All activities

Gender Heroes 3: Exposure to hazards from e-waste recycling

The 3rd episode of the BRS Gender Heroes series examines the informal e-waste recycling sector in Africa.

Gender Heroes 3: Exposure to hazards from e-waste recycling

Gender Heroes 3: Exposure to hazards from e-waste recycling

 

Outcomes of POPRC11 available now

The recommendation to list in Annex A decabromodiphenyl ether - or c-decaBDE, a highly toxic and persistent flame retardant - was the highlight of the 4-day POPRC meeting which ended at 2100 on 23 October 2015, in FAO Rome.

Outcomes of POPRC11 available now

Outcomes of POPRC11 available now

Taking important practical steps to protect human health and the environment, the Stockholm Convention’s Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee held its 11th meeting at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Headquarters in Rome, 19-23 October 2015.

Persistent Organic Pollutants are amongst the most toxic substances found on earth and pose serious threats to human health and the environment, and can be found in human breast milk, air, water and animals, including those living in polar regions. Specific effects of POPs can include cancer, allergies and hypersensitivity, damage to the central and peripheral nervous systems, reproductive disorders, and disruption of the immune system. Some POPs are also considered to be endocrine disrupters, which, by altering the hormonal system, can damage the reproductive and immune systems of exposed individuals as well as their offspring; they can also have developmental and carcinogenic effects.

The Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC), a subsidiary body of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), recommended the inclusion of one additional chemical under the Convention in Annex A - decabromodiphenyl ether or c-decaBDE - a highly toxic and persistent flame retardant commonly used in the aeronautical, automobile, and textile industries. The decision to list decaDBE will be taken at the next Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention, in 2017.

The Committee also agreed and adopted the risk profile for short-chained chlorinated paraffins, moving them to the next stage of the listing process, which requires the development of a risk management evaluation. SCCP uses include in metalworking, paints, adhesives and sealants, leather fat liquors, plastics and rubber, flame retardants, and textiles and polymeric materials.

The Committee further agreed that pentadecafluorooctanoic acid, PFOA, its salts and PFOA-related compounds, meets the Annex D criteria to be considered a POP, namely persistence, bioaccumulation, long-range transport and adverse effects. The next step is to prepare a draft risk profile for this widely used chemical. PFOA-related substances are used in fire-fighting foams, wetting agents and cleaners, textiles and leather, paper and cardboard (e.g. food packaging), paints and lacquers and others.

Further decisions were adopted concerning new information on unintentional releases of Hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD); accepting the Guidance on alternatives to perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, its salts (PFOS), perfluorooctane sulfonyl fluoride and related chemicals; on ensuring effective participation in the work of the Committee; and on approving the Committee’s workplan for the next intersessional period until POPRC12. On dicofol the Committee agreed to form an intersessional working group to revise the draft risk profile for submission and adoption at the next POPRC meeting in 2016.

Demonstrating very clearly the integrated and cross-cutting nature of chemicals in peoples’ everyday lives, the meetings brought together government-appointed chemical experts from all regions as well as specialised NGOs and the private sector. Deliberations included not only the toxicology of POPs but also consideration of alternatives, risk management, and socio-economic aspects.

“In moving forwards towards eventual listing of these chemicals, the Committee has recommended actions that will protect human lives and the environment against some of the world’s most dangerous toxic chemicals,” said Professor Estefania Gastaldello Moreira, from the University of Londrina (Brazil), Chairperson of the POPs Review Committee. “We believe that only through sound management of chemicals and wastes can the globally-agreed Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, be achieved, which are crucial for society to overcome the twin challenges of poverty eradication and climate change”.

The meeting of the POPs Review Committee will be followed back-to-back by the Rotterdam Convention’s Chemical Review Committee 11th meeting, 26-28 October 2015, 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.

