BRS Joint COPs resume in Geneva for discussions on implementation, effectiveness and technical guidelines
The meetings of the Conference of the Parties (COPs) of the Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions continued this week in Geneva, moving ahead with discussions of key issues related to the implementation and effectiveness of the conventions. Starting on May 4th, the COPs have discussed different proposals and documents and worked on the strategic frameworks for the Basel and the Stockholm Conventions.
In the first part of the sessions of the first week, discussions focused on the Stockholm Convention. They included matters related to its implementation, measures to reduce or eliminate POPs releases, and national initiatives on legislation related to the management of some of the chemicals listed in the convention’s annexes. As part of the debates, SC COP7 also adopted the decision on the National Implementation Plans (NIPs), discussed additions to the annexes, and presented different national approaches to the convention financial mechanism.
The COP formed specific contact groups to discuss specific issues. The contact group on technical and financial resources considered a draft decision on facilitating financial resources for chemicals and waste and discussed proposed text requesting UNEP to continue fostering the implementation of the integrated approach to chemicals management. Regarding cooperation and coordination, the corresponding contact group discussed the decisions on the clearinghouse mechanism, priority areas for information provision, and references to non-party stakeholders.
Towards the end of the week, in the Basel Convention COP, documents were introduced to discuss strategic issues associated to implementation. BC COP13 debated the Indonesian-Swiss Country-Led Initiative for implementation, the Ban Amendment, and the issues regarding legal clarity. A contact group was formed to discuss this specific issue and work on the definition of a glossary to accompany the draft decision. Additional items in the agenda included the Cartagena Declaration on the Prevention, Minimization and Recovery of Hazardous Wastes and Other Wastes, the amendments to the annexes of the Convention, the classification and hazard characterization of wastes, national reporting, legal compliance and governance matters, and legislation for the enforcement of the convention and efforts to combat illegal traffic.
The compliance mechanisms of the three conventions remain substantive topics for discussion, and new developments on these issues are expected to take place this upcoming week. Delegations will also move into the COP of the Rotterdam Convention.
The Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions cover a wide range of issues regarding the sound management of chemicals and waste. Their objectives are geared toward the conservation of the environment and the protection of human health. The agreements bring together governments, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and other stakeholders in the definition of global environmental goals for the sound management of chemicals and waste, including transboundary movement, the specific management of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and the regulation of international trade operations with these substances.
A delegation from the Center for Governance and Sustainability at the University of Massachusetts Boston participated in these COPs. Prof. Maria Ivanova was one of the panelists in the keynote event of the Science Fair held parallel to the COPs meeting. In an event entitled “Science for sustainable chemicals and waste management in the 21st century” experts from UNEP, FAO, the Minamata Convention, and various NGOs discussed different elements of the science policy interface in the chemicals cluster.
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