Communication regarding COVID-19 and upcoming BRS meetings

The present communication is to provide an update regarding upcoming BRS meetings, in light of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation.

The Secretariat is keeping the situation under review taking into account the information and guidance from the United Nations Department of Operational Support, the WHO, the Swiss authorities, the Italian authorities, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the United Nations Office at Geneva that is received and updated regularly.

Please find below an update on the status of BRS meetings that have been either suspended, or are planned to be held online or maintained until further assessment:

Suspended meetings:

  • Meeting of the small intersessional working group on technical specially engineered landfill (D5) and incineration on land (D10) and energy recovery (R1), Ottawa, Canada, 18 and 19 March 2020
  • Orientation workshop for CRC members, Rome, Italy, 22 to 24 April 2020

The possibility of holding these meetings at a later point in time is currently being considered, taking into account the development of the COVID-19 situation and the specific requirements of each area of work.

Meeting to be held online:

  • First meeting of the small intersessional working group on the strategic framework for the implementation of the Basel Convention for 2012–2021, 31 March to 2 April 2020

Meetings under assessment:

The Secretariat has decided to continue with the preparations of the meetings listed below, with a view to taking final decisions on the holding of these meetings around 5 weeks prior to the respective scheduled dates. The possibility of holding some of these meetings online will also be explored, where feasible.

  • Meeting of the Bureau of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention, Geneva, Switzerland, 9 June 2020
  • Meeting of the Bureau of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention, Geneva, Switzerland, 10 June 2020
  • Twelfth meeting of the Open-ended Working Group of the Basel Convention (OEWG-12), Geneva, Switzerland from 22 to 25 June 2020
  • Meeting of the Bureau of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention, Geneva, Switzerland, 26 June 2020
  • Fourteenth meeting of the Basel Convention Implementation and Compliance Committee, Geneva, Switzerland from 26 to 30 June 2020

Mindful of the protection of public health, the final decision to proceed with the above meetings will be based on thorough risk assessment to be conducted in line with available UN guidance and in cooperation with the Swiss authorities.

An update on the organization of the above meetings will be sent to all confirmed participants and Convention’s Focal Points around 5 weeks prior to the scheduled dates.

Finally, we wish to inform you that, given the circumstances, the BRS Secretariat staff, both in Geneva and Rome, are currently working remotely. We are doing our best to deliver the work of the Secretariat.