UN Conventions Seek to Strengthen National Control of International Chemicals and Waste Trade
The first joint consultation of Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions with the Basel and Stockholm Convention Regional Centres and FAO and UNEP Regional Offices in Barcelona coordinates actions on hazardous chemicals and waste and the enforcement of the conventions
Barcelona, Spain, 4 October 2010 – A joint consultation held for the first-time between the Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations (FAO), United Nations Environment Programme and regional centres established under the Basel and Stockholm Conventions has concluded with an agreement on a plan to strengthen national coordination for control of international trade in hazardous chemicals and wastes.
The national governments have assumed great commitments to implement hazardous materials and wastes environmental agreements and the FAO and UNEP are enhancing their cooperation and coordination so that these commitments can be achieved.
One way of increasing the delivery of technical and financial support is the use of dynamic green global network taping into communication technology and exchange of experiences and information. The network of 14 Basel Centres, 15 Stockholm Centres and FAO and UNEP Regional offices in all regions of the world are a powerful green network. This network is open to different actors of civil society like NGOs, industry, academia, a winning proposition to save the planet and to foster sustainable development.
"In the face of mounting pressure on the environment and public health, UNEP, FAO and the Regional Centres from across the globe have joined forces in Barcelona to strengthen management of transboundary wastes and the trade in hazardous chemicals," said Nelson Sabogal, Chief Convention Services and Governance Unit with the Secretariat of the Basel Convention.
The joint effort to promote interregional cooperation and coordination on enforcement of the three conventions and improve their implementation at national level brought more than 60 representatives from all the regions of the world together at the "Joint Consultation of Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Convention with the Basel and Stockholm Regional Centres and FAO and UNEP Regional Offices", held in Barcelona, from 27 September to 1 October 2010.
The consultative meeting was hosted in Barcelona by the Regional Activity Centre for Cleaner Production (CP/RAC), a Regional Centre under the Stockholm Convention, in the facilities of the Waste Catalan Agency. The Director of the Agency, Genoveva Català, highlighted the importance of hosting the meeting. "The Waste Catalan Agency is very proud to host this event and contribute to enhance the global situation concerning the use of hazardous chemical substances, as waste is the end-of-pipe, but to achieve good results we have to address too the beginning of the production line", he said.
The joint consultative meeting followed up on the historic synergy decisions about the collaboration of the Stockholm, Basel and Rotterdam Conventions reached at the simulataneous extraordinary meetings of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions in Bali, last February.
Experts agreed to establish a structured exchange of information on implementation at national level and between the regional centres. The clearing house mechanism under the Stockholm and Rotterdam conventions, undergoing expansion in cooperation with the Basel Convention, serves as a key component in the strategy to strengthen the exchange of information on the control of international trade in chemicals and wastes and enforcement of the three treaties.
The workshop also benchmarked the performance of regional centres and developed individual actions for each aimed at strengthening enforcement. The agreement builds on specific areas of expertise identified among the centres of each region in which they will lead in the provision of technical assistance and capacity building. A training session for the Centres on ways to improve the delivery and sustainability of Green Customs Initiative workshops also took place.
The weeklong event included parallel sessions in which the Third Workshop of the Stockholm Convention Regional and Subregional Centres, the Sixth session of the Consultative Meething of the Basel Convention Regional and Coordinating Centres and the Sixth Session of the Consultative Meeting of the FAO Sub-Regional Officers were held.
The joint meeting applied an approach to international conventions pioneered in the Mediterranean Action Plan of the Barcelona Convention for the Protection against Pollution in the Mediterranean Sea.
Note to Editors:
The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal seeks to control the movement of hazardous wastes across international frontiers to protect human health and the environment. It establishes criteria for environmentally sound management of the wastes and promotes the lifecycle approach and minimization of hazardous waste generation. The Convention was adopted in 1989 and entered into force on 5 May 1992.
The Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for certain hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in international trade promote shared responsibility and cooperative efforts in the international trade of hazardous chemicals to protect human health and the environment from potential harm. The Convention was adopted in 1998 and entered into force on 24 February 2004.
The Stockholm Convention targets certain hazardous pesticides and industrial chemicals that can kill people, damage the nervous and immune systems, cause cancer and reproductive disorders and interfere with normal infant and child development. It seeks the elimination or restriction of production and use of all intentionally produced persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and the continuing minimization of the releases of unintentionally produced POPs such as dioxins and furans. The Convention was adopted in 2001 and entered into force on 17 May 2004.
The Regional Activity Centre for Cleaner Production in Barcelona is one of six Regional Activity Centres within the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP). The goal of the Centre is the promotion and dissemination of preventoin and the reduction of pollution at the source in the industrial, agriculture and tourism sectors.
Nelson Sabogal, Chief Convention Services and Governance Unit, Secretariat to the Basel Convention, UNEP, +41 22 917 8212, e-mail: Nelson.Sabogal@unep.ch
Michael Stanley-Jones, Press Focal Point/Public Information Officer, Joint Services of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, +41-22-917-8668; (m) + 41-79-730-4495, e-mail: SafePlanet@unep.org