment is required, carried out by experts from various countries from all United Nations (UN) regions, who are involved in the work of the respective technical subsidiary bodies under the Conventions. These experts sign a “declaration of conflict of interest” meaning that they will not pursue selfish national interests nor allow economic or political considerations to enter into their deliberations. Further steps requiring inputs from the scientific community include risk mitigation through identification of suitable alternatives and the search for Best Available Techniques and Best Environmental Practices. Guidelines for monitoring, capacity-building on the implementation of alternatives, assistance with reporting obligations, and a host of other activities are also undertaken based on state-of-the-art science and objective expertise.

CA: It sounds like a lot of work. Is it bearing fruit?

AO: Yes, the good news is that according to our data, people and the environment are less exposed to certain Persistent Organic Pollutants (or POPs) than previously. The trend is definitely downwards with respect to chemicals listed in the Convention annexes. But at the same time, we have our work cut out: since new chemicals are entering the market – and therefore entering our environment and our bodies, all the time.

CA: Please tell me about this good news, what are you actually measuring? 

AO: We are mandated to carry out a global monitoring programme to measure POPs concentrations in the air, water and in human populations (breast milk and maternal blood) and have been implementing this global programme since the entry into force of the Convention in 2004. Within 11 years of existence of the Stockholm Convention, a rich and extremely valuable global POPs monitoring dataset has been generated. These data are compiled into Regional and Global Monitoring Reports every six years. The first reports were published in 2009, showing baseline concentrations of POPs in all UN regions, and the second round of reports are being issued in the next weeks and will focus on the identification of trends in exposure to POPs over time.

CA: And what do the data show?

AO: The trends are definitely downwards! This demonstrates the effectiveness of the Convention. For the first time, these monitoring data are also made available through a global monitoring plan data warehouse and information system which can be accessed at https://www.pops-gmp.org/  The development and adoption of technical guidelines for environmentally sound management" of wastes under the Basel Convention is also critical in ensuring that hazardous wastes are managed in a manner to protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects which may result from such wastes.

CA: Very impressive indeed. What are the major challenges for the Conventions, in terms of the scientific underpinning for implementation?

AO: Capacity. Many developing countries lack the capacity – or resources - to effectively engage in the scientific processes, meaning that it is challenging to ensure that their inputs are properly integrated. This is especially problematic because exposure to certain types of chemicals and pollutants is often higher in developing countries than elsewhere – for example in the by-hand and informal recycling of electronic waste.

CA: How do you respond to that?

AO: The Secretariat has a very full technical assistance programme, and all efforts are made to include the regional perspectives, including through the designated Basel and Stockholm Regional Centres, and by bringing developing country delegates to the relevant meetings. Financial support from our “donor” partners is very necessary for this. But beyond that, we need to better assist parties to mainstream scientific approaches and evidence into national development planning processes, to encourage sharing of information between parties and between sectors, to integrate the chemicals and wastes issues into the wider development agenda, and to ensure that these issues are properly reflected in the planning and definition of the Sustainable Development Goals. We need to strengthen the “synergies” at all these different levels and scales.

CA: And the Science Fair, is it the first step towards that?

AO:  Not the first step, but a very significant step, yes. There is no time to waste. I would like to thank the donors and hosts of the Science Fair – the governments of Finland and Switzerland respectively – for supporting us to highlight the importance of Science to Action: Working for a Safer Tomorrow.

BRS’ Mario Yarto explains how new chemicals get listed on www.unep.org
As part of the “Countdown to the Triple COPs” on UNEP’s Ask-an-Expert interactive portal, ask BRS Programme Officer Mario Yarto all you need to know about how the chemical listings processes work.

BRS’ Mario Yarto explains how new chemicals get listed on www.unep.org

BRS’ Mario Yarto explains how new chemicals get listed on www.unep.org
 
Science-based decision-making key to the COPs
For three days on the margins of the COPs, the BRS Secretariat and its partners will present the scientific basis for sustainable management of chemicals and waste, at the Science Fair, 7-9 May 2015.

Science-based decision-making key to the COPs

Science-based decision-making key to the COPs
 
 Third meeting of the Expert Working Group on ESM
The third meeting of the Expert Working Group on Environmentally Sound Management (ESM) takes place in Konstanz, Germany, from 21-23 January 2015

Third meeting of the Expert Working Group on ESM

 Third meeting of the Expert Working Group on ESM

The third meeting of the Expert Working Group on Environmentally Sound Management (ESM) takes place in Konstanz, Germany, from 21-23 January 2015

Harmonization of E-waste statistics comes a step closer
UN organizations introduce guidelines for classification, reporting and indicators to capture the most important elements of E-waste.

Harmonization of E-waste statistics comes a step closer

Harmonization of E-waste statistics comes a step closer
 
Appointment of the new Executive Secretary
The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions is pleased to announce that the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, has recently appointed Dr. Rolph Payet, Minister for Environment and Energy, Seychelles, as its new Executive Secretary. Dr. Payet has a Doctorate in Environmental Science, degrees at master level in Integrated Coastal Zone Management, Business Administration (MBA) and Applied Environmental Economics, and an honours degree in Biochemistry.

