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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
 
M-Cube launched to raise awareness on marine litter and microplastics

M-Cube launched to raise awareness on marine litter and microplastics

Thanks to funding from the UK, an art installation in the heart of international Geneva became the focus of public awareness activity as part of the Basel Convention High Level Event on 4 September.

M-Cube launched to raise awareness on marine litter and microplastics

M-Cube launched to raise awareness on marine litter and microplastics

Thanks to funding from the UK, an art installation in the heart of international Geneva became the focus of public awareness activity as part of the Basel Convention High Level Event on 4 September.

New era for waste management heralded as waste experts agree a raft of decisions including on marine plastic litter and microplastics

New era for waste management heralded as waste experts agree a raft of decisions including on marine plastic litter and microplastics

The Press Release of the 11th Meeting of the Basel Convention’s Open-ended Working Group is now online.

New era for waste management heralded as waste experts agree a raft of decisions including on marine plastic litter and microplastics

New era for waste management heralded as waste experts agree a raft of decisions including on marine plastic litter and microplastics

UN convention on wastes makes breakthrough recommendations to address global marine litter and other types of wastes

6th September 2018: Geneva, Switzerland - Momentum was built in Geneva this week to better address wastes including marine plastic litter and microplastics, through decisions adopted today by the Open-ended Working Group of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal[1].

More than 400 experts from 135 countries and international organisations, including industry associations, met and today adopted a suit of decisions related to wastes, including marine plastic litter and microplastics, electronic waste, and household waste.

Additionally, a High Level Event was organised bringing together more than 70 ambassadors and heads of international organisations to further enhance the commitment for global action for marine plastic litter.

Decision, which will now be submitted to the next meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention (or COP), to be held at the end of April 2019 in Geneva, include the following:

A proposed new Partnership on Plastic Waste under the Basel Convention, designed as an international vehicle for public-private cooperation, sharing of best practices, and technical assistance in the area of at-source measures to minimise and more effectively manage plastic waste, thus helping tackle the global environmental problem of marine plastic litter;

Consideration of possible amendments to Annexes of the Convention, in relation to solid plastic waste, in order to assist Parties to better minimise and control their transboundary movement;

Further development of the Technical Guidelines on Electronic Waste (or E-waste), which are available for use by Parties to assist in implementing environmentally sound management of E-waste, which is amongst the fastest-growing waste-streams in the world, as well as consideration of options a new partnership on e-waste to follow the Partnership for Action on Computing Equipment (PACE);

Further development of the Household Waste Partnership under the Basel Convention, aiming for an integrated approach for household waste management, acknowledged as one of the key challenges related to waste management faced by national governments, particularly in developing countries;

Enhanced cooperation with World Customs Organisation to strengthen the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, used by customs authorities to improve the control of wastes crossing borders.

Finalisation of the draft Manuals on Extended Producer Responsibility, which when completed can assist Parties with concrete actions for promoting the life-cycle approach in the manufacturing of products through to recycling.

Speaking today shortly before closing, the meeting’s Co-Chairs Mr. Mohamed Kashashneh (Jordan) and Ms. Justina Grigaraviciene (Lithuania) congratulated the Parties on reaching what they deemed to be “an historical outcome regarding marine plastic litter and microplastics. This and other decisions taken this week will bring the Basel Convention to a new era of effectiveness in helping Parties minimize and sustainably manage their wastes.”

Reflecting upon both the OEWG11 and the High Level Event, Rolph Payet, Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions, said that the decisions of the OEWG11, combined with heightened international commitment “constitute an important step in addressing the technical, legal, and political dimensions of the problem of marine plastic litter and pollution from other hazardous wastes. These three dimensions reinforce one another and are all vital for tackling such a ubiquitous and significant set of issues and challenges.”.

Meetings continue with the organisation of the 13th Meeting of the Basel Convention’s Implementation and Compliance Committee (ICC13) back-to-back with OEWG11, at which progress is expected on a range of relevant legal questions. Details of decisions taken at ICC13 will be posted on the BRS website in due course.

For further information:

Susan Wingfield
Programme Officer, for OEWG-11
Susan.Wingfield@brsmeas.org
Tel: +41-22-9178406

Juliette Voinov Kohler
Legal officer, for ICC-13
Juliette.Kohler@brsmeas.org
Tel: +41-22-9178219

BRS Press Enquiries

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

 



[1] The Basel  Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal is the most comprehensive international environmental agreement on hazardous and other wastes and is almost universal, with 186 Parties. For more information, see www.basel.int

Workers dying as a result of toxic exposure, says UN Special Rapporteur

Workers dying as a result of toxic exposure, says UN Special Rapporteur

A new report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Toxics states that one worker dies every 30 seconds from toxic exposure in the workplace.

