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Announcements

The latest round of applications is now open with a deadline for all applications to be submitted to the Special Programme secretariat by 21 June 2018.

Call for 3rd round of applications in the context of the Special Programme to support institutional strengthening

 

Job opportunity: consultant sought by UN Environment to assist with national implementation plans & reporting, please see and apply by 25 March through the online UN recruitment system https://inspira.un.org.

Consultancy to assist with implementation of Stockholm Convention

 

A list of concept notes for voluntary financial contributions for the biennium 2018/19 is now available on the BRS websites.

Concept notes for voluntary financial contributions 2018-19 now available

Concept notes for voluntary financial contributions 2018-19 now available

 

 

The report of the first meeting of the new informal Basel Convention partnership on household waste, held in Montevideo, Uruguay, from 2 to 4 August 2016, is now available online.

Report now online from Montevideo meeting on household waste

Report now online from Montevideo meeting on household waste
 
How do the Basel and Stockholm conventions relate to marine litter and plastic pollution?

How do the Basel and Stockholm conventions relate to marine litter and plastic pollution?

As part of the Geneva World Environment Day 2018 events in Geneva, Abiola Olanipekun describes how the chemicals and wastes conventions contribute to global efforts to Beat Plastic Pollution.

How do the Basel and Stockholm conventions relate to marine litter and plastic pollution?

How do the Basel and Stockholm conventions relate to marine litter and plastic pollution?

Opening Remarks delivered by Abiola Olanipekun, Chief of the Science and Technical Assistance (STA) Branch at the UN Palais des Nations, June 5th 2018

Ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, hosted by the UN Environment Programme here in Geneva, it is a pleasure and an honour for me to be part of the 2018 World Environment Day celebration here today to look at solutions to beat plastic pollution.

The Basel Convention - on the control of transboundary movements of hazardous waste and their disposal - aims to protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects of hazardous wastes and ‘other wastes’ - namely household wastes and incinerator ash.

The Basel Convention covers many issues which are at the heart of preventing and minimizing the generation of wastes, including those ending up in the ocean. Much of the marine litter and microplastics found in the sea may be determined as “waste” as defined under the convention, although not all will necessary fall within this definition.

Marine litter is a transboundary issue. Parties are to therefore take measures to ensure that the generation of hazardous and other wastes is reduced to a minimum; and to ensure the availability of adequate disposal facilities for the environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes and other wastes.

Under the Basel Convention, a number of guidance documents addressing issues related to marine plastic litter and microplastics have been developed with focus on environmentally sound management, efficient strategies for achieving the prevention and minimization of the generation of hazardous and other wastes, and their disposal including improving the sea-land interface.

The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants – or POPs - is also aimed at protecting human health and the environment from chemicals knowns as persistent organic pollutants. These are organic chemicals that persist in the environment, bioaccumulate in humans and wildlife, have harmful effects, and have the potential for long-range environmental transport.

Exposure to POPs can cause serious health problems including certain cancers, birth defects, dysfunctional immune and reproductive systems, greater susceptibility to disease and even diminished intelligence.

As of 2018, the convention controls 28 POPs, including those which have been used as additives, flame retardants or plasticizers in plastics. Plastics can adsorb POPs such as PCB, DDT and dioxins and these are frequently detected in marine plastic litter.

In 2017 the Basel Convention Conference of Parties decided that its subsidiary body, the Open-ended working group should consider relevant options available under the convention to further address marine plastic litter and microplastics. That group will meet in September 2018 here in Geneva.

The new Household waste partnership established under the Basel Convention at the same time, explores the environmentally sound management of household waste including plastics, while the global network of Basel and Stockholm Conventions’ regional centres explores measures for the prevention and environmentally sound management of plastic wastes, marine plastic litter and microplastics.

Just last week staff from the Secretariat contributed to the 1st meeting of the UN Environment Ad-Hoc Expert Working Group on Marine Litter in Nairobi.

The BRS Secretariat is thus very busy facilitating and participating in international policy efforts and actions to beat marine pollution. It’s a pleasure and an honour to be here and to learn from such an interesting panel of innovators, explorers, and entrepreneurs.

Let’s together BEAT PLASTIC POLLUTION: We join our voice with millions of others to say:

“If you can’t reuse it – refuse it”.