Appointment of the new Executive Secretary

Appointment of the new Executive Secretary

The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions is pleased to announce that the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, has recently appointed Dr. Rolph Payet, Minister for Environment and Energy, Seychelles, as its new Executive Secretary.

Dr. Payet has a Doctorate in Environmental Science, degrees at master level in Integrated Coastal Zone Management, Business Administration (MBA) and Applied Environmental Economics, and an honours degree in Biochemistry.

In addition to having been the Seychelles’ Chief Negotiator for the Basel Convention, the Montreal Protocol and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Dr. Payet also established important multi-stakeholder platforms, such as the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) and and co-chaired the International Coral Reef Initiative. He was Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third and Fourth Assessments and was elected as Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS) in 2007, in recognition of his contributions to marine research. He established the first university in Seychelles in 2009, and is its present ProChancellor. He also holds an associate professorship at the University of Linnaeus in Sweden.

Dr. Payet will take up his new duties in Geneva on 6 October 2014.

Science Fair will accompany the COPs, Geneva, 7-9th May, 2015
The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions is pleased to announce it will stage a Science Fair, reflecting the COP Theme of “From Science to Action: Working for a Safer Tomorrow, from  7-9th May, 2015.

Science Fair will accompany the COPs, Geneva, 7-9th May, 2015

Science Fair will accompany the COPs, Geneva, 7-9th May, 2015
The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions is pleased to announce it will stage a Science Fair, reflecting the COP Theme of “From Science to Action: Working for a Safer Tomorrow, from  7-9th May, 2015.
Regional Centres meet to enhance cooperation and coordination
The Annual joint meeting of Regional Centres under the Basel and Stockholm Conventions takes place in Geneva on 27-28 November 2014.

Regional Centres meet to enhance cooperation and coordination

Regional Centres meet to enhance cooperation and coordination
The Annual joint meeting of Regional Centres under the Basel and Stockholm Conventions takes place in Geneva on 27-28 November 2014.
Bureaux approve the schedule of work for the 2015 COPs
At their joint meeting on 11-12 November, the bureaux successfully laid foundations for the forthcoming COPs. An advance version of the schedule is now available.

Bureaux approve the schedule of work for the 2015 COPs

Bureaux approve the schedule of work for the 2015 COPs
At their joint meeting on 11-12 November, the bureaux successfully laid foundations for the forthcoming COPs. An advance version of the schedule is now available.
Preparations intensify for triple conferences of the parties (COPs): Geneva, May 2015
Parties have been officially informed of the back-to-back meetings of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions COPs to be held in Geneva, 4-15 May 2015.

Preparations intensify for triple conferences of the parties (COPs): Geneva, May 2015

Preparations intensify for triple conferences of the parties (COPs): Geneva, May 2015
Parties have been officially informed of the back-to-back meetings of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions COPs to be held in Geneva, 4-15 May 2015.
Republic of Congo ratifies the Ban Amendment
Deposit of instrument by Congo brings total number of ratifications to 80 Parties!

Republic of Congo ratifies the Ban Amendment

Republic of Congo ratifies the Ban Amendment
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Eleventh meeting of the Basel Convention Implementation and Compliance Committee invites comments from parties and others
Comments are sought on the Manual for the implementation of the Convention and on the classification of compliance performance with national reporting.

Eleventh meeting of the Basel Convention Implementation and Compliance Committee invites comments from parties and others

Eleventh meeting of the Basel Convention Implementation and Compliance Committee invites comments from parties and others
Comments are sought on the Manual for the implementation of the Convention and on the classification of compliance performance with national reporting.
The October  issue of the BRS Technical Assistance Newsletter is now available
The Technical Assistance Newsletter provides information on the past, current and upcoming technical assistance activities.

The October issue of the BRS Technical Assistance Newsletter is now available

The October  issue of the BRS Technical Assistance Newsletter is now available

The Technical Assistance Newsletter provides information on the past, current and upcoming technical assistance activities.

Colombia ratifies the Ban Amendment
Scoring a goal for environmentally sound management of wastes, Colombia’s action raises the total number of Parties to the Ban Amendment to 79.

Colombia ratifies the Ban Amendment

Colombia ratifies the Ban Amendment
Scoring a goal for environmentally sound management of wastes, Colombia’s action raises the total number of Parties to the Ban Amendment to 79.
May Webinars shine light on candidate POPs under review and PCBs inventories
Join the Webinars on Chemicals under Review by POPRC, 6 May, and enhancing PCB inventories, 13 and 15 May 2014.

May Webinars shine light on candidate POPs under review and PCBs inventories

May Webinars shine light on candidate POPs under review and PCBs inventories
Join the Webinars on Chemicals under Review by POPRC, 6 May, and enhancing PCB inventories, 13 and 15 May 2014.
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.

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