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The Secretariat hands over the signed BRS Geneva Gender Parity Pledge to Mr. Michael Moller, UNOG Director General.

Geneva Gender Parity Pledge

Geneva Gender Parity Pledge

On 2 December 2015, during the United Nations Oath of Office ceremony at the Palais des Nation, the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions Secretariat (BRS) handed over to Mr. Michael Moller, UNOG Director General, the signed BRS Geneva Gender Parity Pledge. 

The Geneva Gender Parity Pledge aims to strive for gender parity in all discussions in International Geneva and in panels where BRS staff is involved. Further, the Secretariat commits to provide gender training sessions for its staff members to enable them to liaise with other United Nations colleagues and to beacon gender aspects; to include gender related sessions in the agenda of workshops organized by the BRS Secretariat to further strengthen the mainstreaming of gender equality in projects and programmes under the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions; and to update the BRS Gender Action Plan on a yearly basis.

Contact: Matthias Kern at matthias.kern@brsmeas.org and Tatiana Terekhovap at tatiana.terekhovap@brsmeas.org

The Secretariat has been made aware that emails were recently sent using abusively for instance the name of the Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions or other staff as its author, a misleading sender’s name, or a misleading email address. Please read the Secretariat’s communication about this issue.

Abusive emails

The Secretariat has been made aware that emails were recently sent using abusively for instance the name of the Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions or other staff as its author, a misleading sender’s name, or a misleading email address. Please read the Secretariat’s communication about this issue.

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)
 
Regional consultations underway for Minamata Convention on Mercury

Regional consultations underway for Minamata Convention on Mercury

BRS is participating in regional consultations for the intergovernmental negotiating committee on mercury (INC7), which will be held in Jordan, 10 to 15 March 2016.

Regional consultations underway for Minamata Convention on Mercury

Regional consultations underway for Minamata Convention on Mercury

A series of regional consultations are being held in preparation for the seventh session of the intergovernmental negotiating committee on mercury (INC7), scheduled to be held in the Dead Sea Area in Jordan, from 10 to 15 March 2016. For more information, please visit the Minamata Convention website.

In line with relevant mandates, the BRS Secretariat cooperates and collaborates with the interim secretariat of the Minamata Convention in areas of mutual interest with a view to fostering policy coherence, where appropriate, and maximizing the effective and efficient use of resources at all levels.

In the framework of these regional meetings, the BRS Secretariat provides inputs pertaining to the BRS conventions that are relevant to the upcoming INC-7 discussions. For instance, experience gained under the BRS conventions will be shared with the participants on topics, such as: mercury wastes, financial mechanism, national reporting, financial rules, rules of procedure, BAT&BEP and monitoring.

18th February is the 4th Anniversary of the - joint - BRS Secretariat

18th February is the 4th Anniversary of the - joint - BRS Secretariat

BRS Deputy Executive Secretary, Kerstin Stendahl, outlines lessons learnt from 10 years of working on synergies.

18th February is the 4th Anniversary of the - joint - BRS Secretariat

18th February is the 4th Anniversary of the - joint - BRS Secretariat

10 years of synergies among the BRS conventions

Distinguished participants and colleagues,

It is a great pleasure to represent the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions here today.  I would like to thank and congratulate the CBD secretariat and Switzerland for facilitating and organising this workshop.  It is clear that there is much scope and hope for progressing synergies within the biodiversity cluster over the next few days

As Deputy Executive Secretary of the BRS Conventions I have been working on synergies in the secretariat for the last three years.  Before that I was very engaged in synergies from a Party perspective, co-chairing different working groups and COP sessions.  I feel very fortunate to have been involved from the start in this interesting, challenging and successful process.

In May this year, the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions will be celebrating the 10 year anniversary of our synergies process.  It all began in 2006 with the Stockholm COP 2 decision to join an ad hoc joint working group consisting of a total of 45 members.  There were to be 15 parties per convention that were selected taking due consideration of regional balance. 