For more information:

On Marine Litter and the three conventions see:
http://synergies.pops.int/Implementation/MediaResources/SpeechesandInterviews/tabid/2946/language/en-US/Default.aspx

On Household Waste see:
http://www.basel.int/Implementation/HouseholdWastePartnerships/Overview/tabid/5082/Default.aspx

On global efforts to beat plastic pollution, see UN Environment:
https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/press-release/new-report-offers-global-outlook-efforts-beat-plastic-pollution

Report on implementation of BRS programmes of work & budgets now available

Report on implementation of BRS programmes of work & budgets now available

Now online: Secretariat report on the implementation of the programmes of work & budgets of the Basel, Rotterdam & Stockholm conventions for the biennium 2016-2017

Report on implementation of BRS programmes of work & budgets now available

Report on implementation of BRS programmes of work & budgets now available

 

BRS Executive Secretary conducts live interview at The GEF Assembly, Danang, Viet Nam

BRS Executive Secretary conducts live interview at The GEF Assembly, Danang, Viet Nam

Watch the recording of Rolph Payet’s interview for insights as to how the sound management of chemicals and wastes contributes to a clean planet and healthy people.

BRS Executive Secretary conducts live interview at The GEF Assembly, Danang, Viet Nam

BRS Executive Secretary conducts live interview at The GEF Assembly, Danang, Viet Nam
 
Single-use plastics again the focus of international attention

Single-use plastics again the focus of international attention

July 3rd is International Plastic Bag Free Day as organisations worldwide keep marine litter at the top of the global agenda.

Single-use plastics again the focus of international attention

Single-use plastics again the focus of international attention
 
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Activities

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Convention heads meet to further improve knowledge management, access to information, and sharing

BRS chief Rolph Payet joins other MEA heads and staff in Montreux, Switzerland at the latest meeting of the Informea network, 5 to 7 June.

Convention heads meet to further improve knowledge management, access to information, and sharing

Convention heads meet to further improve knowledge management, access to information, and sharing
 
To mark World Environment Day, BRS co-hosts event on plastics solutions and innovations

Entrepreneurs and explorers come together to Beat Plastic Pollution, in the UN Palais des Nations in Geneva, Tuesday 5th June. To register: goo.gl/Cu5nNH.

To mark World Environment Day, BRS co-hosts event on plastics solutions and innovations

To mark World Environment Day, BRS co-hosts event on plastics solutions and innovations

Diplomats, policy-makers, scientists, entrepreneurs and explorers come together to Beat Plastic Pollution, in the UN Palais des Nations in Geneva, Tuesday 5th June.

Co-organised by UN Environment (Europe), Solar Impulse, and the BRS Secretariat, this event features the showcasing of innovative solutions to beat plastic pollution, presented through film and other media, in order to raise awareness concerning the challenges of marine litter and plastics, and to emphasise that together, we can tackle this problem.

Click here to open the programme/agenda.

To register, enter your details here: goo.gl/Cu5nNH.

For photos of the WED2018 events in Geneva please see the BRS Flickr folder:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/63284352@N08/albums/72157667795272127

 

BRS Secretariat contributes to key marine litter meeting in Nairobi

At the 1st meeting of the Ad-Hoc Expert Working Group, Carlos Martin-Novella sets out possible options under the Basel Convention for addressing this key issue.

BRS Secretariat contributes to key marine litter meeting in Nairobi

BRS Secretariat contributes to key marine litter meeting in Nairobi
 
ENFORCE: Illegal traffic experts meet in Geneva

The 3rd Meeting of the Environmental Network for Optimizing Regulatory Compliance on Illegal Traffic (ENFORCE) takes place 15 to 16 May, with funding support from Norway.

ENFORCE: Illegal traffic experts meet in Geneva

ENFORCE: Illegal traffic experts meet in Geneva
 
BRS contributes to Global Soils Symposium in Rome

The life-cycle approach to chemicals and waste is a key element to protecting soils from pollution.

BRS contributes to Global Soils Symposium in Rome

BRS contributes to Global Soils Symposium in Rome

BRS Secretariat staff are contributing to the Global Symposium on Soil Pollution, at FAO headquarters from 2 to 4 May 2018, co-organised by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and its Global Soil Partnership (GSP), the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS), BRS Secretariat, UN Environment and the World Health Organization (WHO). The event is seen as a common platform to discuss and elaborate the latest information on the status, trends and actions (both scientific and political) on soil pollution and its threatful consequences on human health, food safety and the environment.

According to BRS Executive Secretary, Rolph Payet, “the Symposium comes at an opportune time when more and more soils are being polluted. In response, the international community is strengthening its commitments to beat pollution, implement sound management of chemicals and wastes, tackle climate change, and work towards zero hunger”.

For more information on the Symposium please contact BRS Programme Officer Melisa Lim melisa.lim@brsmeas.org or consult the event website at http://www.fao.org/about/meetings/global-symposium-on-soil-pollution/en/.

BRS Secretariat supports new initiative on combatting illegal waste shipments

A new World Customs Organisation initiative, known as Operation DEMETER IV, starts in May 2018, to monitor and control cross-border movement of waste in maritime transportation, targeting illegal waste shipments.

