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Heart of international action to address plastic pollution beats in South America
Representatives from 120 countries, industry and civil society meet under the Basel Convention’s Plastic Waste Partnership in Uruguay, ahead of the inaugural session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution.

Heart of international action to address plastic pollution beats in South America

Heart of international action to address plastic pollution beats in South America

Representatives from 120 countries, industry and civil society meet under the Basel Convention’s Plastic Waste Partnership in Uruguay, ahead of the inaugural session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution.

From 23 to 25 November 2022, the members of the Basel Convention’s Plastic Waste Partnership (PWP) convened in Punta del Este, Uruguay, to discuss plastic waste prevention, elimination of hazardous constituents in plastic products, trade control of plastic waste, promotion of the environmentally sound collection, separation and recycling of plastic waste, and to plan the PWP’s work for the 2024-25 biennium.

“I was delighted to see that the PWP’s membership keeps growing, we are now up to 265 representatives from over 120 government, industry and civil society entities from around the world, all dedicated to successfully tackling the plastic waste crisis,” noted in his opening remarks the Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions, Rolph Payet.

Established under the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal in 2019, the PWP aims to significantly reduce and ultimately eliminate the discharge of plastic waste and microplastics into the environment – particularly, in marine ecosystems. To that end, PWP members work to foster best practice solutions for the environmentally sound management of plastic waste by building on the existing body of knowledge at the local, regional and global levels.

One of the flagships of the PWP is its pilot project programme, through which 23 projects in 22 countries have so far been selected for implementation.  The new round of proposals will seek to include pilot projects with a regional focus.

“Following this year’s second call for proposals, we are evaluating over 100 projects in countries where the need for action is greatest. We expect this round of to focus on innovative projects that both scalable and replicable in other country settings,” said the PWP Working Group Co-chair, Ross Bartley, from the Bureau of International Recycling.

On the occasion of the third PWP meeting, the BRS Secretariat launched the digital version of a photography book, featuring the finalist entries of the PWP’s Plastic is Forever (so it’s time to get clever about managing it) photo competition. People from all around the world entered the competition to share images depicting how plastic pollution is affecting their daily lives. All photographs were previously displayed in photo exhibitions held in Geneva and online, on the UN Exhibits website. The three competition winners were announced in June 2022 during the Plastics Forum, held in the margins of the 2021/2022 meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the BRS Conventions.

Following the third PWP meeting, delegates from around the world gather for the first session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment. The INC meeting takes place in Punta del Este, from 28 November to 2 December, after the adoption of the relevant historic resolution during resumed fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly. With the ambition of completing negotiations by end of 2024, the INC will consider how to promote sustainable production and consumption of plastics from product design to environmentally sound waste management, through resource efficiency and circular economy approaches.

The BRS Secretariat is participating in the INC to closely cooperate and coordinate with the United Nations Environment Programme. Through the Plastic Waste Amendments, the Basel Convention is currently the only international treaty to legally bind countries to minimise the generation of plastics wastes, strictly control their transboundary movements, and ensure their environmentally sound management. In addition, the Stockholm Convention controls several hazardous chemicals used in plastics, and requires countries to manage waste with such chemicals in an environmentally sound manner. Thanks to support from Norway, the Secretariat is undertaking a study to map the global governance landscape of plastics and associated chemicals, and to identify governance gaps and complementarities with existing multilateral instruments. The study is set to provide possible considerations for the role of a new plastics instrument in regulating plastics and associated chemicals. The draft report is available for comments by 10 January 2023.

Looking to raise awareness among youth of the initiatives taken by the international community to curb and eliminate plastic waste pollution, the BRS Secretariat launched the Plastic is Forever Tik Tok challenge during the INC conference. Top players will be awarded a hard copy of the Plastic is Forever photography book.

The third meeting of the PWP working group was co-organised by the BRS Secretariat and the Basel and Stockholm Conventions Regional Centre in Uruguay (BCCC-SCRC Uruguay), thanks to the generous support of the European Union and Norway.

