News Features

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

 

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

 

Register now for the COPs Excursion on Lake Geneva
The Government of Switzerland invites delegates of the meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to join a boat cruise on Lake Geneva on Sunday, 10 May 2015. Registration is required.

Register now for the COPs Excursion on Lake Geneva

Register now for the COPs Excursion on Lake Geneva

 

Countdown to the Triple COPs – Update on Stockholm listings
Ask Kei Ohno all you need to know about chemicals proposed to be newly listed at this year’s Conference of the Parties

Countdown to the Triple COPs – Update on Stockholm listings

Countdown to the Triple COPs – Update on Stockholm listings



Country-Led Initiative the focus for your questions
Ask Susan Wingfield how the CLI helps countries capture the benefits of improved waste management

Country-Led Initiative the focus for your questions

Country-Led Initiative the focus for your questions
 
First ever, interactive, online Synergies publication now available
Aiming to help Customs Authorities meet their responsibilities for protecting against the adverse impacts of hazardous chemicals and wastes, this is the first ever interactive BRS publication

First ever, interactive, online Synergies publication now available

First ever, interactive, online Synergies publication now available

The interactive Manual for Customs on hazardous chemicals and wastes under the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions will enhance your knowledge of the three global treaties that contribute to safely managing the production, movement, use and disposal of hazardous chemicals and wastes

An African perspective: capacities and partnerships in focus
Join Professor Oladele Osibanjo as he describes the main capacity constraints, and partnership opportunities, for solving waste and chemicals issues in Africa

An African perspective: capacities and partnerships in focus

An African perspective: capacities and partnerships in focus

Regional Capacity, and Innovative Partnerships for the Sustainable Management of Waste: An African Perspective

Interview between Professor Oladele Osibanjo, Executive Director of the Basel Convention Coordinating Centre For Training & Technology Transfer for the African Region (Ibadan, Nigeria) and Charlie Avis, BRS Secretariat Public Information Officer

Charlie Avis: Good morning, Professor Osibanjo, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us today. Please tell me, what is the role of your Centre, and why is it important?

Professor Oladele Osibanjo:  Thank you. The Centre aims to strengthen the capacity of the parties in Africa in complying with the provisions of the Basel Convention in legal, technical and institutional arrangements; strengthen the framework for environmentally sound management (ESM) of hazardous and other wastes across the Africa region. It also assists them to effectively implement their obligations on trans-boundary movements of hazardous and other wastes. This is done very much in partnership with the Basel Convention Regional Centres (BCRCs) in Egypt for Arabic-speaking countries; in Senegal for Francophone; and South Africa (Africa Institute) for Anglophone African countries respectively.

 

One important role of the Centre is to facilitate interaction and exchange of information between the BRS Secretariat and Regional Centres, and among the Regional Centres, Parties and other related institutions. The centre convenes regional consultations to identify  priorities and formulate strategies, and helps define and execute regional programmes. These contribute to synergies and mechanisms of cooperation among the Regional Centres and other stakeholders in environmentally sound management (ESM) and minimization of the generation of hazardous wastes and technological transfer in and outside the region. The Centre also maintains a regional information system accessible to stakeholders.

 

CA:  What are the main capacity constraints facing African governments striving to implement the Basel Convention?

OO:   The infrastructure for sound management of hazardous wastes varies from no action, to little or weak action,  among the parties in the African region. The parties are at different stages of development with different approaches to hazardous waste management. Hence the importance of a regional approach as this helps parties in the region to adopt a common template for addressing ESM of hazardous waste. It also allows parties lagging behind to catch up faster with the rest of the region. It further helps to promote the implementation of the environmentally sound management of hazardous and other wastes as an essential contribution to the attainment of sustainable livelihood, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the protection of human health and the environment in the region.

The capacity challenges are multidimensional and complex. In general, waste disposal is practised more than waste management (collection, storage, sorting, transportation, recycling, processing and disposal) often due to a lack of or weak infrastructure for hazardous waste management with limited knowledge and understanding of the operational and managerial/maintenance aspects of hazardous waste management. This can also be a function of missing and/or inadequate legal and institutional/administrative frameworks for hazardous waste ESM and the control of transboundary movements. Insufficient financial resources result in poor funding leading to low standards of  hazardous waste management.  Also, a prevailing low level of awareness at all levels of governance of the adverse environmental and human health impacts of hazardous waste can lead to  a  lack of political will. Not least, the non-domestication of the Basel Convention after ratification into national laws weakens the control of transboundary movement of hazardous waste at the national level.

 

CA:  In terms of sector, what is the fastest growing waste stream in Africa?

OO:  The fastest growing waste stream in Africa in terms of sector is electronic waste, also known as e-waste, or Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). Africa generates about 2 million metric tons of e-waste annually. This stems from the fact that Africa is one of the major destinations of e-waste exports from developed countries under the guise of exporting used or second-hand functional electronic products to assist Africa bridge the so-called digital divide. Less than 20% of African population can afford to purchase new electronic products hence the high demand for used electronic products which could be near end of life or are already end-of-life on arrival in Africa.

 

 CA:  How can partnerships contribute to solving these issues?

