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BRS’ Mario Yarto explains how new chemicals get listed on www.unep.org

As part of the “Countdown to the Triple COPs” on UNEP’s Ask-an-Expert interactive portal, ask BRS Programme Officer Mario Yarto all you need to know about how the chemical listings processes work.

BRS’ Mario Yarto explains how new chemicals get listed on www.unep.org

BRS’ Mario Yarto explains how new chemicals get listed on www.unep.org
 
Global chemical conventions work together to continue supporting productive and sustainable agriculture, while protecting human health and the environment

Continuing the implementation of scientific synergies among global chemical agreements, the Rotterdam Convention’s Chemical Review Committee held its tenth meeting at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Headquarters in Rome, 22-24th October 2014, back-to-back with the tenth meeting of the Stockholm Convention’s POPs Review Committee, 27-30th October 2014.

Global chemical conventions work together to continue supporting productive and sustainable agriculture, while protecting human health and the environment

Global chemical conventions work together to continue supporting productive and sustainable agriculture, while protecting human health and the environment

Continuing the implementation of scientific synergies among global chemical agreements, the Rotterdam Convention’s Chemical Review Committee held its tenth meeting at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Headquarters in Rome, 22-24th October 2014, back-to-back with the tenth meeting of the Stockholm Convention’s POPs Review Committee, 27-30th October 2014.

The Chemical Review Committee (CRC), a subsidiary body of the Rotterdam Convention, made up of technical experts from across the world, met from 22-24th October and reviewed notifications of final regulatory action on three industrial chemicals and adopted draft decision guidance documents for the pesticide Methamidophos; and for the severely hazardous pesticide formulation .

Methamidophos is an insecticide widely used on a variety of crops including wheat, fruit trees, tomatoes, cotton, soybean and potatoes. Both chemical and non-chemical (Integrated Pest Management) alternatives are readily available. Fenthion[1] is used as a spray for bird control and can be replaced by a number of non-chemical measures including protection with nets, nest removal, bird scaring and trapping.

The recommended decision guidance documents will go forward for consideration of inclusion of these chemicals under the Rotterdam Convention at the forthcoming meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to be held in Geneva in May 2015.  “In doing so, we contribute not only to an informed decision making but also to the protection of the health of farmers and their families and with this we have a positive impact on food security at large”, said Christine Fuell, the Coordinator of the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat within the FAO. If approved at the COP, the Convention’s Prior Informed Consent Procedure will then apply also to these pesticides.

Following from that, the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC), a subsidiary body of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), met from 27-30th October and recommended the listing of pentachlorophenol and its salts and esters (PCP, sometimes commonly known as “angel dust”) within the list of POPs. The Committee thus recommended the elimination of its future production and use, while providing for a time-limited specific exemption for its production and use for utility poles and cross-arms. In doing so, the Committee adopted the risk management evaluation and proposed a recommendation for labelling requirements warning against the re-use for non-specified purposes. Whilst in the past this chemical was used as a biocide, insecticide, disinfectant and anti-microbial agent, these uses have been increasingly phased out although it is still used for preservation of, for example, wooden railway cross ties (or “sleepers”).

The Committee further considered a proposal for listing dicofol a pesticide and acaricide used in many countries on a variety of fruit, vegetable, and ornamental crops. Chemically related to DDT, a substance already listed in Annex B of the Convention, dicofol will now be scrutinized by the Committee for its potential persistent organic pollutants properties as the next step of the review process.

The work of the Committee members was described as very inclusive, very precise, and of high quality. Members also provided ideas and input for the preparation of the Science Fair that will be held during the upcoming meetings of the COPs in 2015. Reflecting the overall theme of the COPs “From Science to Action, Working Today for a Better Tomorrow” the Science Fair will highlight the work of Committees such as CRC and POPRC in providing a solid scientific base for decision-making and policies related to sound chemicals management, a key cornerstone in governments efforts to transition towards a greener, more inclusive economic path.

For more information on these and other outcomes of the two committee meetings, please contact:

Contact:

Christine FUELL, Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention (FAO), Rome: + 39-06-5705-3765+ 39-06-5705-3765, christine.fuell@fao.org.

Kei OHNO WOODALL, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (UNEP), Geneva: +41-22-917-78201, kei.ohno-woodall@brsmeas.org .

Charlie AVIS, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (UNEP), Geneva: +41-79-730-4495+41-79-730-4495, charles.avis@brsmeas.org .

For more information: www.pops.int (Stockholm Convention) or www.pic.int (Rotterdam Convention).


Appointment of the new Executive Secretary

The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions is pleased to announce that the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, has recently appointed Dr. Rolph Payet, Minister for Environment and Energy, Seychelles, as its new Executive Secretary.

Dr. Payet has a Doctorate in Environmental Science, degrees at master level in Integrated Coastal Zone Management, Business Administration (MBA) and Applied Environmental Economics, and an honours degree in Biochemistry.

Appointment of the new Executive Secretary

Appointment of the new Executive Secretary

The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions is pleased to announce that the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, has recently appointed Dr. Rolph Payet, Minister for Environment and Energy, Seychelles, as its new Executive Secretary.

Dr. Payet has a Doctorate in Environmental Science, degrees at master level in Integrated Coastal Zone Management, Business Administration (MBA) and Applied Environmental Economics, and an honours degree in Biochemistry.

