Information for participants

Venue and date of the meetings, including pre-meetings

The seventeenth meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC-17) will be held from 24 to 28 January 2022, at the following venue:

Centre International de Conférences Genève (CICG)
17, rue de Varembé
CH-1211 Geneva 20
Switzerland
Tel.: + 41 (0) 22 791 91 11
Fax: + 41 (0) 22 791 90 64
Internet: www.cicg.ch

Taking into account the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic situation and related measures in Switzerland, participants who cannot attend the meeting in person, can participate remotely through an online meeting platform. Both participants at the face-to-face meeting and those participating remotely will have access to the online meeting platform. The entire meeting, including plenary sessions and contact/drafting group meetings will be connected to the online meeting platform.

The POPRC-17 meeting will be opened at 9.30 a.m. (UTC+1) on Monday, 24 January 2022, at the CICG venue and by electronic means at the same time and conducted on the Interactio platform.

Pre-meetings to provide an early opportunity to introduce the key documents related to the technical work of the POPRC-17 meeting, raise questions, and collect any comments were held online on the Webex platform in English only on Wednesday, 1 December and Thursday, 2 December 2021. The pre-meetings were held from 11.30 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. (UTC+1 Geneva time) on both dates and were open to all Committee members as well as to observers. Participation in the pre-meetings was strongly encouraged as it facilitated the preparations for, and the work during POPRC-17 meeting.

Registration at the Centre International de Conférences Genève (CICG), Security identification documentation and badges for meeting participants

On-site registration will open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, 24 January 2022, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the remaining days of the meeting. We strongly recommend that participants attending the POPRC-17 meeting in Geneva to register early on Monday or as early as possible.

Security identification badges are issued to participants upon arrival at the meeting and upon completion of the relevant registration procedure. Meeting participants may collect their security identification badges at the registration desks upon presentation of one of the following identification documents issued by a government recognized by the United Nations:

  • Valid national passport;
  • Valid picture identification card, in Latin alphabets;
  • Valid picture “residency” card, in Latin alphabets; or
  • Valid picture driver’s licence, in Latin alphabets.

COVID certificate is currently required to enter most public places and events, and will be required to enter the CICG. The COVID certificate provides documentary evidence that you have had a COVID-19 vaccination or have recovered from the disease. You can store the COVID certificate in paper form or in the COVID Certificate app. Access to the CICG will also be possible with a proof of negative PCR or rapid antigen test. A testing facility for rapid antigen tests will be available at the CICG. 

Schedule of the meeting and meeting documents

The tentative schedule of POPRC-17 (UNEP/POPS/POPRC.17/INF/2/Rev.1 ), the provisional agenda, and other pre-session documents, are available here.

Language of the POPRC-17 meeting and pre-meetings

The working languages of the POPRC-17 meeting will be Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. The pre-meetings conducted online were in English only.

Rules for entry into Switzerland

Before your travel to Switzerland, we highly recommend that you consult the online Travelcheck (https://travelcheck.admin.ch/home) to verify the requirements that may apply to you when entering Switzerland.

Depending on the country of departure and the vaccination status of the traveller, the entry requirements to Switzerland differ.

As of 20 December 2021, all travellers, at boarding and upon entry to Switzerland, must present a proof of a negative PCR test (not older than 72 hours) or of a negative rapid antigen test (not older than 24 hours) and need to fill in an entry form before crossing the border (Passenger Locator Form). Depending on the travellers vaccination status and country of origin a second test (PCR or rapid antigen) may be required between the 4th and 7th day after entry. In the Geneva canton, the result of the test does not need to be reported. However, if requested by the health authorities, you must be able to transmit it immediately to the address indicated to you. More information is available at: https://www.ge.ch/en/covid-19-travelling-and-entry-switzerland.

If you are staying for fewer than four days, you do not need to take a second test and only need to show a negative test result when entering the country.

All travellers whether vaccinated, recovered or with a negative COVID-19 test are required to complete a Passenger Locator Form on arrival (https://swissplf.admin.ch/formular).

In case of transit through another country, it is the traveller’s responsibility to check the other countries’ immigration regulations in light of the current health crisis. The following website provides information on the crossing of the borders of other Schengen States: https://reopen.europa.eu/en/. The Secretariat is not in a position to bear the costs of quarantine in Switzerland nor in the travellers’ home countries upon return, nor the costs of testing, nor is able to arrange for vaccination of participants.

Travellers are furthermore invited to familiarize themselves with the requirements for re-entry into their country of origin.

The general entry restrictions that are particularly relevant to representatives who are officially invited to participate in meetings of international organizations are as follows:

  • Persons entering Switzerland directly from a Schengen State and other countries set out in the list of the State Secretariat for Migration have access to Swiss territory provided they fulfill the entry requirements described above. The list of the State Secretariat for Migration is regularly updated in line with the epidemiological situation.
  • All other countries and regions are currently considered high risk and entry restrictions apply. Persons entering Switzerland from the majority of these countries can enter Switzerland if they have been fully vaccinated and fulfill the entry requirements. If the traveller is not vaccinated, an exemption allowing entry can be sought based on the justification that the person is attending an international/UN meeting in an official capacity. Such exemption will be examined during the visa application, on the basis of the personalized official invitation letter to the meeting. Persons in possession of a valid visa or exempted from visa requirements must be in a possession of the personalized invitation letter during boarding and at arrival. We strongly advise travellers to contact the Swiss Embassy or Consulate responsible for the place of residence for more information.

