News Room

Briefing on the outcomes of the face-to-face segment of the COP.15 to the Basel Convention, the COP.10 to the Rotterdam Convention and the COP.10 to the Stockholm Convention

The online briefing will provide Party representatives, observers and other stakeholders with an overview of the main outcomes and decisions of the face-to-face segment of the meetings of the conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions that was held from 6 to 17 June 2022.

Briefing on the outcomes of the face-to-face segment of the COP.15 to the Basel Convention, the COP.10 to the Rotterdam Convention and the COP.10 to the Stockholm Convention

Briefing on the outcomes of the face-to-face segment of the COP.15 to the Basel Convention, the COP.10 to the Rotterdam Convention and the COP.10 to the Stockholm Convention
 
BRS COPs conclude with major decisions on e-waste movement and ban of harmful chemicals affecting firefighters

Pierce Brosnan and Dominic Thiem salute Basel Convention’s work to foster the environmentally sound management of plastic waste.

BRS COPs conclude with major decisions on e-waste movement and ban of harmful chemicals affecting firefighters

BRS COPs conclude with major decisions on e-waste movement and ban of harmful chemicals affecting firefighters

Pierce Brosnan and Dominic Thiem salute Basel Convention’s work to foster the environmentally sound management of plastic waste.

Geneva, 17 June 2022 — The 2021-2022 meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS COPs) come to a close today after marathon proceedings that begun with the online segment in July 2021, continued with the High-level Segment in Stockholm, Sweden, on 1 June 2022 in association with the Stockholm+50 international meeting, and were finalized with the face-to-face segment in Geneva, Switzerland from 6 to 17 June 2022. Under the theme “Global Agreements for a Healthy Planet: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste”, the online and face-to-face segments of the BRS COPs were attended by over 1500 delegates from around the world.

Basel Convention

Upon the proposal by Ghana and Switzerland, the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention (BC COP-15) adopted landmark amendments to Annexes II, VIII and IX, which ensure that all transboundary movements of e-wastes, whether hazardous or not, are subject to the prior informed consent of the importing state and any state of transit. This bold decision not only protects vulnerable countries from unwanted imports, but also fosters the environmentally sound management of e-wastes with state-of-the-art technology and thus contributes to a circular economy.

In addition, BC COP-15 adopted technical guidelines on mercury wastes, as well as three updated technical guidelines on the environmentally sound management of wastes from Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). Other adopted technical guidelines included the environmentally sound incineration of hazardous and other wastes as covered by disposal operations D10 and R1, and the environmentally sound disposal of hazardous wastes and other wastes in specially engineered landfill (D5).

Decisions were taken to update the technical guidelines on the environmentally sound management of waste lead-acid batteries, to initiate the development of technical guidelines on the environmentally sound management of other waste batteries, and to move forward on electronic approaches to the notification and movement documents.

BC COP-15 also continued the small intersessional working group to prepare findings and improve the strategic framework of the Convention for 2012–2021, initiated a new track of work to improve the functioning of the Prior Informed Consent procedure, and adopted new measures on tackling plastic wastes.

COP-15 further welcomed the work of the Implementation and Compliance Committee to support individual Parties overcome their compliance difficulties, and adopted two guidance documents it to improve the implementation of the Convention’s prior informed consent procedure – one of transit transboundary movements and the other on insurance, bond and guarantee.

Finally, COP-15 agreed to further consider the amendments put forward by the European Union to amend Annex IV of the Convention which is key to determining when a substance or object is to be considered a waste falling within the scope of the Convention.

Rotterdam Convention

The tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention (RC COP-10) engaged in very extensive and inclusive discussions on chemicals and pesticides, and listed two industrial chemicals: decabromodiphenyl ether, and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), its salts and PFOA-related compounds. This listing will make these chemicals subject to the Prior Informed Consent procedure, thereby granting Parties the right to decide on their future import.

Parties explicitly thanked the Secretariat and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for their support to identify less hazardous alternatives to the pesticides on the agenda” said Christine Fuell, Coordinator of the FAO part of the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat. However, no consensus to list them could be reached due to just a few of the 160 Parties present objecting. Numerous delegates commended the Chemical Review Committee for its excellent work in reviewing the chemicals and pesticides recommended for listing, and noted with disappointment that most of the reasons brought forward to object listings fell outside the scope of the Rotterdam Convention.

On a positive note, RC COP-10 agreed on the work programme for the newly established Compliance Committee. This important subsidiary body will take up its work as soon as possible and is expected to further improve the implementation of the Rotterdam Convention.

Stockholm Convention

The tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention (SC COP-10) listed perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), its salts, and PFHxS-related compounds in Annex A to the Convention, setting them for elimination. PFHxS, its salts and related substances have a high resistance to friction, heat, and chemical agents. They are widely used in firefighting foam, carpets, and non-stick cookware. They have been found to influence the human nervous system, brain development, and thyroid hormone.

