Global environmental agenda advances as BRS COPs are held in Geneva to discuss chemicals and wastes management

More than 1500 registered participants representing the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS Conventions) reconvene in Geneva, Switzerland, from 6 to 17 June, for the first time in three years. Under the theme “Global Agreements for a Healthy Planet: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste”, the meetings of the Conferences of the BRS Conventions (BRS COPs) will address the impact of hazardous chemicals and wastes on human health and the environment.

“Our challenge during these COPs is to try and make the issues of chemical and waste, consumption and production, and pollution visible,” said BRS Executive Secretary Rolph Payet in his remarks during the opening ceremony, held on 6 June in Centre International de Conférences Genève. “We have invested a lot of time trying to create the perfect – or near-perfect – environment for the Parties to negotiate and achieve consensus.”

In turn, the Executive Secretary of the Food and Agriculture Organization part of the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat, Rémi Nono Womdim, called upon all Parties and all institutions involved in the BRS COPs to cooperate and increase their efforts to halt the three planetary crises of pollution, biodiversity loss, and climate change through the sound management of chemicals and waste. His thoughts were echoed by Payet who noted that “There is no winner or loser; we are all losers, if we don’t try and solve the crises.”

The fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention (BC COP-15) will consider, among others, amendment proposals focusing on e-wastes, the adoption of updated technical guidelines on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and mercury wastes, and the adoption of guidance documents to improve specific aspects of the implementation of the prior informed consent procedure as it relates to transit transboundary movements, and insurance, bond and guarantee.  Discussions will also be held on disposal operations, such as engineered landfilling and incineration on land. Additionally, Parties are expected to initiate the updating of the technical guidelines on used lead acid batteries.

The tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention (RC COP-10) will consider including in Annex III of the Convention two pesticides, two severely hazardous pesticide formulations, and three industrial chemicals. In addition, Parties will consider for the first time a work programme for the newly established Compliance Committee and receive a detailed overview of the technical assistance provided during the last two years, including work on the identification of alternatives to hazardous pesticides.

The tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention (SC COP-10) will consider listing a new group of perfluorinated chemicals, targeting them for elimination. Discussions will be held on the use of DDT, and the identification and management of POPs contaminated sites. Moreover, Parties will discuss progress made in the preparation of the second effectiveness evaluation report and the third global monitoring report on POPs.

During the COPs, Parties will also discuss ways for the conventions to contribute to the key outcomes of the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5), specifically, the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee that will develop the legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution, and the Science-Policy Panel on chemicals and waste that is expected to support the prevention of pollution. The provisions of the Stockholm Convention and of the Basel Convention, and in particular the Plastic Waste Amendments which are currently the sole legally binding provisions addressing plastic wastes, are expected to inform the negotiations of the aforementioned global instrument to end plastic pollution.

The BRS COPs will also adopt programmes of work and budgets for 2022-2023, and consider a new technical assistance plan for 2022-2025.

On the whole, more than 40 side events will be held, focusing on topics from pesticide risk reduction and e-waste management to hazardous child labour in agriculture and plastic waste streams.

Plastics Forum

This year, the BRS COPs will have a special focus on plastic waste management. The Plastics Forum is a multistakeholder umbrella event that will be held from 8 to 10 June to address the role of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions in tackling the global plastic waste crisis. Packed with interactive panel debates, spotlight presentations, and booth exhibits, the Plastics Forum will also include the Plastic is Forever hackathon and social media challenge. The Forum will end on a hopeful and celebratory note, with the illumination of the Palais des Nations façade on the nights of 10 and 11 June.

The Parties of the three Conventions adapted initial plans with regard to the scheduling of the BRS COPs, in response to the onset of COVID-19. As a result, BC COP-15, RC COP-10 and the SC COP-10 are held back-to-back in two stages: online from 26 to 30 July 2021, and face-to-face from 6 to 17 June 2022.

The High-level Segment of the BRS COPs took place on 1 June in Sweden. It was organized in connection with the Stockholm+50 event, commemorating the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. Held for the first time in four years, the BRS COPs High-level Segment was a resounding success, attended by over 100 ministers and high-level dignitaries from across the globe identifying opportunities to tackle the triple planetary environmental crisis of pollution, climate change and biodiversity loss, through the sustainable management of chemicals and wastes.


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.

More information on the 2021-2022 BRS COPs, including the High-level Segment and the Plastics Forum, is available here:

For technical information on the Rotterdam Convention, contact: Christine Fuell, Senior Technical Officer, 

Information on the Plastic is Forever campaign can be found here:

Further communication material is available on the BRS Secretariat Trello:

For media inquiries, contact: Marisofi Giannouli, BRS Associate Public Information Officer,