In July 2012, the Executive Secretary established a Gender Task Team within the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS) to develop targets and an approach to gender mainstreaming within the BRS Secretariat.

“Gender mainstreaming” has been defined by the United Nations Economic and Social Council as ‘a strategy for making women’s as well as men’s concerns and experiences an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the policies and programmes in all political, economic and societal spheres so that women and men benefit equally and inequality is not perpetuated’.

Gender issues related to implementation of the conventions have been discussed and taken into account by the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, particularly the impact of poor management of hazardous chemicals and wastes on vulnerable groups such as women and young children. The issue of gender mainstreaming was also presented in May 2013 at the ordinary and extraordinary meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions in the Executive Secretary’s proposal for the organization of the Secretariats of the three conventions and in a document on mainstreaming gender in the Secretariat.

The BRS Gender Action Plan (BRS-GAP)  was finalized in December 2013 and includes a vision, a list of expected short, medium and long-term goals, and monitoring and reporting plans. The vision of the BRS-GAP aims to ensure that principles of gender equality are firmly embedded in activities undertaken by the BRS Secretariat.

The Secretariat developed a publication “Gender Heroes: from grassroots to global action. A collection of stories featuring gender perspectives on the management of hazardous chemicals and wastes". The stories featured in this publication bring forth a picture of grassroots action being taken around the world every day by individuals and communities to protect the most vulnerable segments of our population from the potentially harmful effects of certain chemicals and wastes.

At the conferences of the parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions in May 2015, the Secretariat provided to the Parties an information document on mainstreaming of gender within the Secretariat and on programmatic mainstreaming of gender issues in Secretariat training activities, projects and programmes. The Secretariat highlighted that, in order to mainstream gender in the Secretariat, it has also taking into consideration the approaches followed under other multilateral environmental agreements. In decisions BC-12/25, RC-7/15 and SC-7/33 the Parties requested the Executive Secretary to include a section on the implementation of the gender action plan in the next report on joint and convention-specific activities.

The 2017 conferences of the Parties to the BRS conventions adopted the first gender-specific decisions on gender mainstreaming. Decisions BC-13/20, RC-8/13 and SC-8/23 welcomed the Gender Action Plan of the BRS Secretariat, requested the Secretariat to continue its efforts in respect of gender mainstreaming in its activities, projects and programmes and recognised that efforts are still needed to ensure that women and men from all Parties are equally involved in the implementation of the three conventions, are represented in their bodies and processes and thus inform and participate in decision making on gender-responsive hazardous chemicals and wastes policies.