Further Resources

Synergies app launched at 2013 COPs

Synergies app launched at 2013 COPs

Synergies app launched at 2013 COPs

The mobile app is expected to increase transparency and participation in Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm convention meetings. Available for Android and iPhone/iPads.

The Secretariat announced the release of the free mobile phone app Synergies on the opening day of the ordinary and extraordinary meetings of the conferences of the parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions (COPs).

Synergies provides a window to information about the meetings of the global chemicals and wastes conventions. It gives quick and easy access to essential information about the 2013 COPs. More than 1,700 participants are expected to attend the two-week long conference.

The app provides Alerts, Schedule, Agenda, News, ExCOPs, Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conference documents, and General Information for the COPs. It was designed by Zero to Heroes Media (Vancouver, Canada) working closely with the conventions' Secretariat, based in Geneva.

The free app can be downloaded from the Apple App store for iPhone/iPad users and from Google Play for Android users.

After the 2013 COPs, Synergies will continue to provide similar information at future major meetings of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions.


Extraordinary UN Conference Takes Historic Strides to Strengthen Chemical Safety Globally

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.


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.


Information for Participants

Download the Information for Participants brochure in EnglishFrench or Spanish.

Venue of the meetings

The meetings of the conferences of the parties will be held at the following venue:

Centre International de Conférences Genève (CICG)
17 Rue de Varembé
CH-1211 Geneva 20, Switzerland
Telephone: + 41 (0) 22 791 91 11
Fax: + 41 (0) 22 791 90 64
Internet: www.cicg.ch  


The names and contact information of your designated representatives (including postal addresses, telephone numbers, facsimile numbers and e-mail addresses, where available) should be communicated using the registration form to the following address:

Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions
Ms. Stéphanie Cadet
International Environment House
11-13 chemin des Anémones
CH-1219 Châtelaine, Switzerland
Tel.: + 41 (0) 22 917 8324
Fax: + 41 (0) 22 917 8098
E-mail: scadet@pops.int  

On-site registration will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, 27 April, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, 28 April, and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the remaining days of the meetings. Security checks will be carried out at the conference centre each time you enter the venue. Please note that owing to the high number of participants expected, we strongly recommend that you register on Saturday or as early as possible. 


  • Credentials of the representatives, as well as the names of the alternate representatives and advisers, who will constitute the delegation for your State or regional economic integration organization to the meetings of those of the three conventions to which your State or regional economic integration organization is a party need to be submitted.
  • Credentials for up to all of the 6 meetings can be presented in one document.
  • Credentials must be issued by the head of State or Government, by the Minister for Foreign Affairs or, in the case of a regional economic integration organization, by the competent authority of that organization.
  • Credentials must be submitted if possible no later than 24 hours after the opening of the meetings (in the case of the current meetings, therefore, by 10 a.m. on 29 April 2013).
  • Representatives of Parties are kindly requested, however, to submit an advance copy of the credentials prior to the meetings and preferably by 28 January 2013, as doing so will greatly facilitate the clearance process. If credentials are submitted in copy or by facsimile, the original credentials should be submitted upon registration at the meeting.
  • Contact person for credentials: Ms. Stephanie Cadet (scadet@pops.int)


It is the responsibility of each participant to apply for the required visa. Visas must be obtained prior to arrival.

Please note that Switzerland joined the Schengen area on 12 December 2008 and a Schengen visa is therefore required to enter the country. Swiss visa desks can only accept applications from persons whose main destination is Switzerland. The time needed for a Schengen visa request to be processed may vary and it is therefore strongly recommended that applications be made a minimum of three weeks prior to travel. Further information is available on the website of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland at the following link: http://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/en/home/reps.html.


It is strongly recommended that delegates take out international medical, accident and travel insurance. It is the responsibility of participants to make their own arrangements for insurance. The Secretariat is not liable for any loss or damage whatsoever that may be incurred by participants, during their travel time to and from the meetings or during the period of participation at the meetings.


