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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
 
Chemicals and wastes and the prevention of soil pollution

Chemicals and wastes and the prevention of soil pollution

The BRS Secretariat is proud to be co-organising the Global Symposium on Soil Pollution, 2 to 4 May at FAO headquarters in Rome.

Chemicals and wastes and the prevention of soil pollution

Chemicals and wastes and the prevention of soil pollution

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 Says ‘Yes to Less’

BRS Secretariat Says ‘Yes to Less’

Ever-conscious of the need to minimise waste, as required of Parties to the Basel Convention, the BRS Secretariat is contributing to the pan-UN campaign encouraging Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

BRS Secretariat Says ‘Yes to Less’

BRS Secretariat Says ‘Yes to Less’

 

With funding from Switzerland, e-waste experts meet in Geneva 17 to 19 April, to further develop Technical Guidelines

With funding from Switzerland, e-waste experts meet in Geneva 17 to 19 April, to further develop Technical Guidelines

Amongst the key questions under discussion is the distinction between “waste” and “non-waste” in this fast growing waste-stream.

With funding from Switzerland, e-waste experts meet in Geneva 17 to 19 April, to further develop Technical Guidelines

With funding from Switzerland, e-waste experts meet in Geneva 17 to 19 April, to further develop Technical Guidelines
 
Towards the sound management of wastes in the Arabic-speaking countries

Towards the sound management of wastes in the Arabic-speaking countries

Read the latest BRS interview, with Moustafa Kamel, Director of the Basel Convention Regional Centre in Egypt.

Towards the sound management of wastes in the Arabic-speaking countries

Towards the sound management of wastes in the Arabic-speaking countries

Interview between Charlie Avis, Public Information Officer for the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions, and Professor Moustafa Kamel, Director of the Basel Convention Regional Centre in Cairo, Egypt

Charlie Avis (CA): Good morning Mostafa and greetings from Geneva. Thank you for answering my questions which aim to shed light on the work you are doing to support the sound management of chemicals and waste across the Arabic-speaking countries.

Mostafa Kamel (MK): Thank you, Charlie, we are delighted to be featured.

CA: Firstly, please tell us a little bit about the Regional Centre (RC) itself. Where are you housed, how many staff do you have, and when was the RC established: basically how did the RC come about?

MK: Of course I would like first to introduce myself; my name is Prof. Moustafa Hussein Kamel, the Director of BCRC-Egypt. Beside being BCRC-Egypt Director, I am a Professor at the Faculty of Science, Cairo University, in Egypt.

Regarding BCRC-Egypt, BCRC-Egypt is a regional centre that facilitates the implementation of the multilateral Environmental agreements in 22 Arab states in North Africa and West Asia. The conference of parties of the Basel convention adopted decision VI/9 to establish BCRC-Egypt in Egypt. The Government of Egypt has signed the framework agreement with the Secretariat of the Basel Convention for the legal establishment of the centre, and it is now hosted within one of the most outstanding academic and research institutes in the region; the Cairo University, since 2004.

BCRC-Egypt has a unique issue than all the regional centres around the world, that it serves countries in two continents, Asia and Africa. This adds richness to the knowledge and experience which may be generated from interacting with the 22 Arab states.

Following the ratification of the Framework Agreement by the Egyptian Parliament in 2005, BCRC-Egypt had its own structure and bank account with flexibility to assign part-time consultants and administrative staff for implementing projects and other capacity building activities. The BCRC-Egypt structure includes a Steering Committee of the Centre (CSC) with membership of the representatives of four rotating member countries (currently Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Bahrain and Djibouti), the host country, Egypt, the representative of the Secretariat of the Basel Convention, The representative of the Arab League, President Cairo University (Observer), Vice President for Environmental Affairs, Cairo University (Observer) and the Director of BCRC-Egypt.

CA: Now, and at the risk of generalisation, what are the main constraints or challenges to protecting health and environment in the region from the harmful effects of toxic chemicals and waste?

MK: Charlie, The Chemicals and waste issue has become a very hot topic around the world for its environmental, economic and health impact of course. Currently, there is a great global need to address that issue and try to find a solution for it, especially with the less developing countries. Of course, I am aware that the international bodies such as the UN, the UNDP, the UNEP and  Multilateral Environmental agreements Secretariat has been exerting great efforts to assist all the countries, especially the less developing ones in achieving the sound management of chemicals and waste. However, I still believe there is a role, which the regional centres like BCRC-Egypt, should play in order to enhance those efforts and maximize the benefit of the less developing countries from them.

