News Features

PIC Circular now available
PIC Circular XLIII June 2016 is now available.

PIC Circular now available

PIC Circular now available
 
Preparations for RC COP-8 have started
The Bureau of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention will meet from 14 to 15 June 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss preparations for RC COP-8 in 2017.

Preparations for RC COP-8 have started

Preparations for RC COP-8 have started
 
UN member states agree 25 resolutions at UNEA2
Resolutions on the sound management of chemicals and waste, marine litter, and the role of MEAs among resolutions agreed by UN member states at UNEA in Nairobi, 23 - 27 May 2016.

UN member states agree 25 resolutions at UNEA2

UN member states agree 25 resolutions at UNEA2

More than 2,000 delegates from around the world representing governments, civil society, and international organisations gathered from 23 - 27 May 2016 to attend the second UN Environment Assembly, held at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.

As the first global meeting since the adoption of the Paris Agreement on climate change, UNEA2 aimed to forward efforts to deliver the environmental dimension of the 2030 agenda. A small team from the BRS Secretariat attended and contributed to numerous Side Events, panel discussions, High-Level forums, Green Room events and throughout the conference throughout the week in order to emphasise the centrality of sustainable management of chemicals and waste to the implementation of the SDGs. An interactive quiz was launched at UNEA2 on this subject to gauge delegates’ appreciation of these linkages and the results will be shared in due course. To take the quiz, please go to the BRS website.

Key resolutions adopted by Member States on Friday 27 May included those on the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste, on Marine Litter, on Sustainable Consumption and Production, on Oceans, and on the role of Multilateral Environmental Agreements, (MEAs).

For more information on UNEA2 and on the resolutions agreed, please see the UNEP website.

Agenda available for next meeting of the Chemical Review Committee (CRC.12)
Reviewing pesticides and industrial chemicals for inclusion in the Convention, CRC.12 will take place from 14-16 September 2016 at FAO headquarters in Rome. The meeting agenda is now available.

Agenda available for next meeting of the Chemical Review Committee (CRC.12)

Agenda available for next meeting of the Chemical Review Committee (CRC.12)
 
Rotterdam Convention and Southern African Pesticide Regulators’ Forum addressing highly hazardous pesticides
45 representatives from 15 SADC countries met in South Africa for training and discussions on minimising risks to human health and the environment from highly hazardous pesticides.

Rotterdam Convention and Southern African Pesticide Regulators’ Forum addressing highly hazardous pesticides

Rotterdam Convention and Southern African Pesticide Regulators’ Forum addressing highly hazardous pesticides

Johannesburg, South Africa. 45 Pesticide Registrars and Designated National Authorities of the Rotterdam Convention from the 15 Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries discussed the risk of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) to human health and the environment, their management and the implementation of the Rotterdam Convention at large during a 5 day workshop. The workshop also followed up on the SAPReF Strategic Action plan agreed at a similar workshop in Harare, Zimbabwe at the end of July in 2015, identifying risk reduction from HHP and implementation of the Rotterdam Convention as high priorities.

The Southern African Pesticide Regulators’ Forum (SAPReF) was formed in 2011 and since then placed particular attention on fostering regional collaboration for sound pesticide management. Key institutions namely FAO, University of Cape Town, Swedish Chemical Agency and the SADC Secretariat support this forum since the beginning. Through regional collaboration, countries are enabled to work more closely, share resources, lower the costs of pesticide registration, and coordinate implementation of the Multilateral Environmental Agreement such as Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam Convention.

Participants were trained on identification of potential HHPs using their national registers of pesticides, risk management and on the protocols for the field surveys to assess use conditions of HHPs. “The Pesticide Registration Toolkit developed by FAO facilitates this important task that has to be carried out by countries”, Nadia Correale from FAO’s Plant Production and Protection Division says.

The workshop put also emphasis on identifying gaps and challenges faced by the 15 countries (13 are party to the Rotterdam Convention) in meeting particular obligations under the Convention, such as preparation and submission of notifications of Final Regulatory Actions (FRA) under Article 5 and taking advantage of the opportunity in preparing and submitting proposals for Severely Hazardous Pesticide Formulations (SHPF) under Article 6.

Christine Fuell, the Coordinator of the FAO part of the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat stressed that “FAO, the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat, WHO, KEMI and UCT will continue to provide support to the SADC Member Countries in finalizing their national action plans and take any further steps to reduce the risks posed by highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs)”.

For more information, please contact Nadia Correale at nadia.correale@fao.org.

Sustainable management of chemicals and waste at UNEA-2
Delivering the environmental dimension of the SDGs means achieving sustainable management of chemicals and waste, the message at UNEA-2 in Nairobi, 23-27 May.

Sustainable management of chemicals and waste at UNEA-2

Sustainable management of chemicals and waste at UNEA-2

Delivering on the environmental dimension of the SDGs requires achieving the sustainable management of chemicals and waste, that is one key message which UNEA-2 is expected to underline and re-affirm. It is also the message brought by the BRS Secretariat staff travelling to UNEA-2 in Nairobi, 23-27 May 2016. Through participation in a series of side events, panel discussions, and civil society green room events the BRS Executive Secretary Rolph Payet, and Deputy Executive Secretary Kerstin Stendahl, will promote the implementation of the BRS Conventions as part of the efforts to integrate chemicals and wastes into national implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs.