It is the responsibility of participants to make their own arrangements for accommodation. The Secretariat encourages all parties to make such arrangements at the earliest possible opportunity.

A list of hotels with UN preferential rates is available for your convenience.

Access to conference premises

Please note that access to the conference area is restricted to registered participants of the COP. In order to comply with the security requirements of the secretariat, participants are expected to wear their badges visibly at all time and in all areas. If you lose your badge, please report it to the Registration Counter immediately.

Schedule of the meetings

On Saturday, 27 April 2013, preparatory meetings, including regional and bureaux meetings, will be held. The regional meetings are scheduled from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Further information on the preparatory meetings will be announced on this website.

The meetings will open on Sunday, 28 April 2013, at 10 a.m. Further information on the schedule of work is contained in document UNEP/FAO/CHW/RC/POPS/EXCOPS.2/INF/2.

Delegates wishing to attend specific sessions of the meetings only should keep in mind that the order and timing of sessions may change, depending on decisions made by the bureaux of the conferences of the parties and on the time required for discussion. Delegates are invited to take this into consideration when making their travel arrangements.

High-level segment

The meetings will include a high-level segment on the afternoon of Thursday, 9 May 2013 and the morning of Friday, 10 May 2013. Further information on the high-level segment will be provided in document UNEP/FAO/CHW/RC/POPS/EXCOPS.2/INF/3 (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish).

Side events

Two side events will be held in parallel during lunch breaks and up to two in the evenings following the plenary sessions. A draft schedule of side events will be published on this website approximately three weeks prior to the meeting.

If you have any questions related to side events, please contact Ms. Andrea Warmuth at the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (e-mail: awarmuth@pops.int or Tel. +41 (0) 22 917 88 53).


Requests for exhibitions should be sent no later than 28 March 2013 to the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (nalini.basavaraj@unep.org) or, should this not be possible, by telephone to the following number: +41 22 91 78383.

Approximately three weeks prior to the meeting, the exhibitors will be informed about their allotted dates and space for exhibiting their information materials. After being informed, any Exhibitor wishing to send materials for the purpose of an exhibition should inform the Secretariat (nalini.basabaraj@unep.org), and provide a description of the content of the package. The packages then should be sent directly to:

c/o. Ms. Marina Bartolomei
Project Manager
BRS COPs and ExCOPS 2013
Centre International de Conférences Genève (CICG)
17, rue de Varembé
CH-1211 Geneva 20, Switzerland
Tel.: + 41 (0) 22 791 9063
Fax: + 41 (0) 22 791 90 64
Email: m.bartolomei@cicg.ch

Paperless meeting

The meetings will be paperless and printed documents will not be available at the meetings. Presession documents will be made available on this website and in-session documents (such as conference room papers) will be available electronically via wireless intranet or memory stick only.

Making a meeting paperless considerably reduces the cost and carbon footprint of the meeting. A paperless meeting also makes it easier for participants to locate documents and allows for faster preparation and distribution of conference room papers.

To facilitate the paperless nature of the meetings, participants are requested to ensure the following:

  • Each participant should bring a laptop computer containing basic applications, including Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint, Adobe Acrobat Reader and updated antivirus software.
  • Laptops should be pre-checked for viruses and confirmed as virus-free prior to arrival at the meetings. Virus-free laptops are crucial to the success of a paperless meeting.
  • Participants should bring a memory stick that has been pre-checked for viruses for the purpose of transferring documents.
  • Laptops should be configured for a standard wireless (Wi-Fi) connection. If in doubt, please check with your local information technology expert.
  • Participants should bring an appropriate adaptor to enable laptops to be connected to Swiss power sockets.
  • When completing the meetings registration form, participants should include a current e-mail address so that they can be sent correspondence relating to the meetings.


Participants are kindly requested to bring their own power adaptors.

