All activities

Now online: Frequently-Asked-Questions on the Basel Convention Plastic Waste Amendments

Adopted by Parties one year ago in May 2019, the Amendments become effective on 1 January 2021. Learn all you need to know by consulting the Secretariat’s FAQ, newly online.

Now online: Frequently-Asked-Questions on the Basel Convention Plastic Waste Amendments

Now online: Frequently-Asked-Questions on the Basel Convention Plastic Waste Amendments
 
Children! Parents! Join Earth School for a different take on home-schooling!

The UNEP/TED-ed initiative has attracted millions of children worldwide since launching in April. Join the Plastics Quest, live from Monday 18 May, brought into your home by the BRS Secretariat and partners.

Children! Parents! Join Earth School for a different take on home-schooling!

Children! Parents! Join Earth School for a different take on home-schooling!
 
Sustainability after COVID-19: The medical waste response

BRS Executive Secretary joins UNEP, WHO, UNEP and others in a webinar on 19 May to discuss necessary responses to increased medical waste in light of the COVID-19 emergency.

Sustainability after COVID-19: The medical waste response

Sustainability after COVID-19: The medical waste response
 
Communication regarding COVID-19 and upcoming BRS meetings <span class="attentionNote">(Updated 8 May 2020)</span>
 

Communication regarding COVID-19 and upcoming BRS meetings (Updated 8 May 2020)

Communication regarding COVID-19 and upcoming BRS meetings <span class="attentionNote">(Updated 8 May 2020)</span>
 
New Small Grant Programme launched to improve plastic waste management at municipal, national and regional levels

The BRS Secretariat is pleased to announce, thanks to generous funding from Norway, the opening of the new Small Grant Programme on Plastic Waste, open to applications from Basel and Stockholm Convention regional centres until 15 July 2020.

New Small Grant Programme launched to improve plastic waste management at municipal, national and regional levels

New Small Grant Programme launched to improve plastic waste management at municipal, national and regional levels
 
To rid the world of POPs, Kyrgyzstan updates its national plan for implementing the Stockholm Convention

Addressing amendments to the Convention made at COP-4 and COP-5, Kyrgyzstan has transmitted its updated NIP.

To rid the world of POPs, Kyrgyzstan updates its national plan for implementing the Stockholm Convention

To rid the world of POPs, Kyrgyzstan updates its national plan for implementing the Stockholm Convention
 
Opportunities published for supporting global work towards the sound management of chemicals & waste

Now available online: Overview of concept notes for voluntary contributions for implementing the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm conventions, as approved by COPs in 2019.

Opportunities published for supporting global work towards the sound management of chemicals & waste

Opportunities published for supporting global work towards the sound management of chemicals & waste
 
Save the date:  Dates and venue for the 2021 BRS COPs

The Basel Convention’s COP-15, the Rotterdam Convention’s COP-10 and the Stockholm Convention’s COP-10 will be held back-to-back in Geneva, Switzerland, from 19 to 30 July 2021.

Save the date: Dates and venue for the 2021 BRS COPs

Save the date:  Dates and venue for the 2021 BRS COPs
 
BRS Secretariat urges sound management of medical and household waste as part of COVID-19 response

Read the Secretariat’s Press Release on the need to prioritise waste management during the COVID-19 outbreak.

BRS Secretariat urges sound management of medical and household waste as part of COVID-19 response

BRS Secretariat urges sound management of medical and household waste as part of COVID-19 response

Geneva, 20 March 2020 - With the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic continuing to spread and its impacts upon human health and the economy intensifying day-by-day, governments are urged to treat waste management, including of medical, household and other hazardous waste, as an urgent and essential public service in order to minimise possible secondary impacts upon health and the environment.

During such an outbreak, many types of additional medical and hazardous waste are generated, including infected masks, gloves and other protective equipment, together with a higher volume of non-infected items of the same nature. Unsound management of this waste could cause unforeseen “knock-on” effects on human health and the environment. The safe handling, and final disposal of this waste is therefore a vital element in an effective emergency response.