In addition to having been the Seychelles’ Chief Negotiator for the Basel Convention, the Montreal Protocol and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Dr. Payet also established important multi-stakeholder platforms, such as the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) and and co-chaired the International Coral Reef Initiative. He was Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third and Fourth Assessments and was elected as Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS) in 2007, in recognition of his contributions to marine research. He established the first university in Seychelles in 2009, and is its present ProChancellor. He also holds an associate professorship at the University of Linnaeus in Sweden.

Dr. Payet will take up his new duties in Geneva on 6 October 2014.

 Kerstin Stendahl appointed Executive Secretary ad interim of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions
Since April 2014, Kerstin has served as Executive Secretary ad interim of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

Kerstin joined the Secretariat as Deputy Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions in November 2012.


Kerstin Stendahl appointed Executive Secretary ad interim of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions

 Kerstin Stendahl appointed Executive Secretary ad interim of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions
 
17 participants strengthened their skills at the training session on chairing meetings of all conventions
Training contributes to gender and regional diversity in conventions’ corps of highly qualified chairpersons

17 participants strengthened their skills at the training session on chairing meetings of all conventions

17 participants strengthened their skills at the training session on chairing meetings of all conventions

Training contributes to gender and regional diversity in conventions’ corps of highly qualified chairpersons

The Pilot training session on chairing meetings of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) conventions took place in Glion, Switzerland, from 3 to 5 March 2014. The training was conducted by the Institute of Advanced Studies of the United Nations University in cooperation with the Secretariat. It brought together 17 participants from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, the Cook Islands, Ecuador, Egypt, Georgia, Indonesia, Japan, Malawi, Poland, the Russian Federation, Senegal, Sudan, and Switzerland.

The participants benefited from experience of former chairs who led various BRS processes, including the conferences of the parties, meetings of subsidiary bodies, contact groups and informal consultations. Through the combination of lectures, case studies, videos and simulation exercises the participants learned firsthand how to effectively chair intergovernmental meetings and guide them toward consensual outcomes.

“The pilot raining extends the conventions’ corps of highly qualified chairpersons, ensuring that we can call upon experienced chairs from all regions, while maintaining gender and regional diversity among them,” said Kerstin Stendahl, BRS Deputy Executive Secretary.

The training session was held through the generous support of the Government of Switzerland.
INECC hosts 1st Workshop on Technical Assistance & Capacity Strengthening for Implementation of the Stockholm Convention

The first Workshop on Technical Assistance and Capacity Building for the Implementation and Compliance of the Stockholm Convention in Mexico City was successfully held from 2 to 4 December 2013.

INECC hosts 1st Workshop on Technical Assistance & Capacity Strengthening for Implementation of the Stockholm Convention

INECC hosts 1st Workshop on Technical Assistance & Capacity Strengthening for Implementation of the Stockholm Convention

The National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change (INECC), Regional Center of the Stockholm Convention for Latin America and the Caribbean, has successfully held the first Workshop on Technical Assistance and Capacity Building for the Implementation and Compliance of the Stockholm Convention in Mexico City from 2 to 4 December 2013.

The workshop was attended by government representatives from eight countries: Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Peru, as well as national experts in the field.

On 26 November 2014, one year after notification, the amendment listing HBCD in Annex A to the Stockholm Convention entered into force for most parties.

 

Amendment listing the flame retardant, hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), in Annex A enters into force

The official notification of HBCD has been communicated, by the Depositary/Treaty Section of the Office of Legal Affairs in New York, to all Parties on 26 November 2013.

The notification is now available in English and in French

The HBCD amendment will enter into force for Parties on 26 November 2014, except for those Parties which might opt out, or for those Parties which had submitted the declaration for opting-in to any amendments, at the time they submitted their instruments of ratification of the Convention.

International experts share information on alternatives to POPs in Articles

POPs in Articles have taken center stage at two recent events co-organized by the Basel Convention Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific/Stockholm Convention Regional Centre for Capacity-building and the Transfer of Technology in Asia and the Pacific (BCRC Beijing/SCRCAP) and Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS Secretariat).

The “POPs in Articles and POPs Expert Meeting” was held on August 23-24, 2013 in Tsinghua University, Beijing, China. The workshop addressed challenges Parties face from the lack of information on the use and presence of new POPs in supply chains and production processes, as well as in recycling and waste stream. The meeting also addressed monitoring of POPs in articles.

The focus on POPs in Articles continued in a side event to the ninth meeting of the POPs Review Committee, in Rome, on 18 October 2013.

International experts share information on alternatives to POPs in Articles

International experts share information on alternatives to POPs in Articles

The addition of new Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) to the Stockholm Convention in 2009, 2011 and 2013 brought a number of new challenges to Parties in their efforts to reduce or eliminate releases from intentional production and use of POPs. Among these issues are the identification and sound management of industrial POPs that have been integrated into articles and products throughout their life-cycle.

POPs in Articles have taken center stage at two recent events co-organized by the Basel Convention Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific/Stockholm Convention Regional Centre for Capacity-building and the Transfer of Technology in Asia and the Pacific (BCRC Beijing/SCRCAP) and Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS Secretariat).

The “POPs in Articles and POPs Expert Meeting” was held on August 23-24, 2013 in Tsinghua University, Beijing, China. The workshop addressed challenges Parties face from the lack of information on the use and presence of new POPs in supply chains and production processes, as well as in recycling and waste stream. The meeting also addressed monitoring of POPs in articles.

