Press Releases

 

Record Funding for the Global Environment

US$ 4.43 billion pledged for the Global Environment Facility.

Record Funding for the Global Environment

Record Funding for the Global Environment

GENEVA, April 16, 2014— 30 donor countries today pledged US$ 4.43 billion for the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to support developing countries' efforts over the next four years to prevent degradation of the global environment.

"Today's decision is a powerful signal from the global community about the importance of urgently reversing the negative environmental trends in order to ensure a sustainable future for everybody", said Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson of the GEF. "I am extremely encouraged by the broad coalition that has come together behind the belief in GEF's ability to play a critical role in helping achieve this transformation."

The funding will support projects in more than 140 countries to tackle a broad range of threats to the global environment, including climate change, deforestation, land degradation, extinction of species, toxic chemicals and waste, and threats to oceans and freshwater resources. The GEF is the main global mechanism to support developing countries' to take action to fulfill their commitments under the world's major multilateral environmental agreements. In GEF-6, donors agreed to new financing in support of the Minamata convention on Mercury that was signed in 2013, bringing to five the total number global environmental conventions that the GEF serves.

"The Global Environment Facility has gained the confidence of development partners for its strong track record in protecting the global environment and for its sound management of development partner funds," said Joachim von Amsberg, Vice President for Concessional Finance and Global Partnerships in the World Bank Group, which serves as Trustee for the GEF. "The environmental challenges the global community faces are significant, and funding for the GEF-6 program will help put us on a path toward our shared goal of sustainable development."

Donors emphasized GEF's role in supporting innovative and integrated solutions for the global environment. Among a number of innovations contained in GEF-6 is a new Integrated Approaches Pilot aimed at addressing environmental challenges by focusing on some of the underlying drivers of environmental degradation through special focus on for example food security in Africa, sustainable city development and on taking deforestation out of global commodity supply chains—all issues that can only be effectively addressed if broad coalitions of stakeholders across countries and sectors can be brought together around a common action agenda.

“We welcome the more than US$ 4.3 billion pledged by 30 donor countries to address the urgent environmental needs of developing countries, and appreciate the increase in the overall amount of funding accorded to the chemicals and waste focal area announced today,” said Kerstin Stendahl, Executive Secretary ad interim of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

“As the principal entity entrusted with the operation of the Financial Mechanism of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), the GEF plays a catalytic role in leveraging funding from private and public donors for the Convention. We remain confident that the GEF will in the future be able to continue to address the growing financial and technical assistance needs of Parties to the Stockholm Convention, taking into account the increasing number of chemicals listed under the Convention and the growing number of parties it serves.”

“Every dollar pledged to address POPs chemicals must now be put to work as hard as possible to defeat the scourge of persistent organic pollutants,” Ms Stendahl added.

Mexico's Secretary of Finance and Public Credit, Luis Videgaray, who will host an Assembly of the GEF's 183 members in Cancun, Mexico, in May said, "Only by integrating environmental considerations into decision making by governments, private businesses and households can we hope to make a difference in the global environment. The GEF-6 effort gets under way at a critical time, and is a vital platform to help mobilize all stakeholders to play their part."

The GEF-6 program envisions devoting an increased share of resources to lower-income recipient countries. GEF will also further its engagement with the private sector, its work in gender mainstreaming, collaboration with civil society organizations, and increased focus on results and on leveraging other sources of funding for the benefit of the global environment by seeking higher levels of co-financing of its projects.

Underpinning efforts, the GEF is developing a longer-term strategy, GEF2020, which aims to enhance the GEF's impact by focusing its interventions more on the underlying drivers of environmental degradation.

Doris Leuthard, head of the Swiss Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications that hosted the meeting in Geneva said "We have better scientific evidence that human activity can lead to tipping points with a risk of irreversible and abrupt environmental change. By focusing on the drivers of environmental change and by seeking multiple benefits, the GEF is taking the right approach to turn around the worrying trends in the global environment".

This Press Release is available in Spanish.

About the Global Environment Facility

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) unites 183 countries in partnership with international organizations, civil society organizations (CSOs), and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. The GEF provides funding for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants.

Since 1991, the GEF has achieved a strong track record providing $12.5 billion in grants and leveraging $58 billion in co-financing for over 3,690 projects in over 165 countries. Through its Small Grants Programme (SGP), the GEF has also made more than 16,000 small grants directly to civil society and community based organizations, totaling $653 million.

Contact: Christian Hofer, Senior Communications Officer, GEF,
chofer@thegef.org.

Zayed International Prize Honours Top Environmentalists
Colombia’s Paula Caballero Gómez is recognized as having been instrumental in the early conceptualization and promotion of Sustainable Development Goals.

Zayed International Prize Honours Top Environmentalists

Zayed International Prize Honours Top Environmentalists
Colombia’s Paula Caballero Gómez is recognized as having been instrumental in the early conceptualization and promotion of Sustainable Development Goals.
UN chemical experts recommend adding three pesticides to the PIC global watch list
Rotterdam Convention’s Chemical Review Committee held its 9th meeting in Rome from 22 to 24 October 2013, back to back with the joint meeting of the conventions’ scientific review committees

UN chemical experts recommend adding three pesticides to the PIC global watch list

UN chemical experts recommend adding three pesticides to the PIC global watch list

Geneva and Rome, 25 October 2013 –The Chemical Review Committee, the scientific subsidiary body of the Rotterdam Convention, recommended this week that methamidophos (pesticide) and fenthion 640 ULV* (a severely hazardous pesticide formulation) be subject to the Convention’s Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure. The Committee also adopted the draft Decision Guidance Document (DGD) for trichlorfon, a pesticide recommended for inclusion in the Committee’s eighth meeting held in March 2012.

The result of the ninth meeting of the Chemical Review Committee meeting is that three new Decision Guidance Documents will be forwarded to the Conference of the Parties in May 2015 for its consideration for inclusion in Annex III to the Convention and be subject to the PIC procedure.

The Prior Informed Consent procedure of the Convention is a key tool for developing countries to take informed and responsible decisions on the import and on the use of chemicals that represent a danger for the environment and for the human health. It enables member governments to alert each other to potential dangers by exchanging information on banned or severely restricted chemicals and to take informed decisions on them.  This provision prevents unwanted trade in the chemicals listed in Annex III of the Convention and constitutes an early warning system.