Effective management of biomedical and health-care waste requires appropriate identification, collection, separation, storage, transportation, treatment and disposal, as well as important associated aspects including disinfection, personnel protection and training. The UN Basel Convention’s Technical Guidelines on the Environmentally Sound Management of Biomedical and Healthcare Wastes, includes information and practical aspects of waste management useful for authorities seeking to minimise hazards to human health and the environment.

Further resources on the safe handling and final disposal of medical wastes can be found on the website of the Basel Convention’s Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific, in Beijing, which lists a series of guidance documents and best practices at: http://bcrc.tsinghua.edu.cn/en/col/1257152450718/index.html

The safe management of household waste is also likely to be critical during the COVID-19 emergency. Medical waste such as contaminated masks, gloves, used or expired medicines, and other items can easily become mixed with domestic garbage, but should be treated as hazardous waste and disposed of separately. These should be separately stored from other household waste streams and collected by specialist municipality or waste management operators. Guidelines on the specificities of recycling or disposing of such waste is given in detail in the Basel Convention’s Factsheet on Healthcare or Medical Waste, at: http://www.basel.int/?tabid=5839

Parties to the Basel Convention are currently working on a guidance document for soundly managing household waste and whilst not yet finalized, an initial draft may be consulted for provisional guidance: http://www.basel.int/?tabid=8227

The BRS Executive Secretary, Rolph Payet, stated that “All branches of society are coming together to collectively beat the virus and to minimize the human and economic impact of COVID-19 across the world. In tackling this enormous and unprecedented challenge, I urge decision-makers at every level: international, nationally, and at municipal, city and district levels, to make every effort to ensure that waste management, including that from medical and household sources, is given the attention - indeed priority - it requires in order to ensure the minimization of impacts upon human health and the environment from these potentially hazardous waste streams.”

Notes for Editors:

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal is the most comprehensive international environmental agreement on hazardous and other wastes and is almost universal, with 187 Parties. With an overarching objective of protecting human health and the environment against the adverse effects of hazardous wastes, its scope covers a wide range of wastes defined as hazardous based on their origin and/or composition and characteristics, as well as two types of waste defined as “other wastes”, namely household waste and incinerator ash. For more info see: www.basel.int

The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions, or BRS Secretariat, services the three leading multilateral environment agreements governing hazardous chemicals and waste, in order to protect human health and the environment. See www.brsmeas.org for more info and follow the @brsmeas twitter feed for daily news.

For BRS conventions general media enquiries see: www.brsmeas.org or contact:

Charlie AVIS,
BRS Public Information Officer,
Geneva +41-79-730-4495

Governments, industry, civil society and UN join forces to beat plastic waste pollution

The first meeting of the Basel Convention’s new Plastic Waste Partnership concluded successfully in Seychelles, 5 March 2020. Read the outcomes summarised in the BRS Press Release.

Governments, industry, civil society and UN join forces to beat plastic waste pollution

Governments, industry, civil society and UN join forces to beat plastic waste pollution

Geneva, 5 March 2020 - With an estimated 100 million tonnes of plastic waste in the oceans, 80-90% of which comes from land-based sources[1], a new Plastic Waste Partnership, established by the Basel Convention, has met for the first time to discuss ways to prevent, minimise, and soundly manage, plastic waste from across the world.

The meeting, convened by the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions (BRS) and hosted by the Seychelles Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, gathered more than 100 representatives from members of the Partnership, in Seychelles from 2 to 5 March 2020.

At the opening of the meeting, Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment, Mr. Sveinung Rotevatn, called the Partnership “a unique opportunity to kick-start the efforts to better deal with the environmental challenges of plastic waste.” Mr. Didier Dogley, Seychelles Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine then said that “in 2018, on World Environment Day, the world was called to beat plastic pollution. We were then reminded that our world is drowning in plastic pollution. I wish to commend the Basel Convention for initiating this Plastic Waste Partnership; I feel comforted to see that there is a real commitment by the world community towards fighting this plastic curse at the global level.”