Prof. Jinhui Li, Executive Director of BCRC Beijing/SCRCAP, and Ms. Jacqueline Alvarez, BRS Secretariat, opened the workshop with an overview POPs-free products and POPs alternatives. Experts next made presentations on a guidance document under the Stockholm Convention, and various POPs-free projects carried out by regional centres, nongovernmental organizations, UNEP, and others. An outline of an electronic publication compiling existing information related to POPs in articles was discussed and amended by the participants.

The meeting was attended by 20 experts from Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), BRS Secretariat, International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN), and Stockholm Convention Regional Centres in Brazil, China, Czech, India, Nigeria, and Spain, and other international experts.

The focus on POPs in Articles continued in a side event to the ninth meeting of the POPs Review Committee, in Rome, on 18 October 2013. Prof. Li and Ms. Alvarez, who introduced the session, were joined by Mr. Joe DiGangi, Senior Science and Technical Advisor, International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN) and Mr. Roland Weber, POPs Environmental Consulting (Germany). Mr. DiGangi presented the results of IPEN’s Toxic Toys campaign to eliminate POPs from children’s products. Mr. Roland Weber reported on the preparation of the POPs in Articles publication via webinar.

The Beijing expert meeting was organized under the “Project on the sound management of POPs in articles and phasing-out opportunities in emerging countries” , which is funded by the Governments of Germany and Norway and GIZ-Germany, and carried out by BCRC Beijing/SCRCAP from December 2012 to December 2013.

The POPs in Articles electronic publication will be posted in the Stockholm Convention website and presented to the Parties to the Stockholm Convention for their information at the seventh meeting of the Conference on the Parties to the Convention, scheduled to be held in May 2015.

UN chemical experts recommend phase out of two industrial chemicals
POPs Review Committee held its 9th meeting in Rome, back-to-back with its first joint meeting with the Rotterdam Convention’s Chemical Review Committee.

UN chemical experts recommend phase out of two industrial chemicals

UN chemical experts recommend phase out of two industrial chemicals

Strengthening scientific synergies among global chemical agreements, Stockholm Convention’s POPs Review Committee held its ninth meeting at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Headquarters in Rome, 14–18 October 2013, and its first joint meeting with the Rotterdam Convention’s Chemical Review Committee on 20 October 2013

Geneva and Rome, 21 October 2013 -The Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee, a subsidiary body of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), recommended the inclusion of two additional chemicals under the Convention, polychlorinated napththalenes (PCN) and hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD), thus lining them up for eventual phase-out. PCN and HCBD are both industrial chemicals used widely for many years in various applications including wood preservation, paint and insulation (PCN) and industrial processes (HCBD). HCBD was also used as a fumigant in pest control. Both chemicals have been recommended for listing in Annexes A and C to the Convention, thus targeting their intentional production, as well as unintentional releases of the chemicals.

The recommendations will be sent to the Parties to the Stockholm Convention for consideration at the seventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties, scheduled to be held from 4 to 15 May 2015 in Geneva.

The Committee adopted a total of nine decisions, including on a chemical newly proposed for listing, decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE). The Committee decided that decaBDE fulfilled the screening criteria in Annex D and agreed to prepare a draft risk profile for decaBDE as a next step in the review process. On dicofol, the Committee could not reach agreement and thus agreed to consider the proposal to list the chemical in Annexes A, B and/or C of the Convention further at its next meeting.

On pentachlorophenol and its salts and esters, the Committee adopted a risk profile and decided to move the chemical to the next review stage, the development of a risk management evaluation.

“Drawing upon its wealth of experience in tackling complex safety issues, the POPs Review Committee has recommended actions that will protect human lives and the environment against some of the world’s most dangerous toxic chemicals,” said Jim Willis, Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions.

The meeting of the POPs Review Committee was followed by a joint meeting between the Committee and the Rotterdam Convention’s Chemical Review Committee on Sunday, 20 October 2013. The Committee exchanged information on their respective review processes, and discussed ways to strengthen scientific synergies and enhance collaboration and cooperation among the committees. The Committee agreed upon a number of steps to make use of experiences gained through the work of the committees and established an intersessional working group to develop further guidance to assist parties to the Rotterdam Convention and the Chemical Review Committee in their work when a chemical under consideration is a POP listed under the Stockholm Convention.

The ninth meeting of the Chemical Review Committee will be held from 22 to 25 October 2013, at the same venue.

Note for Editors:

The Stockholm Convention on POPs regulates chemicals that are persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic, and evaporate and travel long distances through the air and through water, to protect human health and the environment globally. Article 8 of the Convention entails the reviewing process of new chemicals and Annex D, Annex E and Annex F specify the information and criteria required for the review.

The POPs Review Committee consists of thirty-one scientific experts appointed by the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention charged with undertaking scientific review of chemicals proposed for listing.

Polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCN) were used for decades for wood preservation, as an additive to paints and engine oils, and for cable insulation and in capacitors. Until the 1970s, PCNs were high volume chemicals.

Hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD) was a widely used fumigant used to control pests and as an industrial solvent. HCBD also occurs as a by-product during production of other chlorinated solvents.

Decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaBDE) is widely used as an additive flame retardant in textiles and plastics. It is a synthetic mixture of polybrominated diphenyl ethers, with the main component being the decaBDE congener.

Dicofol is pesticide and acaricide used in many countries around the world on a wide variety of fruit, vegetables, ornamental and field crops. It is chemically related to DDT, a substance listed in Annex B of the Convention.