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/

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal aims to protect people and the environment from the negative effects of the environmentally unsound management of hazardous wastes and other wastes worldwide.
http://www.basel.int/

More information on the Plastic is Forever campaign is available below:
https://trello.com/b/6wO64kva/plastic-is-forever

For more information on the Basel Convention Plastic Waste Partnership, contact: BRS Programme Officer, Susan Wingfield, susan.wingfield@un.org

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

The digital version of the Plastic is Forever coffee table book has been launched!
On the occasion of the 3rd Plastic Waste Partnership meeting in Uruguay, a digital version of a photography book has been launched, featuring the finalist entries of the Plastic is Forever competition.

The digital version of the Plastic is Forever coffee table book has been launched!

The digital version of the Plastic is Forever coffee table book has been launched!
 
2023 BRS COPs provisional agendas now available
Invitation letters to BRS COPs 2023 have been sent out to Parties.

2023 BRS COPs provisional agendas now available

2023 BRS COPs provisional agendas now available
 
Basel and Rotterdam Conventions’ Compliance Committees hold joint session
On 17 November 2022, the two Committees meet in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss systemic issues of general compliance that are of common interest.

Basel and Rotterdam Conventions’ Compliance Committees hold joint session

Basel and Rotterdam Conventions’ Compliance Committees hold joint session
 
UN agencies at COP27 urge action to tackle impact of plastic waste on climate
The event was co-organised by the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

UN agencies at COP27 urge action to tackle impact of plastic waste on climate

UN agencies at COP27 urge action to tackle impact of plastic waste on climate

The UN System takes a stand against climate change and the plastic waste crisis during COP27.

Plastic has revolutionised medicine, the automotive industry and food chain supplies, just to name a few economic areas. Plastic waste, however, has become a key driver of pollution across the world, overwhelming marine, terrestrial and aerial ecosystems.

On 10 November 2022, prominent representatives from the United Nations (UN) System met on the margins of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) to shed light on the often overlooked but nonetheless crucial link between plastic waste and climate change-inducing carbon emissions. Co-organised by the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS Secretariat), the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the event addressed ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by combatting plastic pollution and illegal traffic in plastic waste.

“Today’s event serves as an example of UN entities joining forces to deliver targeted policy advice and effective technical assistance to Member States,” stated UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly in her welcoming remarks. She went on to note that international cooperation is especially important with respect to carrying out trade route investigations and mutual legal assistance, which can help disrupt the cross-border flow of illegal plastic waste.

Approximately 75% of all plastic produced in the world eventually becomes waste, which is particularly disconcerting if one bears in mind that plastics are petroleum-based and often illegally burned for disposal.

Seychelles is suffocating from illegal dumping and illegal burning of plastic as part of ‘recycling’ schemes. “The illegal trade, dumping and uncontrolled incineration of plastics is negatively affecting the pristine Seychellois ecosystem,” said Flavien Joubert, Minister of Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment of Seychelles, before laying out a plan to prioritise the use of glass on the islands. Key solutions that are in progress include: international cooperation and partnerships across countries and UN agencies, increased law enforcement to tackle illegal plastic waste, and the development of alternative materials like glass.

In the same vein, the Director of Hazardous and Non-Hazardous Waste Management in Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry announced the development of a new national policy that will serve as a roadmap for Indonesia to prevent the import of hazardous and contaminated plastic waste.

“Local problems can only be resolved by the implementation of global agreements,” noted Ecuador’s Minister of the Environment, Water and Ecological Transition, Gustavo Manrique. As a case in point, he revealed that, even though Ecuador has successfully established a national circular economy law, 83% of the plastic waste reaching its shores arrives from other countries.

The sentiment on the importance of global cooperation was echoed by the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Head of Oceans and Natural Resources, Nicholas Hardman Mountford, who referred to actions taken by the 56 Commonwealth countries to combat plastic pollution, including through the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance, which focuses on tackling plastic waste in marine ecosystems. “The future economy is waste-free, circular and net-zero,” he said.

Nevertheless, if plastics are to have a place in the future, let that be in the form of reusable, biodegradable and compostable plastic substitutes. This was the suggestion put forward by Miho Shirotori, UNCTAD Officer in Charge for the Division on International Trade and Commodities. Shirotori underlined that trade policy can support a transition to plastic alternatives by adjusting tariff measures in the trade of plastic transports. “The future is not plastic. The future is plastic substitute, and trade can help the transition,” she said.

“Trade has too often been the missing link when tackling environmental challenges,” stated Aik Hoe Lim, Director of Trade and Environment Division at the World Trade Organization (WTO). Lim also divulged that the WTO is currently mapping out possible trade measures for governments to undertake in order to address plastic pollution.