The Committee reviewed notifications of final regulatory actions taken by parties for five chemicals: cyhexatin, lead arsenate, lead carbonate, methamidophos, pentachlorobenzene, and one severely hazardous pesticide formulation, fenthion 640 ULV.

On four other chemicals – cyhexatin, lead arsenate, lead carbonate and pentachlorobenzene – the Committee agreed that criteria were not met and no further decisions will be taken for these chemicals at the moment.

“This is the second time since the Convention entered into force in 2004 that the Committee has recommended adding a severely hazardous pesticide formulation to the Prior Informed Consent list, using the ‘fast track’ mechanism that ensures developing countries’ rights to know and trade chemicals safely are respected,” said Clayton Campanhola, Executive Secretary of the Rotterdam Convention for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

“Putting these pesticides under the Rotterdam Convention’s PIC procedure would continue to strengthen the hands of governments and support informed decision-making about the import and use of chemicals known to harm human health and the environment,” said Kerstin Stendahl, Deputy Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

The Committee’s recommendations will be sent to the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention for consideration at the seventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties, scheduled to be held from 4 to 15 May 2015 in Geneva.

The tenth meeting of the Chemical Review Committee will be held in Rome, Italy, from 20 to 24 October 2014 followed immediately by the POPs Review Committee of the Stockholm Convention, scheduled for 27 to 31 October 2014.

Note for Editors:

The objective of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade is to promote shared responsibility and cooperative efforts among Parties in the international trade of certain hazardous chemicals in order to protect human health and the environment from potential harm. The Convention contributes to the environmentally sound use of such chemicals, by facilitating information exchange about their characteristics, by providing for a national decision-making process on their import and export and by disseminating these decisions to Parties.

Together, the Rotterdam, Basel and Stockholm conventions, the three leading global treaties governing hazardous chemicals, pesticide formulations and wastes, can help countries to manage hazardous chemicals throughout their life-cycle:

  • Rotterdam Convention provides early warning on dangerous chemicals and prevents the unwanted international trade on certain chemicals.
  • Stockholm Convention controls and eliminates production and use of  persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
  • Basel Convention limits “toxic trade” in hazardous wastes and ensures proper disposal of wastes.

The Chemical Review Committee is the scientific subsidiary body of the Rotterdam Convention.  The Committee consists of thirty-one scientific experts appointed by the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention charged with undertaking scientific review of chemicals proposed for listing.

Trichlorfon is an insecticide used on a number of crops, including fruits and vegetables. The recommendation by the Chemical Review Committee to list trichlorfon in Annex III to the Rotterdam Convention was based on final regulatory actions submitted by Brazil and the European Union.

Fenthion 640 ULV, among wide range use, it is also used for birds control against grain-eating birds. The proposal has been submitted by Chad, which experienced problems for human health caused by the formulation under conditions of use in its territory. The Committee decided at its ninth meeting to recommend listing it in Annex III to the Rotterdam Convention as a Severely Hazardous Pesticide Formulation (SHPF), based on the proposal of Chad.

Methamidiphos is an insecticide used on many crops, it is already present in Annex III to the Convention and subject to the PIC procedure as severely hazardous pesticide formulation (soluble liquid formulations of substance that exceed 600 g active ingredient/L) and it is classified as highly hazardous (I b oral toxicity) by the World Health Organization. The Committee decided at its ninth meeting to recommend listing it in Annex III to the Rotterdam Convention as a pesticide, based on final regulatory actions submitted by Brazil and the European Union.

Contact:

Elisabetta TAGLIATI, Programme Officer, Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention (FAO), Rome, Tel. +39-06-5705-6420, elisabetta.tagliati@fao.org

Michael S. JONES, Public Information Officer, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (UNEP), Geneva,  mobile/text message: +41-79-730-4495, michael.jones@brsmeas.org 

For more information, see  www.pic.int

*fenthion (ultra low volume formulations (ULV) at or above 640 g active ingredient/L)

New global treaty cuts mercury emissions and releases, sets up controls on products, mines and industrial plants

Kumamoto, Japan, 10 October 2013 - Japan, a country which has come to epitomize mercury poisoning in modern times, today became one of the first countries to sign a historic new international convention to reduce emissions and releases of the toxic metal into air, land and water and to phase out many products that contain mercury.

New global treaty cuts mercury emissions and releases, sets up controls on products, mines and industrial plants

New global treaty cuts mercury emissions and releases, sets up controls on products, mines and industrial plants

Japan among the first to sign Minamata Convention on Mercury

Kumamoto, Japan, 10 October 2013 - Japan, a country which has come to epitomize mercury poisoning in modern times, today became one of the first countries to sign a historic new international convention to reduce emissions and releases of the toxic metal into air, land and water and to phase out many products that contain mercury.

The Minamata Convention on Mercury – a global, legally binding treaty which opened for signature today – was agreed to by governments in January and formally adopted as international law today.

The new treaty is the first new global convention on environment and health for close to a decade. Coming at a time when some multilateral negotiations have faced challenges, its successful negotiation, after a four-year process, provides a new momentum to intergovernmental cooperation on the environment.

Its agreement is also significant in that many countries, despite the lingering effects of the global financial crisis, remained prepared to commit resources to combating the harmful effects of mercury.

Countries began the recognition for this new treaty at a special ceremonial opening of the Diplomatic Conference in Minamata, the city where many local people were poisoned in the mid-20th Century after eating mercury-contaminated seafood from Minamata Bay. As a consequence, the neurological syndrome caused by severe mercury poisoning has come to be known as Minamata Disease.

But the Minamata that delegates visited yesterday during a special field trip from the main conference venue in nearby Kumamoto City, is a vastly different place to that affected by mercury in the mid-1950s. Since then the city has remodelled itself as an eco-city, receiving international recognition for its wide range of recycling and environmental programmes.

The Minamata Convention provides for controls and reductions across a range of products, processes and industries where mercury is used, released or emitted. The treaty also addresses the direct mining of mercury, export and import of the metal, and safe storage of waste mercury.