Pentachlorophenol (PCP) is an organochlorine compound used as a pesticide and a disinfectant. A wealth of data on the adverse effects of pentachlorophenol in mammals show developmental, immunotoxic and neurotoxic effects. Human survivors of toxic exposures may suffer permanent visual and central nervous system damage.

The tenth meeting of the POPs Review Committee will be held in Rome, Italy, from 27 to 31 October 2014 back-to-back with the Chemical Review Committee of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, tentatively scheduled for 20 to 24 October 2014.

The following twelve persistent organic pollutants had been recommended previously to the Conference of the Parties by the POPs Review Committee and have now been added to the Convention:

  • Alpha hexachlorocyclohexane
  • Beta hexachlorocyclohexane
  • Chlordecone
  • Hexabromobiphenyl
  • Hexabromocyclododecane
  • Hexabromodiphenyl ether and heptabromodiphenyl ether (commercial octabromodiphenyl ether)
  • Endosulfan
  • Lindane
  • Pentachlorobenzene
  • Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, its salts and perfluorooctane sulfonyl fluoride
  • Technical endosulfan and its related isomers
  • Tetrabromodiphenyl ether and pentabromodiphenyl ether (commercial pentabromodiphenyl ether)

The Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade contributes to the environmentally sound use of chemicals by facilitating information exchange about their characteristics. It provides for a national decision-making process on their import and export and disseminates these decisions to Parties through the Convention’s Prior Informed Consent, or PIC, procedure.

Contact:

Kei OHNO WOODALL, Programme Officer, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (UNEP), Geneva, +41-79-233-3218, kei.ohno-woodall@brsmeas.org

Michael S. JONES, Public Information Officer, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (UNEP), mobile/text message: +41-79-730-4495, michael.jones@brsmeas.org

For more information, see www.pops.int and wwww.pic.int.

UNEP and FAO experts explore scientific synergies between global chemicals agreements

Stockholm and Rotterdam conventions’ scientific review committees hold the ninth meetings back-to-back and their first joint meeting in Rome, 14–25 October 2013.

 

UNEP and FAO experts explore scientific synergies between global chemicals agreements

UNEP and FAO experts explore scientific synergies between global chemicals agreements

Stockholm and Rotterdam conventions’ scientific review committees hold the ninth meetings back-to-back and their first joint meeting in Rome, 14–25 October 2013.

Geneva and Rome, 11 October 2013 – The first joint meeting of the Rotterdam Convention’s Chemical Review Committee and the Stockholm Convention’s Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Review Committee will be held on Sunday, 20 October 2013, at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Headquarters in Rome, Italy. The purpose of the joint meeting is to promote the exchange of scientific information between the two Committees.

The joint meeting of the two global chemical conventions’ scientific committees will be preceded by the ninth meeting of the POPs Review Committee (POPRC-9) from 14 to 18 October 2013, and be followed by the ninth meeting of the Chemical Review Committee (CRC-9), from 22 to 25 October 2013, at the same venue.

At its ninth meeting, the POPs Review Committee will have before it proposals for listing decabromodiphenyl ether (commercial mixture, c-decaBDE) and dicofol in Annexes A, B and/or C to the Stockholm Convention. The Committee will also review, among other things, the draft risk management evaluation on chlorinated naphthalenes and hexachlorobutadiene and the draft risk profile on pentachlorophenol and its salts and esters.

The Chemical Review Committee will review five chemicals (cyhexatin, lead arsenate, lead carbonate, methamidophos, pentachlorobenzene) and one severely hazardous pesticide formulation (fenthion 640 ULV).  

The Committees make recommendations to their respective conferences of the parties for listing additional chemicals in their instruments.

Contact:

Kei OHNO WOODALL, Programme Officer, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (UNEP), Geneva, +41-79-233-3218, kei.ohno-woodall@brsmeas.org

Elisabetta TAGLIATI, Programme Officer, Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention (FAO), + 39-06-5705-6420, elisabetta.tagliati@fao.org

Erwin NORTHOFF, Media Relations Officer (FAO), +39-06-5705-3105, erwin.northoff@fao.org

Michael S. JONES, Public Information Officer, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (UNEP), mobile/text message: +41-79-730-4495, michael.jones@brsmeas.org

For more information, see www.pops.int (Stockholm Convention) or www.pic.int  (Rotterdam Convention).

 

Resource mobilization for the 2014-15 biennium takes off with concept notes for voluntary financial contributions

A list of concept notes for voluntary financial contributions for the biennium 2014/15 is now available.

 

Resource mobilization for the 2014-15 biennium takes off with concept notes for voluntary financial contributions

Resource mobilization for the 2014-15 biennium takes off with concept notes for voluntary financial contributions

A list of concept notes for voluntary financial contributions for the biennium 2014/15 is now available.

 

Global Workshop provides guidance on updating National Implementation Plans, including revising PCDD/PDCF inventories
Regional Centre in China hosts workshop for national officials, Regional Centres, UNEP Regional Offices and GEF Agencies

Global Workshop provides guidance on updating National Implementation Plans, including revising PCDD/PDCF inventories

Global Workshop provides guidance on updating National Implementation Plans, including revising PCDD/PDCF inventories

The global workshop on updating national implementation plans, including updating and revising PCDD/PCDF inventories plans to address the persistent organic pollutants listed in 2009 and 2011 and it will be held from 26 to 29 August 2013 at the Basel and Stockholm Convention Regional Centre for Capacity Building and the Transfer of Technology in Asia and the Pacific in China. It will target national officials of different countries in the world, who have started the process of reviewing and updating the national implementation plans (NIPs).




