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Announcements

As global attention focuses on the sound management of chemicals and waste, and as 1,500 delegates converge on Geneva in May 2015 for the triple COPs, the substantial and vital contributions from donors to the voluntary Trust Funds of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions are acknowledged as underpinning worldwide efforts towards protecting human health and the environment, through the fullest possible implementation of the three conventions.

Ahead of the Triple COPs, BRS Secretariat thanks donors for support

 

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

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  A single modern technology platform will replace outdated and disparate systems and will change the roles and responsibilities of staff and the way the United Nations interacts with its service providers.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.

This is the third of three webinars looking at Integrated Pest Management practices to control the important Coffee Berry Borer (CBB) pest, as an alternative to using the highly hazardous pesticide Endosulfan. This webinar aims to share practical experiences of coffee farmers, in managing CBB with traps.

Growing Coffee without Endosulfan: experiences with traps for managing Coffee Berry Borer (CBB)

Growing Coffee without Endosulfan: experiences with traps for managing Coffee Berry Borer (CBB)
 

The Secretariat is pleased to announce the launch of a new online tool for finding its many joint technical and scientific publications. The use of an integrated search engine combines publications from the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Convention processes for the first time, and enables interested browsers to search by keyword, life cycle phase, or chemical/waste name under the Conventions.

The tool aims to better facilitate the sharing of key information about sustainable chemicals management amongst stakeholders, ease the work of Parties and Observers to the three Conventions, is the latest in the ongoing process of harmonisation and improvement of knowledge management within the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions.

New Tool Goes Live for Finding Technical and Scientific Publications

The Secretariat is pleased to announce the launch of a new online tool for finding its many joint technical and scientific publications. The use of an integrated search engine combines publications from the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Convention processes for the first time, and enables interested browsers to search by keyword, life cycle phase, or chemical/waste name under the Conventions.

The tool aims to better facilitate the sharing of key information about sustainable chemicals management amongst stakeholders, ease the work of Parties and Observers to the three Conventions, is the latest in the ongoing process of harmonisation and improvement of knowledge management within the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions.

Parties adopt key decisions at 2015 Triple COPs

Parties adopt key decisions at 2015 Triple COPs

Finishing at 03:45 in the morning of Saturday, 16 May 2015, the Meetings of the Conferences of Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions are over, with several key decisions taken.

Parties adopt key decisions at 2015 Triple COPs

Parties adopt key decisions at 2015 Triple COPs

Geneva, Switzerland - 16 May, 2015

Significant steps were agreed upon early this morning by parties to the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions, as the 2015 Triple COPs drew to a close.

Staged under the theme “From Science to Action: Working for a Safer Tomorrow” from 4 to 15 May 2015, almost 1,200 participants from 171 countries converged on Geneva to push forward the chemicals and waste agenda at this biennial event.

A number of technical guidelines for the management of waste under the Basel Convention, four new listings (three under the Stockholm and one under the Rotterdam Conventions - polychlorinated napthalenes, hexachlorobutadiene, and pentachlorophenol and its salts and esters; and methamidophos respectively), and continued and strengthened synergies and implementation arrangements were the highlights of the decisions adopted on the final day. Meanwhile several chemicals considered were not listed, but instead deferred or made subject to special inter-sessional working group focus.

Basel Convention technical guidelines, aimed at assisting Parties to better manage crucial waste streams and move towards environmentally sound management (ESM), were adopted covering mercury waste and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) waste (one general and 6 specific waste-streams). Of high significance is the adoption on an interim basis of the technical guidelines concerning the transboundary movement of e-waste and used electronic and electrical products.

The BC technical guidelines on electronic, or e-waste provide much-needed guidance on how to identify e-waste and used equipment moving between countries, with the aim of controlling illegal traffic. Adoption came just days after UNEP released new data suggesting that as much as 90% of e-waste is dumped illegally, costing countries as much as US 18.8 $ billion annually and posing severe hazards to human health and the environment, particularly in Africa. Designed to provide a level playing field for all parties to the Convention, the guidelines will support and also encourage genuine recovery, repair, recycling and re-use of non-hazardous electronic components and equipment.