Pinpointing populations at risk, boosting medical care and better training of health-care professionals in identifying and treating mercury-related effects will all result from adherence to the obligations of the new treaty.

“The Minamata Convention will protect people and improve standards of living for millions around the world, especially the most vulnerable,’’ United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in an address read to the conference. “Let us strive to achieve universal adherence to this valuable new instrument, and advance together toward a safer, more sustainable and healthier planet for all.”

“Mercury has some severe effects, both on human health and on the environment. UNEP has been proud to facilitate and support the treaty negotiation over the past four years because almost everyone in the world – be they small-scale gold miners, expectant mothers or waste-handlers in developing countries – will benefit from its provisions,” said Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Under-Secretary General of the United Nations.

Global action on mercury was agreed to in a landmark decision at the United Nations Environment Programme’s Governing Council meeting in 2009.

Governments unanimously decided to launch negotiations on an international mercury treaty to deal with world-wide emissions and discharges of the pollutant, which threatens the health of millions, from foetuses and babies to small-scale gold miners and their families.

Mercury's impacts on the human nervous system have been known for more than a century: the Mad Hatter of Alice in Wonderland fame was so called because hat-makers used the liquid metal to strengthen brims, breathing in the poisonous fumes.

Other potential impacts include impaired thyroid and liver function, irritability, tremors, disturbances to vision, memory loss and cardiovascular problems.

“With the signing of the Minamata Convention on Mercury we will be going a long way in protecting the world forever from the devastating health consequences from mercury,” says WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan. “Mercury is one of the top ten chemicals of major public health concern and is a substance which disperses into and remains in ecosystems for generations, causing severe ill health and intellectual impairment to exposed populations.”

Governments successfully completed their negotiations at the fifth session of the intergovernmental negotiating committee to prepare a global legally binding instrument on mercury, held in Geneva from 13 to 18 January 2013. They agreed to the text of the “Minamata Convention on Mercury”, which has now been presented for adoption and opened for signature at the Conference of Plenipotentiaries Diplomatic Conference, taking place at Hotel Nikko in Kumamoto and in Minamata, Japan, from 9 to 11 October 2013.

The Diplomatic Conference was preceded by an intergovernmental preparatory meeting on 7 and 8 October 2013 in Kumamoto.

Some key facts about the Diplomatic Conference:

  • Over 1,000 participants
  • Convention adopted by 139 governments
  • Convention signed by 87 governments

Treaty provisions

Under the provisions of the Minamata Convention, Governments have agreed on a range of mercury-containing products whose production, import and export will be banned by 2020. These items have non-mercury alternatives that will be further phased in as these are phased out. They include:

  • Batteries, except for ‘button cell’ batteries used in implantable medical devices
  • Switches and relays
  • Some compact fluorescent lamps
  • Mercury in cold cathode fluorescent lamps and external electrode fluorescent lamps
  • Soaps and cosmetics (mercury is used in skin-whitening products)
  • Some mercury-containing medical items such as thermometers and blood pressure devices.

Mercury from small-scale gold-mining and from coal-fired power stations represent the biggest source of mercury pollution worldwide. Miners inhale mercury during smelting, and mercury run-off into rivers and streams contaminates fish, the food chain and people downstream. Under the Minamata Convention, Governments have agreed that countries will draw up strategies to reduce the amount of mercury used by small-scale miners and that national plans will be drawn up within three years of the treaty entering into force to reduce – and if possible eliminate – mercury.

The Convention will also control mercury emission and releases from large-scale industrial plants such as coal-fired power stations, industrial boilers, waste incinerators and cement clinkers facilities.

Editors’ notes

The full text of the treaty can be found here.

For more information about the Diplomatic Conference, please see here.

For a list of the countries that have signed the Convention so far, please see (from 10 October) www.mercuryconvention.org.

For more information about the effects of mercury, please click here.

Contacts

Nick Nuttall, UNEP Director of Communications and Spokesperson, Tel: +254 733 632 755 or +41 79 596 5737 (Roaming), Email: nick.nuttall@unep.org.

Tomoko Ishii, Media Consultant, UNEP International Environmental Technology Centre, Osaka, Japan. Mobile: +81 90 7091 8194 Tel: +81 6 6915 4581
Email: tomoko.ishii@unep.org (for information in English or in Japanese).

UNEP HQ: Shereen Zorba, Head, UNEP News Desk. Tel.: +254 713 601 259 Email: unepnewsdesk@unep.org.

Moira O’Brien-Malone, UNEP Communications, Paris. Tel: +33 1 44 37 76 12 or +33 6 82 26 93 73. Email: moira.obrien-malone@unep.org.

Extraordinary UN Conference Takes Historic Strides to Strengthen Chemical Safety Globally

UNEP and FAO team up to promote synergies between the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions in two-week chemicals and waste meeting.

 

Extraordinary UN Conference Takes Historic Strides to Strengthen Chemical Safety Globally

Extraordinary UN Conference Takes Historic Strides to Strengthen Chemical Safety Globally

UNEP and FAO team up to promote synergies between the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions in two-week chemicals and waste meeting.

Geneva, Switzerland, 11 May 2013 – The three conventions that govern chemicals and hazardous waste safety at the global level concluded their first ever jointly held meetings of the parties late Friday night in Geneva. The historic meeting, attended by nearly two thousand participants from 170 countries, as well as 80 Ministers, adopted 50 separate decisions aimed at strengthening protection against hazardous chemicals and waste.

The three legally autonomous conventions had convened the joint meeting of the conferences of the parties to strengthen cooperation and collaboration between the conventions, with a view to enhancing the effectiveness of their activities on the ground. Each convention then continued individually over the two-week period to deal with its own specific topics of the global chemicals and waste agenda before returning in a joint session at the end of the week to finalize their outcomes.

The meeting culminated in a ministerial segment on 9 and 10 May 2013 dedicated to the theme of strengthening synergies between the conventions at national, regional and global level. The ministerial segment was joined by Swiss Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva, and Global Environment Facility (GEF) CEO and Chairperson Naoko Ishii.  The global agency leaders pledged to deepen cooperation and collaboration as part of a broader effort to raise the profile of chemicals and waste issues, promote green growth and alleviate poverty.

