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Announcements

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

 
Register now for the COPs Excursion on Lake Geneva

Register now for the COPs Excursion on Lake Geneva

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

Register now for the COPs Excursion on Lake Geneva

Register now for the COPs Excursion on Lake Geneva

 

Interview with FAO’s Christine Fuell

Interview with FAO’s Christine Fuell

Find out all about Rotterdam Convention implementation and the role of FAO in the latest of our interview series marking the Countdown to the Triple COPs.

Interview with FAO’s Christine Fuell

Interview with FAO’s Christine Fuell

 

Countdown to the Triple COPs – Update on Stockholm listings

Countdown to the Triple COPs – Update on Stockholm listings

Ask Kei Ohno all you need to know about chemicals proposed to be newly listed at this year’s Conference of the Parties

Countdown to the Triple COPs – Update on Stockholm listings

Countdown to the Triple COPs – Update on Stockholm listings



Protecting children from pesticides: new visual tool now available

Protecting children from pesticides: new visual tool now available

Raising awareness about child labour and harmful exposure to pesticides, a new visual facilitator’s guide covers issues and preventative steps, and is available in different languages and adapted to different contexts.

Protecting children from pesticides: new visual tool now available

Protecting children from pesticides: new visual tool now available

 

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Activities

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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
 
COP President explores implementation of the Basel Convention
Read the new interview with Basel COP President Andrzej Jaguisiewicz to learn more about how Parties come together to further implementation of this key legal instrument on hazardous wastes

COP President explores implementation of the Basel Convention

COP President explores implementation of the Basel Convention

The Country-Led Initiative: How Parties come together to implement the Basel Convention (BC)

Interview between Andrzej Jagusiewicz, President of the Basel Convention 2015 COP12 (Warsaw, Poland) and Charlie Avis, BRS Secretariat Public Information Officer

Charlie Avis: Good morning, Andrzej, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us today. The Basel Convention aims to protect human health and the environment, as do the other two chemicals and waste conventions, Rotterdam and Stockholm. Where does the Basel Convention fit, within the broader global environment and development landscape and the move towards “Sustainable Development Goals”?

Andrzej Jagusiewicz:  Thank you. It’s quite obvious that if you have products you will have wastes, which may also be hazardous. Today some countries are self-sufficient in managing these wastes, although unfortunately many others have not got the necessary infrastructure to manage them in an environmentally sound manner. These are the driving forces for the global trade of hazardous wastes, where the Basel Convention can be seen not only as a kind of market regulator, but also as a powerful instrument to develop and support trade with due respect to human health and the environment.  Therefore implementation of the Basel Convention requires a lot of effort to build capacity, exchange good practices and raise awareness, with improved technical assistance and available funding the Basel Convention can make our world safer and healthier.  
There are more and more chemicals in the world, but their production, export/import and use must strictly follow the international laws, regulations and guidelines in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To me this means that chemical/waste security and safety must be a priority on the global UN agenda, while increased use of chemicals worldwide must be undertaken in a manner that ensures that ecosystems remain healthy and our well-being is preserved. With respect to the latter, I would expect rapid progress to reinforce the inclusion of chemicals and waste in the Sustainable Development Goals indicators. 
 
CA:  What is the Basel “Country-Led Initiative” (CLI) and what does it aim to achieve?

AJ:  CLI is a very important initiative of the Governments of Indonesia and Switzerland. The follow up to this initiative currently focuses on three goals: addressing the entry into force of the Ban Amendment, developing guidelines for environmentally sound management of wastes, and finally providing further legal clarity. The Ban Amendment is a crucial addition to the Basel Convention, as it aims to strengthen the objective of guaranteeing that wastes are only exported to parties that have the capacity to ensure their environmentally sound management. Its ratification and entry into force is also strongly related to the SDGs. From the beginning of my presidency, the ratification of the Ban Amendment has been my priority as a continuation of the outstanding efforts of my predecessor. A lot has been done, but still we are lacking several ratifications for entry into force of the Amendment. Let’s hope these will occur sooner rather than later.  Concerning ESM guidelines it’s quite clear that they are very important to capacity-building efforts for developing countries and a need to harmonize approaches towards the management of different hazardous wastes globally. Legal clarity is also necessary for the consistent interpretation of terminology which could be translated into consistent implementation of the Basel Convention. As terminology is being constantly developed together with the glossary of terms under the Basel Convention this goal seems to be a long-term effort. I think it would be beneficial if transboundary shipments of hazardous wastes would be accompanied by relevant ESM guidelines or reference to these, where appropriate. 

CA:  What are the main obstacles to implementing the Basel Convention, in terms of capacities and expertise?