It was clear from the start that in order to strengthen coordination and cooperation among the BRS conventions, the parties to all three conventions needed to feel that they were equally included and were entering a level playing field in the negotiations. 

Addressing fears and distrust among those that face change is an absolute necessity in any synergies process.  Needless to say, transparent communication is key.

The need to ensure inclusion and equal opportunity meant that already the establishment of the joint working group required some carefully crafted language.  The Stockholm COP was the first to address the issue and therefore suggested the establishment of an ad hoc joint working group as a possible way forward and then went on to invite the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel and Rotterdam Conventions to consider that option, and in the event of their endorsement, noted that it would agree to its establishment.

One decade later the synergies live on, with new challenges. 

We will know more about what these challenges are by the end of this year as we are just about to embark on a review of the synergies arrangements at all levels of implementation.  Based on the results from the review, the conferences of the parties to the three conventions should at their COPs in May 2017be able to define how the synergies arrangements could be enhanced and what needs to be adapted or modified in the future to increase the impact of the conventions. 

Let me remind ourselves of the initial objectives of the BRS synergies process.  The Parties stated clearly that what they wanted out of enhanced cooperation and coordination among the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions was:

  • strengthened implementation at the national, regional and international levels
  • promotion of coherent policy guidance
  • enhanced efficiency in the provision of support to Parties with a view to reducing their administrative burden
  • maximising the efficient and effective use of resources at all levels

The synergies process among the BRS conventions has always been, and still is, driven by parties, taking into account global concerns and specifically responding to the needs of developing countries. 

The joint working group therefore spent much time during its three meetings discussing what the specific needs of Parties are and these discussions subsequently guided the drafting of the COP decisions. 

The Parties were also very clear as to the fact that any institutional rearrangements had to be based on needs expressed. The notion of form follows function has always been at the core of synergies.  

Over the last decade the Parties to the three conventions have adopted some 20 decisions pertaining specifically to enhanced cooperation and coordination among the Parties. 

What have we achieved so far?

  • We have convened two sets of ordinary meetings of the Conferences of the Parties back to back in 2013 and 2015, and the third set of tripleCOPs will be held in May next year. 
  • We have also held two sets of extraordinary meetings of the COPs – specifically to look at synergies issues.  Thanks to the generous support of governments, we have been able to fund 2-3 developing country participants to the tripleCOPs, thus aiding national dialogue among the delegates.
  • Many countries also already have in place interministerial commissions or committees on chemicals and waste.
  • We also present information on national focal points in a joint manner on our websites, making it easier to link up with colleagues from the three conventions
  • As to the COPs’ programmes of work - some 20 cross-cutting and joint activities have been included allowing for lifecycle implementation of the conventions.
  • A joint technical assistance programme for the three conventions is in place, as part of which the secretariat arranges national and regional training workshops on how to increase coordination and cooperation.
  • We compile and highlight case studies on successful synergies at national level and thus facilitate processes on best practices and learning from others
  • There is increased collaboration between the scientific and technical bodies of the conventions, involving experts from several conventions, for example training of members of scientific groups, joint rosters of experts, guideline documents that address joint issues and intersessional work on environmentally sound management of POPS waste
  • Other issues dealt with in a joint manner include  legislation, linked obligations, enforcement, illegal traffic, information exchange and flow, customs, resource mobilisation, awareness raising, risk assessment and communication, import/export issues, and alternatives to hazardous chemicals
  • Through our regional centres under Basel and Stockholm we increasingly channel regional delivery for all three conventions as well as for the Minamata convention on mercury
  • We have adopted a harmonized approach to parties’ needs assessments, resource mobilization and international cooperation.
  • We have a joint calendar for all meetings of the conventions easily accessible on our web-page
  • We do joint communication and joint web-pages for the three conventions as well as a synergies webpage
  • The parties negotiate the three budgets of the conventions in a joint budget group and present the budgets in an overall format
  • Parties have also requested us to determine the feasibility of a joint single trust fund for staffing costs
  • The three secretariats have been merged into one, with one joint Executive Secretary and an Executive Secretary for the FAO part of the Rotterdam secretariat
  • The merged secretariat works in a matrix structure through its branches on technical assistance, scientific support and conventions operations as well as a unit on administrative services. Through the matrix we disseminate and develop best practices and processes across the joint secretariat.  We also hold regular matrix training sessions. 