At its conclusion, the joint meeting acclaimed the “Geneva Statement on the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste”. The Geneva Statement welcomed the UNEP-led consultative process on financing options for chemicals and waste that has considered the need for heightened efforts to increase the political priority accorded to sound management of chemicals and waste.

In a press conference following the ministerial segment, Mr. Steiner called the conferences of the parties “a unique historic event coming at a time of unprecedented change and progress in the arena of global environmental governance. The strengthening of UNEP and the synergies process of chemicals and waste multilateral environmental agreements are complementary parts of the ongoing reform to fortify the environmental dimension of sustainable development.”

Ms. Ishii spoke of the challenges countries face protecting the planet's critical ecosystems from contamination by hazardous chemicals and waste and of GEF support for strategies to overcome them. “At this critical juncture, the Global Environment Facility is committed to its financial support to help countries address these important challenges in three ways,” said Ms. Ishii. “Assisting them in their efforts to mainstream sound chemicals management in national agendas, creating an integrated GEF chemicals and wastes focal area, and expanding engagement with the private sector.”

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said that in many countries intensive crop production has depleted agriculture’s natural resource base, jeopardizing future productivity. “To fight hunger and eradicate poverty, we will need to find more sustainable ways to produce 60 percent more food by 2050,” he said. However, he recognized that chemical pesticides would continue to be part of farming in many parts of the world in future.

“The challenge is to enable countries to manage pesticides safely, to use the right quantity, at the right time and in the right way and also to apply alternatives to hazardous pesticides. Because when we don’t, pesticides continue to pose a serious risk to human health and the environment and will eventually end up as waste. Today, half a million tons of obsolete pesticides are scattered around the developing world,” he said.

“Around 70 percent of the chemicals addressed by the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions are pesticides, and many are used in agriculture. It is in the best interest of all countries to ensure that the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions can work together, effectively and efficiently, to address various aspects of the chemical life cycle.”

The joint meetings of the conferences of the parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions also reviewed the impact of the arrangements put in place by governments in 2011 to strengthen synergies among the treaties.

The parties endorsed the organization of the Secretariat, and adopted a programme of work and budget individual and for joint activities of three conventions in 2014-2015. ”The parties have agreed to strengthen capacity building and technical assistance for countries by investing the savings realized over the past two years into an enhanced technical assistance programme that better meets the needs of developing countries and countries with economies in transition” said Jim Willis, Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions. “In an era of financial austerity, we have learned through synergies how to deliver more to parties while living within the economic limits faced by Governments today.”

“Much of the success of this synergies meeting is owed to the outstanding cooperation and inspired leadership of the three presidents of the conferences, Franz Perrez of Switzerland, Magdalena Balicka of Poland and Osvaldo Álvarez-Pérez of Chile,” added Mr. Willis.

The 6th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention agreed to list hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) to Annex A to the Convention with specific exemptions for expanded polystyrene and extruded polystyrene in buildings. Efforts to adopt a non-compliance mechanism, however, did not succeed in the face of continuing disagreement on how such a mechanism might function.

Basel Convention's parties, at their 11th Conference of the Parties, took decisions to strengthen compliance with the Convention. The Parties adopted a framework for the environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes and other wastes, and agreed, over the next two years, to develop technical guidelines on transboundary movements of electronic and electrical wastes (e-waste).

The meeting also decided terms of reference for the newly established Environmental Network for Optimizing Regulatory Compliance on Illegal Traffic (ENFORCE), which aims to prevent and combat illegal traffic in hazardous and other wastes through the better implementation and enforcement of national law.

The 6th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention had considered the possible addition of five chemicals and one severely hazardous pesticide formulation to Annex III of the Convention. It agreed by consensus to add the pesticide azinphos-methyl and the industrial chemicals PentaBDE, OctaBDE and PFOS to Annex III of the Convention.[1] Listing in Annex III triggers an exchange of information between Parties and helps countries make informed decisions about future import and use of the chemicals. The addition of four substances is the highest number to be added to the Convention's prior informed consent procedure by any conference of the parties since the adoption of the Convention in 1998.

In contrast, the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention did not succeed in reaching agreement on the addition of chrysotile asbestos and a severely hazardous pesticide formulation containing paraquat to the Convention. The proposal to list chrysotile asbestos and the paraquat formulation will be considered at the next Conference of the Parties in 2015.

The joint meeting hosted a three-day Regional Fair from 1 to 3 May 2013 dedicated to the theme 'Synergies through regional delivery' and attended by 20 Stockholm Convention or Basel Convention Regional Centres and two Regional Offices of UNEP. The Fair provided the venue for the signing of bi-regional and intra-regional cooperation agreements between centres in Latin America and Caribbean, and Central and Eastern European regions in the areas of technical assistance and awareness-raising and outreach.

Note to editors:

Chemicals contribute many advantages to today's world; however their use can also pose risks to human health and the environment. To reduce this harmful global impact, three conventions have been established that regulate chemicals and hazardous waste at global level:

Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal regulates the export/import of hazardous waste and waste containing hazardous chemicals. The Convention was adopted in 1989 and entered into force in 1992. It currently has 180 Parties.

Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade currently regulates information about the export/import of 47 hazardous chemicals listed in the Convention’s Annex III, 33 of which are pesticides (including 4 severely hazardous pesticide formulations) and 14 of which are industrial chemicals. The Convention was adopted in 1998 and entered into force in 2004. It currently has 152 Parties.

Unlike the Stockholm Convention, the Rotterdam Convention does not ban or restrict trade in chemicals or pesticide formulations, but serves to strengthen protection of human health and the environment by expanding the exchange of critical safety information between exporting and importing States.

Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants currently regulates 23 toxic substances that are persistent, travel long distances, bioaccumulate in organisms and are toxic. The Convention was adopted in 2001 and entered into force in 2004. It currently has 179 Parties.

Contact:

Christine Fuell, Technical Senior Officer and Coordinator, Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention (FAO), Tel. +39 06 5705 3765, christine.fuell@fao.org

Michael S. Jones, Public Information Officer, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Cell +41 (0) 79 730 44 95, msjones@brsmeas.org

Nick Nuttall, Director, Division of Communication and Public Information, and UNEP Spokesperson, +254 20 7623084, nick.nuttall@unep.org

For more information, visit the 2013 COPs website: synergies.pops.int or follow the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions on Twitter @brsmeas #brscops.