BRS Secretariat supports new initiative on combatting illegal waste shipments

BRS Secretariat supports new initiative on combatting illegal waste shipments

A new global World Customs Organisation (WCO) initiative, called Operation DEMETER IV, will be launched in May 2018 to monitor and control cross-border movement of waste in maritime transportation, targeting illegal waste shipments from waste-producing regions and countries to destination countries and regions.

The Operation will be conducted under the guidance of the WCO Secretariat, in close cooperation with China Customs and the WCO Regional Intelligence Liaison Office for Asia and the Pacific. The BRS Secretariat will provide assistance for this new initiative. 

For more information, please visit our Enforcement Networks Fact Sheets on the World Customs Organisation page. 

Household waste experts meet in Mauritius to work on environmentally sound management

With funding support from Norway and Switzerland, the Household Waste Partnership Working Group meets to start working towards a guidance document on environmentally sound management.

Household waste experts meet in Mauritius to work on environmentally sound management

Household waste experts meet in Mauritius to work on environmentally sound management
 
BRS Secretariat Says ‘Yes to Less’

Ever-conscious of the need to minimise waste, as required of Parties to the Basel Convention, the BRS Secretariat is contributing to the pan-UN campaign encouraging Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

BRS Secretariat Says ‘Yes to Less’

BRS Secretariat Says ‘Yes to Less’

 

Towards the sound management of wastes in the Arabic-speaking countries

Read the latest BRS interview, with Moustafa Kamel, Director of the Basel Convention Regional Centre in Egypt.

Towards the sound management of wastes in the Arabic-speaking countries

Towards the sound management of wastes in the Arabic-speaking countries

Interview between Charlie Avis, Public Information Officer for the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions, and Professor Moustafa Kamel, Director of the Basel Convention Regional Centre in Cairo, Egypt

Charlie Avis (CA): Good morning Mostafa and greetings from Geneva. Thank you for answering my questions which aim to shed light on the work you are doing to support the sound management of chemicals and waste across the Arabic-speaking countries.

Mostafa Kamel (MK): Thank you, Charlie, we are delighted to be featured.

CA: Firstly, please tell us a little bit about the Regional Centre (RC) itself. Where are you housed, how many staff do you have, and when was the RC established: basically how did the RC come about?

MK: Of course I would like first to introduce myself; my name is Prof. Moustafa Hussein Kamel, the Director of BCRC-Egypt. Beside being BCRC-Egypt Director, I am a Professor at the Faculty of Science, Cairo University, in Egypt.

Regarding BCRC-Egypt, BCRC-Egypt is a regional centre that facilitates the implementation of the multilateral Environmental agreements in 22 Arab states in North Africa and West Asia. The conference of parties of the Basel convention adopted decision VI/9 to establish BCRC-Egypt in Egypt. The Government of Egypt has signed the framework agreement with the Secretariat of the Basel Convention for the legal establishment of the centre, and it is now hosted within one of the most outstanding academic and research institutes in the region; the Cairo University, since 2004.

BCRC-Egypt has a unique issue than all the regional centres around the world, that it serves countries in two continents, Asia and Africa. This adds richness to the knowledge and experience which may be generated from interacting with the 22 Arab states.

Following the ratification of the Framework Agreement by the Egyptian Parliament in 2005, BCRC-Egypt had its own structure and bank account with flexibility to assign part-time consultants and administrative staff for implementing projects and other capacity building activities. The BCRC-Egypt structure includes a Steering Committee of the Centre (CSC) with membership of the representatives of four rotating member countries (currently Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Bahrain and Djibouti), the host country, Egypt, the representative of the Secretariat of the Basel Convention, The representative of the Arab League, President Cairo University (Observer), Vice President for Environmental Affairs, Cairo University (Observer) and the Director of BCRC-Egypt.

CA: Now, and at the risk of generalisation, what are the main constraints or challenges to protecting health and environment in the region from the harmful effects of toxic chemicals and waste?

MK: Charlie, The Chemicals and waste issue has become a very hot topic around the world for its environmental, economic and health impact of course. Currently, there is a great global need to address that issue and try to find a solution for it, especially with the less developing countries. Of course, I am aware that the international bodies such as the UN, the UNDP, the UNEP and  Multilateral Environmental agreements Secretariat has been exerting great efforts to assist all the countries, especially the less developing ones in achieving the sound management of chemicals and waste. However, I still believe there is a role, which the regional centres like BCRC-Egypt, should play in order to enhance those efforts and maximize the benefit of the less developing countries from them.

Serving 22 Arab states makes their needs and conditions vary according to their political, economic, environmental and developmental circumstances. This huge variations make the achieving the sustainable development more difficult, which requires more efforts from all the stakeholders, beside BCRC-Egypt of course.

