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Announcements

The latest round of applications is now open with a deadline for all applications to be submitted to the Special Programme secretariat by 21 June 2018.

Call for 3rd round of applications in the context of the Special Programme to support institutional strengthening

 

Job opportunity: consultant sought by UN Environment to assist with national implementation plans & reporting, please see and apply by 25 March through the online UN recruitment system https://inspira.un.org.

Consultancy to assist with implementation of Stockholm Convention

 

A list of concept notes for voluntary financial contributions for the biennium 2018/19 is now available on the BRS websites.

Concept notes for voluntary financial contributions 2018-19 now available

Concept notes for voluntary financial contributions 2018-19 now available

 

 

The report of the first meeting of the new informal Basel Convention partnership on household waste, held in Montevideo, Uruguay, from 2 to 4 August 2016, is now available online.

Report now online from Montevideo meeting on household waste

Report now online from Montevideo meeting on household waste
 
How do the Basel and Stockholm conventions relate to marine litter and plastic pollution?

How do the Basel and Stockholm conventions relate to marine litter and plastic pollution?

As part of the Geneva World Environment Day 2018 events in Geneva, Abiola Olanipekun describes how the chemicals and wastes conventions contribute to global efforts to Beat Plastic Pollution.

How do the Basel and Stockholm conventions relate to marine litter and plastic pollution?

How do the Basel and Stockholm conventions relate to marine litter and plastic pollution?

Opening Remarks delivered by Abiola Olanipekun, Chief of the Science and Technical Assistance (STA) Branch at the UN Palais des Nations, June 5th 2018

Ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, hosted by the UN Environment Programme here in Geneva, it is a pleasure and an honour for me to be part of the 2018 World Environment Day celebration here today to look at solutions to beat plastic pollution.

The Basel Convention - on the control of transboundary movements of hazardous waste and their disposal - aims to protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects of hazardous wastes and ‘other wastes’ - namely household wastes and incinerator ash.

The Basel Convention covers many issues which are at the heart of preventing and minimizing the generation of wastes, including those ending up in the ocean. Much of the marine litter and microplastics found in the sea may be determined as “waste” as defined under the convention, although not all will necessary fall within this definition.

Marine litter is a transboundary issue. Parties are to therefore take measures to ensure that the generation of hazardous and other wastes is reduced to a minimum; and to ensure the availability of adequate disposal facilities for the environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes and other wastes.

Under the Basel Convention, a number of guidance documents addressing issues related to marine plastic litter and microplastics have been developed with focus on environmentally sound management, efficient strategies for achieving the prevention and minimization of the generation of hazardous and other wastes, and their disposal including improving the sea-land interface.

The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants – or POPs - is also aimed at protecting human health and the environment from chemicals knowns as persistent organic pollutants. These are organic chemicals that persist in the environment, bioaccumulate in humans and wildlife, have harmful effects, and have the potential for long-range environmental transport.

Exposure to POPs can cause serious health problems including certain cancers, birth defects, dysfunctional immune and reproductive systems, greater susceptibility to disease and even diminished intelligence.

As of 2018, the convention controls 28 POPs, including those which have been used as additives, flame retardants or plasticizers in plastics. Plastics can adsorb POPs such as PCB, DDT and dioxins and these are frequently detected in marine plastic litter.

In 2017 the Basel Convention Conference of Parties decided that its subsidiary body, the Open-ended working group should consider relevant options available under the convention to further address marine plastic litter and microplastics. That group will meet in September 2018 here in Geneva.

The new Household waste partnership established under the Basel Convention at the same time, explores the environmentally sound management of household waste including plastics, while the global network of Basel and Stockholm Conventions’ regional centres explores measures for the prevention and environmentally sound management of plastic wastes, marine plastic litter and microplastics.

Just last week staff from the Secretariat contributed to the 1st meeting of the UN Environment Ad-Hoc Expert Working Group on Marine Litter in Nairobi.

The BRS Secretariat is thus very busy facilitating and participating in international policy efforts and actions to beat marine pollution. It’s a pleasure and an honour to be here and to learn from such an interesting panel of innovators, explorers, and entrepreneurs.

Let’s together BEAT PLASTIC POLLUTION: We join our voice with millions of others to say:

“If you can’t reuse it – refuse it”.

