“Gender equality must be placed at the centre of solutions to tackle the triple-planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution.” - Rolph Payet, Executive Secretary of BRS Conventions

The Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions are international treaties that aim to protect human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals and waste. Gender mainstreaming is a crucial component in the implementation of these conventions, as it ensures that the different needs and perspectives of men and women are taken into account in the decision-making process. Women and men are affected differently by hazardous chemicals and waste, and gender inequalities can exacerbate these differences.

For instance, women are often more exposed to hazardous chemicals and waste than men, as they are more likely to work in industries that involve chemical handling, such as agriculture and healthcare. Women are also more likely to be involved in the informal sector, which often involves hazardous waste handling. Moreover, women may have different cultural and social roles, which can affect their exposure to chemicals and waste.

Gender mainstreaming also ensures that women are represented in decision-making processes, which is essential for promoting gender equality and achieving sustainable development. Women's participation in environmental decision-making has been shown to lead to better environmental outcomes, as they often bring unique perspectives and experiences to the table.

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

Further information:

BRS Gender Focal Point
Susan Wingfield
Email: susan.wingfield@un.org