Workers dying as a result of toxic exposure, says UN Special Rapporteur

Workers dying as a result of toxic exposure, says UN Special Rapporteur

Workers are dying as a result of toxic exposure in the workplace at a rate of one every 30 seconds, according to the new report from the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Hazardous Substances and Wastes, presented on 12 September at the 39th session of the Human Rights Council, in Geneva.

With 2.78 million deaths per year attributable to unhealthy or unsafe workplaces, the report finds that women, children, migrant works and the poor are especially vulnerable, and that the solutions to solve this global crisis of public occupational health require the participation of business, governments, and international organisations.

The report contains 15 recommendations or principles, the implementation of which would ease this toxic burden on workers around the world. Key among these is that every worker has the right not to be exposed to toxic substances without their prior informed consent, meaning full and prior information on the toxic hazards he or she might be exposed to.

The report states that workers have the right to also know the implications of exposure to harmful substances and wastes, the actions being taken to prevent exposure, and their rights in relation to such exposures. In relation to this right to know, the report finds that it is never legitimate for States or businesses to refuse to disclose health and safety information on the grounds that it is confidential, a safeguard which is also found in the legally-binding Stockholm (article 9) and Minamata (article 17) conventions respectively.

Following the 15 principles would assist countries and businesses to implement the ILO Promotional Framework for Healthy, would contribute towards the attainment of the globally-agreed Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs, and would also advance the implementation of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm conventions, the three principal and legally-binding chemicals and waste conventions, which have near-universal scope with 186, 160 and 182 parties respectively.

More importantly, however, implementing these principles would eliminate suffering, illness and death amongst the world’s most vulnerable workers.

For more details on the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Toxics, please see: http://www.srtoxics.org/

For the full report on Workers’ Rights and Hazardous Substances and Wastes, go to: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Environment/ToxicWastes/Pages/RightsWorkersToxicChemicalExposure.aspx

Clean Planet, Healthy People: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste

Clean Planet, Healthy People: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste

The BRS Secretariat is pleased to announce the theme for the 2019 Triple COPs.

Clean Planet, Healthy People: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste

Clean Planet, Healthy People: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste
Following lengthy consultations including with the Bureaux of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm conventions, the BRS Secretariat is pleased to announce the theme for the next Meetings of the Conferences of Parties, or Triple COPs, which will be held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 29 April to 10 May 2019: 
 Clean Planet, Healthy People: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste

The Theme is launched on the occasion of World Cleanup Day 2018, a global day of action to improve waste management and work collectively towards a cleaner planet for all. More information on World Cleanup Day can be found here: https://www.worldcleanupday.org.

More information on the Triple COPs can be found here: http://www.brsmeas.org/2019COPs/Overview/tabid/7523/language/en-US/Default.aspx.

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UN Special Rapporteur’s report on toxics available online as Human Rights Council convenes in Geneva

The 39th Session of the UN Human Rights Council features the launch of the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Toxics on “Workers Rights and Toxic Exposures” and a relevant side event focussing on the need to beat pollution.

UN Special Rapporteur’s report on toxics available online as Human Rights Council convenes in Geneva

UN Special Rapporteur’s report on toxics available online as Human Rights Council convenes in Geneva
 
Watch the Basel Convention High-Level Event on Marine Litter

More than 70 ambassadors gathered in Geneva on 4 September to discuss ways forward to tackle marine plastic litter and microplastics.

Watch the Basel Convention High-Level Event on Marine Litter

Watch the Basel Convention High-Level Event on Marine Litter
 
Basel Convention High-Level Event focuses spotlight on marine litter and waste

International Geneva will mobilise for action on marine litter, waste, and microplastics from 2 to 6 September.

Basel Convention High-Level Event focuses spotlight on marine litter and waste

Basel Convention High-Level Event focuses spotlight on marine litter and waste
 
Norwegian event on POPs and Body Burden re-affirms need to take action on chemicals and waste

Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment, and Rolph Payet, BRS Executive Secretary, shared a platform in Arendal, Norway on 15 August 2018 to raise awareness on toxic chemicals and their impacts on human health.


