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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)
 

Call for applications by 31 December 2014.

Download the communication and application form

Consultancy announcement: illegal traffic and trade

Call for applications by 31 December 2014.

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.

Calendar of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions

 
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

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



An African perspective: capacities and partnerships in focus

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

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
 
First ever, interactive, online Synergies publication now available

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

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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
 
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



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
 
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

“Linking gender equality with sustainable development is important for several reasons. It is a moral and ethical imperative. Efforts to achieve a just and sustainable future cannot ignore the rights, dignity and capabilities of half the world’s population.” UN Women World Survey 2014.

Charlie Avis: Kerstin, as we celebrate International Women’s Day, please tell us why gender is relevant to the sound management of chemicals and hazardous wastes and the implementation of the BRS conventions?

Kerstin Stendahl: Incorporating gender consideration into the sound management of chemicals and wastes is absolutely key because women, men, boys and girls are exposed to chemicals and hazardous wastes in different ways and to varying degrees depending on where they work and live.  In addition to gender differences in exposure to hazardous substances there are also differences in physiological susceptibility between men and women, girls and boys.  We need to take these differences into account when we devise measures for the sound management of chemicals and wastes so that we tailor our responses with gender aspects in mind.

Gender equality, sustainable development and the sound management of chemicals and wastes is a model example of synergies at work, and thus the creation of a whole that is greater than the simple sum of its parts. Without gender equality the BRS conventions will fall short of full implementation and will not therefore contribute to sustainable development to their best possible capacity.

It is very encouraging that the international community now recognizes that negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda will need to harbour, nurture and execute these fundamental ideas.

CA: What is the Secretariat doing towards this goal?

KS:  Gender equality at all levels is an important factor in making implementation of our conventions efficient.  This is why the BRS secretariat strives to make gender considerations an integral part of our day-to-day work.  Through the dedicated work of our gender coordinator and the gender task team we have devised ways and means to mainstream gender into the planning and execution of policies and activities, as decided on by the Parties.  Have a look at the BRS Gender Action Plan at http://synergies.pops.int/ManagementReports/Gender/Overview/tabid/3651/language/en-US/Default.aspx

CA: The conventions aim at protecting all human beings and the environment, why do we need to focus especially on gender?

KS: Gender mainstreaming requires us to carefully assess whether the action we take will equally impact the lives of women and men, boys and girls.  It is not an easy task and we still have a lot to do in this area, not least when it comes to addressing the unsound management of chemicals and wastes and the disproportionate impact that they have on women and girls. We also need to encourage and empower women to be part of decision – making, whereby their knowledge, experience and expertise is equally heard and accounted for.  Significant in this regard is the question of access to Secretariat training and support services. In 2014, 52% of the more than 1,100 participants in the BRS technical assistance webinar programme were female, demonstrating that women are aware of – and can use just as easily - this very popular format for building individual and institutional capacities. In this way, we support women (and men) to empower themselves to play a role for securing the sustainable management of chemicals and waste.

CA: What support is out there, to help make this happen?

KS: Thankfully, the BRS is supported and guided in its gender work by a pool of competence and expertise among governments, within UNEP and the UN system at large.  Amongst these, the work of UN Women, deserves a specific mentioning.  Its report World Survey 2014  focusses on the theme of gender equality and sustainable development and is an essential read for all of us aiming at a sustainable future. (http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2014/10/world-survey-2014-press-release#sthash.6oo084i2.dpuf )  

CA: Are there already any specific activities going on?

KS: Through the Task Team’s work and as part of the BRS Gender Action Plan, the development of internal baseline data and statistics on involvement of women and men in projects and programmes of the secretariat is well underway. More substantively, we monitor consideration of gender aspects in proposal development and project implementation, and facilitate and encourage training of staff on gender mainstreaming. And we are collecting success stories of gender mainstreaming in chemicals and waste projects which will be showcased as “gender heroes” during our triple COPs in May. Lastly, the secretariat is actively contributing to the forthcoming (UNEP) Global Gender and Environment Outlook, and collaborates with the UNEP Gender and Social Safeguards Unit on online and face-to-face trainings on gender and environment.  I also hope that we will see more discussions about the gender dimension in the implementation of our conventions during the triple COPs in May. 

CA: Tell me about the Secretariat’s staffing, is that gender balanced?

KS: It is certainly something we monitor and bear in mind as part of all action on human resources together with other aspects, such as regional balance.

I would say that we our track record is quite good. Because of specific attention we now have a gender ratio of 50% men and women at “director” level, 49% men and 51% women at “professional” level, and 56% women and 44 % men at “general service” level.


