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Celebrating 35 years of compliance mechanisms under the UNEP-administered MEAs
Held on the margins of the United Nations Environment Programme’s 50th anniversary, the event explored ways of keeping environmental governance effective under the Multilateral Environmental Agreements.

Celebrating 35 years of compliance mechanisms under the UNEP-administered MEAs

Celebrating 35 years of compliance mechanisms under the UNEP-administered MEAs

The role of compliance mechanisms under the eight global Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) took center stage today during the United Nations Environmental Assembly Special Session to commemorate UNEP’s 50th anniversary. The side event was co-organised by the secretariats of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS), the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals, the Minamata Convention on Mercury, and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer.

Kicking off the discussion, the President of the Implementation Committee of the Montreal Protocol, Ms. Guo Xiaolin, remarked on the positive impact of the Protocol, which has prevented damages to human health, ecosystems, agriculture, animals and materials from the harmful UV radiation and ultimately contributed to the avoidance of global warming by 1°C. “The compliance regime of the Protocol facilitates, promotes and enforces conformity with commitments by the Parties through cooperative, non-judicial and non-confrontational processes,” elaborated Guo.

Adopted in 2013, the Minamata Convention is perpetuating the legacy of compliance mechanisms. Executive Secretary Ms. Monika Stankiewicz explained that “Through print and electronic reporting, Minamata presents Parties with opportunities to share not only challenges in the implementation, but also other inputs and feedback on the Convention, all of which help to facilitate compliance.”

Former Chair and Vice-Chair of the Compliance Committee under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, Ms. Jimena Nieto Carrasco, who joined the discussion online from Colombia, highlighted the similar procedures and mechanisms between the Compliance Committees under the Cartagena Protocol and the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources, including reviewing compliance of national reports by Parties every four years.

Next to take the floor was Ms. Amy Fraenkel, the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Migratory Species, which was adopted in 1979. She stated: “We are the only legally binding agreement that deals with the conservation and the habitat of migratory species, and our compliance mechanism is based on dialogue,” adding that “Its goal is not to punish Parties but to look at what is happening on the ground, where there are issues, and investigate what can be done to solve problems.”

UNEP Executive Director Ms. Inger Andersen addressed participants as a guest speaker, and  underlining the importance of compliance by making a connection with the recent historic resolution endorsed by 175 nations to end plastic pollution through the forging of an international legally binding agreement by 2024. Currently, the Basel Convention and its Plastic Waste Amendments is the only MEA addressing plastic waste, legally binding 189 Parties to minimize the generation of plastic wastes, to manage it an environmentally sound manner and strictly control its international trade so that it only take place between consenting nations who can manage it in environmentally sustainable ways.

“We, at UNEP, are tremendously proud to be the host of a number of MEAs. The fact that we have been entrusted with this role represents an understanding not that these Conventions do not have a life and a governance of their own, but that they are stronger when woven into what I often refer to as the ‘broader tapestry’ that UNEP offers,” remarked Andersen.

An interactive dialogue followed between all panellists, also featuring an intervention by H.E. Franz Perrez, Ambassador for the Environment and Head of the International Affairs Division in Switzerland’s Federal Office for the Environment. He noted that “MEAs are at the heart of the international structure that helps us protect the environment”, and went on to attribute their importance to the fact that they are able to advance policies and ensure that these policies are implemented: Ambassador Perrez concluded by saying that “Compliance is in the self-interest of each MEA Party, as it is there to protect the integrity of the system and support implementation.”

Mr. Rolph Payet , Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions served as moderator for the event. In his closing statement, he emphasized the role of compliance mechanisms in promoting policy coherence and enhancing collaboration: “MEAs are global treaties, and there are a lot of countries, interests, needs and gaps as far as they are involved. For that reason, it is important that we build and maintain compliance mechanisms in the Conventions to ensure that we measure their effectiveness, and keep them alive and relevant.”

More information on the event, including a recording, can be accessed here.

BRS Secretariat Chief speaks at the UNEA-5 Leadership Dialogue with MEAs
Rolph Payet discussed how strengthening action by multilateral environmental agreements can help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

BRS Secretariat Chief speaks at the UNEA-5 Leadership Dialogue with MEAs

BRS Secretariat Chief speaks at the UNEA-5 Leadership Dialogue with MEAs
 
UNEA-5.2: Leadership Dialogue with MEAs
Join the UNEA-5.2 Leadership Dialogue with MEAs to hear exchanges of views and experiences on ways to contribute to enhanced environmental governance, including through coherent implementation of the MEAs.

UNEA-5.2: Leadership Dialogue with MEAs

UNEA-5.2: Leadership Dialogue with MEAs
 
UNEP@50: MEAs celebrate 35 years of compliance mechanisms
Join the side event during the special session of the UNEA, co-organized by the eight UNEP-administered Multilateral Environmental Agreements.

UNEP@50: MEAs celebrate 35 years of compliance mechanisms

UNEP@50: MEAs celebrate 35 years of compliance mechanisms
 
All for one and one for all!
Celebrating ten years of collaboration in the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

All for one and one for all!