The UNEA-2 Committee of the Whole (CoW) will meet throughout the week to prepare decisions for adoption. Important for chemicals and wastes will be the negotiations on the Omnibus Decision on Chemicals and Waste as a renewed commitment to strengthened implementation at national level.  Sustainable consumption and production, marine plastic debris and microplastics, and air quality as well as many cross-cutting issues will also be of relevance as pieces in the jigsaw puzzle of SDGs implementation, themes which may well be developed in more detail (further explored?) at the 2017 Triple COPs. 

On the first day, Monday 23 May at 1300, Rolph Payet will provide the Opening Remarks to UNEA-2’s first Side Event (#1), on “Advancing Sustainable Chemistry in a Sustainable Development Context”, organised by the Government of Germany, Federal Ministry of the Environment. On Wednesday 25 May at 1300, the Rotterdam Convention President, Franz Perrez from Switzerland, and Rolph Payet will act as Panellists to the UNEP-facilitated Side Event (#19) on “The mutually supportive role and benefits of MEAs and the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development”.

On Thursday 26 May at 1300, Rolph Payet contributes as Panellist to the Norwegian Government’s Side Event (#24) on “Marine Litter and Microplastics”, whilst at the same time Kerstin Stendahl will moderate the Side Event (#26) on “The Impact of Childhood Exposure to Toxic Chemicals on Children’s Rights”, organised by the UN Special Rapporteur on Hazardous Substances and Wastes, co-sponsored by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and UNICEF. That evening at 1700, Rolph Payet will then feature as Panellist on the Global Universites Partnership/UNEP Green Room Event (#22)on “Innovation and Solutions: Environmental Education for Sustainable Development Goals”.

In addition, the BRS secretariat will have an information Booth at UNEA-2 where interested delegates will be able to access, electronically, a range of important documents and publications and where BRS staff will be asking questions of delegates concerning the SDGs and chemicals and waste. The Secretariat will also be communicating latest news and updates live and direct from Nairobi through live-tweeting on @brsmeas. Follow us on twitter in order to stay up-to-date with what is happening at this important event, which has become known as “the global parliament for the environment”.

For more information on UNEA-2 please consult the UNEP website http://web.unep.org/unea/.

Successful orientation workshop leaves Rotterdam CRC members “ready to go”
Some 24 experts of the Chemicals Review Committee took part in the recent orientation workshop, hosted by FAO in Rome from 18 to 21 April 2016.

Successful orientation workshop leaves Rotterdam CRC members “ready to go”

Successful orientation workshop leaves Rotterdam CRC members “ready to go”

Following the rotation of membership in May 2016, about half of the Chemical Review Committee (CRC) members will serve for the first time as experts on this scientific body. In view of the upcoming twelfths meeting of the CRC in September 2016 and of the substantial contribution required of members towards the intersessional work, it is important to enable new members doing so and to provide them with respective tools.

Hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, 24 members of the CRC participated in the 3-day orientation workshop in Rome, Italy. The workshop intended to familiarize new members with the role and mandate of the CRC, as well as its operational procedures and policy guidance. It also provided a platform to exchange experience and transfer knowledge among the members.

Besides the presentations in plenary, a series of group exercises were undertaken using case studies, which allowed for active participation by the members and stimulated in-depth discussions .  

Some members noted that the programme was very comprehensive, the discussions and case studies helped a lot for better understanding the work of the Committee. One member stressed that the policy guidance and working procedure collected in the Handbook is a treasure for the Committee that ensures the consistency and transparency. Another member said that the knowledge gained during the workshop would also be relevant to her day-to-day work and she would share it with her colleagues.

Yun Zhou, from the FAO part of the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat, noted that “participants were extremely interested and motivated. The workshop also helped fostering efficient working relationships among the members.  We got great feedback from them. The new members feel that the workshop enabled them to effectively participate in the work of the CRC and they are “ready to go”.

For more information, please contact: Ms. Yun Zhou at Yun.Zhou@fao.org or Mr. Gamini Manuweera at gamini.manuweera@brsmeas.org.

Special Programme on Chemicals and Waste: Call for Proposals Open
Aiming to strengthen national institutions and to promote the mainstreaming of sound management of chemicals and wastes, the 1st Call for Proposals is open until 4 July 2016.

Special Programme on Chemicals and Waste: Call for Proposals Open

Special Programme on Chemicals and Waste: Call for Proposals Open

The Special Programme aims to strengthen national institutions and to promote the mainstreaming of the sound management of chemicals and waste. Key activities supported by the programme provide countries to advance institutional capacity for the implementation of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, the Minamata Convention and SAICM. Activities supported by the programme intend to strengthen national capacities, monitor implementation and enforcement of legislation and regulatory frameworks, and this includes developing national plans, budgets, policies, legislation and implementation frameworks for the sound management of chemicals and wastes throughout their life-cycle and at all levels.