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
 
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. For example, when a chemical is proposed for listing under the Stockholm Convention, a party is to submit a proposal, accompanied by a scientific justification for the need for global control. Scientific evaluation is 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 any financial interests or influence by a commercial entity 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 Stockholm Convention in 2004. Within 11 years of existence of the 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 http://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 Conventions  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
 
International Chemicals Chief Eyes Ambitious Agenda for 2015 Conference of Parties

By journalist Bryce Baschuk from Bloomberg

International Chemicals Chief Eyes Ambitious Agenda for 2015 Conference of Parties

International Chemicals Chief Eyes Ambitious Agenda for 2015 Conference of Parties

By journalist Bryce Baschuk from Bloomberg
Source: Daily Report for Executives: News Archive > 2015 > February > 02/06/2015 > Regulation & Law > Hazardous Substances: International Chemicals Chief Eyes Ambitious Agenda for 2015 Conference of Parties

Feb. 5 — The United Nations' climate change negotiations in Paris may be 2015's environmental cause celebre, but Rolph Payet wants the world to remember that toxic chemicals should be a front-burner topic in Geneva.

“Chemicals and waste are also very important,” said Payet, the new executive secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions. “If we don't manage them properly, they can affect the environment in more or less greater ways than climate change,” he told Bloomberg BNA during a recent interview in Geneva.

During Payet's first four months in office, the former Seychelles minister for environment and energy has been hard at work preparing chemical stakeholders for what he hopes will be a momentous year.

Specifically, he is seeking to establish firm guidelines for the management of electronic waste and mercury, adopt a new chemicals and waste compliance mechanism and list several toxins at the May 4–15 BRS conference of parties (COPs) in Geneva.

Compliance Mechanism

The issue most at stake at the 2015 BRS COPs is the successful adoption of a compliance mechanism to increase transparency and enforcement of international chemicals and waste management, Payet said.

In May, parties to the Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions will consider rules to ensure that countries are applying the relevant management and customs procedures for chemicals that are listed as harmful to human health and the environment.

“We do need certain minimum levels of practice so that this international system will work,” he said. “A compliance mechanism for those two conventions is therefore a priority for the COPs.”

The Rotterdam Convention requires countries that export restricted chemicals to adequately notify the receiving country. The Stockholm Convention requires parties to prohibit the production, use and trade of certain persistent organic pollutants.

E-Waste Awareness

Payet said he hopes parties to the Basel Convention—which defines limits on the cross-border movement of hazardous waste and its disposal—will adopt clear guidelines on how to deal with the hazardous and costly effects of electronic waste, or e-waste.

E-waste from discarded mobile devices and computer equipment is considered hazardous due to the presence of toxic materials such as mercury, cadmium, asbestos and lead.

“Televisions, computers and mobile devices contain a range of hazardous substances,” Payet said. “When they end up as e-waste—for example in the landfill—they will leach out into the environment and create problems.

“Ten years from now we don't want to look back and say we wish we could have done something more about it,” he said.

Draft Technical Guidelines

Last year, the United Nations issued its latest draft technical guidelines on the transboundary movements of e-waste.

The guidelines seek to establish the difference between hazardous and non-hazardous e-waste, provide guidance on the transboundary movements of e-waste and offer inspection guidelines for enforcement officials to control the transportation of e-waste.

“Parties are sending signals that say: ‘Look, let's have particular guidelines because the problem is growing and we need to work on it,’ ” Payet said. “I am committed to supporting parties by all means to adopt those guidelines.”

Members of the Basel Convention COP will consider the e-waste debate May 8–12. “I hope the guidelines will be adopted by this COP,” he said. “You have to be ambitious.”

Mercury Poisoning

Payet said he is equally optimistic that parties will adopt the draft technical guidelines for the environmentally sound management of mercury waste in 2016.

“Mercury is a toxic chemical and we need to take actions to reduce and eliminate anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury,” he said. “On the policy side, I believe it will come into force by next year. The trend I've seen is certainly encouraging.”

He added, “There is a lot of work to be done in the dentistry sector, for example, because a lot of us are walking around with amalgam in our teeth. As for mercury thermometers, there are many alternatives.”

New Chemical Listings

Payet said he plans to work closely with members of the chemicals industry to help prepare them for the listing of new chemicals.

“I encourage industry to monitor closely which chemicals are being discussed, and which chemicals the science is showing are toxic, with a view to developing a strategy for slowly phasing out harmful chemicals and addressing some of the challenges,” he said.

Payet said he's optimistic the Rotterdam Convention COP will list paraquat dichloride formulation, an herbicide considered toxic to humans and animals, during its May meetings.

“Listing a chemical in Annex III to the Rotterdam Convention does not constitute a ban on its use,” he said. “Parties that considered it safe to do so could still use the chemical, but the exchange of information required for chemicals listed in Annex III would enable them to use the chemical in a more informed manner with information received from exporting countries.”

Payet said he hopes parties will support alternatives to the use of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) in countries that depend on it for controlling the spread of malaria. In May, the Stockholm Convention COP will review measures to reduce or eliminate releases from intentional production and use of DDT.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bryce Baschuk in Geneva at correspondents@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Greg Henderson at ghenderson@bna.com

For More Information

The UN's draft technical guidelines on the transboundary movements of e-waste are available at http://bit.ly/1Ax48Mm.

Draft technical guidelines for the environmentally sound management of mercury waste are available at http://bit.ly/1v2tzyk

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
 
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