Serving 22 Arab states makes their needs and conditions vary according to their political, economic, environmental and developmental circumstances. This huge variations make the achieving the sustainable development more difficult, which requires more efforts from all the stakeholders, beside BCRC-Egypt of course.

CA: Of these, which would you say is the main priority theme, or core business, for the Centre?

MK: Actually, BCRC-Egypt vision is to be a credible Regional Centre capable of providing Quality Sound Management of Hazardous Wastes services and consultations acknowledged by the 22 member Arab countries, BRS and the COP. While its mission, is to provide services for implementation of the Basel Convention to the Arab Countries. We, in BCRC-Egypt, have been always communicating with the Arab states we serve, to explore their needs that require the intervention of BCRC-Egypt to enhance their implementation of those countries to the multilateral environmental agreements. Examples of those needs are:

  • Legal drafting.
  • National reporting to BRS.
  • Hazardous waste (HW) management
  • Control of illegal HW transboundary movements
  • Management of medical waste.
  • Planning, designing, and managing HW disposal/recycling facilities.
  • Development of HW inventories.
  • Management and/or recycling of specific waste
  • Analytical HW identification and classification.

CA: Marine litter is gaining ever-greater visibility as a global and regional problem, and was the subject of significant attention at the recent U.N. Environment Assembly last month in Nairobi. Your region shares several vitally important marine environments. How is the Centre responding to these challenges, and do you see hopes for progress?

MK: BCRC-Egypt has always been working on updating its mandate according to the Arab states needs and the new environmental updates that come on the surface through the concerned international organizations Caring about the marine sector is one of the sustainable development goals which was adopted by the UN in 2015. Still, even before that, it has been an important issue for all the Arab states that have important marine environments. Therefore, BCRC-Egypt has been encouraging the Arab states before and after 2015 on taking the most feasible measures to protect its marine environments according to the international standards. We always receive very promising cooperative responses from the Arab states.

CA: The Centre has a long tradition and proud record and has clearly achieved a lot, but is there a single achievement of which you are most proud?

MK: BCRC-Egypt through the past few years focused its efforts on strengthening the regional cooperation of Arab states in hazardous waste management and trans-boundary control which should support compliance with the Basel Convention in the Arab states, inspite of the political instability facing few States in the region.

Accordingly, through the past five years, BCRC-Egypt conducted a total of 28 activities, 19 workshops (18 Regional and 1 National in Egypt), 9 Trainings (7 Regional (2 “Hands On” trainings in Nigeria and Finland) and 2 National in Tunisia and Lebanon). All the activities focused on the capacity building, knowledge sharing and technology transfer among the Arab States. Also, BCRC-Egypt signed 3 MoUs with Regional Centres of Basel and Stockholm convention in China, India and Indonesia, in order to enhance collaboration and synergy between the regional centres of the Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAS).BCRC-Egypt initiated cooperation with national, regional and international NGOs, out of its faith of the common responsibility of all stake holders for how our environment could be better. Finally, BCRC-Egypt has completed, with the help of international professional experts, a draft for e-waste legislation, as guidance for the Arab states in e-waste management. BCRC-Egypt aims to translate the legislation into English language, to allow discussions with Parties worldwide.

CA: Our readers might like to know you have active communications platforms such as the Centre’s facebook and twitter accounts. How important is social media for explaining your work to a wider audience?

MK: BCRC-Egypt managed to maintain and update its website to include all the news, activities and structure of BCRC-Egypt and all the international entities that are related to BCRC-Egypt areas of interest (bcrc-egypt.com). The website provides users with all the multilateral environmental agreements (Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam) documents and guidelines. Also the website can provide its users with information related to other relevant conventions and issues, such as Minamata Convention, the SAICM and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which were adopted by the UN in 2015 to achieve the 2030 Agenda.  Also BCRC-Egypt continued its communication with the Arab members through social media, such as Facebook (www.facebook.com/BCRCEgypt.OfficialPage), twitter (www. twitter.com/bcrcegypt) and YouTube (www.youtube.com/user/bcrcegypt). On the other side, the media and the press (local and regional) have followed BCRC-Egypt activities due to the importance of the topics addressed in those activities on environment. Finally, BCRC-Egypt issued many non-periodic newsletters in Arabic language which summarized some of its activities.