Fundamentally linking chemicals and waste management with the economic, environmental and social development agenda is essential to sustainable development. It creates new impetus for the implementation of international chemicals and waste agreements, as well as other relevant international commitments and policy frameworks, including the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM). The integration of sound management of chemicals and waste in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a major achievement.

Project proposals should include a timeline for completion within three years. In some cases, project allocations may be increased up to a maximum of US$500,000, where adequate justification and evidence is given for a comprehensive approach to institutional strengthening at the national level and taking into account as well, the amounts of funds available in the Trust Fund.

More information on www.unep.org/chemicalsandwaste/SpecialProgramme/SpecialProgrammeCallsforProposals/tabid/1061027/Default.aspx 

Preventing illegal trade in environmentally - sensitive commodities
Green Customs Initiative: the BRS Secretariat hosts the 11th meeting of the GCI Partners in Geneva, 14-15 April 2016.

Preventing illegal trade in environmentally - sensitive commodities

Preventing illegal trade in environmentally - sensitive commodities
 
Bahrain makes record submission of 30 import responses
The Environmental Assessment and Control Department of the Supreme Council for the Environment in the Kingdom of Bahrain, has submitted 30 remaining import responses meeting its obligation under article 10 of the Rotterdam Convention.

Bahrain makes record submission of 30 import responses

Bahrain makes record submission of 30 import responses

The Environmental Assessment and Control Department of the Supreme Council for the Environment in the Kingdom of Bahrain, has submitted 30 remaining import responses meeting its obligation under article 10 of the Rotterdam Convention.

Cameroon submits 23 import responses
The Department of Standards and Control of the Ministry of the Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development, has submitted 23 import responses meeting its obligation under article 10 of the Rotterdam Convention.

Cameroon submits 23 import responses

Cameroon submits 23 import responses

The Department of Standards and Control of the Ministry of the Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development, has submitted 23 import responses meeting its obligation under article 10 of the Rotterdam Convention.

Key planning meeting concludes in Vientiane, Lao PDR
Development of a national action plan and priorities for implementation among the outputs of a key workshop hosted by the Lao government in Vientiane, 16 - 19 February 2016.

Key planning meeting concludes in Vientiane, Lao PDR

Key planning meeting concludes in Vientiane, Lao PDR

Hosted by the Pollution Control Department of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, this 4-day workshop intended to facilitate a dialogue between relevant stakeholders and identify key elements of a national plan for implementing the Convention.

Altogether 32 participants took part including officials from ten line ministries and specialist agencies of government, the academic sector, and representatives from civil society.

Discussions highlighted the difficulties in regulating and enforcing legislation aimed at protecting human health and the environment from the possible impacts of pesticides within a context where an estimated 95% of pesticide products currently available do not have labelling in the national language, and where capacity constraints - financial and human - are severe.

Christine Fuell, from the FAO part of the Rotterdam Convention, noted that “participants were extremely motivated and established a functioning communication channel across Ministries and Conventions, including also the spectrum of chemicals and wastes issues together with the Basel Convention and Stockholm Convention focal points. Lao PDR aims at becoming an excellent example for addressing synergies on a national level.”

Concrete outputs from the workshop included:

  • The elaboration of a national action plan with concrete tasks and timelines;
  • Established network among all ministries involved and the FAO office with its pesticide management programme in Lao PDR;
  • Increased understanding of synergies and SDGs (post 2015 agenda);
  • Awareness-raising on national level through coverage in the local newspaper and TV channels.

Next steps will include the administrative support for the nomination of the two new designated national authorities, the Secretariat’s support in the submission of notifications of final regulatory action (FRA) for the 55 pesticides recently banned in Lao PDR as well as the planning for a pilot project on severely hazardous pesticide formulations.

For more information, please contact: Christine.fuell@fao.org, Yun.Zhou@fao.org.

Tunisia ratifies the Rotterdam Convention
The number of Parties to the Convention rises to 155, with Tunisia’s ratification, which enters into force on 9 May 2016.

Tunisia ratifies the Rotterdam Convention

Tunisia ratifies the Rotterdam Convention

Tunisia has ratified the Rotterdam Convention, depositing its instrument of ratification with the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 9 February 2016. The Convention will enter into force for Tunisia on 9 May 2016 in accordance with article 26 (2).

Tunisia’s action increases the total number of Parties to the Rotterdam Convention to 155.

More information is available from Status of ratifications.

18th February is the 4th Anniversary of the - joint - BRS Secretariat
BRS Deputy Executive Secretary, Kerstin Stendahl, outlines lessons learnt from 10 years of working on synergies.

18th February is the 4th Anniversary of the - joint - BRS Secretariat

18th February is the 4th Anniversary of the - joint - BRS Secretariat
 
Royal Kingdom of Swaziland makes record notification of 36 Import Responses
The Swaziland Environmental Authority, under the Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Affairs, made a notification of 36 Import Responses towards meeting its implementation obligations.

Royal Kingdom of Swaziland makes record notification of 36 Import Responses

Royal Kingdom of Swaziland makes record notification of 36 Import Responses
 
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