All for one and one for all!

Celebrating ten years of collaboration in the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

The BRS Secretariat is ten years young today, yet it’s difficult to imagine a time when the missions of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions were not intertwined. From the Basel Convention’s broad mandate to minimize the generation of hazardous and other wastes, ensure their environmentally sound management and control their transboundary movements, to the Rotterdam Convention providing countries with a first line of defence against unwanted imports of hazardous chemicals, and the Stockholm Convention’s work on prohibiting or restricting the production, use, international trade, release and storage of persistent organic pollutants, all three agreements share the common objective of protecting human health and the environment.

The BRS Secretariat is essentially a functional representation of the synergistic relationship that exists between the three Conventions. As Executive Secretary Rolph Payet puts it, “In more ways than one, we serve as the hazardous chemicals and wastes nexus, always working to further enhance international environmental governance and cooperation. I am proud to serve an entity that continues to be the flagship of efforts to improve international environmental governance.

One of the principal functions of the BRS Secretariat is the preparation and management of the BRS Conference of the Parties (BRS COPs), the highest decision-making body under each Convention. Drawing on guidance provided by the Bureaux of the Conferences of the Parties, the Secretariat organises the BRS COPs on a biannual basis. This year will signal the first time that all Parties will have the opportunity to meet again in Geneva since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, marking what is described by Deputy Executive Secretary Carlos Martin-Novella as an auspicious occasion: “2022 is a milestone year for multilateral cooperation with respect to the environment. The United Nations Environment Programme is turning 50 years old, the international community is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, and the BRS Secretariat is completing a decade of successful work.” The 2022 BRS COPs, which will be held from 7 to 16 June is Geneva, are a great opportunity for world leaders, experts and decisionmakers to meet face-to-face for the first time in the post-pandemic era and agree on new solutions to bring forward positive change in the environmental world.

Having been with the BRS Secretariat since day one, Senior Policy and Strategy Advisor Maria Cristina Cardenas has a well-rounded perspective about the ways the Secretariat’s work has been advancing cooperation on global environmental issues over the years. “Considering that the BRS Conventions are not only legally binding but also enjoy nearly universal coverage, decisions taken over these past ten years to address major issues like plastic waste management, toxic chemicals and biopesticides, all have a lasting and substantial effect on all of our lives and the planet”, she remarks.

Such environmental issues certainly don’t exist in a vacuum. The Secretariat provides a platform for their assessment, taking into account scientific as well as socioeconomic considerations, and thereby feeding into the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Agenda 2030. With ten years down and hopefully many more to come, there’s definitely room for more ambition and further progress to be made ahead.

 

Disclaimer: The BRS 10th anniversary refers to the day when all the BRS Secretariats administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (the Basel Convention Secretariat, the Stockholm Convention Secretariat, and half of the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat) came under joint management on 18 February 2011.

 

Rolph Payet joins world leaders in discussing plastic waste management
In the lead-up to UNEA-5.2, BRS Secretariat Executive Secretary addresses the positive impact of the Plastic Waste Amendments on curbing plastic pollution.

Rolph Payet joins world leaders in discussing plastic waste management

Rolph Payet joins world leaders in discussing plastic waste management
 
Happy International Day of Women and Girls in Science!
Join us in the fight against gender bias that holds girls back from studying STEM, and impedes women from pursuing successful careers in science fields.

Happy International Day of Women and Girls in Science!

Happy International Day of Women and Girls in Science!
 
Send your submissions for the Generation Connect E-Waste Iconathon by 18 March 2022!
ITU is organising an icon design contest to raise awareness about the global e-waste issue, leveraging the participation of youth. The BRS Secretariat is proud to support the initiative.

Send your submissions for the Generation Connect E-Waste Iconathon by 18 March 2022!

Send your submissions for the Generation Connect E-Waste Iconathon by 18 March 2022!
 
Reports of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Convention COPs (online segments) are now available in all UN languages
The reports are available to view or download in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Spanish and Russian.

Reports of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Convention COPs (online segments) are now available in all UN languages

Reports of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Convention COPs (online segments) are now available in all UN languages
 
Season’s Greetings and Best Wishes for 2022
The Executive Secretary and team whish you Season’s Greetings and Best Wishes for 2022.

Season’s Greetings and Best Wishes for 2022

Season’s Greetings and Best Wishes for 2022

The Executive Secretary and team whish you Season’s Greetings and Best Wishes for 2022.

Validating Argentina’s recycling efforts
The Basel Convention Regional Center for South America launches protocol for the certification of recycling plants managing plastic materials.

Validating Argentina’s recycling efforts

Validating Argentina’s recycling efforts

With hundreds of millions practicing it around the globe, recycling is no longer a novel concept. However, those who recycle with the best intentions but no real understanding of the divergent practices that currently exist in the recycling industry, risk generating waste contamination.