CA: Thank you, for your time and for your answers, and for sharing your insights.

MK: Thank you, Charlie.

and if you need any further information on our centre and its activities, or would like to sign-up to receive our newsletter please go to our website www.bcrc-egypt.com    

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Activities

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Congratulations to Iran for 25 years of implementing the Basel Convention

The BRS Secretariat congratulates the Islamic Republic of Iran on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of entry into force of the Basel Convention – for a Life with Less Waste.

Congratulations to Iran for 25 years of implementing the Basel Convention

Congratulations to Iran for 25 years of implementing the Basel Convention
 
New pan-UN Coalition formed to tackle E-Waste

BRS, together with UN Environment, the ILO and the ITU amongst others, is part of a new coalition of UN organisations formed at the recent WSIS2018 Forum to achieve a shared goal of tackling the ever-growing issue of electronic waste.

New pan-UN Coalition formed to tackle E-Waste

New pan-UN Coalition formed to tackle E-Waste
 
Towards the sound management of chemicals and waste in the Caribbean

Read Rolph Payet’s opening remarks to the national high-level forum on chemicals and waste in Trinidad and Tobago, 20 March.

Towards the sound management of chemicals and waste in the Caribbean

Towards the sound management of chemicals and waste in the Caribbean

Hilton Trinidad Conference Centre, Port-Of-Spain
March 20th, 2018
(remarks delivered remotely via skype)

Your Excellency, the honourable Camille Robinson - Regis, Minister of Planning and Development of Trinidad and Tobago
Excellencies and distinguished guests,
Ms. Jewel Batchasingh, Acting Director of the Basel Convention Regional Centre for the Caribbean,
Distinguished participants,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure and an honour to have been invited to address you during the opening ceremony of this high-level forum on “Policy and Programmatic Approaches to Sustainable Integrated Waste and Chemicals Management in Trinidad and Tobago. I wish I could be there in person with you, however I am also thankful to the wonders of modern technology that has allowed us to bridge the distance gap enabling me to join you from Geneva.

In its report released last October, the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health found that “Pollution is the largest environmental cause of disease and premature death in the world today. Diseases caused by pollution were responsible for an estimated 9 million premature deaths in 2015—16% of all deaths worldwide— three times more deaths than from AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined and 15 times more than from all wars and other forms of violence.”

These figures are of great concern, we live in a fast-changing world, surrounded with potential environmental threats that affect us and our future generations on a daily basis. By the middle of the 21st century 9000 million human beings are expected to generate over 13000 tons of waste, that is about 20 percent more than that generated in 2009. This increase in waste generation is most apparent in urban areas. Today more than 50 per cent of the world’s population lives in cities and by 2050 this number is expected to rise to around 70 per cent. Small Island Developing States are no exception.

At least 10% of the 100 million tons of plastic we use every year end up in the oceans. This is the equivalent to the weight of 700 billion plastic bottles. Put on tops of each other these bottles would reach further than the sun. But they are not going to the sun, they are going into our oceans and will stay there for a long time affecting nature’s ecosystems and our lives.
Although Chemicals and waste issues have been underplayed in the environmental agenda in the past, times are changing fast. The sustainable management of chemicals and waste is now seen as a fundamental cornerstone of the objectives in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development where the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions are highlighted as the key legally binding instruments whose implementation contributes towards achieving by 2030 all the goals of the 2030 agenda.

As part of the key players contributing towards the implementation of these three conventions is the network of 22 regional centres for capacity-building and the transfer of technology which have been established under the aegis of the Basel and the Stockholm Conventions, one of which is your host today, the Basel Convention Regional Centre for the Caribbean or BCRC Caribbean as it is more commonly known.

Since establishment in October 2004 when its Framework Agreement was signed between the Government of Trinidad and the Secretariat of the Basel Convention on behalf of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention, the BCRC- Caribbean has played a fundamental role providing capacity-building and assistance to 13 countries in the region. More recently under the able leadership of the outgoing Director, Mr. Ahmad Khan, the centre demonstrated that it has the required technical know-how in the fields of wastes and chemicals, playing a key role in fostering the coordinated implementation of the chemicals and wastes conventions in the Caribbean. It is worth noting that the Centre has been successful in mobilizing more than 20 million USD for activities and projects in the last couple of years. As you know the negotiations are now ongoing on the GEF 7, thus I take the opportunity to invite all the SIDs in the region to ensure that SIDS issues are reflected and the GEF has enough resources to implement the Conventions.