More information on travel conditions and COVID-19 situation in Switzerland is available at:

Visa

It is the responsibility of each participant to apply for the required visa. Visas must be obtained prior to arrival.

Please note that a Schengen visa is required even for transiting through Schengen zone European Countries. The time needed for a visa request to be processed may vary from case to case. It is therefore strongly recommended that you submit your application with sufficient time in advance, so that a Schengen visa can be issued. More information is available on the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs at the following links:

Medical and travel insurance

The United Nations does not cover life or medical insurance for participants. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the participants or of their Governments or organizations to obtain adequate insurance prior to travel to Switzerland.

We recommend including COVID-19 related insurance to help cover your expenses in case you will be required to quarantine and/or receive medical treatment. The Secretariat would not be in position to bear the costs of quarantine in Switzerland nor in the travellers’ home countries upon return, nor the costs of testing, nor be able to arrange for vaccination of participants.

COVID-19 related restrictions during your stay in Geneva

COVID certificate

A COVID certificate is currently required to enter most public places and events. The COVID certificate provides documentary evidence that you have had a COVID-19 vaccination or have recovered from the disease. You can store the COVID certificate in paper form or in the COVID Certificate app. The COVID certificate will be required to enter the Centre International de Conférences Genève (CICG). Access to the CICG will also be possible with a proof of negative PCR or rapid antigen test. A testing facility for rapid antigen tests will be available at the CICG.

A COVID certificate can be requested by travellers before departure if they have received their last dose of vaccine abroad or have had a positive molecular biological analysis (e.g. PCR test) proving a previous COVID-19 infection. Travellers who have been vaccinated with an approved WHO vaccine (which includes vaccines Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Sinopharm/BIBP, Sinovac/CoronaVac and COVAXIN will be able to obtain a Swiss COVID certificate. Travellers who already have an EU Digital COVID Certificate or a certificate that is compatible with the EU Digital COVID Certificate do not need to apply for a Swiss COVID certificate as these are also recognised in Switzerland. As it takes few days to obtain a Swiss COVID certificate, it is recommended that travellers apply for the certificate two weeks before their trip to Switzerland. Information on how to apply for a Swiss COVID certificate may be found at: https://smc02.hug.ch/surveys/?s=WA39AEN9T3CYMK9W

The Swiss COVID certificate can be obtained on the basis of a negative COVID-19 test while being in Switzerland. More information about how to receive a COVID certificate as evidence of a negative test, and the duration of its validity, can be found here .

Masks wearing

Masks must be worn at all times in public transport, in publicly accessible indoor spaces and at the meeting venue.

Safety and health measures at the meeting venue

Specific safety and health measures at the meeting venue will be put in place. Participants attending the meeting in-person will be requested to observe those measures.

If you develop any cold- or flu-like symptoms while in the premises, you should request assistance from the Secretariat or the UN Safety and Security Service (112 from any fixed line phone on the premises). If you develop any cold- or flu-like symptoms while in Geneva, please inform the Secretariat and please avoid coming to the venue. The Secretariat contact is Ms. Maria Cristina Cardenas-Fisher at: maria-cristina.cardenas@un.org.

Technical details of the POPRC-17 meeting and pre-meetings

The POPRC-17 meeting will be held simultaneously in Geneva, at the CICG venue and online on the Interactio platform. The online pre-meetings were held on the Webex platform. A paperless intranet site will be setup containing all the documents and other information for the meeting.

Please note that the intranet page will be activated a few days before the POPRC-17 meeting. Until then, all relevant information pertaining to the meeting will be posted on the meeting website. As per past practice, this intranet site will contain pre-session documents, in-session documents (Conference Room Papers), the draft meeting report, submissions from members and observers, information on the daily schedule, etc.

POPRC-17 online pre-meetings

The online pre-meetings were conducted via the Webex platform on Wednesday, 1 December and Thursday, 2 December 2021, from 11.30 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. (UTC+1 Geneva time), in English only.

POPRC-17 meeting and technical trial sessions of the PORPC-17 meeting conducted online

The POPRC-17 meeting will be conducted via the Interactio platform, from Monday, 24 January to Friday, 28 January 2022 with interpretation in the six official languages of the United Nations of the plenary sessions. Instructions and guidance on how to participate in the Interactio platform sessions will be provided by an email ahead of the meeting.

Registered participants will also receive an email invitation for test sessions before the meeting to ensure that they are technically ready to connect to the Interactio platform. We strongly recommend you to participate in at least one of the test sessions in order to ensure that your audio devices are working properly and that you can participate effectively in the meeting.

Further information on the use of Interactio and the Intranet will be provided in a separate communication.