The flame retardant decabromodiphenyl ether (commercial mixture, c-decaBDE) is an additive flame retardant that has a variety of applications including in plastics, textiles, adhesives, sealants, coatings and inks. c-decaBDE containing plastics are used in electrical and electronic equipment, wires and cables, pipes and carpets. In textiles, c-decaBDE is mainly used in upholstery, window blinds, curtains and mattresses for public and domestic buildings, and in the transportation sector.

For more information, please contact:

For POPRC/Stockholm Convention: www.pops.int

Kei OHNO WOODALL, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (UNEP), Geneva: +41-79-2333218, +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, charles.avis@brsmeas.org

For CRC/Rotterdam Convention: www.pic.int

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


What is POPRC and what does it do?

The 11th meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee took place in Rome 19 - 23 October. Kei Ohno Woodall explains why it matters.

What is POPRC and what does it do?

What is POPRC and what does it do?
Interview between Kei Ohno Woodall, Programme Officer, BRS Secretariat, and Charlie Avis, BRS Public Information Officer.



CA: Good morning, Kei and thanks in advance for telling us why POPRC - the Stockholm Convention’s scientific subsidiary body – is important, and what it will achieve at its next meeting in Rome on 19 – 23 October. First of all, what actually is POPRC?

KOW: Thanks Charlie, well POPRC is short for the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee, and is made up of 31 government-designated experts in chemical assessment or management. The Committee reviews a chemical proposed by a Party for listing in Annexes A, B, and/or C to the Stockholm Convention. This is the eleventh meeting, and the Committee has so far reviewed 17 chemicals, of which 14 have been listed in Annexes to the Stockholm Convention. There will be one more new chemical to start the review process at POPRC-11.



CA: Great. So in a nutshell, what is the next meeting set out to achieve?

KOW: The Committee will consider four chemicals proposed for listing: decabromodiphenyl ether (commercial mixture, c-decaBDE), dicofol, short-chained chlorinated paraffins and pentadecafluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), its salts and PFOA-related compounds.



For decabromodiphenyl ether, the Committee will review the risk management evaluation document, which is at the last stage of the review process, and recommend whether the chemical should be considered by the Conference of the Parties for listing. The recommendation, if adopted, will be considered at the eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention to be held in April 2017.



The proposal for listing PFOA, its salts and PFOA-related compounds was submitted by the European Union and the Committee will review it for the first time at this meeting. Dicofol and short-chained chlorinated paraffins have been in the review process since 2013 and 2006, respectively. The Committee will consider adopting the risk profiles on those chemicals and decides whether the chemicals are persistent organic pollutants.



CA: So what are the actual steps for bringing a POP into the Annexes of the Stockholm Convention?

KOW: A proposal for listing a chemical can be submitted by any Party to the Stockholm Convention. The proposal will be first verified by the Secretariat whether it contains the information specified in Annex D (chemical identity, persistence, bio-accumulation, potential for long-range environmental transport, adverse effects, etc.). Then the Committee examines the proposal and applies the screening criteria in Annex D. Of the chemicals to be considered at POPRC-11, PFOA, its salts and PFOA-related compounds are at this stage of the review process. If the Committee is satisfied that the screening criteria have been fulfilled, then the proposal proceeds to the second stage.



The second stage is to decide whether the chemical is likely as a result of its long-range environmental transport to lead to significant adverse human health and/or environmental effects such that global action is warranted. For this purpose, a risk profile is developed based on the information specified in Annex E (production, use, releases, hazard assessment, environmental fate, monitoring data, exposure, etc.). Dicofol and short-chained chlorinated paraffins are at this stage of the review process.



The third stage is to prepare a risk management evaluation that includes an analysis of possible control measures for the chemical in accordance with Annex F (efficacy and efficiency of possible control measures, alternatives, positive and negative impacts on society of implementing possible control measures, waste disposal implications, etc.). Decabromodiphenyl ether is at this stage of the review process.



Based on the risk profile and the risk management evaluation developed for the chemical, the Committee recommends whether the chemical should be considered by the Conference of the Parties for listing in Annexes A, B and/or C. Based on the recommendation, the Conference of the Parties takes the decision on listing of the chemical.