Norwegian event on POPs and Body Burden re-affirms need to take action on chemicals and waste

Norwegian event on POPs and Body Burden re-affirms need to take action on chemicals and waste

The Executive Secretary of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, Rolph Payet, today re-affirmed the need for concerted global and national action towards sound management of chemicals and waste, to beat pollution and better protect people from its harmful effects.

Speaking today at an event in Arendal, Norway, Payet was joined by the head of UN Environment, Erik Solheim, and members of civil society and the academic sector to discuss the latest “Body Burden” blood testing results. Testing was carried out on Nina Jensen, Chief Executive Officer of the Norwegian Research Expedition Vessel, and her new-born baby boy, Eik. Body Burden testing analyses the levels in human blood of Persistent Organic Pollutants (or POPs), which are regulated by the UN Environment-administered Stockholm Convention, which seeks to reduce and eliminate these most toxic of substances across the world.

Professor Bert van Bavel, from the Norwegian Institute for Water Research, who conducted the analysis, said that “Nina’s results suggest that the level of our contamination by many of the 12 POPs listed when the Convention came into force, in 2004, are decreasing. Levels of traditional chlorinated and brominated compounds were below the detection limit. Only DDE, HCB and PCB were found at low levels. This positive result is mirrored by the worldwide monitoring data collected by the Stockholm Convention through its Global Monitoring Plan. However, several fluorinated compounds (PFAS) were found in both Nina and her baby boy, which is highly disturbing and should prompt all decision-makers and the general public to do more and join together to beat pollution and rid the world of POPs” he added.

The Global Monitoring Plan collects data on POPs in human blood, human milk, air and water from across the world and is used to evaluate the effectiveness of the Stockholm Convention in protecting human health and the environment.

“Chemicals might be invisible, but they are in fact everywhere,” said Rolph Payet, Executive Secretary of the Convention, “even, sadly, in the bloodstream of new-born babies. The Convention’s 182 Parties have made good progress in phasing out many of the first 12 POPs originally listed in the Convention in 2004 and on listing many more chemicals in the years since then. Scientific monitoring data, collected by the Global Monitoring Plan, confirms decreasing trends in concentrations of several legacy POPs over time, constituting real gains for human health and the environment. However, much more needs to be done at global and national levels to reduce and eliminate the POPs more recently added to the Convention, to finish eliminating certain legacy POPs which still require action such as PCBs, and to tackle the related and pressing problems associated with marine litter and microplastics, whereby POPs enter our bodies through the food chain.”

“I took the Body Burden test some years ago and I was shocked by the presence of such a toxic cocktail in my blood, even though I considered myself healthy and even though grew up in a clean, Scandinavian environment” said Stine Lisa Hattestad Bratsberg, the Co-Chair of Safe Planet, and Olympic skiing champion and businesswoman. Body Burden is part of the Safe Planet movement, an online community of stakeholders and concerned members of the public, which aims to raise public awareness for positive change towards the sound management of chemicals and waste worldwide. Along with American actor Ed Begley Jr., Bratsberg was the first person to take the test (in 2010).

Notes for Editors:

POPs and the Stockholm Convention

Exposure to Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) can lead to serious health effects including certain cancers, birth defects, dysfunctional immune and reproductive systems, greater susceptibility to disease and damages to the central and peripheral nervous systems. Given their long-range transport, no one government acting alone can protect its citizens or its environment from POPs. The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, adopted in 2001 and entered into force in 2004, is a global treaty requiring its parties to take measures to eliminate or reduce the release of POPs into the environment, to protect human health and the environment from chemicals that remain intact in the environment for long periods, become widely distributed geographically, accumulate in the fatty tissue of humans and wildlife, and have harmful impacts on human health or on the environment.

Polychlorinated Biphenyls or PCBs

These compounds are used in industry as heat exchange fluids, in electric transformers and capacitors, and as additives in paint, carbonless copy paper, and plastics. Large numbers of people have been exposed to PCBs through food contamination. They are toxic to fish, killing them at higher doses and causing spawning failures at lower doses. Research also links PCBs to reproductive failure and suppression of the immune system in various wild animals, such as seals and mink. The PCBs web section covers overview, decisions, guidance, meetings, workshops, and webinars additional resources.

Hexachlorobenzene or HCB

In high doses, HCB is lethal to some animals and, at lower levels, adversely affects their reproductive success. It is found in food of all types.