In addition, a process was put in place for Parties to provide information on a voluntary basis about cases of trade occurring in contravention of the Stockholm Convention, building on the positive experience under the Basel Convention which sets out a similar process.

SC COP-10 also adopted decisions on two of the initial POPs listed under the Convention: PCB and DDT. On PCB, the SC COP urged Parties to step up their efforts by immediately implementing actions to eliminate its use in equipment by 2025, and to achieve the environmentally sound management of relevant PCB wastes by 2028. On DDT, the COP noted that, while there is a continued need for DDT for indoor residual spraying in specific settings for malaria vector control, it is assumed that DDT use may not be needed after 2030. Parties still using DDT for disease vector control were invited to review their needs, while a decision was taken to initiate a consultative process on a possible DDT phase-out plan.

Plastics Forum

From 8 to 10 June, the BRS COPs hosted the Plastics Forum, a multi-stakeholder event dedicated to promoting the environmentally sound management of plastic waste. The Plastics Forum, which featured more than 20 side events held in a 3-D virtual platform, marked the peak of the Plastic is Forever campaign, with a hackathon, a photo exhibition, the launch of a social media challenge, and an illuminations show on Geneva’s Palais des Nations. Two of the campaign’s promotional videos were screened during the closing plenary of the BRS COPs, featuring Hollywood stars Pierce Brosnan and his son Paris, as well as professional tennis player Dominic Thiem. The videos will be officially released on 21 June 2022, with a separate press release to follow.

Τhe three conference meetings strengthened the mandate for international cooperation with other organizations, including the Minamata Convention on mercury, in support of the recently adopted resolutions by the United Nations Environment Assembly to forge a new international legally binding agreement to end plastic pollution, and to establish a science policy panel to contribute further to the sound management of chemicals and waste and prevent pollution.

The 2023 BRS COPs will be held next May in the Bahamas.

NOTES TO EDITORS

The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS Secretariat) brings together the three leading multilateral environmental agreements that share the common objective of protecting human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals and wastes. www.brsmeas.org

Communication material is available on the BRS Secretariat Trello: https://trello.com/b/iEDpXNHv/the-basel-rotterdam-and-stockholm-conventions

For media inquiries contact: Marisofi Giannouli, BRS Associate Public Information Officer, marisofi.giannouli@un.org

UN Palais des Nations shines bright during the BRS COPs Plastics Forum

With the campaign slogan “Plastic is Forever, so it’s time to get clever about managing it!”, the BRS Conventions highlight the need to manage plastic waste in environmentally sound ways.

UN Palais des Nations shines bright during the BRS COPs Plastics Forum

UN Palais des Nations shines bright during the BRS COPs Plastics Forum

The BRS COPs Plastics Forum spotlights the need to manage plastic waste in environmentally sound ways.

How long is forever? More than a lifetime? The life cycle of plastic is measured in hundreds of years. Plastic bottles, for example, take up to 450 years to decompose in landfills. But even when it decomposes, plastic actually becomes more resilient in terms of dissemination, breaking down into microplastics and nanoplastics that get carried across the globe by air and sea, permeating our ecosystems and food supplies. We eat plastic, we breathe plastic; plastic particles have even been detected in placentas!

On the other hand, however a real and present danger plastic pollution may be, it doesn’t negate the fact that plastic has revolutionized the way we consume products and look after ourselves, by providing a cost-effective and durable material used for food containers, medical supplies and protective gear, among countless other applications. Two things can be true: plastic is very useful, and it is taking over the planet in the worst ways possible.

Plastic is Forever, so it’s time to get clever about managing it! The slogan of the latest campaign by the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS Conventions) signals that the way out of the plastic pollution crisis is through the environmentally sound management of plastic waste. This is the principle that guides the Plastic Waste Amendments, currently the sole legally binding international agreement on plastics waste.

Having entered into effect in January 2021, the Plastic Waste Amendments ensure that all 189 Parties of the Basel Convention trade plastics waste only between consenting countries that have the capacity to manage it in environmentally sound ways. Moreover, the Plastic Waste Amendments are a steppingstone towards an even more ambitious goal: the development of an international legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution.

The relevant historic resolution was adopted last March in Nairobi, during the Fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly, and was welcomed by world leaders, NGOs and youth representatives. The BRS Conventions will have a key role in informing the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee that aims to complete a draft of the agreement by the end of 2024. In the meantime, the Plastic Waste Amendments provide a singular guiding post for the environmental governance of plastic waste.