CA: Of these, which would you say is the main priority theme, or core business, for the Centre?

MK: Actually, BCRC-Egypt vision is to be a credible Regional Centre capable of providing Quality Sound Management of Hazardous Wastes services and consultations acknowledged by the 22 member Arab countries, BRS and the COP. While its mission, is to provide services for implementation of the Basel Convention to the Arab Countries. We, in BCRC-Egypt, have been always communicating with the Arab states we serve, to explore their needs that require the intervention of BCRC-Egypt to enhance their implementation of those countries to the multilateral environmental agreements. Examples of those needs are:

  • Legal drafting.
  • National reporting to BRS.
  • Hazardous waste (HW) management
  • Control of illegal HW transboundary movements
  • Management of medical waste.
  • Planning, designing, and managing HW disposal/recycling facilities.
  • Development of HW inventories.
  • Management and/or recycling of specific waste
  • Analytical HW identification and classification.

CA: Marine litter is gaining ever-greater visibility as a global and regional problem, and was the subject of significant attention at the recent U.N. Environment Assembly last month in Nairobi. Your region shares several vitally important marine environments. How is the Centre responding to these challenges, and do you see hopes for progress?

MK: BCRC-Egypt has always been working on updating its mandate according to the Arab states needs and the new environmental updates that come on the surface through the concerned international organizations Caring about the marine sector is one of the sustainable development goals which was adopted by the UN in 2015. Still, even before that, it has been an important issue for all the Arab states that have important marine environments. Therefore, BCRC-Egypt has been encouraging the Arab states before and after 2015 on taking the most feasible measures to protect its marine environments according to the international standards. We always receive very promising cooperative responses from the Arab states.

CA: The Centre has a long tradition and proud record and has clearly achieved a lot, but is there a single achievement of which you are most proud?

MK: BCRC-Egypt through the past few years focused its efforts on strengthening the regional cooperation of Arab states in hazardous waste management and trans-boundary control which should support compliance with the Basel Convention in the Arab states, inspite of the political instability facing few States in the region.

Accordingly, through the past five years, BCRC-Egypt conducted a total of 28 activities, 19 workshops (18 Regional and 1 National in Egypt), 9 Trainings (7 Regional (2 “Hands On” trainings in Nigeria and Finland) and 2 National in Tunisia and Lebanon). All the activities focused on the capacity building, knowledge sharing and technology transfer among the Arab States. Also, BCRC-Egypt signed 3 MoUs with Regional Centres of Basel and Stockholm convention in China, India and Indonesia, in order to enhance collaboration and synergy between the regional centres of the Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAS).BCRC-Egypt initiated cooperation with national, regional and international NGOs, out of its faith of the common responsibility of all stake holders for how our environment could be better. Finally, BCRC-Egypt has completed, with the help of international professional experts, a draft for e-waste legislation, as guidance for the Arab states in e-waste management. BCRC-Egypt aims to translate the legislation into English language, to allow discussions with Parties worldwide.

CA: Our readers might like to know you have active communications platforms such as the Centre’s facebook and twitter accounts. How important is social media for explaining your work to a wider audience?

MK: BCRC-Egypt managed to maintain and update its website to include all the news, activities and structure of BCRC-Egypt and all the international entities that are related to BCRC-Egypt areas of interest (bcrc-egypt.com). The website provides users with all the multilateral environmental agreements (Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam) documents and guidelines. Also the website can provide its users with information related to other relevant conventions and issues, such as Minamata Convention, the SAICM and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which were adopted by the UN in 2015 to achieve the 2030 Agenda.  Also BCRC-Egypt continued its communication with the Arab members through social media, such as Facebook (www.facebook.com/BCRCEgypt.OfficialPage), twitter (www. twitter.com/bcrcegypt) and YouTube (www.youtube.com/user/bcrcegypt). On the other side, the media and the press (local and regional) have followed BCRC-Egypt activities due to the importance of the topics addressed in those activities on environment. Finally, BCRC-Egypt issued many non-periodic newsletters in Arabic language which summarized some of its activities.

CA: Thank you, for your time and for your answers, and for sharing your insights.

MK: Thank you, Charlie.

and if you need any further information on our centre and its activities, or would like to sign-up to receive our newsletter please go to our website www.bcrc-egypt.com    

Congratulations to Iran for 25 years of implementing the Basel Convention

The BRS Secretariat congratulates the Islamic Republic of Iran on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of entry into force of the Basel Convention – for a Life with Less Waste.

Congratulations to Iran for 25 years of implementing the Basel Convention

Congratulations to Iran for 25 years of implementing the Basel Convention
 
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