First-ever online segment of UN chemicals and waste conventions ends with key outcomes on budget, compliance, and financial mechanism

Geneva & Rome, 30 July 2021

Despite the ongoing challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Parties to the   Basel, Rotterdam, & Stockholm (BRS) conventions met this week in a virtual format, taking essential decisions aimed at continuing work of the conventions, which together protect human health and the environment from the harmful effects of hazardous chemicals and waste. Over 160 Parties and 1,300 participants attended the meetings.

The outcomes of this week’s online segment of the 2021 meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam, & Stockholm conventions (Triple COPs) include the adoption of an interim budget for 2022, and a decision to resume discussions during a face-to-face segment of the meetings in Geneva, from 6 to 17 June 2022.

An important step was reached under the Rotterdam Convention, with the first-ever elections of the members of the Compliance Committee, whose mandate is to assist individual Parties to resolve their compliance difficulties and also review systemic issues of compliance.

Under the Stockholm Convention, it was decided to forward two important outcomes to the Global Environment Facility (The GEF, the Stockholm Convention’s financial mechanism) given ongoing negotiations for its eight replenishment, namely the fifth review of the financial mechanism; and the report of the full assessment of the funding necessary and available for the implementation of the Stockholm Convention for the period 2022–2026. According to the needs assessment report, US$4.9 billion are needed to address persistent organic pollutants, out of which US$2.39 billion are needed to address polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

Under the Stockholm Convention, the election of the members to the effectiveness evaluation committee marks the initiation of the second evaluation of the effectiveness of the Convention, to assess whether the Convention is succeeding in achieving its objective of protecting human health and the environment from POPs.

Side events on various topics were organized and attended by numerous participants, including on plastic waste pollution, following the adoption of the Basel Convention Plastic Waste Amendments and the establishment of the Plastic Waste Partnership in 2019.

Speaking at today’s planned adjournment of the Triple COPs, Rolph Payet, Executive Secretary (UNEP) of the three conventions, said that “I’m proud that this week, Parties to the three Conventions have reached agreement on all agenda items prioritized for this online segment. This means that despite the financial, human resource, and operational constraints resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the crucial work of the three conventions can move forward seamlessly, enabling governments and other stakeholders around the world to better protect people and environment.”

FAO hosted a side event attended by more than 240 participants to discuss scientific data and experiences from African, Caribbean and Pacific Islands with highly hazardous pesticides and alternatives. Rémi Nono Womdim, Executive Secretary (FAO) of the Rotterdam Convention, commented: “FAO ensures its commitment to continue supporting parties in their efforts to reduce the risk from these and other pesticides”, adding: “Due to COVID-19, discussions on listing of further hazardous chemicals and pesticides to Annex III of the Convention will only take place in 2022.”

The three conventions constitute a coordinated, life-cycle approach to the environmentally sound management of chemicals & waste across the world. The legally binding BRS conventions share a common goal of protecting human health and the environment from the hazards of chemicals and waste, and have almost universal coverage with 188, 164, and 184 Parties respectively.

The Basel Convention, has, since 1st January 2021, included additional provisions for curbing the proliferation of plastic waste. A number of new publications on plastic waste were launched this week, including an interactive Storymap:

(, and a new series of infographics “Drowning in Plastics: Marine Litter and Plastic Waste – Vital Graphics”, published together with UNEP and GRID-Arendal, Norway, and soon available on

The Rotterdam Convention provides a structured information exchange procedure based on prior informed consent to international trade (the PIC Procedure), enabling Parties to take informed decisions on future imports of hazardous pesticides and industrial chemicals, achieve sound management, and ultimately lower the risk of harmful impacts on health and the environment. Through this, the Convention’s implementation contributes to better production, a better environment, better nutrition, and a better life. For more info see

The Stockholm Convention, covering the elimination and reduction of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), celebrates twenty years since its adoption. Coinciding with this landmark, the recently published third regional monitoring reports mark an important milestone towards the second effectiveness evaluation, with an enhanced information basis to support the assessment of trends in concentrations of POPs measured over time. Overall, the reports confirm the previously observed declining trends of POPs in the environment and in human populations, and show that, if measures are implemented to reduce or eliminate releases, the concentrations measured in humans and in the environment will follow, and continue to decrease. . For more info:

The BRS Secretariat thanks the donors whose support allowed the organization of the online segment of the COPs, as well as the regional preparatory meetings, and under such extraordinary circumstances: Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. The online segment will be followed by a face-to-face segment, scheduled from 6 to 17 June 2022 in Geneva, Switzerland.


Note for Editors:

The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions, or BRS Secretariat, supports Parties implement the three leading multilateral environment agreements governing chemicals and waste management, in order to protect human health and the environment. See for more information and follow the @brsmeas twitter feed for daily news.

The BRS Secretariat recently published two reports focussed on chemicals and wastes and climate change, and on chemicals and waste and biodiversity, which explore these key interlinkages further and which provide a forward-looking investigation of opportunities for enhanced cooperation to better address these complex challenges. These landmark reports are available online:

For more information, please contact:

For industrial chemicals: Kei OHNO WOODALL, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (UNEP),  Geneva: +41-79-2333218,

For pesticides: Christine FUELL, Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention (FAO), Rome: +39-06-57053765,

For media enquiries: Charlie AVIS, Public Information Officer (BRS, UNEP), Geneva: +41-79-7304495,

For FAO: FAO media relations office, Rome: +39-06-57053625,