OO:  The issue of e-waste is a globalized problem requiring global solutions. The Basel Convention Parties recognized the importance of public-private partnerships in the development of innovative, appropriate, and effective strategies for achieving the ESM of hazardous waste. Thus the Partnership for Action on Computing Equipment (PACE) was launched at the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 9), in Bali, Indonesia in June 2008. PACE is a multi-stakeholder partnership forum with representatives of Governments, private sector (both producers and recyclers), international organizations, academia, the Basel Convention Regional Centres/Basel Convention Coordinating Centres – and environmental public-interest non-governmental organizations. They come together to tackle issues related to the ESM, repair, refurbishment, recycling and disposal of used and end-of-life computing equipment. PACE has developed international guidelines for ESM of end-of-life computing equipment and has begun to test the implementation of these guidelines in pilot activities in developing countries and countries with economies in transition.  

 

Other international partnerships include the United Nations University initiative StEP (Solving the E waste Problem (StEP) which also focuses on providing solutions to the e-waste problem, through the application of scientific research based on the life-cycle approach.  There is also the UNEP Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) which is carried out with the Information Communication Sector (ICT) since 2001.

 

CA:  What do you consider to be the three main successes of PACE, for the African region?

OO:   PACE provided a unique forum for representatives of personal computer manufacturers, recyclers, international organizations, academia, BCRCs/BCCCs, environmental NGOs, and governments to tackle environmentally sound refurbishment, repair, material recovery, recycling and disposal of used and end-of-life computing equipment in an environmentally sound manner. It raised awareness, particularly through the participation of government officials and Directors of BCRCs/BCCC from Africa, all gaining exposure, knowledge and experience in the process.  At the country level, Africa also benefitted from PACE, for example the E-waste inventory in Burkina Faso, and a pilot project on collection and management of used and end-of-life computing equipment from informal sector which is on-going in the same country.

 

CA:  How would you like to see the platform established by MPPI and PACE taken forward?

OO:   The legacies of these two global partnerships should be sustained, strengthened and taken forward in a variety of ways. It is important that the knowledge and experiences gained in MPPI and PACE in promoting ESM on used and end-of-life mobile phones and computing equipment is not lost, and that their multi-stakeholder platform should continue to provide a platform for advancing ESM in a wider spectrum of WEEE issues and products beyond consumer electronics and cover other categories of E-waste in developing countries and countries with economies in transition, at the regional and national levels beyond December 2015.

 

In practical terms, establishing an ‘’Ad hoc follow-up group‘’ on PACE at the end of COP 12, would continue already initiated activities that are ongoing, finalize pilot projects,  and enable reporting of lessons learned. It is also important to undertake revision of section 3 of the Guidance Document on the Environmentally Sound Management (ESM) of Used and End-of-Life Computing Equipment.

 

lt is also important that a New PACE or PACE after PACE be established after December 2015, that would provide a global coordination role towards facilitating the strengthening of information and experience sharing and discussion on emerging issues within the wider WEEE agenda. An expanded mandate (TOR) and governance structure envisioned for the NEW PACE  under a proposed 2-tier coordination arrangement would give greater responsibility to the BCRCs/BCCCs in regional and national coordination; while the Basel Convention Secretariat retains the primary role for global coordination, which model would require consideration and approval by COP 13 and follow-up implementation strategy.

 

 CA:  Finally, will you be travelling to the triple COPs in Geneva in May, and if so, what are your expectations?

OO:   Yes l will be traveling to the triple COP. My expectations are many and will share a few with you. I would love to see more active participation and greater involvement of delegates from developing and economic in transition countries in contact groups’ activities. This, together with improved and more predictable and sustainable funding mechanisms for implementing Chemicals and Waste MEAs in developing countries, would do much for tackling the waste issues in Africa.

New progammes on enhanced advocacy, awareness-raising and education on the global chemicals and waste issues would be welcome, with connectivities and implications for sustainable development, poverty alleviation and the creation of green jobs, for developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

CA:  Thank you very much for your time.

OO:   It is my pleasure. Thank you.

Focus on regional issues - Your chance to ask-an-expert
Suman Sharma answers your questions on How does Technical Assistance assist Parties implement the Chemicals and Waste Conventions?

Focus on regional issues - Your chance to ask-an-expert

Focus on regional issues - Your chance to ask-an-expert
 
Synergies for better managing the international trade of hazardous chemicals and wastes
New electronic leaflet provides an overview of the respective international trade control regimes under the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

Synergies for better managing the international trade of hazardous chemicals and wastes

Synergies for better managing the international trade of hazardous chemicals and wastes
 
For the first time, regional meetings help parties prepare for the triple COPs
Stakeholder meetings in Indonesia, Kenya, Slovakia and Uruguay are designed to assist identify regional priorities and develop regional positions ahead of the triple COPs in May.

For the first time, regional meetings help parties prepare for the triple COPs

For the first time, regional meetings help parties prepare for the triple COPs



The role of partnerships and stakeholders in the sustainable management of chemicals and waste
Countdown to the Triple COPs: BRS’ Matthias Kern answers your questions on www.unep.org concerning implementing the Conventions through partnerships.

The role of partnerships and stakeholders in the sustainable management of chemicals and waste

The role of partnerships and stakeholders in the sustainable management of chemicals and waste



Partnership is Key as BRS joins the Global Expanded Water Monitoring Initiative
Another example of how partnerships can further implementation of the Conventions, GEMI is an inter-agency initiative led by UN Habitat, UNEP and WHO, under the umbrella of UN Water.

Partnership is Key as BRS joins the Global Expanded Water Monitoring Initiative

Partnership is Key as BRS joins the Global Expanded Water Monitoring Initiative

 

Gender – Why it matters and what BRS is doing
Kerstin Stendahl, BRS Deputy Executive Secretary, on how gender considerations are necessary for full implementation of the Conventions

Gender – Why it matters and what BRS is doing

Gender – Why it matters and what BRS is doing
 
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.

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.
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