Representatives of Regional Centres, UNEP Regional Offices representatives and GEF implementing Agencies will also be invited. The workshop is jointly organized by the Regional Centre and the Secretariat of the Stockholm Convention.
Announcement
Information for Participants
9th International Summer School on Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology explores POPs exposure and biomonitoring
Stockholm Convention Regional Centre in RECETOX in cooperation with the Secretariat hosted a six-day training for 30 participants from around the globe.

9th International Summer School on Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology explores POPs exposure and biomonitoring

9th International Summer School on Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology explores POPs exposure and biomonitoring
 
Extraordinary UN Conference Takes Historic Strides to Strengthen Chemical Safety Globally

UNEP and FAO team up to promote synergies between the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions in two-week chemicals and waste meeting.

 

Extraordinary UN Conference Takes Historic Strides to Strengthen Chemical Safety Globally

Extraordinary UN Conference Takes Historic Strides to Strengthen Chemical Safety Globally

UNEP and FAO team up to promote synergies between the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions in two-week chemicals and waste meeting.

Geneva, Switzerland, 11 May 2013 – The three conventions that govern chemicals and hazardous waste safety at the global level concluded their first ever jointly held meetings of the parties late Friday night in Geneva. The historic meeting, attended by nearly two thousand participants from 170 countries, as well as 80 Ministers, adopted 50 separate decisions aimed at strengthening protection against hazardous chemicals and waste.

The three legally autonomous conventions had convened the joint meeting of the conferences of the parties to strengthen cooperation and collaboration between the conventions, with a view to enhancing the effectiveness of their activities on the ground. Each convention then continued individually over the two-week period to deal with its own specific topics of the global chemicals and waste agenda before returning in a joint session at the end of the week to finalize their outcomes.

The meeting culminated in a ministerial segment on 9 and 10 May 2013 dedicated to the theme of strengthening synergies between the conventions at national, regional and global level. The ministerial segment was joined by Swiss Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva, and Global Environment Facility (GEF) CEO and Chairperson Naoko Ishii.  The global agency leaders pledged to deepen cooperation and collaboration as part of a broader effort to raise the profile of chemicals and waste issues, promote green growth and alleviate poverty.

At its conclusion, the joint meeting acclaimed the “Geneva Statement on the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste”. The Geneva Statement welcomed the UNEP-led consultative process on financing options for chemicals and waste that has considered the need for heightened efforts to increase the political priority accorded to sound management of chemicals and waste.

In a press conference following the ministerial segment, Mr. Steiner called the conferences of the parties “a unique historic event coming at a time of unprecedented change and progress in the arena of global environmental governance. The strengthening of UNEP and the synergies process of chemicals and waste multilateral environmental agreements are complementary parts of the ongoing reform to fortify the environmental dimension of sustainable development.”

Ms. Ishii spoke of the challenges countries face protecting the planet's critical ecosystems from contamination by hazardous chemicals and waste and of GEF support for strategies to overcome them. “At this critical juncture, the Global Environment Facility is committed to its financial support to help countries address these important challenges in three ways,” said Ms. Ishii. “Assisting them in their efforts to mainstream sound chemicals management in national agendas, creating an integrated GEF chemicals and wastes focal area, and expanding engagement with the private sector.”

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said that in many countries intensive crop production has depleted agriculture’s natural resource base, jeopardizing future productivity. “To fight hunger and eradicate poverty, we will need to find more sustainable ways to produce 60 percent more food by 2050,” he said. However, he recognized that chemical pesticides would continue to be part of farming in many parts of the world in future.

“The challenge is to enable countries to manage pesticides safely, to use the right quantity, at the right time and in the right way and also to apply alternatives to hazardous pesticides. Because when we don’t, pesticides continue to pose a serious risk to human health and the environment and will eventually end up as waste. Today, half a million tons of obsolete pesticides are scattered around the developing world,” he said.

“Around 70 percent of the chemicals addressed by the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions are pesticides, and many are used in agriculture. It is in the best interest of all countries to ensure that the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions can work together, effectively and efficiently, to address various aspects of the chemical life cycle.”

The joint meetings of the conferences of the parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions also reviewed the impact of the arrangements put in place by governments in 2011 to strengthen synergies among the treaties.

The parties endorsed the organization of the Secretariat, and adopted a programme of work and budget individual and for joint activities of three conventions in 2014-2015. ”The parties have agreed to strengthen capacity building and technical assistance for countries by investing the savings realized over the past two years into an enhanced technical assistance programme that better meets the needs of developing countries and countries with economies in transition” said Jim Willis, Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions. “In an era of financial austerity, we have learned through synergies how to deliver more to parties while living within the economic limits faced by Governments today.”

“Much of the success of this synergies meeting is owed to the outstanding cooperation and inspired leadership of the three presidents of the conferences, Franz Perrez of Switzerland, Magdalena Balicka of Poland and Osvaldo Álvarez-Pérez of Chile,” added Mr. Willis.

The 6th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention agreed to list hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) to Annex A to the Convention with specific exemptions for expanded polystyrene and extruded polystyrene in buildings. Efforts to adopt a non-compliance mechanism, however, did not succeed in the face of continuing disagreement on how such a mechanism might function.

