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The twelfth meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (BC COP12), the seventh meeting of the COP to the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (RC COP7), and the seventh meeting of the COP to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) (SC COP7) convened in Geneva, Switzerland, under the theme “From Science to Action: Working for a Safer Tomorrow.”

chemical_cops15 May 2015: The twelfth meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (BC COP12), the seventh meeting of the COP to the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (RC COP7), and the seventh meeting of the COP to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) (SC COP7) convened in Geneva, Switzerland, under the theme “From Science to Action: Working for a Safer Tomorrow.”

The meetings, which took place from 4-15 May 2015, brought together almost 1,200 participants from 171 countries. Negotiations focused on convention-specific issues, such as the listing of new chemicals under the Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions and the adoption of technical guidelines on e-waste and POPs wastes under the Basel Convention. Delegates also considered issues of joint concern for at least two of the three Conventions, including compliance, budget, and financial and technical support for implementation of the Conventions.

While the meetings did not achieve agreement on compliance or on whether to list some of the chemicals nominated under the Stockholm or Rotterdam Conventions, the COPs adopted over 50 decisions and agreed to convene the next round of chemicals and wastes COPs back-to-back in 2017. Highlights of the decisions adopted include: a number of technical guidelines for waste management under the Basel Convention; four new listings (three under the Stockholm and one under the Rotterdam Conventions); and continued and strengthened synergies and implementation arrangements. Regarding those pesticides where consensus could not be reached for listing under the Rotterdam Convention, Parties agreed to defer discussion or to further discuss them during a special inter-sessional working group. Parties also requested additional technical assistance and support to identify alternatives to the hazardous pesticide use, which, if combined with integrated pest management (IPM) and agro-ecological approaches, provide the foundation for sustainable agricultural and rural development.

Basel Convention technical guidelines, aimed at helping Parties better manage waste streams and move towards environmentally sound management, were adopted covering mercury waste and POPs waste. Also adopted on an interim basis were technical guidelines regarding transboundary movement of e-waste and used electronic and electrical products. The guidlines provide guidance on how to identify e-waste and used equipment moving between countries, with the aim of controlling illegal traffic. The guidelines are aimed at supporting and encouraging recovery, repair, recycling and reuse of non-hazardous electronic components and equipment.

The next BRS COPs will convene in Geneva, Switzerland, from 23 April – 5 May 2017, with joint sessions, where appropriate, and a high-level segment of no more than one day. [UNEP Press Release] [BRS COPs Website] [IISD RS Coverage of the BRS COPs]


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