Voltage: 230 volts
Frequency: 50 Hz
Plug/socket: C (CEE 7/16) , J

C (CEE 7/16)- photo Wikimedia Commons plug J - photo Wikimedia Commons

Internet café (PCs with Internet access)

An “Internet Café”, open all day, may be found on the lower level of the CICG building. These PCs are equipped with USB ports, as well as the standard and most useful applications and tools, and have a shared printer. All PCs have permanent Internet access.

Family-friendly area

During the COPS/ExCOPs meetings, the Secretariat will provide a room for parents and babies (for nursing et al,). There will also be a playroom for older children. Parents travelling with children who would want to make use of these facilities can either opt to stay in the room with their children themselves or, alternatively, hire the services of a babysitter. The Secretariat can provide information on such babysitting services in order for parents to contact them to make proper arrangements. Please note that parents leaving their children under the custody of a babysitter/caregiver in the children’s room remain responsible for their children, and should therefore have appropriate medical/ accident and liability insurances. The Secretariats, UNEP and the UN shall not be liable for any damage or claim whatsoever occurring as a result of the children staying in such premises.

Parking and drop-off / pickup points

Delegates may be dropped off at the drop-off/pick-up points at the CICG, near the roundabout in front of the main entrance on rue de Varembé. Chauffeur-driven official cars should not remain parked in the vicinity of the entrance to the CICG, but must leave the area, only returning prior to the expected end of the meeting.

Local transportation and security

Once in Geneva, reaching the conference centre is simple. The international airport (Geneva Cointrin) is some 5 kilometres from the conference centre, a journey of approximately 10 minutes by taxi (see access map). The main railway station (Geneva Cornavin) is 2 kilometres from the conference centre and the two are linked by public transport (tramway and bus) and by taxi.

Public transport in Geneva is fast, frequent, safe and clean. Bus number 10 links the airport with downtown Geneva, with connections approximately every eight minutes, and train services are also available. The Unireso ticket, offered by the Geneva airport authority, allows the free use of public transport in the city for a period of 80 minutes. Unireso tickets can be obtained from the machine in the baggage collection area on the arrivals level of the airport (www.tpg.ch).

The conference centre can be reached from the main railway station by taking bus number 5 (alight at either the Vermont stop or the Varembé stop), bus number 8 (alight at the International Telecommunications Union stop) or tram number 13 or 15 in the direction of Nations (alight at Sismondi).

Taxis are easily available and safe, but comparatively expensive. If you need a taxi, call 022 320 22 02 or 022 331 41 33.

Although Geneva is a comparatively safe place and violent crime is rare, the incidence of pickpocketing and theft has increased considerably over the last few years. Participants are advised to pay particular attention at the airport, around the Cornavin railway station and in the Paquis district of the city, and to not leave their luggage unattended at any time.

Lost and found property

All inquiries concerning lost and found items can be addressed at the CICG reception desks.

Emergency contacts

You can call the following emergency numbers from a public telephone (payphone) or from your mobile phone.

International emergency number 112
Switzerland police 117
Fire emergencies 118
Medical emergency 144 for an ambulance


Swiss franc (CHF). Average exchange rates: 1 US dollar~ 0,93 CHF. 1 Euro ~ 1,22 CHF.


An office of the Union des Banques Suisses (UBS) is situated across the street from the CICG, at 17 chemin Louis-Dunant. Opening hours: 8.30 am to 4.30 pm. (Monday to Friday) Exit the CICG through the main door, take left, cross the road (chemin Louis-Dunant) and you are in front of the bank.

Postal service

The Post Office is located on the ground floor of the CICG building at 17, rue de Varembé. Opening hours: 8 am to noon and 2 pm to 6 pm (Monday to Friday). Exit the CICG through the main door and turn right.


The CICG bar and restaurant are located on the ground and first-floor levels. Other cafes, restaurants and shops are within walking distance of the CICG.

Other useful information