I also hope that Parties and colleagues in the UN system as well as stakeholders find it easier to access and work with us now that we are one secretariat, a one stop shop as it were.

In conclusion, it is clear that the conventions have benefitted from joint action at the various levels of implementation. 

It is important, though, to note that the conventions and their decision-making bodies remain sovereign and autonomous. This is the firm foundation and another essential guiding principle of our work that has been clearly communicated by our Parties.

I wish you much success in your deliberations on this very important and engaging matter.

Thank you. 

Concept notes for voluntary financial contributions 2016-17 now available

Concept notes for voluntary financial contributions 2016-17 now available

A list of concept notes for voluntary financial contributions for the biennium 2016/17 is now available on the BRS websites

Concept notes for voluntary financial contributions 2016-17 now available

Concept notes for voluntary financial contributions 2016-17 now available

 

 

Review of BRS Synergies process underway

Review of BRS Synergies process underway

Reviews of the synergies arrangements: call for tenders by 5 February 2016.

Review of BRS Synergies process underway

Review of BRS Synergies process underway
 
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Watch the latest BRS science video

New film shows how science underpins decision-making for the 3 BRS conventions.

Watch the latest BRS science video

Watch the latest BRS science video
 
Lead Acid Batteries Recycling in Central America: A case study on the Environmentally Sound Management of Batteries, recovering lead and creating green jobs

Come and learn about the Acumuladores Iberia -case study- where a Regional Strategy for the Environmentally Sound Recovery of Used Lead Acid Batteries in Central America, implemented in cooperation with the private sector, has improved lead acid batteries recycling in the region, creating new job opportunities.

Lead Acid Batteries Recycling in Central America: A case study on the Environmentally Sound Management of Batteries, recovering lead and creating green jobs

Lead Acid Batteries Recycling in Central America: A case study on the Environmentally Sound Management of Batteries, recovering lead and creating green jobs
 
Institutional strengthening for implementation of the BRS Conventions

The Executive Board of the UNEP Special Programme holds its first meeting on 2 to 3 February 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Institutional strengthening for implementation of the BRS Conventions

Institutional strengthening for implementation of the BRS Conventions
 
Gender Heroes 8: Women waste-pickers turn toxic to green

In the last of our popular series on gender, read how Indian women are bringing added responsibility to e-waste re-cycling.

Gender Heroes 8: Women waste-pickers turn toxic to green

Gender Heroes 8: Women waste-pickers turn toxic to green
 
2015 COPs meeting reports

Final copies of the three meeting reports in languages containing all decisions taken by parties are now available.

2015 COPs meeting reports

2015 COPs meeting reports
 
Season’s greetings from the BRS Secretariat

Best wishes and thanks to all of our parties, partners, donors and stakeholders and looking forward to a fruitful 2016.

Season’s greetings from the BRS Secretariat

Season’s greetings from the BRS Secretariat

Best wishes and thanks to all of our parties, partners, donors and stakeholders and looking forward to a fruitful 2016.

For downloading our Season's greetings card.

Gender Heroes 7: Female explorers raise awareness of hazardous chemicals

Meet Emily Penn and Lucy Gilliam, leaders of Exxpedition, a team of inspiring women highlighting POPs and plastics in the world’s oceans.

Gender Heroes 7: Female explorers raise awareness of hazardous chemicals

Gender Heroes 7: Female explorers raise awareness of hazardous chemicals

 

Gender Heroes 6: Reducing Risks to Children in Trinidad & Tobago

Latest in the gender series shows how children are often more vulnerable to the risk of health impacts from hazardous wastes.