I want to highlight that this region is very lucky to have a regional Centre that caters for the needs of SIDs, providing assistance for the implementation of the conventions and which is actually in a SID. There is only one other such regional Centre amongst our network of centres and that is the one for the Pacific located in Samoa. SIDs in the African region are not that lucky, they are served by centres located in the continent.

The Conference of the Parties at its meeting in 2015 recognized the achievements of the centre and evaluated its performance, placing it along-side the top performing regional centres. We expect this trend will continue under the leadership of the Acting Director Ms. Jewel Batchsingh and that it will be recognized by the Conference of the Parties at its next meeting in May 2019 when it evaluates again the performance of its regional centres.

Ladies and gentlemen, over the past 20 years the BCRC Caribbean has demonstrated through its activities its dedication towards the achievement of the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, this is also testimony of the commitment the Government of Trinidad Tobago has towards the region and the world to implement the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions as well as the Minamata Convention and SAICM. I look forward to continuing strengthening our collaboration as we Continue to implement the chemicals and wastes conventions.

Before I finish, I want to invite you to celebrate! To celebrate today the 10th anniversary of the entry into force of the Stockholm Convention for Cuba! And to celebrate more than 20 years of activities of the BCRC.
It only rests for me to wish you the best in your work in this High-level Forum over the next 2 days and I look forward to meeting you all in person in the near future.

Thank you!

BRS Secretariat marks World Water Day, 22 March

Visit or follow the @brsmeas twitter account to view a series of photos demonstrating the impacts of chemicals and waste on water.

BRS Secretariat marks World Water Day, 22 March

BRS Secretariat marks World Water Day, 22 March

 

 
BRS Secretariat participates at the World Summit on the Information Society Forum in Geneva
Executive Secretary Rolph Payet contributes to discussions on a range of issues, including the Sustainable Development Goals, throughout WSIS 2018

BRS Secretariat participates at the World Summit on the Information Society Forum in Geneva

BRS Secretariat participates at the World Summit on the Information Society Forum in Geneva

 

On International Women’s Day, BRS seeks more Gender Heroes

The BRS Secretariat invites Parties and stakeholders to submit stories highlighting innovative or inspiring examples of gender mainstreaming for sound management of chemicals and waste.

On International Women’s Day, BRS seeks more Gender Heroes

On International Women’s Day, BRS seeks more Gender Heroes
 
The BRS Secretariat celebrates International Women’s Day

Women are disproportionately impacted by hazardous chemicals and waste. Gender mainstreaming case studies, profiles of Gender Heroes and Gender Pioneers, and the BRS Gender Action Plan are all available on our website.

The BRS Secretariat celebrates International Women’s Day

The BRS Secretariat celebrates International Women’s Day
 
BRS Secretariat strengthens cooperation with International Telecommunications Union
The BRS Executive Secretary, Rolph Payet met with the Secretary General Houlin Zhao to discuss enhanced cooperation between the two organizations to tackle areas of joint concern such as E-waste from used IT equipment.

BRS Secretariat strengthens cooperation with International Telecommunications Union

BRS Secretariat strengthens cooperation with International Telecommunications Union
 
BRS Secretariat marks World Wildlife Day, 3 March

Visit or follow the @brsmeas twitter account to view a series of powerful photos demonstrating the impacts of chemicals and waste on nature and wildlife.

BRS Secretariat marks World Wildlife Day, 3 March

BRS Secretariat marks World Wildlife Day, 3 March

Visit or follow the @brsmeas twitter account to view a series of powerful photos demonstrating the impacts of chemicals and waste on nature and wildlife.

Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions’ scientific subsidiary bodies training in Brno, Czech Republic

As a timely expression of the international day of Women-in-Science on 11 February, 19 out of 22 participants at this key CRC/POPRC joint workshop are female.

Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions’ scientific subsidiary bodies training in Brno, Czech Republic

Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions’ scientific subsidiary bodies training in Brno, Czech Republic
 
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