AJ:  I can notice some disparities in providing technical assistance (TA), including proper funding between the UN regions. This was strongly voiced during the BRS regional meeting for the Central and Eastern Europe region (CEE) in Bratislava that I had the privilege to chair recently. So let’s put all UN regions on equal footing provided their needs are well identified and organize TA in a tailor-made and custom-oriented manner. Another obstacle is the lack of proper activities by some of the Basel Convention regional and coordinating centres (BCRCs).  We need to audit BCRCs performance and subsequently either to revitalize underperforming centres or transfer their activities to other BCRCs.   Also I think we need more exchange of good practices between the regions and at interregional level and full availability of all guiding and training documents in all UN languages, including WEBINARs.

CA:  How does the CLI address these constraints?

AJ:  First of all, it has revitalised Parties’ interest in Basel Convention issues, for example the Government of Switzerland is now sponsoring participation of developing countries in various meetings to the extent the others can only envy.  With respect to the CLI, it has helped to organize a series of workshops and information briefings for permanent missions in Geneva on the facilitation of the entry into force of the Ban Amendment.  Parties and other stakeholders have also become very active in trying to solve the last obstacles to get the agreement on e-wastes guidelines and last but not least has sponsored three participants from each of the eligible CEE countries at the regional preparatory meeting for the COPs, which took place in Bratislava. For the first time ever, we had such meetings in all regions well in advance of the COPs meetings. Due to this initiative, the Parties could be informed about the challenges ahead and discuss these informally to come to a common understanding. It has been really great!   
 
CA:  What are the main issues to be addressed at the upcoming triple COPs, for Basel?
AJ:  To me, this would be to establish a compliance/implementation mechanism under the Rotterdam Convention and the Stockholm Convention, following (why not…) the Basel Convention example. The Basel Convention is much older and more mature, therefore could offer the benefit of its experience. Moreover, if we are building synergies among the three conventions then let us benefit from each other. Another issue would be to resolve longstanding issues and agree on the listing of chemicals under the Rotterdam Convention in order to ensure that science-based evidence drives decision making.  And finally I would be happy if we get the Basel Convention e-waste guidelines adopted. 
 
CA:  The theme of the 2015 triple COPs is “From science to action: working for a safer tomorrow” – is science key to the Basel Convention and if so, how?

AJ:  Science-based evidence is crucial to drive policies; to make a safer world; and to live in our planet within its limits.  Of course we still take a consensus approach between science and policy within multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), but let’s use the theme of the 2015 triple COPs and the Science Fair, organized in the margins of the meetings, to inject more science than politics into the decision-making process in the future.  I am sure that the Science Fair will be a memorable event and play important role in understanding the benefits and risks from using the chemicals in today’s world.  

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

AJ:  I expect to have interactive and fruitful triple COPS, as all regions will have already met before and be better prepared than in 2013. Also I think that the regions could speak more with one voice than they did in the past and voice their interest in further developing synergies, including with the Minamata Convention.   

As for myself I will try to do my best and simply survive.   
 
CA:  Thank you very much for your time.

AJ:  I also thank you for this opportunity to share my views with our web visitors.   


Country-Led Initiative the focus for your questions

Ask Susan Wingfield how the CLI helps countries capture the benefits of improved waste management

Country-Led Initiative the focus for your questions

Country-Led Initiative the focus for your questions
 
An African perspective: capacities and partnerships in focus

Join Professor Oladele Osibanjo as he describes the main capacity constraints, and partnership opportunities, for solving waste and chemicals issues in Africa

An African perspective: capacities and partnerships in focus

An African perspective: capacities and partnerships in focus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CA:  How can partnerships contribute to solving these issues?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CA:  Thank you very much for your time.

OO:   It is my pleasure. Thank you.

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

Suman Sharma answers your questions on How does Technical Assistance assist Parties implement the Chemicals and Waste Conventions?

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

Focus on regional issues - Your chance to ask-an-expert
 
Synergies for better managing the international trade of hazardous chemicals and wastes

New electronic leaflet provides an overview of the respective international trade control regimes under the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

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

Synergies for better managing the international trade of hazardous chemicals and wastes
 
For the first time, regional meetings help parties prepare for the triple COPs

Stakeholder meetings in Indonesia, Kenya, Slovakia and Uruguay are designed to assist identify regional priorities and develop regional positions ahead of the triple COPs in May.

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

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



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

Countdown to the Triple COPs: BRS’ Matthias Kern answers your questions on www.unep.org concerning implementing the Conventions through partnerships.

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

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



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

Another example of how partnerships can further implementation of the Conventions, GEMI is an inter-agency initiative led by UN Habitat, UNEP and WHO, under the umbrella of UN Water.

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

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



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
 
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