For more information:

On Marine Litter and the three conventions see:
http://synergies.pops.int/Implementation/MediaResources/SpeechesandInterviews/tabid/2946/language/en-US/Default.aspx

On Household Waste see:
http://www.basel.int/Implementation/HouseholdWastePartnerships/Overview/tabid/5082/Default.aspx

On global efforts to beat plastic pollution, see UN Environment:
https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/press-release/new-report-offers-global-outlook-efforts-beat-plastic-pollution

Report on implementation of BRS programmes of work & budgets now available

Report on implementation of BRS programmes of work & budgets now available

Now online: Secretariat report on the implementation of the programmes of work & budgets of the Basel, Rotterdam & Stockholm conventions for the biennium 2016-2017

Report on implementation of BRS programmes of work & budgets now available

Report on implementation of BRS programmes of work & budgets now available

 

Norwegian event on POPs and Body Burden re-affirms need to take action on chemicals and waste

Norwegian event on POPs and Body Burden re-affirms need to take action on chemicals and waste

Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment, and Rolph Payet, BRS Executive Secretary, shared a platform in Arendal, Norway on 15 August 2018 to raise awareness on toxic chemicals and their impacts on human health.

Norwegian event on POPs and Body Burden re-affirms need to take action on chemicals and waste

Norwegian event on POPs and Body Burden re-affirms need to take action on chemicals and waste

The Executive Secretary of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, Rolph Payet, today re-affirmed the need for concerted global and national action towards sound management of chemicals and waste, to beat pollution and better protect people from its harmful effects.

Speaking today at an event in Arendal, Norway, Payet was joined by the head of UN Environment, Erik Solheim, and members of civil society and the academic sector to discuss the latest “Body Burden” blood testing results. Testing was carried out on Nina Jensen, Chief Executive Officer of the Norwegian Research Expedition Vessel, and her new-born baby boy, Eik. Body Burden testing analyses the levels in human blood of Persistent Organic Pollutants (or POPs), which are regulated by the UN Environment-administered Stockholm Convention, which seeks to reduce and eliminate these most toxic of substances across the world.

Professor Bert van Bavel, from the Norwegian Institute for Water Research, who conducted the analysis, said that “Nina’s results suggest that the level of our contamination by many of the 12 POPs listed when the Convention came into force, in 2004, are decreasing. Levels of traditional chlorinated and brominated compounds were below the detection limit. Only DDE, HCB and PCB were found at low levels. This positive result is mirrored by the worldwide monitoring data collected by the Stockholm Convention through its Global Monitoring Plan. However, several fluorinated compounds (PFAS) were found in both Nina and her baby boy, which is highly disturbing and should prompt all decision-makers and the general public to do more and join together to beat pollution and rid the world of POPs” he added.

The Global Monitoring Plan collects data on POPs in human blood, human milk, air and water from across the world and is used to evaluate the effectiveness of the Stockholm Convention in protecting human health and the environment.

“Chemicals might be invisible, but they are in fact everywhere,” said Rolph Payet, Executive Secretary of the Convention, “even, sadly, in the bloodstream of new-born babies. The Convention’s 182 Parties have made good progress in phasing out many of the first 12 POPs originally listed in the Convention in 2004 and on listing many more chemicals in the years since then. Scientific monitoring data, collected by the Global Monitoring Plan, confirms decreasing trends in concentrations of several legacy POPs over time, constituting real gains for human health and the environment. However, much more needs to be done at global and national levels to reduce and eliminate the POPs more recently added to the Convention, to finish eliminating certain legacy POPs which still require action such as PCBs, and to tackle the related and pressing problems associated with marine litter and microplastics, whereby POPs enter our bodies through the food chain.”

“I took the Body Burden test some years ago and I was shocked by the presence of such a toxic cocktail in my blood, even though I considered myself healthy and even though grew up in a clean, Scandinavian environment” said Stine Lisa Hattestad Bratsberg, the Co-Chair of Safe Planet, and Olympic skiing champion and businesswoman. Body Burden is part of the Safe Planet movement, an online community of stakeholders and concerned members of the public, which aims to raise public awareness for positive change towards the sound management of chemicals and waste worldwide. Along with American actor Ed Begley Jr., Bratsberg was the first person to take the test (in 2010).

Notes for Editors:

POPs and the Stockholm Convention

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 damages to the central and peripheral nervous systems. Given their long-range transport, no one government acting alone can protect its citizens or its environment from POPs. The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, adopted in 2001 and entered into force in 2004, is a global treaty requiring its parties to take measures to eliminate or reduce the release of POPs into the environment, 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.

Polychlorinated Biphenyls or PCBs

These compounds are used in industry as heat exchange fluids, in electric transformers and capacitors, and as additives in paint, carbonless copy paper, and plastics. Large numbers of people have been exposed to PCBs through food contamination. They are toxic to fish, killing them at higher doses and causing spawning failures at lower doses. Research also links PCBs to reproductive failure and suppression of the immune system in various wild animals, such as seals and mink. The PCBs web section covers overview, decisions, guidance, meetings, workshops, and webinars additional resources.

Hexachlorobenzene or HCB

In high doses, HCB is lethal to some animals and, at lower levels, adversely affects their reproductive success. It is found in food of all types.