In Argentina, the Basel Convention Regional Center for South America (CRBAS) is working on bridging these gaps in understanding through the development of a project that will align recycling industry practices and bolster public trust in the recycling process. On 14 December 2021, CRBAS launched a protocol, which certifies that plastic recycling plants meet and operate under the same specific, high quality, environmental standards.

Supported by the National Institute of Industrial Technology (INTI), and the Argentine Chamber of the Plastic Recycling Industry (CAIRPLAS), the Protocol for the Certification of Recycling Industries of Plastic Materials aims to improve the environmentally sound management of plastic waste.  To further support the project’s uptake and implementation, CRBAS is also developing training workshops for auditors, and organizing certification audits throughout the country to award the INTI/CAIRPLAS seal.

If the protocol is met with a positive response in Argentina, there are plans to replicate in other Latin American and Caribbean countries. The overall project falls under the Basel Convention’s Small Grants Program on Plastic Waste, implemented worldwide by the Regional Centers of the Basel and Stockholm Conventions, and funded by the Norwegian government development agency, Norad.

More information on the launch of the Protocol for the Certification of Recycling Industries of Plastic Materials is available here.

BRS in the 10th Green Standards Week
BRS Deputy Executive Secretary will open the High-level Dialogue on Sustainable E-waste Management and Circular Economy in Latin America. Register here.

BRS in the 10th Green Standards Week

BRS in the 10th Green Standards Week
 
Launch of the Stockholm Convention Electronic Reporting System for 5th reporting cycle
The questionnaire, which has been revised to include reporting on additional chemicals, is now available to Parties through in all six UN official languages. Join one of our webinars on 6 or 8 December to learn more about it!

Launch of the Stockholm Convention Electronic Reporting System for 5th reporting cycle

Launch of the Stockholm Convention Electronic Reporting System for 5th reporting cycle
 
New Greening the Blue report highlights steps taken to lessen UN family’s environmental footprint, and impact of COVID-19
The BRS Secretariat, one of 56 UN entities included in the report, is carbon neutral for the 8th year in a row.

New Greening the Blue report highlights steps taken to lessen UN family’s environmental footprint, and impact of COVID-19

New Greening the Blue report highlights steps taken to lessen UN family’s environmental footprint, and impact of COVID-19

Greening the Blue Report 2021 reveals impacts of COVID-19 on UN system’s environmental footprint

Greening the Blue Report 2021 - The UN system’s environmental footprint and efforts to reduce it, is the first edition to reveal impacts on the UN system’s environmental footprint due to COVID-19. The annual report provides UN system-wide data on the environmental impact areas and management functions identified in the Strategy for Sustainability Management in the United Nations System 2020-2030, Phase I: Environmental Sustainability in the Area of Management. The 2021 edition of the Report, which provides 2020 data, was launched on Monday 8 November. The full Report and UN entity-specific data are available online at www.greeningtheblue.org.

The Report focuses on the environmental impacts of over 315,000 personnel in Headquarters, field offices and operations on the ground. Data from 56 UN system entities is included in the Report. Highlights include:

Greenhouse gas emissions and offsetting

With significant worldwide travel restrictions and large portions of UN personnel working from home, the UN system generated approximately 25 per cent fewer GHG emissions than in 2019. The steep reduction in GHG emissions reflects the sudden and dramatic adaptations in operations that had to be made throughout 2020, as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020, the UN system produced ~1.5 million tonnes CO2eq, with per capita emissions of 5 tonnes CO2eq. The UN system’s emission by source were 32% from air travel, 55% from facilities, and 12% from other forms of travel. Of the reported 2020 emissions 99% were offset.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed on many entities’ a radical change in work and travel patterns. This has however also highlighted the opportunity the UN system has to revisit its working and travel modalities and come closer to the ambitious emissions reductions’ targets that it has set for itself for 2030.

BRS performance

In 2020, the BRS Secretariat, through its operations and facilities, emitted 53 tCO2eq in total or 0.76 tCO2eq per capita – much lower the UN average. When breaking down emissions by source, 74% came from air travel and the remaining 26% came from our facilities.

The Secretariat is also pleased to announce its climate neutrality for the 8th year in a row, meaning that it offsets 100% of its greenhouse gas emissions.

For further details, please visit Greening the Blue where you will find more information relating to activities at the UN system level as well as in the BRS Secretariat. Please also consult the Secretariat’s sustainability webpage.

More information

For more information on the methodologies and data collection used, and for the full Greening the Blue report 2021 please visit the Greening the Blue website.

For more information on the methodology related to travel emissions provided by the International Civil Aviation Organisation please visit the ICAO website.

For information on climate neutrality, please visit the UNFCCC website.

For more information, please contact:

UN Environment Programme

E-mail: unepnewsdesk@unep.org.

UN Palais des Nations in Geneva turns green as key climate change talks begin at COP-26, 1 November 2021
Landmark building illuminated by Basel Convention green to highlight links between climate change and chemicals and waste, including plastic waste.

UN Palais des Nations in Geneva turns green as key climate change talks begin at COP-26, 1 November 2021

UN Palais des Nations in Geneva turns green as key climate change talks begin at COP-26, 1 November 2021
 
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