The BRS Executive Secretary, Mr. Rolph Payet, announced a new project on plastic waste funded by the Norwegian Development Agency, Norad, to help build capacities for managing plastic waste in developing countries and countries with economies in transition. He described how this 6.9 million USD project will help operationalize the Plastic Waste Amendment adopted in May 2019 by 187 Parties to better incorporate plastic wastes of most concern into the legally-binding framework of the Basel Convention. The new project supports many activities of Convention’s work programme, for instance a Small Grants Programme which will channel funds to the grassroots level in priority regions.

The meeting outcomes included agreement on the activities the Partnership working group will tackle as a first step.  This includes activities on prevention and minimization of plastic waste, facilitating its proper collection and recycling, preparations for entry into force of the Plastic Waste Amendment and plans for outreach and awareness raising activities. The working group will develop and implement these activities along with supporting pilot projects and will provide a first report back on its progress at the twelfth meeting of the Open-ended Working Group of the Basel Convention (Geneva, 22-25 June 2020).

Also launched during the meeting was a Plastic Waste Photo Contest, aiming to raise awareness not only of the plastic waste problem, but also the solutions out there, our collective progress to date and the challenges and opportunities moving forward. Entries from professional, amateur, and junior photographers are invited by 30 September 2020 and will be judged by a National Geographic photographer.

Reflecting on the packed week of discussions, events and announcements, BRS Executive Secretary, Mr. Rolph Payet, applauded the Partnership on its first great leap forward in tackling the plastic waste issue while noting that the hard work was just about to begin. He also reaffirmed the commitment of the BRS Secretariat to the issue and in its support to the Partnership.

Separately, Mr Payet met with the President of Seychelles, H.E. Mr Danny Faure. More details are available on the Seychelles State House website: http://www.statehouse.gov.sc/news/4758/president-faure-receives-professor-rolph-payet-at-state-house.

The meeting was made possible using funding generously provided by the governments of Canada, Japan, Norway, Seychelles and Switzerland.

Notes for Editors:

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal is the most comprehensive international environmental agreement on hazardous and other wastes and is almost universal, with 187 Parties. With an overarching objective of protecting human health and the environment against the adverse effects of hazardous wastes, its scope covers a wide range of wastes defined as hazardous based on their origin and/or composition and characteristics, as well as two types of waste defined as “other wastes”, namely household waste and incinerator ash. For more info see: www.basel.int

On May 10, 2019, the Parties to the Basel Convention adopted two important decisions to address plastic waste, namely the adoption of the Plastic Waste Amendment, and a decision setting out a range of further actions, including the establishment of the Plastic Waste Partnership. These steps have strengthened the Basel Convention as the only global legally-binding instrument to specifically address plastic waste. For more on the Amendments see: http://www.basel.int/?tabid=8347

On March 2, 2020, the Plastic Waste Partnership launched the Plastic Waste Photo Contest, to raise awareness on this global issue. For more information on the Contest see: http://www.basel.int/?tabid=8348

The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions, or BRS Secretariat, services the three leading multilateral environment agreements governing hazardous chemicals and waste, in order to protect human health and the environment. See www.brsmeas.org for more info and follow the @brsmeas twitter feed for daily news.

For more on the Plastic Waste Partnership, contact:

Susan WINGFIELD
BRS Programme Officer, Geneva
+41-22-9178406
Melisa LIM
BRS Programme Officer, Geneva
+41-22-91782283

For BRS conventions general media enquiries see: www.brsmeas.org or contact:

Charlie AVIS
BRS Public Information Officer, Geneva
+41-79-730-4495



[1] Data from “Marine litter plastics and microplastics and their toxic chemicals components: the need for urgent preventive measures” by Frederic Gallo et. al. in Environmental Sciences Europe 2018; 30(1): 13, at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5918521/

New Plastic Waste Photo Contest launched to raise awareness on plastic waste pollution

Photographs are invited from professionals, amateurs and children, and will be judged by a panel including a National Geographic photographer. Deadline for submission: 30 September 2020.