CA: How important is the role and contribution of civil society in POPRC work?

KOW: Observers are mentioned several times in the review process provided in Article 8. For example, when the Committee decides that the screening criteria have been fulfilled, it makes the proposal and the evaluation of the Committee available to all Parties and observers and invites them to submit the information specified in Annex E to prepare a draft risk profile. The Committee makes the draft risk profile available to all Parties and observers, collect technical comments from them and, taking those comments into account, complete the risk profile. The information provided by Parties and observers, including civil society, as well as comments on the draft documents are extremely important for the Committee to make sound decisions. The meetings of the Committee are open to observers. Civil society has been participating very actively in the meetings and during the intersessional period.



CA: One last question please. From Science to Action: what does that mean for you, and what does it mean for the Convention/s?

KOW: Good question! Well firstly, the decision on “From Science to Action” was taken at the last Triple COPs in May 2015. The conferences of the parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions recognized the importance of further strengthening the science-policy interface for the effectiveness of the conventions and the need for scientific underpinning for decision-making in the sound management of chemicals and wastes at the national and regional levels.



Information gathering is an important step in a decision-making process. In the scientific world, new data and knowledge on environmental and health risks of hazardous chemicals and wastes are being accumulated on a daily basis. On another front, policy makers are required to take decisions related to the implementation of the conventions based on the information made available to them. This is why it is important to strengthen the science-policy interface. The gaps in access to scientific information in particular in developing countries and countries with economies in transition should also be addressed. The information required at the Annex E stage, for example, is highly technical and scientific. One of the objectives of the activities for “From Science to Action” is to support Parties and observers to effectively collect such information and provide them to the Committee.



I would also like to highlight that, as mentioned in Article 1 of the Convention, the Stockholm Convention is mindful of the precautionary approach. This means that more caution is required when information is uncertain, unreliable or inadequate, and that the lack of adequate scientific information should not be used as a reason for postponing or failing to take action. According to Article 8 of the Convention, the Conference of the Parties, “taking due account of the recommendations of the Committee, including any scientific uncertainty, shall decide, in a precautionary manner, whether to list the chemical, and specify its related control measures, in Annexes A, B and/or C”. Socio-economic consideration undertaken at the Annex F stage includes very important items such as health, including public, environmental and occupational health, agriculture, including aquaculture and forestry, biodiversity, economic aspects, movement towards sustainable development and social costs.



CA: Thank you very much for your time and good luck with the important work in Rome!

KOW: Thank you, Charlie, we hope for a very successful meeting.

Read the ICCM4 Press Release

Outcomes of the 4th International Conference on Chemicals Management, featuring governments, civil society, and private sector, 28 September to 2 October in Geneva.

Read the ICCM4 Press Release

Read the ICCM4 Press Release

 

Triple COPs Follow-up

Call for information and follow-up to the seventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention: request letter now available.

Triple COPs Follow-up

Triple COPs Follow-up
 
Honduras the first in Latin America to submit its revised NIP
A special ceremony during the 2015 Triple COPs marked the submission by Honduras of its National Implementation Programme (article in Spanish).

Honduras the first in Latin America to submit its revised NIP

Honduras the first in Latin America to submit its revised NIP
 
Re-live the COPs with the new BRS videos

A new summary video film captures the 2015 Triple COPs experience and summarises key data and outcomes.

Re-live the COPs with the new BRS videos

Re-live the COPs with the new BRS videos
 
Awards at COPs honour outstanding practitioners

Representatives from Cote d’Ivoire, Jamaica, Kenya, Phillipines and Nigeria receive practitioner awards at COPs.

Awards at COPs honour outstanding practitioners

Awards at COPs honour outstanding practitioners
 
Global media coverage of the 2015 Triple COPs

More than 130 articles from more than 40 countries: view the articles online.

Global media coverage of the 2015 Triple COPs

Global media coverage of the 2015 Triple COPs
 
Parties adopt key decisions at 2015 Triple COPs

Finishing at 03:45 in the morning of Saturday, 16 May 2015, the Meetings of the Conferences of Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions are over, with several key decisions taken.