 


[1]PentaBDE: Pentabromodiphenyl ether (CAS No. 32534-81-9) and pentabromodiphenyl ether commercial mixtures; OctaBDE: Octabromodiphenyl ether commercial mixtures; PFOS: Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, perfluorooctanesulfonates, perfluorooctanesulfonamides and perfluorooctanesulfonyls.

 

Global Environment Facility Premieres Documentary Film Mission: Planet De-Tox at Geneva Chemicals Conference
GEF-funded projects in Philippines, Mexico, China, Tanzania, Kenya show positive impacts of projects to clean up toxic chemicals and waste.

Global Environment Facility Premieres Documentary Film Mission: Planet De-Tox at Geneva Chemicals Conference

Global Environment Facility Premieres Documentary Film Mission: Planet De-Tox at Geneva Chemicals Conference

GENEVA, Switzerland, May 8, 2013 – The Global Environment Facility today premiered a documentary film, Mission: Planet De-Tox, now available free around the world, focusing on GEF-funded projects that address toxic chemical pollution on three continents.

GEF CEO and Chairperson Naoko Ishii introduced the film to an audience of several hundred delegates, observers, and guests at a special event at the Joint Conference of Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions meeting in Geneva.

“Chemicals cut across the entire earth’s ecosystem,” said Ms. Ishii. “We want the world to know that there is a way to handle this challenge.”

Directed by Patrick Fries of Arrowhead Films, Mission: Planet De-Tox takes viewers to toxic chemical project sites in Asia, Africa and Latin America that are operating with the help of GEF funding and the implementation efforts of GEF partner agencies – the World Bank, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the United Nations Development Programme. GEF Chemicals Team staffers Anil Sookdeo and Evelyn Swain travel to places where local initiative aided by international funding is making a difference. They visit:

  • General Santos City, the Philippines, where a huge, smoldering landfill emits toxic fumes. The unlined landfill, picked over by families risking their health to find valuables in the heaps of trash, is one of six in the country soon to be closed and rebuilt using environmentally sound methods.
  • Mexico City, where electrical equipment that threatens to contaminate water supplies with toxic PCBs is being taken off line, properly disposed, and replaced with modern equipment. Some 2,500 tons of PCB-laced chemicals and equipment – 10 percent of the country’s inventory – is being replaced under a GEF-funded program.
  • Morogoro, Tanzania, where a GEF-supported project is properly disposing of obsolete pesticides, including DDT, and to multiple locations elsewhere in Tanzania where GEF support is enabling the safe disposal of toxic medical waste.
  • Changzhou China, site of a pesticide factory, now demolished, that was rendered obsolete by GEF-funded efforts to develop safe and effective ways of getting rid of termites without the use of toxic chemicals that can linger in the air and water for years.
  • Nairobi and Mount Kenya, in Kenya, where new techniques are being used to control malaria-carrying mosquitoes, and where an air sampling station and a breast milk testing program, operating with GEF support, document the health threats posed by persistent organic pollutants. Data collected in Kenya feeds into the GEF/UNEP Global Monitoring Plan, which gathers data from all over the world to track hazardous chemicals.

“The film calls for action – very, very urgent action – and we need to work together to spread this message,” Ms. Ishii told the gathering.

The film is available on the GEF YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/GEFSecretariat. Groups and educational institutions interested in showing the film are encouraged to contact the GEF.

Contact:

In Geneva, Switzerland

Mr. John Diamond
Senior Communication Officer | Spokesperson
Phone +1 202 458 7953
E-mail: jdiamond@thegef.org

In Washington, DC

Mr. Christian Hofer
Senior Communication Officer
Phone: +1 202 458 0936
E-mail: chofer@thegef.org

### 

About the Global Environment Facility

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) unites 183 countries in partnership with international institutions, civil society organizations (CSOs), and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. Today the GEF is the largest public funder of projects to improve the global environment. An independently operating financial organization, the GEF provides grants for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants.

Since 1991, GEF has achieved a strong track record with developing countries and countries with economies in transition, providing $11.5 billion in grants and leveraging $57 billion in co-financing for over 3,215 projects in over 165 countries. Through its Small Grants Programme (SGP), the GEF has also made more than 16,030 small grants directly to civil society and community based organizations, totaling $653.2 million. For more information, visit www.thegef.org.

Stay Connected

www.thegef.org/gef/gefrss

Global Environment Facility Launches e-Magazine App
Interactive app adds sizzle to the 2013 COPs.

Global Environment Facility Launches e-Magazine App

Global Environment Facility Launches e-Magazine App

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) has released its newly redesigned newsletter “The Greenline” as an online app. The app is available free in the Apple iTunes app store.

Compared to the original newsletter the new Greenline app offers an interactive reading and viewing experience featuring full-screen video clips and photo galleries, instant page-turns, and sharing opportunities.

With The Greenline app installed, users will be notified when a new issue is released. GEF is also developing a version compatible for other tablets. The Greenline will continue to be available online at www.thegef.org in HTML format.

The first issue focusing on Chemicals is already available on the GEF website.

The GEF released the Greenline app at the back-to-back meetings of the conferences of the parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions, in Geneva, Switzerland, on 1 May 2013.

Invitation to Press Conference & Media Event

Geneva International Conference Centre, Room 3, Geneva, 27 April 2013 at 11:00 a.m.

 

Invitation to Press Conference & Media Event

Invitation to Press Conference & Media Event

Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions to hold ‘sustainable synergies’ meetings aimed at solidifying collaboration among the leading global chemicals and waste agreements

Geneva International Conference Centre / Centre International de Conferences Genève, Room 3, Geneva, 27 April 2013 at 11:00 a.m.

Swiss Ambassador Franz Perrez and Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Convention Executive Secretary Jim Willis to brief media on the eve of the conference.

The three conventions that govern chemicals and hazardous waste safety at the global level will, for the first time, convene jointly in an historic back-to-back meeting of the parties in Geneva from 28 April to 10 May 2013. Nearly two thousand participants from more than 160 countries will attend the two-week long meeting.