Gender Heroes 6: Reducing Risks to Children in Trinidad & Tobago

Gender Heroes 6: Reducing Risks to Children in Trinidad & Tobago

 

Gender Heroes 5: Children and art combine to reduce waste in Panama

Latest in the series highlights an inspirational artist leading an initiative to kick out waste and protect lives in Panama.

Gender Heroes 5: Children and art combine to reduce waste in Panama

Gender Heroes 5: Children and art combine to reduce waste in Panama

 

United Nations reports on its 2014 greenhouse gas emissions

BRS achieves climate neutrality for the third year running, showing commitment to continually improve its sustainability performance.

United Nations reports on its 2014 greenhouse gas emissions

United Nations reports on its 2014 greenhouse gas emissions

United Nations reports on its 2014 greenhouse gas emissions

27 November 2014 The United Nations today released details of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for 2014 in the latest edition of Moving Towards a Climate Neutral UN. 

The report provides details on the emissions from 65 UN system organizations, covering more than 250,000 staff and hundreds of locations worldwide. Greenhouse gas emissions totaled 2 million tonnes CO2eq across the UN system, equivalent to the annual carbon dioxide emissions from 191,019 homes in the United States or from consuming 4,868,772 barrels of oil. 

A total of 18 UN system organizations report having an Emission Reduction Strategy in place and at least nine are implementing an Environment Management System or have reached the highest standards in building management. 

A total of 21 organizations have gone further and become climate neutral through the purchase of carbon credits, with one further agency offsetting emissions from its headquarters. These offsets amount to 676,997 tonnes CO2eq or 32% of the UN’s total reported emissions for 2014. 

The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) is pleased to report on its CO2 emissions for 2014: 

  • Total emissions were 355 tonnes CO2eq;
  • Air travel is the main source of CO2 emissions, representing 99% of total emissions. Other emissions are attributed to office operations;
  • Per capita footprint is 5.14 tCO2eq/ staff member, below the UN average of 8.31 tCO2eq/ staff member. 

“Since 2012, the BRS Secretariat has been climate neutral through a carbon offset programme and has reduced its carbon footprint by 22%, most notably due to promoting video conferencing and more systematic scheduling of back-to-back meetings. We are committed to continue to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions through all means possible” said Mr. Rolph Payet, Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.  

Through the recent promotion of the use of video conferencing and more systematic scheduling of back-to-back meetings, reductions in GHG emissions have been achieved over the period 2010-2014.

The total Secretariat’s GHG emissions have decreased by 29% in 2011, 50% in 2012, 23% in 2013 and 61% in 2014 compared to the 2010 baseline. In absolute values, the total BRS GHG emissions have represented: 924 tCO2eq in 2010, 661 tCO2eq in 2011, 460 tCO2eq in 2012, 697 tCO2eq in 2013 and 354 tCO2eq in 2014. 

Furthermore, since 2012, the BRS Secretariat has been climate neutral through a carbon offset programme implemented as part of the UNEP Climate Neutral Initiative. 

The work on sustainability is a continuous process to which the BRS Secretariat is committed to contribute to, while taking into account best practices and tools put in place by other United Nations organizations in their strategies toward better environmental performance. 

More details on the greener practices implemented in the Secretariat is available at Greening the Blue.   

Background

The report provides an update on progress in implementing the 2007 UN Climate Neutral Strategy, which was approved by the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) and committed the UN Secretariat and all UN agencies, funds and programmes to move towards climate neutrality within the wider context of greening the UN. 

Specifically, the Strategy requires UN bodies to estimate their greenhouse gas emissions, to undertake efforts to reduce their emissions to the greatest extent possible and to analyse the cost implications of purchasing carbon offsets. 

The emissions calculations in the report were compiled using internationally recognized guidance based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, a widely used methodology developed by the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. The UN greenhouse gas inventory includes emissions from all activities that are under the direct financial control of the organization, such as the heating and cooling of buildings and the travel of its staff members. 

To download the report and for more information please visit Greening the Blue

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