Parties adopt key decisions at 2015 Triple COPs

Parties adopt key decisions at 2015 Triple COPs

Geneva, Switzerland - 16 May, 2015

Significant steps were agreed upon early this morning by parties to the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions, as the 2015 Triple COPs drew to a close.

Staged under the theme “From Science to Action: Working for a Safer Tomorrow” from 4 to 15 May 2015, almost 1,200 participants from 171 countries converged on Geneva to push forward the chemicals and waste agenda at this biennial event.

A number of technical guidelines for the management of waste under the Basel Convention, four new listings (three under the Stockholm and one under the Rotterdam Conventions - polychlorinated napthalenes, hexachlorobutadiene, and pentachlorophenol and its salts and esters; and methamidophos respectively), and continued and strengthened synergies and implementation arrangements were the highlights of the decisions adopted on the final day. Meanwhile several chemicals considered were not listed, but instead deferred or made subject to special inter-sessional working group focus.

Basel Convention technical guidelines, aimed at assisting Parties to better manage crucial waste streams and move towards environmentally sound management (ESM), were adopted covering mercury waste and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) waste (one general and 6 specific waste-streams). Of high significance is the adoption on an interim basis of the technical guidelines concerning the transboundary movement of e-waste and used electronic and electrical products.

The BC technical guidelines on electronic, or e-waste provide much-needed guidance on how to identify e-waste and used equipment moving between countries, with the aim of controlling illegal traffic. Adoption came just days after UNEP released new data suggesting that as much as 90% of e-waste is dumped illegally, costing countries as much as US 18.8 $ billion annually and posing severe hazards to human health and the environment, particularly in Africa. Designed to provide a level playing field for all parties to the Convention, the guidelines will support and also encourage genuine recovery, repair, recycling and re-use of non-hazardous electronic components and equipment.

Regarding those pesticides where consensus could not be reached for listing, including paraquat and fenthion formulations, and trichlorfon, Clayton Campanhola, FAO Executive Secretary of the Rotterdam Convention, commented that “hazardous pesticides are not helping countries to produce more food with less, on the contrary: if badly managed, they cause negative impacts on natural resources and the health of rural communities and consumers.” In this respect, Parties requested additional technical assistance and support to identify alternatives to the use of hazardous pesticides which – if combined with integrated pest management (IPM) and agro-ecological approaches – form the basis for sustainable agricultural and rural development.

Whilst many Parties expressed their disappointment at the inability to reach consensus required for listing more of the chemicals proposed to be listed under the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, the BRS Executive Secretary Rolph Payet stressed the significance of the steps taken in noting that “our Conventions’ joint and mutually reinforcing objective is the protection of human health and the environment, and the Guidelines and additional listings decided upon by Parties during these two weeks continue to move us in this crucial direction. We have to place the sustainable management of chemicals and waste in the context of peoples’ lives, especially the more than 1 billion people on our planet who continue to live in absolute poverty and who strive to better themselves in whatever ways they can. We will never waver in our moral and political responsibilities towards the most vulnerable people in this world, and I believe strongly that the three conventions continue to offer the best framework for moving jointly towards a greener, more inclusive economy, and a safer tomorrow for all”.

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 has 183 parties.

  • The Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade promotes shared responsibility and cooperative efforts among its 154 Parties.

  • The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from chemicals that remain intact in the environment for long periods, become widely distributed geographically, accumulate in the fatty tissue of humans and wildlife, and have harmful impacts on human health or on the environment. It has 179 Parties.

  • Polychlorinated napthalenes, Hexachlorobutadiene, and Pentachlorophenol and its salts and esters, are persistent organic pollutants (POPs) posing serious threats to human health and the environment.

  • Methamidophos is an extremely toxic organophosphate insecticide, causing serious adverse effects to human health, particularly to neural, immunity and reproductive systems.

