Delegates gather in Geneva, Switzerland to accelerate action to curb pollution from chemicals and waste

Geneva, 01 May 2023

Under the theme “Accelerating Action: Targets for the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste”, over 2000 delegates from around the globe gather in Geneva, Switzerland for two weeks. They will take further key decisions to address pollution, and achieve the objectives of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions, the three leading multilateral environmental agreements for the sound management of chemicals and waste.

The meetings of the conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions, which are being held in Geneva from 1 to 12 May 2023, are expected to make progress on key issues under the conventions. These are for example listing of new chemicals, that are determined as posing serious concerns to human health and the environment, for elimination under the Stockholm Convention; subjecting additional chemicals and pesticides to the Prior Informed Consent procedure and considering an amendment proposal concerning the listing process under the Rotterdam Convention. Finally the development of technical guidelines on the environmentally sound management of plastic waste, POPs waste and e-waste under the Basel Convention.

Speaking at the opening session of the BRS COPs, Rolph Payet, Executive Secretary (UNEP) of the three conventions, underscored that “the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) targets under the Stockholm Convention, to eliminate the use of PCB in equipment by 2025 and to achieve the environmentally sound management of liquids containing PCB and equipment contaminated with PCB by 2028, are just around the corner! It is thus imperative for the international community, donors and the funding institutions to accelerate action to assist Parties in achieving these targets”.

Listing of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and Further Development of the Stockholm Convention

Three new chemicals are proposed for listing in Annex A, B or C to the Stockholm Convention namely the pesticide: methoxychlor and the industrial chemicals Dechlorane Plus and UV-328. Methoxychlor has been used as a replacement for DDT against a wide range of pests including biting flies, houseflies, mosquito larvae, cockroaches and chiggers on field crops, fruit, vegetables, ornamentals as well as on livestock and pets. It is known to be very highly toxic to invertebrates and fish, including through its endocrine-disrupting effects, and has been detected in the environment and biota in the Arctic and in Antarctica, far from its production and use. Methoxychlor has also been detected in human serum, adipose tissues, umbilical cord blood and human breast milk.

Dechlorane Plus is a flame retardant and UV-328 a UV absorbent, both chemicals are heavily used as plastic additives, including for uses that require time to be phased out, such as for motor vehicles, industrial machines and in medical devices. For that reason, the POPRC-18 recommendations included time-limited specific exemptions. The three chemicals are proposed for listing based on a robust review process addressing risks, management options and alternatives by the UN’s POPs Review Committee.

Amongst other key issues, the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention will also discuss the development of compliance procedures and mechanisms, review a range of recommendations stemming from the second evaluation of the effectiveness of the Stockholm Convention, evaluate the continued need to use DDT for disease vector control, based on the report on the work of the DDT expert group; the report on progress towards the elimination of PCB, and the draft strategy to meet the 2025 and 2028 goals to eliminate PCB set out in the Stockholm Convention.

Listing of Chemicals and Enhancing the Effectiveness of the Rotterdam Convention

The eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention (RC COP-11) will consider the listing of four pesticides, two severely hazardous pesticide formulations, and one industrial chemical into Annex III to the Convention. Among them are the fungicide iprodion with a high long-term risk to aquatic organisms, and the insecticide terbufos for which an extremely high hazard to terrestrial organisms was identified. Both will be considered for the first time by this COP.

The Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade enables parties to take informed decisions on future imports of chemicals and pesticides that have been listed in its Annex III. Through the subsequent PIC procedure parties will benefit from a structured information exchange that contributes to the environmentally sound use of those hazardous chemicals. “Managing safely such hazardous chemicals and pesticides will is one of the main objectives of the Rotterdam Convention and at the same time contributes to the achievement of target 7 of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework adopted in December 2022” highlighted Christine Fuell, ad interim Executive Secretary of the Rotterdam Convention.

The meeting will also consider, among other important items, an amendment proposal co-sponsored by Australia, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Georgia, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, Republic of Maldives, Switzerland and Togo to enhance the effectiveness of the Convention by creating a pathway for listing chemicals under the Convention in a new Annex VIII when all efforts to reach consensus to list them in Annex III have failed. Finally, the Conference of the Parties will hear about the progress achieved by the Rotterdam Convention Compliance Committee which launched its work in 2022.

Technical guidelines for the sound management of wastes

The sixteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention will consider the potential adoption of technical guidelines for the environmentally sound management of plastic waste, as well as wastes containing or contaminated with persistent organic pollutants. Parties will consider recommendations from the Implementation and Compliance Committee to improve Parties’ compliance with a range of obligations under the Convention, including progress achieved to reach national reporting targets. Parties will also discuss possible ways to improve the functioning of the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure, which is the corner stone of the Basel Convention regime to control transboundary movements of wastes, electronic approaches to the notification and movement documents and work on further clarifying the disposal operations and hazardous wastes covered by the Convention. Progress on the work under the Convention’s partnerships, focusing on electronic and electrical waste, plastic waste and household waste, as well as on preventing and combatting illegal traffic in hazardous and other wastes will be presented to the Conference of the Parties.

Notes 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 Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal is the most comprehensive international environmental agreement on hazardous and other wastes and is almost universal, with 190 Parties. With an overarching objective of protecting human health and the environment against the adverse effects of hazardous wastes and other wastes, its scope covers a wide range of wastes defined as “hazardous” based on their origin and/or composition and characteristics, as well as other types of wastes requiring special consideration, including household waste, incinerator ash, and plastics wastes. See

The Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure (PIC) for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, is jointly administered by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UN Environment (UNEP). The 165 Parties to this legally-binding Convention share responsibility and cooperate to safely manage chemicals in international trade. To date 54 chemicals and pesticides and formulations are listed in its Annex III. The Convention does not introduce bans but facilitates the exchange of information among Parties on hazardous chemicals and pesticides, and their potential risks, to inform and improve national decision making. In addition, through the PIC Procedure, it provides a legally-binding mechanism to support national decisions on the import of selected chemicals and pesticides in order to minimize the risk they pose to human health and the environment. See

The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from chemicals that remain intact in the environment for long periods, become widely distributed geographically, accumulate in the fatty tissue of humans and wildlife, and have harmful impacts on human health or on the environment. Exposure to Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) can lead to serious health effects including certain cancers, birth defects, dysfunctional immune and reproductive systems, greater susceptibility to disease and damage to the central and peripheral nervous systems. The Convention requires its Parties to take measures to eliminate or reduce the release of POPs into the environment. As of today, this legally-binding Convention has 186 Parties, giving it almost universal coverage. To date, 31 chemicals of global concern have been listed under the Stockholm Convention. See

For more information, please contact:

Maria Cristina Cardenas, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions (UNEP), Geneva: +41-79-477 0886,

Christine Fuell, Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention (FAO),