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2019 Meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions

Clean Planet, Healthy People: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste

29 April - 10 May 2019 | Geneva, Switzerland

On Tuesday, delegates to the 2019 meetings of the Conferences of the Parties (COP) to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions devoted most of the day to issues of concern to two or more of the Conventions, including international cooperation and coordination, financial resources, and programme of work and budget. In the late afternoon, they turned their attention to Stockholm Convention-specific work, including listing of chemicals.

In the joint sessions of the three COPs, participants spent significant time on an initial exchange of views on compliance under the Rotterdam Convention, a long-standing issue which has narrowly eluded consensus in recent years. Many emphasized the need for progress toward establishment of a compliance mechanism at this meeting, building on past support for a facilitative, non-punitive approach.

In the late afternoon, delegates discussed the Stockholm Convention’s evaluation of perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, its salts, and perfluorooctane sulfonyl fluoride (PFOS, its salts, and PFOSF). Under this item, most delegates supported the recommendation of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee to eliminate several acceptable purposes and specific exemptions for continued production and use of this industrial chemical.

+ Visit the web coverage for Tuesday, 30 April 2019

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View of plenary from the dais
Osvaldo Álvarez-Pérez, Rotterdam Convention COP9 President
Elizabeth Mrema, UNEP, and Eve Fontaine-Benedetti, Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN (FAO)
Aïta Sarr Seck, Senegal

Highlights for Monday, 29 April 2019

Delegates gather for the start of the BRS COPs

The fourteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Basel Convention (BC COP14), the ninth meeting of the COP to the Rotterdam Convention (RC COP9), and the ninth meeting of the COP to the Stockholm Convention (SC COP9) opened in Geneva, Switzerland. Meeting jointly in plenary in the morning and early afternoon, the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm (BRS) COPs adopted the agendas and organization of work for each COP, and initiated discussions on technical assistance and financial resources under the Basel and Rotterdam Conventions, and financial resources and mechanisms under the Stockholm Convention.

Regional groups used their opening statements to call for urgent action on emerging issues, such as marine plastic litter and microplastics, as well as longstanding challenges ranging from management of legacy persistent organic pollutants (POPs) to the establishment of compliance mechanisms under the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions. In the discussion of technical assistance, many delegates underscored the importance of regional centres in supporting parties’ implementation of the Basel and Stockholm Conventions through capacity building. Several called for additional resources to deal with issues such as existing and new POPs, marine litter, and plastic waste, and noted that technical assistance is closely linked to compliance.

In the afternoon, the Stockholm Convention COP convened to begin discussions of listing of chemicals in Annex A (elimination), B (reduction) and/or C (unintentional releases). After brief discussions, delegates decided to list the pesticide dicofol in Annex A of the Convention with no exemptions for continued production or use. Delegates then considered the POPs Review Committee’s recommendation to list perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in Annex A or B, and agreed to establish a contact group for further work on this issue.

As the first day of the Triple COPs drew to a close, delegates celebrated what many characterized as an unexpectedly quick decision on dicofol, but also noted issues that were likely to be more challenging. Several pointed to the Rotterdam Convention's compliance mechanism and listing PFOA in the Stockholm Convention as particularly tricky, with several highlighting the need for technical assistance and financial resources to support parties’ work to implement the Conventions.

+ Visit the web coverage for Monday, 29 April 2019

+ Read the ENB report for Monday, 29 April 2019, in HTML or PDF format.

The BRS COPs opened with a traditional Swiss performance
Marc Chardonnens, Director, Federal Office for the Environment, Switzerland
Mohammed Khashashneh, Stockholm Convention COP9 President
Hans Dreyer, Executive Secretary, Rotterdam Convention, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO)
Rolph Payet, Executive Secretary, BRS Conventions

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Resources for the 2019 Meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions

IISD ENB/ENB+ Meeting Coverage

IISD Resources

  • CHEMICALS-L - A News and Announcement List on Chemicals and Wastes News and Policy Developments
  • SDG - A Mailing List for News on Sustainable Development Policy
  • SDG Update Newsletter - A compilation of news, commentary and upcoming events published on the SDG Knowledge Hub
  • SDG Knowledge Hub - An Online Resource Center for News and Commentary Regarding the Implementation of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Linkages Update - International Environment and Sustainable Development News
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