Basel Convention's parties, at their 11th Conference of the Parties, took decisions to strengthen compliance with the Convention. The Parties adopted a framework for the environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes and other wastes, and agreed, over the next two years, to develop technical guidelines on transboundary movements of electronic and electrical wastes (e-waste).

The meeting also decided terms of reference for the newly established Environmental Network for Optimizing Regulatory Compliance on Illegal Traffic (ENFORCE), which aims to prevent and combat illegal traffic in hazardous and other wastes through the better implementation and enforcement of national law.

The 6th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention had considered the possible addition of five chemicals and one severely hazardous pesticide formulation to Annex III of the Convention. It agreed by consensus to add the pesticide azinphos-methyl and the industrial chemicals PentaBDE, OctaBDE and PFOS to Annex III of the Convention.[1] Listing in Annex III triggers an exchange of information between Parties and helps countries make informed decisions about future import and use of the chemicals. The addition of four substances is the highest number to be added to the Convention's prior informed consent procedure by any conference of the parties since the adoption of the Convention in 1998.

In contrast, the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention did not succeed in reaching agreement on the addition of chrysotile asbestos and a severely hazardous pesticide formulation containing paraquat to the Convention. The proposal to list chrysotile asbestos and the paraquat formulation will be considered at the next Conference of the Parties in 2015.

The joint meeting hosted a three-day Regional Fair from 1 to 3 May 2013 dedicated to the theme 'Synergies through regional delivery' and attended by 20 Stockholm Convention or Basel Convention Regional Centres and two Regional Offices of UNEP. The Fair provided the venue for the signing of bi-regional and intra-regional cooperation agreements between centres in Latin America and Caribbean, and Central and Eastern European regions in the areas of technical assistance and awareness-raising and outreach.

Note to editors:

Chemicals contribute many advantages to today's world; however their use can also pose risks to human health and the environment. To reduce this harmful global impact, three conventions have been established that regulate chemicals and hazardous waste at global level:

Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal regulates the export/import of hazardous waste and waste containing hazardous chemicals. The Convention was adopted in 1989 and entered into force in 1992. It currently has 180 Parties.

Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade currently regulates information about the export/import of 47 hazardous chemicals listed in the Convention’s Annex III, 33 of which are pesticides (including 4 severely hazardous pesticide formulations) and 14 of which are industrial chemicals. The Convention was adopted in 1998 and entered into force in 2004. It currently has 152 Parties.

Unlike the Stockholm Convention, the Rotterdam Convention does not ban or restrict trade in chemicals or pesticide formulations, but serves to strengthen protection of human health and the environment by expanding the exchange of critical safety information between exporting and importing States.

Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants currently regulates 23 toxic substances that are persistent, travel long distances, bioaccumulate in organisms and are toxic. The Convention was adopted in 2001 and entered into force in 2004. It currently has 179 Parties.

Contact:

Christine Fuell, Technical Senior Officer and Coordinator, Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention (FAO), Tel. +39 06 5705 3765, christine.fuell@fao.org

Michael S. Jones, Public Information Officer, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Cell +41 (0) 79 730 44 95, msjones@brsmeas.org

Nick Nuttall, Director, Division of Communication and Public Information, and UNEP Spokesperson, +254 20 7623084, nick.nuttall@unep.org

For more information, visit the 2013 COPs website: synergies.pops.int or follow the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions on Twitter @brsmeas #brscops.

 


 

[1]PentaBDE: Pentabromodiphenyl ether (CAS No. 32534-81-9) and pentabromodiphenyl ether commercial mixtures; OctaBDE: Octabromodiphenyl ether commercial mixtures; PFOS: Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, perfluorooctanesulfonates, perfluorooctanesulfonamides and perfluorooctanesulfonyls.

 

Toolkit for Identification and Quantification of Releases of Dioxins, Furans and Other Unintentional POPs released
Secretariat exhibits interactive, user-friendly electronic toolkit during the 2013 COPs.

Toolkit for Identification and Quantification of Releases of Dioxins, Furans and Other Unintentional POPs released

Toolkit for Identification and Quantification of Releases of Dioxins, Furans and Other Unintentional POPs released

The revised edition of the Toolkit contains improved dioxin emission factors for sources and technologies typical for developing regions, and emission factors for other unintentionally produced POPs.

Additional guidance is also provided on the collection of activity data, updating and revision of inventories, quality assurance and quality control of inventory results, among other aspects.

The revised Toolkit is now available in an interactive electronic version via CD-ROM and at http://toolkit.pops.int.

The Toolkit will be on display in the Secretariat of Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions' exhibition booth during the 2013 conferences of the parties.

Secretariat fills three senior management positions

Selection of branch chiefs to fill the technical assistance, convention operations and scientific support branches has been announced by the Secretariat.

 

Secretariat fills three senior management positions

Secretariat fills three senior management positions

The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions is pleased to announce the selection of Branch Chiefs for three of its four branches.

Abiola Olanipekun has been selected as Chief of the Scientific Support Branch.

Ms. Olanipekun has been heavily involved in the conventions, and has had a leadership role in its meetings for many years. Ms. Olanipekun worked for the Federal Ministry of Environment Nigeria (1987 to 2013) in the Chemicals Management Division of the Department of Pollution Control & Environmental Health and has coordinated the African region for over a decade in major international negotiations, policies and programmes on sound management of chemicals. She holds a Bachelors of Science and Masters Degree in Biochemistry and Environmental Science and Technology respectively from University of Benin, Nigeria and UNESCO-IHE, Delft, The Netherlands.