Participants are invited to take note of the following important email addresses and telephone numbers:

  • If you have questions on technical issues to connect to the intranet site and/or online platforms, encounter any technical issues and/or require technical support: email: ITsupport@brsmeas.org and telephone: +41 22 917 8229 or +41 79 203 7614
  • If you wish to submit a Conference Room Paper (members only): crp@brsmeas.org

Communication allowance (for eligible members from developing countries and countries with economies in transition who are attending the meeting online only)

During the COVID-19 pandemic situation that imposes limitations on travel and mass gatherings, as well as teleworking due to domestic lockdowns, the Secretariat will provide an exceptional support for the reimbursement of communication costs (i.e. costs incurred to secure a reliable and good quality internet connection) to assist eligible Committee members from developing countries and countries with economies in transition who are attending the meeting online only.

For more information about the Secretariat’s policy and modalities for the reimbursement of communication costs for eligible members to participate in meetings by online means, please kindly consult the supplemental information on the reimbursement of communication costs.

Accommodation

It is the responsibility of participants to make their own arrangements for accommodation. The Secretariat encourages all participants to make such arrangements at the earliest possible opportunity. A list of hotels with UN preferential rates is available for your convenience.

Local transportation and security

Once in Geneva, reaching the conference centre is simple. The international airport (Geneva Cointrin) is about 5 kilometres from the conference centre, a journey of approximately 10 minutes by taxi. The main railway station (Geneva Cornavin) is 2 kilometres from the conference centre and the two are linked by public transport (tramway and bus) and by taxi.

Public transport in Geneva is fast, frequent, safe and clean. Bus number 10 links the airport with downtown Geneva, with connections approximately every eight minutes, and train services are also available. The Unireso ticket, offered by the Geneva airport authority, allows the free use of public transport in the city for a period of 80 minutes. Unireso tickets can be obtained from the machine in the baggage collection area on the arrivals level of the airport.

The conference centre can be reached from the main railway station by taking bus number 5 (alight at either the Vermont stop or the Varembé stop), bus number 8 (alight at the International Telecommunications Union stop) or tram number 13 or 15 in the direction of Nations (alight at Sismondi).

Taxis are easily available and safe, but comparatively expensive. If you need a taxi, call 022 320 22 02 or 022 331 41 33.

Although Geneva is a comparatively safe place and violent crime is rare, the incidence of pickpocketing and theft has increased considerably over the last few years. Participants are advised to pay particular attention at the airport, around the Cornavin railway station and in the Paquis district of the city, and to not leave their luggage unattended at any time.

Electricity

Voltage: 230 volts
Frequency: 50 Hz
Plug/socket: C (CEE 7/16) , J

C (CEE 7/16)- photo Wikimedia Commons plug J - photo Wikimedia Commons

Currency

Swiss franc (CHF). Average exchange rates: 1 United States dollar ≈ 0.92 CHF; 1 euro ≈ 1.06 CHF.

Restaurants

Cafes, restaurants and shops are within walking distance of the CICG. A COVID certificate will be required to enter cafes and restaurants.

Preparatory briefings

A number of online briefings have been organized prior to the meeting. These briefings provide an overview of the issues that will be considered at the meeting and are open to all meeting participants, as well as Parties to the Stockholm Convention, observers and stakeholders in general. Recordings of these briefings are available on the meeting website.

Guidelines for rules of conduct for meeting participants

The attention of meeting participants is drawn to the following guidelines for rules of conduct developed:

  1. Guidelines on the use of cameras and audio/video recording devices by participants at meetings of the conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions (BRS) and their subsidiary bodies;
  2. Guidelines for the participation of representatives of observers at meetings of the conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions (BRS) and their subsidiary bodies;
  3. Guidelines on preventing and addressing all forms of harassment at meetings of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions.

Side events

Requests for side events should be sent to the Secretariat before 10 December 2021 by email to:

Ms. Kei Ohno Woodall
Email: kei.ohno@un.org

As the number of slots available for side events is limited, they will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Paperless meeting

The meeting will be paperless and printed documents will not be available at the meeting. Pre-session documents will be made available on the meetings’ website and in-session documents (such as conference room papers) will be available electronically via wireless intranet or memory stick only.

Making a meeting paperless considerably reduces the cost and carbon footprint of the meeting. A paperless meeting also makes it easier for participants to locate documents and allows for faster preparation and distribution of conference room papers.

To facilitate the paperless nature of the meeting, participants are requested to ensure the following:

  • Each participant should bring a laptop computer containing basic applications, including Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint, Adobe Acrobat Reader and updated antivirus software.
  • Laptops should be pre-checked for viruses and confirmed as virus-free prior to arrival at the meetings. Virus free laptops are crucial to the success of a paperless meeting.
  • Participants should bring a memory stick that has been pre-checked for viruses for the purpose of transferring documents.
  • Laptops should be configured for a standard wireless (Wi-Fi) connection. If in doubt, please check with your local information technology expert.
  • Participants should bring an appropriate adaptor to enable laptops to be connected to Swiss power sockets.
  • When completing the registration form of the meetings, participants should include a current email address, so that they can be sent correspondence relating to the meeting.