  • E-waste data from the UNEP report “Waste Crime – Waste Risks: Gaps in Meeting the Global Waste Challenge” UNEP and GRID-Arendhal/Nairobi (2015), 67pp, ISBN: 978-82-7701-148-6

For more information, please refer to:

Website: www.brsmeas.org

BRS Secretariat

Kei Ohno Woodall, Programme Officer,

kei.ohno-woodall@brsmeas.org tel: +41-79-2333218

BRS Press

Charlie Avis, Public Information Officer

Charles.avis@brsmeas.org tel: +41-79-7304495

FAO

Christine Fuell, Senior Technical Officer, Rotterdam Secretariat, Rome:

Christine.fuell@fao.org tel: +39-06-57053765

FAO Press

George Kourous, Information Officer, FAO Rome:

George.kourous@fao.org tel: +39-06-57053168

 

Triple COPs on track amid calls for action

The second week of the Triple COPs is underway as parties respond to calls, including from UNEP Chief Achim Steiner, for action on urgent waste and chemicals issues

Triple COPs on track amid calls for action

Triple COPs on track amid calls for action
 
Science Fair takes COPs back to basics

Dozens of events, hundreds of partners, and thousands of conversations: the Science Fair was closed by donor partner Finland on saturday having underlined the scientific basis for the three conventions

Science Fair takes COPs back to basics

Science Fair takes COPs back to basics
 
Side events demonstrate the diversity of COPs issues

Stakeholders and partners highlight the range of relevant issues throughout the two-week COPs, as debates and ideas flourish for sustainable management of chemicals and waste

Side events demonstrate the diversity of COPs issues

Side events demonstrate the diversity of COPs issues
 
Last of our pre-COP Interviews: the three COP Coordinators

A look ahead to what to expect from the Triple COPs with Alain Wittig, Andrea Lechner, and Marylene Beau.

Last of our pre-COP Interviews: the three COP Coordinators

Last of our pre-COP Interviews: the three COP Coordinators



Countdown to the Triple COPs - Presidents’ Joint Meeting takes place in Geneva

The Presidents of the conferences of the parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions met on 21 April 2015 to finalize arrangements for the preparation of the upcoming Triple COPs.

Countdown to the Triple COPs - Presidents’ Joint Meeting takes place in Geneva

Countdown to the Triple COPs - Presidents’ Joint Meeting takes place in Geneva
 
Countdown to the Triple COPs: FAO and the Rotterdam Convention

FAO’s Elisabetta Tagliati answers your questions on the Rotterdam Convention and the relationships between pesticides, agriculture and environment.

Countdown to the Triple COPs: FAO and the Rotterdam Convention

Countdown to the Triple COPs: FAO and the Rotterdam Convention
 
Interview with FAO’s Christine Fuell

Find out all about Rotterdam Convention implementation and the role of FAO in the latest of our interview series marking the Countdown to the Triple COPs..

Interview with FAO’s Christine Fuell

Interview with FAO’s Christine Fuell
 
Register now for the COPs Excursion on Lake Geneva

The Government of Switzerland invites delegates of the meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to join a boat cruise on Lake Geneva on Sunday, 10 May 2015. Registration is required.

Register now for the COPs Excursion on Lake Geneva

Register now for the COPs Excursion on Lake Geneva

 

Protecting children from pesticides: new visual tool now available

Raising awareness about child labour and harmful exposure to pesticides, a new visual facilitator’s guide covers issues and preventative steps, and is available in different languages and adapted to different contexts.

Protecting children from pesticides: new visual tool now available

Protecting children from pesticides: new visual tool now available
 
Countdown to the Triple COPs - Update on Stockholm listings

Ask Kei Ohno all you need to know about chemicals proposed to be newly listed at this year’s Conference of the Parties.

Countdown to the Triple COPs - Update on Stockholm listings

Countdown to the Triple COPs - Update on Stockholm listings
 
Page 16 of 18First   Previous   9  10  11  12  13  14  15  [16]  17  18  Next   Last