News Features

Rolph Payet speaks on the science of chemicals and wastes
BRS Executive Secretary gave an interview on UNEP’s decision to establish a science-policy panel that will further contribute to the sound management of chemicals and waste.

Rolph Payet speaks on the science of chemicals and wastes

Rolph Payet speaks on the science of chemicals and wastes
 
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.

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.

 

Webinar on the Rotterdam Convention objectives, functions, and obligations of the Parties
Sign up to attend on 24 February!

Webinar on the Rotterdam Convention objectives, functions, and obligations of the Parties

Webinar on the Rotterdam Convention objectives, functions, and obligations of the Parties
 
Report of the Rotterdam Convention COP-10 (online segment) now available in all UN languages
The report of the 10th Meeting of the Conference of Parties (online segment) is available to view or download in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Spanish and Russian.

Report of the Rotterdam Convention COP-10 (online segment) now available in all UN languages

Report of the Rotterdam Convention COP-10 (online segment) now available in all UN languages
 
Season’s Greetings and Best Wishes for 2022
The Executive Secretaries 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 Secretaries and team whish you Season’s Greetings and Best Wishes for 2022.

54th edition of the Rotterdam Convention PIC Circular now online
Key document on Prior Informed Consent issued for 54th time, sharing information to assist and inform Parties for better decision-making regarding pesticides and chemicals.

54th edition of the Rotterdam Convention PIC Circular now online

54th edition of the Rotterdam Convention PIC Circular now online
 
Biopesticides: how safe and effective are they?
On 13 December, join us for a webinar examining the challenges and opportunities that stem from registering and regulating biopesticides. Featuring high level speakers from FAO, the OECD, the European Commission, and prominent entities from across the industry.

Biopesticides: how safe and effective are they?

Biopesticides: how safe and effective are they?
 
Webinar on Strategies to reduce the use of highly hazardous pesticides, Friday 3 December
Join the latest in the free capacity-building webinars, organised by the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat.

Webinar on Strategies to reduce the use of highly hazardous pesticides, Friday 3 December

Webinar on Strategies to reduce the use of highly hazardous pesticides, Friday 3 December
 
Webinar on Integrated Pest Management, Thursday 25 November
Join the latest in the free capacity-building webinars, organised by the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat.

Webinar on Integrated Pest Management, Thursday 25 November

Webinar on Integrated Pest Management, Thursday 25 November
 
Webinar to improve management of obsolete pesticides, Thursday 18 November 13-15h CET
Join this week’s webinar on “Towards Sustainable Management of Obsolete Stocks and Pesticide Packaging through Multi-Stakeholder Cooperation”.

Webinar to improve management of obsolete pesticides, Thursday 18 November 13-15h CET

Webinar to improve management of obsolete pesticides, Thursday 18 November 13-15h CET
 
Capacity-building workshops throughout November for Caribbean & Latin American Designated National Authorities
Sessions in English on 2, 8, 10, 15, 22, 24 and 29 November give an overview of pesticide risk assessment, evaluation, and regulation.

Capacity-building workshops throughout November for Caribbean & Latin American Designated National Authorities

Capacity-building workshops throughout November for Caribbean & Latin American Designated National Authorities
 
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
 
Grenada becomes the 165th Party to the Rotterdam Convention
Rotterdam Convention continues to move towards universal coverage as Grenada deposits its instrument of accession, with entry into force on 13 January, 2022.

Grenada becomes the 165th Party to the Rotterdam Convention

Grenada becomes the 165th Party to the Rotterdam Convention
 
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