The Plastic is Forever campaign was launched in 2021 with the vernissage of a hybrid exhibition, showcasing the finalists of the Plastic Waste Partnership (PWP) photo competition. The competition invited people to highlight the role that plastic waste plays in their daily lives, and the results were quite staggering. The peak of the Plastic is Forever campaign is scheduled to coincide with the Plastics Forum, a three-day multistakeholder event, which takes place in Geneva from 8 to 10 June, during the meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the BRS Conventions (BRS COPs).

Held face-to face for the first time in three years under the theme “Global Agreements for a Healthy Planet: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste”, the BRS COPs have brought together over 1500 participants to address the impact of hazardous chemicals and wastes on human health and the environment.

The Plastics Forum offered an interactive platform focused on the urgent issue of plastics pollution. It featured more than 20 side events by actors, such as the United Nations Environment Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Government of Norway, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Development Programme, the European Investigation Agency, the International Pollutants Elimination Network, and many more. Most of the Plastics Forum’s side events are being streamed via a dedicated virtual platform, which also features a three-dimensional depiction of the Forum’s exhibition booths and stage area, as well as of the Centre International de Conférences Genève, the venue where the BRS COPs are being held.

The opening day of the Plastics Forum saw the launch of the Plastic is Forever social media challenge, an initiative that uses playfulness to involve the youth in the fight against plastic pollution. The challenge has two versions – plastic in the sea and plastic on mountains – and is available on Facebook and Instagram.

Running in parallel to the Plastics Forum side events was the Plastic is Forever hackathon, an event that bought together innovators from different backgrounds, challenging them to produce and pitch to the Forum audience prototype solutions that will help speed up R&D in the field of plastic waste management. The Plastic is Forever hackathon is organized in collaboration with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, Open Geneva, and the University of Geneva.

On the last day of Plastics Forum, the PWP photo competition winners and the hackathon favourites were announced during a special ceremony. Afterwards, participants joined media and the public at Geneva’s Place des Nations, where they enjoyed an illuminations show on the façade of the United Nations Palais des Nations. This show marked phase two of the Plastic is Forever illuminations project. Phase one took place during the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in November, when the Palais was illuminated in shades of the Basel Convention’s signature green colour. The initiative signaled the interlinkages between the three environmental planetary threats: climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. Phase two consisted of animated projections providing a visual interpretation of the plastic waste crisis impacts.

Seven billion tonnes of plastic waste have been generated globally since the early 1950s, but less than 10 per cent of them has been recycled. Now the world is finally sensitized to the real potential of plastic. It’s time to use the tools provided to us by global governance and science to learn how to manage plastic, so that it ceases its gripping hold on us and our planet.

Global environmental agenda advances as BRS COPs are held in Geneva to discuss chemicals and wastes management

More than 1500 registered participants representing the BRS Conventions reconvene in Geneva, Switzerland, from 6 to 17 June, for the first time in three years. Under the theme “Global Agreements for a Healthy Planet: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste”, the BRS COPs will address the impact of hazardous chemicals and wastes on human health and the environment.

Global environmental agenda advances as BRS COPs are held in Geneva to discuss chemicals and wastes management

Global environmental agenda advances as BRS COPs are held in Geneva to discuss chemicals and wastes management

More than 1500 registered participants representing the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS Conventions) reconvene in Geneva, Switzerland, from 6 to 17 June, for the first time in three years. Under the theme “Global Agreements for a Healthy Planet: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste”, the meetings of the Conferences of the BRS Conventions (BRS COPs) will address the impact of hazardous chemicals and wastes on human health and the environment.

“Our challenge during these COPs is to try and make the issues of chemical and waste, consumption and production, and pollution visible,” said BRS Executive Secretary Rolph Payet in his remarks during the opening ceremony, held on 6 June in Centre International de Conférences Genève. “We have invested a lot of time trying to create the perfect – or near-perfect – environment for the Parties to negotiate and achieve consensus.”

In turn, the Executive Secretary of the Food and Agriculture Organization part of the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat, Rémi Nono Womdim, called upon all Parties and all institutions involved in the BRS COPs to cooperate and increase their efforts to halt the three planetary crises of pollution, biodiversity loss, and climate change through the sound management of chemicals and waste. His thoughts were echoed by Payet who noted that “There is no winner or loser; we are all losers, if we don’t try and solve the crises.”

The fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention (BC COP-15) will consider, among others, amendment proposals focusing on e-wastes, the adoption of updated technical guidelines on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and mercury wastes, and the adoption of guidance documents to improve specific aspects of the implementation of the prior informed consent procedure as it relates to transit transboundary movements, and insurance, bond and guarantee.  Discussions will also be held on disposal operations, such as engineered landfilling and incineration on land. Additionally, Parties are expected to initiate the updating of the technical guidelines on used lead acid batteries.

The tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention (RC COP-10) will consider including in Annex III of the Convention two pesticides, two severely hazardous pesticide formulations, and three industrial chemicals. In addition, Parties will consider for the first time a work programme for the newly established Compliance Committee and receive a detailed overview of the technical assistance provided during the last two years, including work on the identification of alternatives to hazardous pesticides.

The tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention (SC COP-10) will consider listing a new group of perfluorinated chemicals, targeting them for elimination. Discussions will be held on the use of DDT, and the identification and management of POPs contaminated sites. Moreover, Parties will discuss progress made in the preparation of the second effectiveness evaluation report and the third global monitoring report on POPs.

During the COPs, Parties will also discuss ways for the conventions to contribute to the key outcomes of the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5), specifically, the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee that will develop the legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution, and the Science-Policy Panel on chemicals and waste that is expected to support the prevention of pollution. The provisions of the Stockholm Convention and of the Basel Convention, and in particular the Plastic Waste Amendments which are currently the sole legally binding provisions addressing plastic wastes, are expected to inform the negotiations of the aforementioned global instrument to end plastic pollution.

The BRS COPs will also adopt programmes of work and budgets for 2022-2023, and consider a new technical assistance plan for 2022-2025.

On the whole, more than 40 side events will be held, focusing on topics from pesticide risk reduction and e-waste management to hazardous child labour in agriculture and plastic waste streams.

Plastics Forum

This year, the BRS COPs will have a special focus on plastic waste management. The Plastics Forum is a multistakeholder umbrella event that will be held from 8 to 10 June to address the role of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions in tackling the global plastic waste crisis. Packed with interactive panel debates, spotlight presentations, and booth exhibits, the Plastics Forum will also include the Plastic is Forever hackathon and social media challenge. The Forum will end on a hopeful and celebratory note, with the illumination of the Palais des Nations façade on the nights of 10 and 11 June.

The Parties of the three Conventions adapted initial plans with regard to the scheduling of the BRS COPs, in response to the onset of COVID-19. As a result, BC COP-15, RC COP-10 and the SC COP-10 are held back-to-back in two stages: online from 26 to 30 July 2021, and face-to-face from 6 to 17 June 2022.

The High-level Segment of the BRS COPs took place on 1 June in Sweden. It was organized in connection with the Stockholm+50 event, commemorating the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. Held for the first time in four years, the BRS COPs High-level Segment was a resounding success, attended by over 100 ministers and high-level dignitaries from across the globe identifying opportunities to tackle the triple planetary environmental crisis of pollution, climate change and biodiversity loss, through the sustainable management of chemicals and wastes.

NOTES TO EDITORS

The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS Secretariat) brings together the three leading multilateral environmental agreements that share the common objective of protecting human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals and wastes.
http://www.brsmeas.org/

More information on the 2021-2022 BRS COPs, including the High-level Segment and the Plastics Forum, is available here: http://www.brsmeas.org/20212022COPs/Overview/tabid/8395/language/en-US/Default.aspx

For technical information on the Rotterdam Convention, contact: Christine Fuell, Senior Technical Officer, christine.fuell@fao.org 

Information on the Plastic is Forever campaign can be found here: http://www.brsmeas.org/MediaHub/Campaigns/PlasticisForever/tabid/9151/language/en-US/Default.aspx

Further communication material is available on the BRS Secretariat Trello: https://trello.com/b/iEDpXNHv/the-basel-rotterdam-and-stockholm-conventions

For media inquiries, contact: Marisofi Giannouli, BRS Associate Public Information Officer, marisofi.giannouli@un.org

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ENB coverage

Visit the ENB website to follow the daily coverage of the 2022 face-to-face segment of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions Conferences Of the Parties.

Photo gallery of the face-to-face segment of the 2022 meetings of the COPs

Day 1  Day 2  Plastics Forum  Day 3
     
Opening of BRS COPs, © Pablo Arturo López Guijosa, UNEP/GEN Side Events, BRS COPs, © Pablo Arturo Lopez Guijosa, UNEP/GEN Plastics Forum, BRS COPs, © Pablo Arturo Lopez Guijosa, UNEP/GEN Plenary Day 3 - BRS COPs, © Pablo Arturo Lopez Guijosa, UNEP/GEN      
             
 Day 4
 Day 5
Plastic Forum Illumination Day 6
     
Indonesia © ENB BRS COPs, © Pablo Arturo Lopez Guijosa, UNEP/GEN 31 Side Event, BRS COPs, © Digna Francisco, BRS Secretariat    
             
Day 7
Day 8
Day 9
Plastic Waste Partnership
Photography Contest

     
BRS COPs, © Pablo Arturo Lopez Guijosa, UNEP/GEN BRS COPs, © Pablo Arturo Lopez Guijosa, UNEP/GEN BRS COPs, © Pablo Arturo Lopez Guijosa, UNEP/GEN 15. Céline_Bellanger_France_F_A_category_1      
             
             
             

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