New Plastic Waste Photo Contest launched to raise awareness on plastic waste pollution

New Plastic Waste Photo Contest launched to raise awareness on plastic waste pollution
 
Regional Centre in Senegal is the first to operationalise automatic information exchange through the BRS Clearing House Mechanism

BRS information platforms expanded to include new portal sharing publications, events and contacts from the network of regional centres, starting with the Basel and Stockholm Regional Centre for Francophone Africa in Dakar, Senegal, as the first new information source and publisher.

Regional Centre in Senegal is the first to operationalise automatic information exchange through the BRS Clearing House Mechanism

Regional Centre in Senegal is the first to operationalise automatic information exchange through the BRS Clearing House Mechanism
 
85 million children engaged in hazardous labour affecting their health through exposure to toxic substances, says UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

The 43rd Session of the Human Rights Council addresses children’s rights to a healthy environment, as UN report shows that 25% of infant deaths are from preventable, environmental hazards.

85 million children engaged in hazardous labour affecting their health through exposure to toxic substances, says UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

85 million children engaged in hazardous labour affecting their health through exposure to toxic substances, says UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
 
UN agencies join forces to help meet the world’s growing electronic waste challenge: you can join in too!

See Inger Andersen (UNEP), Rolph Payet (BRS), Malcom Johnson (ITU) and Maria Neira (WHO) talk about the newly-launched E-waste Massive Open Online Course.

UN agencies join forces to help meet the world’s growing electronic waste challenge: you can join in too!

UN agencies join forces to help meet the world’s growing electronic waste challenge: you can join in too!
 
Enroll for this online course to help tackle the global E-waste challenge
The BRS Secretariat and partners’ Massive Open Online Course on electronic, or e-waste, is a unique opportunity to learn how you can become part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.

Enroll for this online course to help tackle the global E-waste challenge

Enroll for this online course to help tackle the global E-waste challenge
 
To help rid the world of Persistent Organic Pollutants or POPs, Pakistan updates its national plan for implementing the Stockholm Convention

Addressing amendments made at COPs 4, 5, and 6, Pakistan has transmitted its updated National Implementation Plan.

To help rid the world of Persistent Organic Pollutants or POPs, Pakistan updates its national plan for implementing the Stockholm Convention

To help rid the world of Persistent Organic Pollutants or POPs, Pakistan updates its national plan for implementing the Stockholm Convention
 
First meeting of the new UN Plastic Waste Partnership takes place in the Seychelles

Less than a year after its establishment, the new Plastic Waste Partnership of the Basel Convention meets for the first time at Beau Vallon, the Seychelles, from 2 to 5 March 2020.

First meeting of the new UN Plastic Waste Partnership takes place in the Seychelles

First meeting of the new UN Plastic Waste Partnership takes place in the Seychelles
 
Outcomes online of the Stockholm Convention’s POPs Review Committee, 15th meeting

The final version of the POPRC-15 meeting report and decisions taken is now available in all 6 United Nations languages.

Outcomes online of the Stockholm Convention’s POPs Review Committee, 15th meeting

Outcomes online of the Stockholm Convention’s POPs Review Committee, 15th meeting
 
Accession of Equatorial Guinea takes the number of Parties to the Stockholm Convention to 184

The Convention will enter into force for Equatorial Guinea on 23 March 2020.

Accession of Equatorial Guinea takes the number of Parties to the Stockholm Convention to 184

Accession of Equatorial Guinea takes the number of Parties to the Stockholm Convention to 184
 
Final Report of the Stockholm Convention’s COP-9 is now online

The report of the ninth meeting of the Conference of Parties is now available online in all six official UN languages.

Final Report of the Stockholm Convention’s COP-9 is now online

Final Report of the Stockholm Convention’s COP-9 is now online
 
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