The three legally autonomous conventions will begin by convening joint meetings of the conferences of the parties to strengthen cooperation and collaboration between the conventions, with a view to enhancing the effectiveness of their activities on the ground. Each convention will then continue individually to deal with its own specific topics over the two-week period.

The meetings will culminate in a ministerial segment on 9 and 10 May 2013 dedicated to the theme of strengthening synergies between the conventions at national, regional and global level. The ministerial segment will be opened with scheduled remarks by Swiss Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard, UN Under-Secretary General and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva, and Global Environment Facility (GEF) CEO and Chairperson Naoko Ishii. Over 80 Ministers and Deputy Ministers are scheduled to attend.

Journalists may notify of their intention to attend the 27 April 2013 press conference by emailing elisabeth.maret@bafu.admin.ch.
Media accreditation requirements for the conference may be accessed at http://synergies.pops.int/?tabid=3136.

For more information, visit http://synergies.pops.int, or contact:

Elisabeth Maret, Information Officer, Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), Tel. +41 (0)31 323 28 69, elisabeth.maret@bafu.admin.ch

Michael S. Jones, Public Information Officer, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Mobile tel. +41 (0) 79 730 44 95, michael.jones@brsmeas.org

 

UN chemicals and waste conventions convene exceptional joint meetings

Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions to hold ‘sustainable synergies’ meetings aimed at solidifying collaboration among the three legally autonomous global agreements.

 

UN chemicals and waste conventions convene exceptional joint meetings

UN chemicals and waste conventions convene exceptional joint meetings

Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions to hold ‘sustainable synergies’ meetings aimed at solidifying collaboration among the three legally autonomous global agreements.

Geneva, Switzerland, 15 April 2013 – The three conventions that govern chemicals and hazardous waste safety at the global level will, for the first time, convene jointly in an historic back-to-back meeting of the parties in Geneva from 28 April to 10 May 2013. Nearly two thousand participants from more than 160 countries will attend the two-week long meeting.

The three legally autonomous conventions will begin by convening joint meetings of the conferences of the parties to strengthen cooperation and collaboration between the conventions, with a view to enhancing the effectiveness of their activities on the ground. Each convention will then continue individually to deal with its own specific topics over the two-week period.

The meetings will culminate in a ministerial segment on 9 and 10 May 2013 dedicated to the theme of strengthening synergies between the conventions at national, regional and global level.  The ministerial segment will be opened with scheduled remarks by Swiss Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard, UN Under-Secretary General and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva, and Global Environment Facility (GEF) CEO and Chairperson Naoko Ishii.  Over 80 Ministers and Deputy Ministers are scheduled to attend.

The joint meetings of the conferences of the parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions, opening on 28 April 2013, will review of the impact of the arrangements put in place by governments in 2011 to strengthen synergies among the treaties. The parties will also consider whether to make further modifications to the organization of the Secretariat, the programme of work and budget for joint activities of three conventions in 2014-2015, and a proposal for financing chemicals and waste related activities.  There will also be joint discussions related to compliance, technical assistance and financing, reporting and POPs-containing waste.

The sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention will consider the possible addition of hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) to Annex A to the Convention with specific exemptions for expanded polystyrene and extruded polystyrene in buildings. It also will work to adopt a non-compliance mechanism.

The sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention will consider the possible addition of five chemicals and one severely hazardous pesticide formulation to Annex III of the Convention1. The conference will also work to adopt a non-compliance mechanism.

The eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention will follow-up to the Indonesian-Swiss country-led initiative (CLI) on how to improve the effectiveness of the Convention and consider the possible adoption of a framework for the environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes and other wastes, as well as the possible adoption of technical guidelines on transboundary movements of electronic and electrical wastes (e-waste).

For more information, see also the 2013 COPs website: synergies.pops.int.

Follow the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions on Twitter @brsmeas.

Note to editors:

Chemicals contribute many advantages to today's world; however their use can also pose risks to human health and the environment. To reduce this harmful global impact, three conventions have been established that regulate chemicals and hazardous waste at global level:

Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal regulates the export/import of hazardous waste and waste containing hazardous chemicals. The Convention was adopted in 1989 and entered into force in 1992. It currently has 180 Parties.

Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade currently regulates information about the export/import of 43 hazardous chemicals listed in the Convention’s Annex III, 32 of which are pesticides (including 4 severely hazardous pesticide formulations) and 11 of which are industrial chemicals. The Convention was adopted in 1998 and entered into force in 2004. It currently has 152 Parties.

Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants currently regulates 22 toxic substances that are persistent, travel long distances, bioaccumulate in organisms and are toxic. The Convention was adopted in 2001 and entered into force in 2004. It currently has 179 Parties.

For media inquiries, contact:

Mr. Michael S. Jones, Public Information Officer, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Mobile +41 (0) 79 730 44 95, msjones@pic.int, SkypeID: mstanleyjones

For information on the ministerial segment, contact:

Ms. Laura Meszaros, Programme Officer, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Tel. +41 (22) 917 87 40, lmeszaros@pic.int

Download this press release in French


The five chemicals and the formulation proposed for listing are: Azinphos-methyl; PentaBDE: Pentabromodiphenyl ether (CAS No. 32534-81-9) and pentabromodiphenyl ether commercial mixtures; OctaBDE: Octabromodiphenyl ether commercial mixtures; PFOS: Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, perfluorooctanesulfonates, perfluorooctanesulfonamides and perfluorooctanesulfonyls; Chrysotile asbestos; and  Paraquat: Liquid formulations (emulsifiable concentrate and soluble concentrate) containing paraquat dichloride at or above 276 g/L,corresponding to paraquat ion at or above 200 g/L.

Message of Condolence to the Family, Friends and Colleagues of the Late Sergey E. Tikhonov

The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mr. Sergey Eduardovich Tikhonov.

 

Message of Condolence to the Family, Friends and Colleagues of the Late Sergey E. Tikhonov

Message of Condolence to the Family, Friends and Colleagues of the Late Sergey E. Tikhonov

The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mr. Sergey Eduardovich Tikhonov, a leader in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in the field of sound chemicals and waste management. Mr. Tikhonov died in Moscow, Russian Federation, on Friday, 26 October 2012.