Ms. Olanipekun will officially join the Secretariat on 25 April 2013.

Maria Cristina Cárdenas-Fischer has been selected as Chief of the Technical Assistance Branch.

Ms. Cárdenas-Fischer has served as acting chief of the Technical Assistance Branch of the Secretariat since February 2012. She joined the Stockholm Convention Secretariat in October 2001 as a policy advisor, and over the years she has been responsible for managing the areas of work of the Secretariat pertaining to technical assistance (including the regional centres for capacity building and transfer of technology), the financial mechanism under the Convention, the national implementation plans, the reporting obligations and the expert group on BAT and BEP. From October 2009-February 2012 she was the coordinator for the technical assistance programme of the secretariat of the Stockholm Convention.

Prior to joining the Stockholm Convention Secretariat, Ms. Cárdenas-Fischer, worked for the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1993 to 2001) as special advisor for environmental issues. Ms. Cárdenas-Fischer is a Colombian national and holds a BA in Philosophy from Bristol University in the United Kingdom.

David Ogden has been selected as Chief of the Conventions Operations Branch.

Mr. Ogden has served as the acting chief of the Convention Operations Branch of the Secretariat since February 2012. He joined the United Nations Environment Programme in March 1997 and served as the coordinator of the Stockholm Convention through its negotiation and following its entry into force. He chaired the coordinators group that was responsible for the organization and conduct of the first simultaneous extraordinary meetings of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions in February 2010.

Mr. Ogden worked for the United States Environment Protection Agency from 1987 to March 1997 mostly within the Office of International Affairs where he served as the lead analyst for international chemicals management issues. Mr. Ogden holds a Master of Science degree in Environmental Science, a Master of Arts degree in International Affairs, a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and a certificate to teach social studies at the secondary level. He is an American.

 

icipe’s Role as a Stockholm Convention Regional Centre

Richard Mukabana, coordinator of the Stockholm Convention Regional Centre in Kenya at icipe, discusses the importance of this new role to IVM programmes.

icipe’s Role as a Stockholm Convention Regional Centre

icipe’s Role as a Stockholm Convention Regional Centre
In July 2010, icipe was selected as a regional centre under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). Below Richard Mukabana discusses the importance of this new role in regard to the icipe’s integrated vector management (IVM) programmes.

Q. What is the Stockholm Convention on POPs?

A. The Stockholm Convention is a United Nations international environmental treaty, which was signed in 2001, coming into effect in May 2004. Its aim is to protect people, animals and the environment from chemicals (POPs) that are highly dangerous with long-lasting deleterious effects.

The Convention endeavours to achieve its goals by restricting and ultimately eliminating the production, use, trade, release and storage of POPs. Its implementation is overseen by the Conference of the Parties (COP), through decisions taken during periodic meetings. In addition, several institutions have been selected as regional and sub-regional centres, with the mandate of assisting developing countries to fulfill their obligations under the Convention, through capacity building and transfer of technology.

Q. How did icipe’s appointment as a Stockholm Convention Regional Centre come about?

A. By 2005, there were two Stockholm Convention regional centres in Africa: the Basel Convention Regional Centre in Senegal and the National Centre for Cleaner Technology Production in Algeria. As these two centres are located in Francophone Africa, the Secretariat of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) found it necessary to have additional regional centres, to cater for Anglophone Africa.

In accordance, UNEP conducted an assessment, which identified icipe as a potential regional centre of the Stockholm Convention on POPs. The process of having icipe formally endorsed was overseen by two scientists: John Githure, the former head of the Human Health Division, and Charles Mbogo, who is currently a visiting scientist at icipe. The two scientists made a strong case based on icipe’s past accomplishments. Since its founding, icipe has remained committed to developing environmentally safe tools and strategies for the management of arthropods. An example of this is the Centre’s integrated vector management (IVM) programmes. icipe’s IVM strategies incorporate different approaches to control mosquitoes in adult and larval stages. This approach includes scaling up the use of long-lasting insecticidal nets, larval control using Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti), community education, sensitisation and mobilisation.

icipe’s suitability as a regional centre was also supported by its leading role in articulating issues surrounding DDT, one of the pesticides regulated by the Stockholm Convention. The use of DDT was banned in most industrialised countries in the 1970s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

based on evidence of its risks to human, animal and environmental health. Currently, COP allows the use of DDT for public health interventions, for instance in the control of malaria-transmitting mosquitoes, through indoor spraying by national health authorities under the supervision of the World Health Organisation (WHO). Today, there are about 11 countries that use DDT – most of them in sub-Saharan Africa.

icipe believes that, in addition to its documented hazards, the use of DDT has wider implications, for instance, the possible rejection of horticultural and fish exports from Africa to European markets in view of tightening restrictions on insecticide residues on products. In addition, there is widespread resistance to DDT in mosquito populations in Africa, meaning that the pesticide does not offer a sustainable solution to their control.

As a result, since 2000, icipe has been working with WHO and UNEP to assist countries in Africa to reduce their reliance on DDT for malaria vector control, mainly through training on alternative IVM strategies. The Centre’s researchers have participated in several COP meetings to articulate alternatives to DDT. icipe is also part of the ‘Stop-DDT Alliance’, which also includes the Washington-based Millennium Institute and the Biovision Foundation of Switzerland.