Safe Planet and Body Burden

Safe Planet is a global public awareness and outreach movement for ensuring the safety of the planet against harm caused or threatened by the production, use and disposal of hazardous chemicals and wastes. Launched in February 2010 during the first extraordinary meeting of the Conferences of the Parties to the conventions, Safe Planet uses social media, celebrity endorsements and community outreach activities to raise awareness especially among consumers, educators and youth, and women. One set of activities of the movement centre around Body Burden blood-testing, by which interested individuals find out their toxic chemical burden, highlighting the presence of POPs in their bodies.

Press contact: Charlie Avis, BRS Secretariat email Charles.avis@brsmeas.org tel: +41-79-7304495

For more info on:

Stockholm Convention, POPs, and the Global Monitoring Plan: www.chm.pops.int

Safe Planet: https://www.facebook.com/safe.planet/

UN Environment work on chemicals and health: https://www.unenvironment.org/explore-topics/chemicals-waste

Global gatherings of chemicals and waste expertise as BRS stages subsidiary body meetings

Global gatherings of chemicals and waste expertise as BRS stages subsidiary body meetings

Scientific, legal and policy experts from across the world converge on Geneva and Rome to prepare decisions for the sound management of chemicals and waste.

Global gatherings of chemicals and waste expertise as BRS stages subsidiary body meetings

Global gatherings of chemicals and waste expertise as BRS stages subsidiary body meetings

Chemicals and waste experts from around the world, representing governments, civil society, and international organisations, converge on Geneva and Rome this September to contribute to the work of the subsidiary bodies of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions.

The Basel Convention meetings take place in Geneva and for the first time feature a parallel High-Level Event on Marine Litter, whose aim is to continue to focus attention and build momentum towards implementing solutions for this pressing global issue. For more information on this event, please contact Kei Ohno Woodall by email: kei.ohno-woodall@brsmeas.org.

At the same time, the Convention’s Open-ended Working Group (OEWG), stages its 11th meeting from 3 to 6 September with a range of important topics under consideration including electronic waste, household waste, marine plastic litter and microplastics, and waste containing nanomaterials. Addressing strategic, scientific and legal matters, the OEWG guides and reviews the intersessional work between COPs and makes recommendations for decisions to be taken at the next Basel Convention COP, in April/May 2019 in Geneva. For more on OEWG-11, including the agenda and relevant background documents in the 6 UN languages, see: www.basel.int/oewg11.

Back-to-back with OEWG, the Basel Convention’s Implementation and Compliance Committee (ICC) stages its 13th meeting from 7 to 10 September. The ICC members will work towards improving national reporting, combating illegal traffic, controlling transboundary movements of covered wastes, developing legislation and reviewing the implementation fund, together with consideration of nine existing and one new specific submissions. For more on ICC-13, see: http://www.basel.int/TheConvention/ImplementationComplianceCommittee/Meetings/ICC13/Overview/tabid/6290/Default.aspx.

Switching to Rome, back-to-back meetings of the two scientific subsidiary bodies of the Rotterdam Convention and the Stockholm Convention are staged at the headquarters of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

First, the Rotterdam Convention’s Chemical Review Committee (CRC) stages its 14th meeting from 11 to 14 September. CRC-14 considers draft decision guidance documents for acetochlor, hexabromocyclododecane and phorate, reviews the Handbook of Working Procedures and Policy Guidance, and reviews notifications of final regulatory actions for three chemicals (hexabromocyclododecane, methyl-parathion and PFOA). The Committee’s recommendations and draft decision guidance documents will be forwarded to the next Rotterdam Convention COP, in April/May 2019 in Geneva. For more on CRC-14, including agenda and all background documents, see: www.pic.int/crc14.

Second, the Stockholm Convention’s POPs Review Committee (POPRC) stages its 14th meeting from 17 to 21 September. POPRC-14 considers a draft risk profile for PFHxS, takes into account additional information in order to strengthen its recommendation for listing of PFOA, and also evaluates the continued needs for acceptable purposes and specific exemptions for PFOS. The Committee’s recommendations will be forwarded to the next Stockholm Convention COP, in April/May 2019 in Geneva. For more on POPRC-14, including agenda and all background documents, see: www.pops.int/poprc14.

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Activities

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BRS contributes to high-level political debate on sound management

BRS chief Rolph Payet participated in discussions at the High-Level Political Forum in New York, at which Sweden announced the launch of the High Ambition Alliance on Chemicals and Waste.

BRS contributes to high-level political debate on sound management

BRS contributes to high-level political debate on sound management
 
Single-use plastics again the focus of international attention

July 3rd is International Plastic Bag Free Day as organisations worldwide keep marine litter at the top of the global agenda.

Single-use plastics again the focus of international attention

Single-use plastics again the focus of international attention
 
BRS Executive Secretary conducts live interview at The GEF Assembly, Danang, Viet Nam

Watch the recording of Rolph Payet’s interview for insights as to how the sound management of chemicals and wastes contributes to a clean planet and healthy people.

