The term “BRS Conventions” is a collective term for three different conventions viz. Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions. The purpose of clubbing these conventions was to ensure that a topic of common concern for the three Conventions is discussed. The thirteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention (BC COP-13), the eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention (RC COP-8) and the eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention (SC COP-8) were held from 24 April to 5 May 2017. The meetings were organized back-to-back and included joint sessions on joint issues. The meetings also featured a high-level segment. The high-level segment was scheduled for the afternoon of Thursday, 4 May and the morning of Friday, 5 May 2017. The theme of the meetings and the high-level segment was “A future detoxified: sound management of chemicals and waste”.
As we all know, all these three Conventions deal with International Environmental Law. The Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions are multilateral environmental agreements, which share the common objective of protecting human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals and wastes.
- The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal was created to protect people and the environment from the negative effects of the inappropriate management of hazardous wastes worldwide. It is the most comprehensive global treaty dealing with hazardous waste materials throughout their lifecycles, from production and transport to final use and disposal.
- The Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for certain hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in international trade provide Parties with a first line of defence against hazardous chemicals. It promotes international efforts to protect human health and the environment as well as enabling countries to decide if they want to import hazardous chemicals and pesticides listed in the Convention.
- The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from highly dangerous, long-lasting chemicals by restricting and ultimately eliminating their production, use, trade, release and storage.
The BRS Secretariat has its origins from the omnibus decision taken in 2013, when the conferences of the parties to the three individual conventions agreed to the matrix-based management approach and organization of the secretariats of the Basel and Stockholm conventions and the UNEP-part of the Secretariat of the Rotterdam convention. The need for the BRS Secretariat to increase its support to countries, strengthen regional centres and address the sound management of hazardous chemicals and wastes within its mandate was further highlighted at the 2015 COPs.
The adoption of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals which address poverty, hunger, inequality, climate change and sustainable consumption and production have direct relevance to the BRS Secretariat’s important work on chemicals and waste management.
The BRS Secretariat was formed with the objective of:
- Enhance our work with parties to bring about implementation of the conventions and synergies at the regional and national levels;
- Continue to deliver cost-effective and synergistic services to parties, including technical assistance, scientific support, legal and governance activities, information exchange and servicing of meetings;
- Develop and implement a resource mobilization strategy to facilitate national implementation of the conventions, in particular by developing countries, countries with economies in transition and small island developing states;
- Enlarge and strengthen cooperation with all relevant stakeholders, including with international bodies and industry through partnerships and an effective network of regional centres;
- Create further awareness to place chemicals and waste issues within the context of the global development and environment agenda.