Mr. Tikhonov headed the Autonomous Non-Profit Organization Centre for International Projects (ANO-CIP), based in Moscow, and served as director of the Stockholm Convention Regional Centre for capacity-building and transfer of environmentally sound technologies and the Basel Convention Regional Centre for Countries of the CIS.

Over a long and distinguished career, Mr. Tikhonov cooperated with the United Nations Environment Programme on awareness-raising and capacity-building initiatives in support of the chemicals and wastes conventions. He also supported a variety of public right-to-know mechanisms, including Earthwatch / International Register of Potentially Toxic Chemicals (IRPTC) and national Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers.

Sergey Tikhonov’s dedication and inspiring nature will long be remembered by those who were privileged to work with him.

Our Secretariat expresses its heartfelt sympathy to his family, friends and the staff of the Regional Centre in this time of sorrow.

 

Urgent Action Needed to Reduce Growing Health and Environmental Hazards from Chemicals: UN Report

Chemical ‘Intensification’ of Economies in Developing Countries Means Greater Risk of Exposure to Hazardous Substances

 

Urgent Action Needed to Reduce Growing Health and Environmental Hazards from Chemicals: UN Report

Urgent Action Needed to Reduce Growing Health and Environmental Hazards from Chemicals: UN Report
Chemical ‘Intensification’ of Economies in Developing Countries Means Greater Risk of Exposure to Hazardous SubstancesNew Study Shows Sound Management of Chemicals Can Deliver Major Economic Benefits and Support Green Economy
"Chemical Challenges, Sustainable Solutions" global art contest for children and youth to be featured during UN Conference on Sustainable Development

The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions cordially invites children and youths to participate in a unique global contest.

 

"Chemical Challenges, Sustainable Solutions" global art contest for children and youth to be featured during UN Conference on Sustainable Development

"Chemical Challenges, Sustainable Solutions" global art contest for children and youth to be featured during UN Conference on Sustainable Development

Geneva, 29 November 2011 – The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions cordially invites children and youths 5 to 20 years of age to participate in a unique global contest highlighting the ways persistent organic pollutants (POPs) enter people’s bodies, change ecosystems, and affect the life of our planet.

The Stockholm Convention’s 10th anniversary global art contest, “Chemical Challenges, Sustainable Solutions” was announced at the 5th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention, in May 2011. The Stockholm Convention was adopted on 22 May 2001 in Stockholm, Sweden.

POPs are substances that persist for a long time in the environment. They build up in the bodies of animals and are toxic. By altering hormonal balances and damaging the immune systems of exposed individuals as well as their offspring, POPs can affect generations of humans. Years or even decades after exposure, POPs can also cause cancer and harm a person’s ability to reproduce.

Children are among the most sensitive populations to many types of pollutants, including POPs.

The contest will explore the reasons why the planet’s “chemical temperature” is rising and how people can protect themselves and nature from these harmful substances.

The contest is open to children 5 to 10, youths 11 to 15 and young adults 16 to 20 years of age, working in three art media categories:

  • Drawing
  • Photography
  • Short videos

The contest opens on 1 January 2012 and the deadline for entering the contest is 16 March 2012. National entries are to be submitted through your country’s Official Contact Point. Full details of the contest rules and eligibility may be found at the Stockholm Convention website (in English, French and Spanish).

Each country can submit up to 27 entries (9 per art media category, in which 3 per age category).

Winning entries will be displayed at the European Headquarters of the United Nations during the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 20-22 June 2012, as well as appear electronically at the Rio+20 conference venue and in the Stockholm Convention’s Regional Centres across the world.

In celebration of the Stockholm Convention’s 10th anniversary and in recognition of the International Year of Chemistry 2011, the Czech Republic launched its national art contest at the beginning of the academic year 2011-12. The International Year of Chemistry 2011 is a worldwide celebration of the achievements of chemistry and its contributions to the well-being of humankind proclaimed by the United Nations.

Ms. Kateřina Šebková, an expert on chemicals at the Czech Republic’s Ministry of Environment, said: "We were pleased to see the initiative for the 10th anniversary of the Stockholm Convention, and as the current goals of this contest meet three out of four goals set up for the International Year of Chemistry, we simply had to join to further help raise awareness of the significance of chemicals among the general public. We are a very active Party and also host the Central and Eastern European POPs centre for the Stockholm Convention, so we will also try to pursue the idea regionally. Now is the time to join the contest!"

Contact:

Michael Stanley-Jones, Press Focal Point/Public Information Officer, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, +41-22-917-8668; (m) + 41-79-730-4495, e-mail: msjones@pops.int

 

Launch of InforMEA – the United Nations Information Portal on Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs)

Geneva, 14 June 2011 - The Multilateral Environmental Agreements Information and Knowledge Management Initiative (MEA IKM), launched today develops harmonized MEA information systems to assist Parties and the environment community at large access information from multiple agreements from one location. Supported by UNEP the initiative currently includes 17 MEAs from 12 Secretariats hosted by three UN organizations and IUCN.

 

Launch of InforMEA – the United Nations Information Portal on Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs)

Launch of InforMEA – the United Nations Information Portal on Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs)

Geneva, 14 June 2011 - The Multilateral Environmental Agreements Information and Knowledge Management Initiative (MEA IKM), launched today develops harmonized MEA information systems to assist Parties and the environment community at large access information from multiple agreements from one location. Supported by UNEP the initiative currently includes 17 MEAs from 12 Secretariats hosted by three UN organizations and IUCN. It is open to observers involved in MEA information and data management.

The first project– InforMEA, the United Nations Information Portal on Multilateral Environmental Agreements – was launched on 14 June at the occasion of the initiative’s 2nd Steering Committee Meeting, attended by Ms. Maria Louisa Silva, Executive Secretary of the Barcelona Convention, Mr. John Scanlon, Secretary General of Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and Mr. Jim Willis, Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

“With the launch of InforMEA the global environmental community has taken a major stride forward in making access to information more transparent and easier to apply in solving the complex challenges we face in the Information Age”, Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) 

The InforMEA Portal presents Conference of the Parties decisions and resolutions, news, calendars, events, country specific MEA Membership, national focal points, as well as in the near future national reports and implementation plans organized against a set of 200 hierarchical terms taken from MEA Conference of the Parties (COP) Agendas.