Regarding those pesticides where consensus could not be reached for listing, including paraquat and fenthion formulations, and trichlorfon, Clayton Campanhola, FAO Executive Secretary of the Rotterdam Convention, commented that “hazardous pesticides are not helping countries to produce more food with less, on the contrary: if badly managed, they cause negative impacts on natural resources and the health of rural communities and consumers.” In this respect, Parties requested additional technical assistance and support to identify alternatives to the use of hazardous pesticides which – if combined with integrated pest management (IPM) and agro-ecological approaches – form the basis for sustainable agricultural and rural development.

Whilst many Parties expressed their disappointment at the inability to reach consensus required for listing more of the chemicals proposed to be listed under the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, the BRS Executive Secretary Rolph Payet stressed the significance of the steps taken in noting that “our Conventions’ joint and mutually reinforcing objective is the protection of human health and the environment, and the Guidelines and additional listings decided upon by Parties during these two weeks continue to move us in this crucial direction. We have to place the sustainable management of chemicals and waste in the context of peoples’ lives, especially the more than 1 billion people on our planet who continue to live in absolute poverty and who strive to better themselves in whatever ways they can. We will never waver in our moral and political responsibilities towards the most vulnerable people in this world, and I believe strongly that the three conventions continue to offer the best framework for moving jointly towards a greener, more inclusive economy, and a safer tomorrow for all”.

Notes for editors:

  • The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal is the most comprehensive international environmental agreement on hazardous and other wastes and has 183 parties.

  • The Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade promotes shared responsibility and cooperative efforts among its 154 Parties.

  • The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) 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. It has 179 Parties.

  • Polychlorinated napthalenes, Hexachlorobutadiene, and Pentachlorophenol and its salts and esters, are persistent organic pollutants (POPs) posing serious threats to human health and the environment.

  • Methamidophos is an extremely toxic organophosphate insecticide, causing serious adverse effects to human health, particularly to neural, immunity and reproductive systems.

  • E-waste data from the UNEP report “Waste Crime – Waste Risks: Gaps in Meeting the Global Waste Challenge” UNEP and GRID-Arendhal/Nairobi (2015), 67pp, ISBN: 978-82-7701-148-6

For more information, please refer to:
Website: www.brsmeas.org

BRS Secretariat

Kei Ohno Woodall, Programme Officer,
kei.ohno-woodall@brsmeas.org tel: +41-79-2333218

BRS Press

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

FAO

Christine Fuell, Senior Technical Officer, Rotterdam Secretariat, Rome:
Christine.fuell@fao.org tel: +39-06-57053765

FAO Press

George Kourous, Information Officer, FAO Rome:
George.kourous@fao.org tel: +39-06-57053168

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

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

 

Re-live the COPs with the new BRS videos

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

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 nati...

Awards at COPs honour outstanding practitioners

Awards at COPs honour outstanding practitioners

 

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Activities

Syndicate
Intersessional work under review by the Chemicals Review Committee of the Rotterdam Convention (CRC)

The objective of the webinar is to share information on the intersessional work of the CRC between the tenth and eleventh meeting. This includes new notifications of final regulatory action for chemicals under review of to be reviewed and new proposals for the inclusion of SHPFs in Annex III of the Convention.

Intersessional work under review by the Chemicals Review Committee of the Rotterdam Convention (CRC)

Intersessional work under review by the Chemicals Review Committee of the Rotterdam Convention (CRC)
 
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

 

E-waste in the spotlight

Matthias Kern of the BRS Secretariat believes the ITU’s Connect 2020 Agenda goal of reducing E-waste by 50% is achievable.

E-waste in the spotlight

E-waste in the spotlight

 

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
 
Side events demonstrate the diversity of COPs issues

Stakeholders and partners highlight the range of relevant issues throughout the two-week COPs, as debates and ideas flourish for sustainable management of chemicals and waste

Side events demonstrate the diversity of COPs issues

Side events demonstrate the diversity of COPs issues
 
BRS App: the COPs in the palm of your hand

Use the interactive BRS App for keeping up with the debates and events

BRS App: the COPs in the palm of your hand

BRS App: the COPs in the palm of your hand
 
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.

 

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