Multilateral environmental agreements have a decisive role to play in defining what constitutes legal and illegal traffic of waste. BRS Conventions Deputy Executive Secretary, Carlos Martin-Novella, elaborated on the fact that “Before the Basel Convention Plastic Waste Amendments entered into force in 2021, countries had been facing a tsunami of plastic waste imports, which they had no real say in managing.” The Plastic Waste Amendments legally bind the 190 Parties to the Basel Convention to a strict control procedure with respect to the transboundary movement of problematic plastic wastes.

As such, the Plastic Waste Amendments are a stepping stone towards ending plastic pollution, a goal supported by the historic resolution to establish an international legally-binding instrument on plastic pollution, which was adopted during the fifth UN Environment Assembly. Susan Gardner, Director of UNEP’s Division of Ecosystems, opined that “Dealing with plastic pollution serves as an opportunity for societies to shift to circular economies, thereby addressing all three planetary crises: climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss.”

How combatting plastic pollution and illegal traffic in plastic waste can help reduce carbon emissions” was moderated by the Director of the Forum on Trade, Environment and the SDGs, Carolyn Deere Birkbeck.

BRS Secretariat at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference
The BRS Conventions address the importance of sustainably managing chemicals and wastes to combat climate change.

BRS Secretariat at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference

BRS Secretariat at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference

The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions is proud to participate in the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), which is taking place from 6 to 18 November 2022 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

There is no chance of successfully tackling climate change without first dealing with the issue of pollution. Hazardous chemicals and wastes are negative affecting global climate goals and endangering biodiversity. The Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions are the first line of defence posed by the international community to protect human health and the environment from toxic chemicals and wastes.

Below you can find an indicative list of the COP27 events in which the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions will be actively participating. All times are in GMT+2.

10 November 2022
13:15 - 14:45

How combatting plastic pollution and illegal traffic in plastic waste can help reduce carbon emissions

Recording, Photo gallery

Organisers:
Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions Secretariat
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

________________________________________

10 November 2022
16:00 – 16:55

Climate Forward Conversations: Stopping the Global Waste Cycle

Recording, Photo gallery

Organisers:
The New York Times

 

________________________________________

11 November 2022
12:30 – 13:30

Unmanaged Waste - a hidden cause of climate change

Livestream, Photo gallery

Organisers:
Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions Secretariat
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

________________________________________

11 November 2022
18:30 – 22:00

Net Zero Urban Program

Organisers:
KPMG

 

 

________________________________________

9th Expert Group Meeting on DDT underway in Geneva
DDT experts are meeting in Geneva, Switzerland from 7 to 9 November to discuss the chemical’s usage for disease vector control.

9th Expert Group Meeting on DDT underway in Geneva

9th Expert Group Meeting on DDT underway in Geneva
 
Basel and Stockholm Convention Regional Centres meet in Geneva
The annual joint meeting of the Regional Centres under the Basel and the Stockholm Conventions is taking place from 7 to 9 November 2022.

Basel and Stockholm Convention Regional Centres meet in Geneva

Basel and Stockholm Convention Regional Centres meet in Geneva
 
BRS Highlights launched!
The monthly newsletter of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions has been relaunched! Subscribe to get inside scoop on the work of the Secretariat.

BRS Highlights launched!

BRS Highlights launched!
 
Submit your stories for our e-waste competition by 14 November 2022!
The top three stories will be announced in December 2022 and will be adapted into animated videos premiering during the 2023 Meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (2023 BRS COPs), which will take place in Geneva, Switzerland, in May 2023.

Submit your stories for our e-waste competition by 14 November 2022!

Submit your stories for our e-waste competition by 14 November 2022!
 
Rolph Payet at the high-level panel of the WTO Trade and Environment Week
The Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions Executive Secretary remarked on the ways that trade policy for chemicals and wastes affects human health and the Earth’s ecosystems.

Rolph Payet at the high-level panel of the WTO Trade and Environment Week

Rolph Payet at the high-level panel of the WTO Trade and Environment Week
 
Join the webinar: 20 years of action to eliminate lead poisoning
The Basel Convention has teamed up with the World Health Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme for a webinar addressing lead exposure. The event will take place on 25 October 2022, on the margins of the 10th International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week.