Safe Planet and Body Burden

Safe Planet is a global public awareness and outreach movement for ensuring the safety of the planet against harm caused or threatened by the production, use and disposal of hazardous chemicals and wastes. Launched in February 2010 during the first extraordinary meeting of the Conferences of the Parties to the conventions, Safe Planet uses social media, celebrity endorsements and community outreach activities to raise awareness especially among consumers, educators and youth, and women. One set of activities of the movement centre around Body Burden blood-testing, by which interested individuals find out their toxic chemical burden, highlighting the presence of POPs in their bodies.

Press contact: Charlie Avis, BRS Secretariat email Charles.avis@brsmeas.org tel: +41-79-7304495

For more info on:

Stockholm Convention, POPs, and the Global Monitoring Plan: www.chm.pops.int

Safe Planet: https://www.facebook.com/safe.planet/

UN Environment work on chemicals and health: https://www.unenvironment.org/explore-topics/chemicals-waste

Global gatherings of chemicals and waste expertise as BRS stages subsidiary body meetings

Scientific, legal and policy experts from across the world converge on Geneva and Rome to prepare decisions for the sound management of chemicals and waste.

Global gatherings of chemicals and waste expertise as BRS stages subsidiary body meetings

Global gatherings of chemicals and waste expertise as BRS stages subsidiary body meetings

Chemicals and waste experts from around the world, representing governments, civil society, and international organisations, converge on Geneva and Rome this September to contribute to the work of the subsidiary bodies of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions.

The Basel Convention meetings take place in Geneva and for the first time feature a parallel High-Level Event on Marine Litter, whose aim is to continue to focus attention and build momentum towards implementing solutions for this pressing global issue. For more information on this event, please contact Kei Ohno Woodall by email: kei.ohno-woodall@brsmeas.org.

At the same time, the Convention’s Open-ended Working Group (OEWG), stages its 11th meeting from 3 to 6 September with a range of important topics under consideration including electronic waste, household waste, marine plastic litter and microplastics, and waste containing nanomaterials. Addressing strategic, scientific and legal matters, the OEWG guides and reviews the intersessional work between COPs and makes recommendations for decisions to be taken at the next Basel Convention COP, in April/May 2019 in Geneva. For more on OEWG-11, including the agenda and relevant background documents in the 6 UN languages, see: www.basel.int/oewg11.

Back-to-back with OEWG, the Basel Convention’s Implementation and Compliance Committee (ICC) stages its 13th meeting from 7 to 10 September. The ICC members will work towards improving national reporting, combating illegal traffic, controlling transboundary movements of covered wastes, developing legislation and reviewing the implementation fund, together with consideration of nine existing and one new specific submissions. For more on ICC-13, see: http://www.basel.int/TheConvention/ImplementationComplianceCommittee/Meetings/ICC13/Overview/tabid/6290/Default.aspx.

Switching to Rome, back-to-back meetings of the two scientific subsidiary bodies of the Rotterdam Convention and the Stockholm Convention are staged at the headquarters of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

First, the Rotterdam Convention’s Chemical Review Committee (CRC) stages its 14th meeting from 11 to 14 September. CRC-14 considers draft decision guidance documents for acetochlor, hexabromocyclododecane and phorate, reviews the Handbook of Working Procedures and Policy Guidance, and reviews notifications of final regulatory actions for three chemicals (hexabromocyclododecane, methyl-parathion and PFOA). The Committee’s recommendations and draft decision guidance documents will be forwarded to the next Rotterdam Convention COP, in April/May 2019 in Geneva. For more on CRC-14, including agenda and all background documents, see: www.pic.int/crc14.

Second, the Stockholm Convention’s POPs Review Committee (POPRC) stages its 14th meeting from 17 to 21 September. POPRC-14 considers a draft risk profile for PFHxS, takes into account additional information in order to strengthen its recommendation for listing of PFOA, and also evaluates the continued needs for acceptable purposes and specific exemptions for PFOS. The Committee’s recommendations will be forwarded to the next Stockholm Convention COP, in April/May 2019 in Geneva. For more on POPRC-14, including agenda and all background documents, see: www.pops.int/poprc14.

BRS contributes to high-level political debate on sound management

BRS chief Rolph Payet participated in discussions at the High-Level Political Forum in New York, at which Sweden announced the launch of the High Ambition Alliance on Chemicals and Waste.

BRS contributes to high-level political debate on sound management

BRS contributes to high-level political debate on sound management
 
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
 
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
 
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

 

Photos of World Environment Day in Geneva, now online

Visit the BRS photo gallery to see how stakeholders came together to Beat Plastic Pollution


Photos of World Environment Day in Geneva, now online

Photos of World Environment Day in Geneva, now online

 

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