BRS Executive Secretary conducts live interview at The GEF Assembly, Danang, Viet Nam

BRS Executive Secretary conducts live interview at The GEF Assembly, Danang, Viet Nam
 
Convention heads meet to further improve knowledge management, access to information, and sharing

BRS chief Rolph Payet joins other MEA heads and staff in Montreux, Switzerland at the latest meeting of the Informea network, 5 to 7 June.

Convention heads meet to further improve knowledge management, access to information, and sharing

Convention heads meet to further improve knowledge management, access to information, and sharing
 
To mark World Environment Day, BRS co-hosts event on plastics solutions and innovations

Entrepreneurs and explorers come together to Beat Plastic Pollution, in the UN Palais des Nations in Geneva, Tuesday 5th June. To register: goo.gl/Cu5nNH.

To mark World Environment Day, BRS co-hosts event on plastics solutions and innovations

To mark World Environment Day, BRS co-hosts event on plastics solutions and innovations

Diplomats, policy-makers, scientists, entrepreneurs and explorers come together to Beat Plastic Pollution, in the UN Palais des Nations in Geneva, Tuesday 5th June.

Co-organised by UN Environment (Europe), Solar Impulse, and the BRS Secretariat, this event features the showcasing of innovative solutions to beat plastic pollution, presented through film and other media, in order to raise awareness concerning the challenges of marine litter and plastics, and to emphasise that together, we can tackle this problem.

Click here to open the programme/agenda.

To register, enter your details here: goo.gl/Cu5nNH.

For photos of the WED2018 events in Geneva please see the BRS Flickr folder:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/63284352@N08/albums/72157667795272127

 

BRS Secretariat contributes to key marine litter meeting in Nairobi

At the 1st meeting of the Ad-Hoc Expert Working Group, Carlos Martin-Novella sets out possible options under the Basel Convention for addressing this key issue.

BRS Secretariat contributes to key marine litter meeting in Nairobi

BRS Secretariat contributes to key marine litter meeting in Nairobi
 
ENFORCE: Illegal traffic experts meet in Geneva

The 3rd Meeting of the Environmental Network for Optimizing Regulatory Compliance on Illegal Traffic (ENFORCE) takes place 15 to 16 May, with funding support from Norway.

ENFORCE: Illegal traffic experts meet in Geneva

ENFORCE: Illegal traffic experts meet in Geneva
 
BRS contributes to Global Soils Symposium in Rome

The life-cycle approach to chemicals and waste is a key element to protecting soils from pollution.

BRS contributes to Global Soils Symposium in Rome

BRS contributes to Global Soils Symposium in Rome

BRS Secretariat staff are contributing to the Global Symposium on Soil Pollution, at FAO headquarters from 2 to 4 May 2018, co-organised by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and its Global Soil Partnership (GSP), the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS), BRS Secretariat, UN Environment and the World Health Organization (WHO). The event is seen as a common platform to discuss and elaborate the latest information on the status, trends and actions (both scientific and political) on soil pollution and its threatful consequences on human health, food safety and the environment.

According to BRS Executive Secretary, Rolph Payet, “the Symposium comes at an opportune time when more and more soils are being polluted. In response, the international community is strengthening its commitments to beat pollution, implement sound management of chemicals and wastes, tackle climate change, and work towards zero hunger”.

For more information on the Symposium please contact BRS Programme Officer Melisa Lim melisa.lim@brsmeas.org or consult the event website at http://www.fao.org/about/meetings/global-symposium-on-soil-pollution/en/.

BRS Secretariat supports new initiative on combatting illegal waste shipments

A new World Customs Organisation initiative, known as Operation DEMETER IV, starts in May 2018, to monitor and control cross-border movement of waste in maritime transportation, targeting illegal waste shipments.

BRS Secretariat supports new initiative on combatting illegal waste shipments

BRS Secretariat supports new initiative on combatting illegal waste shipments

A new global World Customs Organisation (WCO) initiative, called Operation DEMETER IV, will be launched in May 2018 to monitor and control cross-border movement of waste in maritime transportation, targeting illegal waste shipments from waste-producing regions and countries to destination countries and regions.

The Operation will be conducted under the guidance of the WCO Secretariat, in close cooperation with China Customs and the WCO Regional Intelligence Liaison Office for Asia and the Pacific. The BRS Secretariat will provide assistance for this new initiative. 

For more information, please visit our Enforcement Networks Fact Sheets on the World Customs Organisation page. 

Household waste experts meet in Mauritius to work on environmentally sound management

With funding support from Norway and Switzerland, the Household Waste Partnership Working Group meets to start working towards a guidance document on environmentally sound management.

Household waste experts meet in Mauritius to work on environmentally sound management

Household waste experts meet in Mauritius to work on environmentally sound management
 
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