In contrast to similar endeavors this project harvests and displays information directly from MEA Secretariats websites and data bases, who remain the custodians of their data. This allows for accurate and timely data availability in a cost effective manner. MEA secretariats individually implement the technical solution identified.

Harmonization of information standards and formats will facilitate the development of many other knowledge tools among conventions. For example, the Convention on Migratory Species and CITES could display the species listed on their respective appendices or the Stockholm Convention may feature decisions related to endangered migratory species threatened by POPs. Once such an application is developed, the tool is maintained at minimal cost.

www.informea.org - Making key MEA information “speak to one another”

For further information please contact: Marcos Silva (CITES) and marcos.silva@cites.org, and Eva Duer (UNEP) eva.duer@unep.org, (respective MEA representative)

 

UN Conventions Seek to Strengthen National Control of International Chemicals and Waste Trade

The first joint consultation of Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions with the Basel and Stockholm Convention Regional Centres and FAO and UNEP Regional Offices in Barcelona coordinates actions on hazardous chemicals and waste and the enforcement of the conventions.

 

UN Conventions Seek to Strengthen National Control of International Chemicals and Waste Trade

UN Conventions Seek to Strengthen National Control of International Chemicals and Waste Trade

The first joint consultation of Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions with the Basel and Stockholm Convention Regional Centres and FAO and UNEP Regional Offices in Barcelona coordinates actions on hazardous chemicals and waste and the enforcement of the conventions

Barcelona, Spain, 4 October 2010 – A joint consultation held for the first-time between the Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations (FAO), United Nations Environment Programme and regional centres established under the Basel and Stockholm Conventions has concluded with an agreement on a plan to strengthen national coordination for control of international trade in hazardous chemicals and wastes.

The national governments have assumed great commitments to implement hazardous materials and wastes environmental agreements and the FAO and UNEP are enhancing their cooperation and coordination so that these commitments can be achieved.

One way of increasing the delivery of technical and financial support is the use of dynamic green global network taping into communication technology and exchange of experiences and information. The network of 14 Basel Centres, 15 Stockholm Centres and FAO and UNEP Regional offices in all regions of the world are a powerful green network. This network is open to different actors of civil society like NGOs, industry, academia, a winning proposition to save the planet and to foster sustainable development.

"In the face of mounting pressure on the environment and public health, UNEP, FAO and the Regional Centres from across the globe have joined forces in Barcelona to strengthen management of transboundary wastes and the trade in hazardous chemicals," said Nelson Sabogal, Chief Convention Services and Governance Unit with the Secretariat of the Basel Convention.

The joint effort to promote interregional cooperation and coordination on enforcement of the three conventions and improve their implementation at national level brought more than 60 representatives from all the regions of the world together at the "Joint Consultation of Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Convention with the Basel and Stockholm Regional Centres and FAO and UNEP Regional Offices", held in Barcelona, from 27 September to 1 October 2010.

The consultative meeting was hosted in Barcelona by the Regional Activity Centre for Cleaner Production (CP/RAC), a Regional Centre under the Stockholm Convention, in the facilities of the Waste Catalan Agency. The Director of the Agency, Genoveva Català, highlighted the importance of hosting the meeting. "The Waste Catalan Agency is very proud to host this event and contribute to enhance the global situation concerning the use of hazardous chemical substances, as waste is the end-of-pipe, but to achieve good results we have to address too the beginning of the production line", he said.

The joint consultative meeting followed up on the historic synergy decisions about the collaboration of the Stockholm, Basel and Rotterdam Conventions reached at the simulataneous extraordinary meetings of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions in Bali, last February.

Experts agreed to establish a structured exchange of information on implementation at national level and between the regional centres. The clearing house mechanism under the Stockholm and Rotterdam conventions, undergoing expansion in cooperation with the Basel Convention, serves as a key component in the strategy to strengthen the exchange of information on the control of international trade in chemicals and wastes and enforcement of the three treaties.

The workshop also benchmarked the performance of regional centres and developed individual actions for each aimed at strengthening enforcement. The agreement builds on specific areas of expertise identified among the centres of each region in which they will lead in the provision of technical assistance and capacity building. A training session for the Centres on ways to improve the delivery and sustainability of Green Customs Initiative workshops also took place.

The weeklong event included parallel sessions in which the Third Workshop of the Stockholm Convention Regional and Subregional Centres, the Sixth session of the Consultative Meething of the Basel Convention Regional and Coordinating Centres and the Sixth Session of the Consultative Meeting of the FAO Sub-Regional Officers were held.

The joint meeting applied an approach to international conventions pioneered in the Mediterranean Action Plan of the Barcelona Convention for the Protection against Pollution in the Mediterranean Sea.

Note to Editors:

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal seeks to control the movement of hazardous wastes across international frontiers to protect human health and the environment. It establishes criteria for environmentally sound management of the wastes and promotes the lifecycle approach and minimization of hazardous waste generation. The Convention was adopted in 1989 and entered into force on 5 May 1992.

The Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for certain hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in international trade promote shared responsibility and cooperative efforts in the international trade of hazardous chemicals to protect human health and the environment from potential harm. The Convention was adopted in 1998 and entered into force on 24 February 2004.

The Stockholm Convention targets certain hazardous pesticides and industrial chemicals that can kill people, damage the nervous and immune systems, cause cancer and reproductive disorders and interfere with normal infant and child development. It seeks the elimination or restriction of production and use of all intentionally produced persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and the continuing minimization of the releases of unintentionally produced POPs such as dioxins and furans. The Convention was adopted in 2001 and entered into force on 17 May 2004.

The Regional Activity Centre for Cleaner Production in Barcelona is one of six Regional Activity Centres within the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP). The goal of the Centre is the promotion and dissemination of preventoin and the reduction of pollution at the source in the industrial, agriculture and tourism sectors.

Further information:

Contact:

Nelson Sabogal, Chief Convention Services and Governance Unit, Secretariat to the Basel Convention, UNEP, +41 22 917 8212, e-mail: Nelson.Sabogal@unep.ch

Michael Stanley-Jones, Press Focal Point/Public Information Officer, Joint Services of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, +41-22-917-8668; (m) + 41-79-730-4495, e-mail: SafePlanet@unep.org

 

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