Join the webinar: 20 years of action to eliminate lead poisoning

Join the webinar: 20 years of action to eliminate lead poisoning
 
Hybrid regional training for the Pacific region
Focused on legal frameworks and international trade control measures, this is a combination of national face-to-face sessions, running in parallel with a regional online training in each of the participating countries.

Hybrid regional training for the Pacific region

Hybrid regional training for the Pacific region
 
The Basel Convention makes history on e-waste!
International E-waste Day 2022 marks a new deal on e-waste under the Basel Convention.

The Basel Convention makes history on e-waste!

The Basel Convention makes history on e-waste!

“Recycle it all, no matter how small!” The theme of the International E-waste Day 2022 highlights the importance of recycling even the smallest of e-waste. Observed annually on 14 October, E-waste Day was first introduced in 2018 by the Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Forum in an effort to raise awareness of the need for e-waste recycling among consumers.

The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions has been a longtime partner of the WEEE Forum, supporting not only the adoption of the international day, but also collaborating with the Forum through the Partnership for Action on Challenges relating to E-waste (PACE II), a public-private multistakeholder platform that raises awareness of the e-waste pollution issue, assists developing countries with the adoption of policies for the environmentally sound management (ESM) of e-waste, and launches new pilot projects on the ESM of e-wastes in its scope.

The Parties to the Basel Convention placed e-waste at the centre of the Basel Convention agenda during the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15), in June 2022. In the vein of the Plastic Waste Amendments that came into force one year ago, the Parties adopted amendments to annexes II, VIII, and IX of the Basel Convention, which led to the inclusion of all e-waste under the Prior Informed Consent Control Procedure (PIC). As a result, starting from 1 January 2025, all e-waste moved across the international borders of the 190 Basel Convention Parties will be subject to a strict control procedure, and governments will be able to decide if they want to e-waste imports from other countries. The E-waste Amendments will legally bind countries under the Basel Convention to strictly control its transboundary movement and ensure its environmentally sound management[1].

To support Parties with the implementation of the Amendments, the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions is launching a new capacity-building and training programme on the transboundary movement of e-waste. The programme will be implemented across all the United Nations regions before the E-waste Amendments are entered into force.

Following the adoption of the E-waste Amendments by COP15, the Basel Convention Parties launched a review of the existing ESM guidance on e-waste to reflect the new listing. This review will also cover the Technical Guidelines on transboundary movements of electrical and electronic waste and used electrical and electronic equipment, in particular regarding the distinction between waste and non-waste under the Basel Convention[3].

In addition, the Basel Convention decided to develop two new guidance documents on the ESM of waste from TV screens, audio and video equipment, and on waste from refrigerators, cooling and heating equipment, in the context of the work carried out PACE II.

At COP15, the Parties to the Basel Convention also responded to the call for a new ESM guidance on batteries, which will drive the energy transition to mitigate climate change. The Basel Convention Parties launched the updating of the Technical Guidelines on ESM of waste lead-acid batteries, adopted in 2004, and the development of new technical guidelines on ESM of lithium-ion batteries as well as other batteries. The new technical guidelines are expected to clarify the listing of batteries under the Basel Convention and set a global standard for their recycling and ESM[2].

The Secretariat continues its collaboration with other international organizations in the E-waste Coalition, a coordination platform for international organisations and entities working on e-waste.

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/

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, aims to protect people and the environment from the negative effects of the inappropriate management of hazardous wastes worldwide.
http://www.basel.int/

For more information about the work carried out on e-waste by the BRS Secretariat, contact:
Carla Valle-Klann, BRS Programme Management Officer, carla.valle@un.org
Francesca Cenni, BRS Programme Management Officer, francesca.cenni@un.org
Tatiana Terekhova, BRS Programme Management Officer, tatiana.terekhova@un.org

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

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[1] Decision BC-15/18.

[2] Decision BC-15/7.

[3] Decision BC-15/11.

BAT/BEP meeting taking place in Geneva from 11 to 13 October
The expert meeting on Best Available Techniques (BAT) and Best Environmental Practices (BEP) under the Stockholm Convention will focus on the revision and finalization of guidance documents, and the workplan for the next biennium.

BAT/BEP meeting taking place in Geneva from 11 to 13 October

BAT/BEP meeting taking place in Geneva from 11 to 13 October
 
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