Q. How does the selection as a regional centre under the Stockholm Convention advance icipe’s mission?

A. Under the Stockholm Convention, the global community has committed to reduce and eventually eliminate reliance on DDT worldwide by assisting countries adopt safer and more effective alternative malaria control approaches. icipe considers the up-scaling and integration of IVM strategies to be a key element towards this goal. However, the Centre recognises that many stakeholders working in mosquito and malaria control do not have the evidence, or the access to decision-making processes, that are key prerequisites for the adoption of IVM strategies.

The appointment of icipe as a Stockholm Convention regional centre provides the Centre with the opportunity to strengthen the capacity of partners in Africa towards the incorporation of IVM into national strategies. Since 2010, icipe has organised three major training workshops on IVM as an alternative solution to the use of DDT for malaria vector control. The first five-day session, held in June 2010, was attended by 18 public and environmental health specialists from nine countries in the eastern and southern African region. The workshop, which was facilitated by researchers from the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), Kenyatta University and Kenya’s Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources, provided participants with technical skills on IVM. Importantly, the participants also visited the Mwea Rice Irrigation Scheme, an icipe malaria study site in central Kenya, where they observed the implementation of IVM strategies.

In March 2011, icipe organised a second 10-day training workshop for eight public health and environmental health specialists from Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Rwanda. The main objective of the workshop was to strengthen the capacity of countries to develop alternatives to DDT, in line with the Global Alliance mission. In addition, the sessions also aimed to provide technical skills on IVM as an alternative to harmful chemicals.

In August 2012, icipe and WHO organised a third workshop, this time on data collection, information exchange and informed decision-making on IVM. It was attended by national coordinators of the vector control programme and Stockholm Convention Focal Points from Ethiopia, The Gambia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Senegal, Swaziland, Uganda and Zambia. The workshop analysed the status in different countries regarding the management of DDT and other chemicals being used in vector control. The participants identified gaps, barriers and key elements required towards sound management of DDT. They also shared experiences in implementing disease vector control programmes within the IVM principles. The workshop facilitated the development of a work plan for the implementation of a project by WHO and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), on the establishment of efficient and effective data collection and reporting procedures for evaluating the continued need of DDT for disease vector control.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to the training workshops, in August 2012, icipe hosted the Fourth Interim Steering Committee Meeting of the Global Alliance for the Development and Deployment of Alternatives to DDT for Disease Vector Control. The main agenda of the forum was to evaluate cost-effective alternatives to DDT for disease vector control.

Q. What are some of future activities planned by icipe as a Stockholm Convention regional centre?

A. icipe’s vision includes working with partners to develop national plans for the promotion and management of IVM as an alternative to DDT. The Centre also hopes to create linkages with government partners to ensure the consideration of IVM in national policies. A key part of the process will involve the development of a national core group of IVM managers and technicians as well as the strengthening of regional networking for information sharing. And of course, training, through workshops and field experience, will remain a key part of the icipe’s approach.

From icipe biennial highlights 2011–2012 collaborations and partnerships, edited by Liz Ng’ang’a and Christian Borgemeister, ©2012, reprinted by permission of the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology.

Afghanistan accedes to the Stockholm Convention, becoming its 179th Party

Afghanistan acceded to the Stockholm Convention on 20 February 2013.

Afghanistan accedes to the Stockholm Convention, becoming its 179th Party

Afghanistan accedes to the Stockholm Convention, becoming its 179th Party

Afghanistan has acceded to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. This action was effected on 20 February 2013. The Convention will enter into force for Afghanistan on 21 May 2013 in accordance with its article 26 (2) which stipulates that the Convention shall enter into force on the ninetieth day after the date of deposit of its instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession. For more information on the Stockholm Convention ratifications, please see the Status of ratifications page.

Regional Centre in China seeks to identify alternatives to BDEs and PFOS
Project in Sound Management of POPs in Articles and Phasing out Opportunities in Emerging Countries underway in 2013

Regional Centre in China seeks to identify alternatives to BDEs and PFOS

Regional Centre in China seeks to identify alternatives to BDEs and PFOS

The Basel Convention Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific/Stockholm Convention Regional Centre in China was selected by the Secretariat of Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions to be the implementation agency of the project “Sound Management of POPs in articles and phasing out opportunities in emerging countries” from January to October 2013.

The overall objective of the project is to reduce exposure to and risks emanating from new persistent organic pollutants (POPs) through the identification and phasing-out of new POPs in products and articles. The direct aim is to undertake a study on the presence of new POPs in articles in a developing country or country with economies in transition with high industrial activity.

The research project will target the use of brominated diphenyl ethers (BDEs) and Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), its salts and perfluorooctane sulfonyl fluoride (PFOSF) listed under the Convention in applications in China. It will focus on identifying problems faced by China and its different stakeholders such as industries in detecting POPs in articles, their sound management and opportunities for the phase-out by substitution or use of alternatives.

The identification of technical cross-cutting issues leading to the prevention and minimization of hazardous wastes generation will also be sought.

The project is funded by the Government of Germany and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

PEN writes new chapter in stakeholder cooperation for elimination of PCBs
With 700 stakeholders, isn´t it time you joined the PEN?

PEN writes new chapter in stakeholder cooperation for elimination of PCBs

PEN writes new chapter in stakeholder cooperation for elimination of PCBs
“The PCBs elimination network: the information exchange platform created for the risk reduction of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)” by Andrea Warmuth and Kei Ohno (Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, UNEP), appears in the January 2013 issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health."
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