In decision SC-3/7, the Parties to the Stockholm Convention requested the Secretariat to undertake capacity building activities to assist developing countries and countries with economies in transition in implementing the Basel Convention technical guidelines on POPs wastes. In response to this request, the Secretariat is implementing regional workshops on the Environmentally Sound Management (ESM) of POPs waste. The sub-regional workshop in Panama was the last one in a series that was initiated in 2009.
At its fourth meeting in May 2009, the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention decided in SC-4/5 to initiate the establishment of the PCBs Elimination Network (PEN), a collaborative framework to promote and facilitate information exchange to support the delivery of the obligations of the Stockholm Convention on the ESM of PCBs. Since its launch in February 2010, the PEN has grown significantly, counting more than 500 members to date. To promote the exchange of technical knowledge and create incentives, four thematic groups on inventories, maintenance, disposal and open applications have been established and will be carrying out technical work within the framework of the PEN.
To join efforts, the first meeting of the PEN thematic group on maintenance of PCBs equipment was held back-to-back with the subregional workshop on the ESM of POPs wastes and PCBs in Spanish-speaking countries in Central America and the Caribbean.
- Improved capacity of participants on the concepts, principles and standards for the ESM of PCBs oils and PCB-containing equipment towards the achievement of the 2025 and 2028 goals of the Stockholm Convention,
- Improved the capacity of participants on the concepts, principles and standards for the ESM of POPs wastes, particularly new POPs wastes,
- Shared experience and improved knowledge on the ESM of PCBs and POPs wastes, in particular on the maintenance of PCB containing equipment,
- Provided technical input to the PEN thematic group on maintenance, in particular to review the development of the draft guidance on maintenance, handling, and interim storage of PCBs equipment,
- Reached an agreement on a way forward to address regional and national challenges related to maintenance of PCB equipment.
The training workshop for Spanish-speaking countries in Central America and the Caribbean targeted national experts on the ESM of PCBs and POPs wastes respectively from each of the following countries: Belize, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama.
The first meeting of the PEN thematic group on maintenance targeted national experts in the field of maintenance, handling and interim storage of PCBs equipment from Latin American countries, subject to availability of funds.
The outline of the four-day meetings was as follows:
Day 1: Opening remarks, introduction to the ESM of PCBs and POPs wastes, introduction to the PEN, exchange of countries’ experiences
Day 2: Training on the ESM of PCBs and POPs wastes and technical work of the PEN thematic group on maintenance
Day 3: Field visit to sites concerned with PCBs and POPs wastes in Panama
Day 4: Technical work of the PEN thematic group on maintenance
Timing and venue
The workshop on the ESM of POPs wastes and PCBs for Spanish-speaking countries in Central America and the Caribbean and the first meeting of the PEN Thematic Group on Maintenance was held from 15 to 18 February 2011 in Panama City, Panama and was organized in collaboration with the Stockholm Convention Regional Centre in Panama.