Summary report, 6–17 June 2022

Face-to-Face Meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS COPs)

The planetary boundary for environmental pollution has been exceeded, threatening the stability of life and ecosystems. Plastic waste is increasing rapidly, doubling over the last twenty years, while only 9% is recycled globally. In 2019 alone, the world generated 53.6 megatonnes of electronic and electrical waste (e-waste), only 17% of which was recorded as collected and recycled. Up to 33% of soils are degraded, and the use of hazardous pesticides can have an adverse effect on all ecosystems, including soil. Hazardous chemicals and wastes can linger in the environment and in people, creating long legacies of pollution that affect health, nature, wildlife, and the climate.

Recently, the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) launched negotiations for a new legally-binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment, and a science-policy panel on chemicals and waste to help the world better understand the full effect of toxics on people and the planet.

It was in this context that the Conferences of the Parties (COP) to the three chemicals and waste conventions convened in Geneva, after a year’s long delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to strengthen and expand efforts to reduce hazardous wastes, eliminate persistent organic pollutants (POPs), and control trade and illegal trafficking of toxic chemicals and wastes.

The 15th meeting of the COP to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal faced a large agenda, including considerable technical work and legal work amending annexes to the Convention. Among the 22 decisions adopted, the most significant outcome was the agreement to amend the Convention to make all electronic and electrical waste subject to the prior informed consent (PIC) procedure. E-wastes are now included in Annex II (wastes requiring special consideration) and the listing in Annex VIII (wastes) was amended. Several technical guidelines were adopted, although some will require further work, notably, the plastic wastes technical guidelines. Work also began to improve the efficiency and efficacy of the PIC procedure.

The 10th meeting of the COP to the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade adopted seven decisions, including to list two of the seven chemicals proposed by its Chemical Review Committee (CRC). Decabromodiphenyl ether and perfluorooctanoic acid, its salts, and related compounds will be subject to the PIC procedure of the Rotterdam Convention after parties agreed to list the chemicals in Annex III. Both were previously listed in the Stockholm Convention. Parties were again unable to agree to list the pesticides acetochlor, fenthion ultra-low volume formulations, paraquat dichloride formulations, and carbosulfan. Parties also could not agree to list chrysotile asbestos, which was first proposed at COP3 in 2006.

The 10th meeting of the COP to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants listed the only chemical proposed by Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC). Parties agreed to 13 decisions, including that production and use of perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), its salts, and related compound will be eliminated, without exceptions. The chemical has been used stain-resistant fabrics, fire-fighting foams, and food packaging. Parties were unable to advance work on establishing a compliance mechanism.

Together, the Conventions also took seven joint decisions. Some were on procedural matters, such as the programme of work and the budget. Others were more substantive, including a decision to strengthen efforts to combat illegal trafficking and trade of hazardous chemicals and wastes. The illegal trade in chemicals and wastes is estimated to be significant and involve organized crime. The result is often hazardous materials dumped in developing countries, leeching into soils, water, and the air, causing human and environmental damage.

The meetings of the COPs to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions convened from 6-17 June 2022 in Geneva, Switzerland. Over 1,500 people participated. Most engaged face-to-face, although some parties and observers participated online.

A Brief History of the Chemicals and Wastes Conventions

Basel Convention

The Basel Convention, which was adopted in 1989 and entered into force on 5 May 1992, addresses concerns over the management, disposal and transboundary movement of the estimated 400 million tonnes of hazardous wastes that are produced worldwide each year. The guiding principles of the Convention are that transboundary movements of hazardous wastes should be: reduced to a minimum; minimized at the source; managed in an environmentally sound manner; and treated and disposed of as close as possible to their source of generation.

In September 1995, at COP3, parties adopted the Ban Amendment, which bans the shipment of hazardous wastes for final disposal and recycling from Annex VII countries (European Union (EU), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Liechtenstein) to non-Annex VII countries. On 5 December 2019, the Ban Amendment entered into force after its ratification by three-fourths (66) of the 87 parties that were parties to the Convention when the amendment was adopted at COP3.

There are currently 189 parties to the Convention and 101 ratifications of the Ban Amendment.

Recent Highlights: At COP13 (24 April – 5 May 2017, Geneva), delegates adopted guidance to assist parties in developing strategies for implementation of the Cartagena Declaration on the Prevention, Minimization and Recovery of Hazardous Wastes and Other Wastes. COP13 also adopted further technical guidelines on POPs wastes, mercury wastes, and e-wastes, established a new partnership on household waste, and agreed to include marine litter in the programme of work of the Basel Convention’s Open-ended Working Group.

At COP14 (29 April – 10 May 2019, Geneva), parties took the first global action on plastics, by adopting an amendment that made certain plastic wastes subject to the PIC procedure by listing these wastes in Annex II (wastes requiring special consideration) and clarifying which plastic wastes are hazardous in Annex VIII. The amendment became effective on 1 January 2021. The COP also adopted revised e-waste technical guidelines.

Rotterdam Convention

The Rotterdam Convention, which was adopted in September 1998 and entered into force on 24 February 2004, creates legally binding obligations for the implementation of the PIC procedure. The objectives of the Convention are to promote shared responsibility and cooperative efforts among parties in the international trade of certain hazardous chemicals to protect human health and the environment from potential harm, and to contribute to the environmentally sound use of those hazardous chemicals by: facilitating information exchange about their characteristics; providing for a national decision-making process on their import and export; and disseminating these decisions to parties. There are currently 165 parties to the Convention and a total of 52 chemicals listed in Annex III, including 35 pesticides, 16 industrial chemicals, and one chemical in both the pesticide and the industrial chemical categories.

Recent Highlights: There are long-standing issues that have eluded consensus. These include the listing of several chemicals in Annex III, including carbosulfan, fenthion, and paraquat dichloride formulations, as well as chrysotile asbestos. The COP has agreed that each of these chemicals meets all criteria for listing but has not yet reached consensus to include them in Annex III. At COP7 (4-15 May 2015, Geneva), delegates agreed to establish an intersessional working group to identify the reasons for and against listing and, based on that and other information, to develop options for improving the effectiveness of the process; and to develop proposals for enabling information flows to support the PIC procedure for those chemicals. Following the working group’s report to COP8 and additional information presented at COP9, parties requested the Secretariat to undertake training activities and report on improving the transparency and participation in the Chemical Review Committee (CRC).

At COP9, parties were unable to agree to list these chemicals, and could not agree to list acetochlor. Parties did agree to include hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) and phorate in Annex III. Parties also resolved a second long-standing issue, by adopting a compliance mechanism that will facilitate parties’ implementation of the Convention.

Stockholm Convention

The Stockholm Convention, which was adopted in May 2001 and entered into force on 17 May 2004, calls for international action on three categories of POPs: pesticides, industrial chemicals, and unintentionally produced POPs. The Convention requires parties to prevent the development of new POPs and promote the best available techniques and best environmental practices for replacing existing POPs. The Convention, which initially addressed 12 substances (informally known as “the dirty dozen”), was designed to facilitate the review and addition of new chemicals through a three-stage scientific review process prior to consideration for listing by the COP. Since 2009, the COP has added 16 new POPs, including both pesticides and industrial chemicals, to the annexes of the Stockholm Convention. There are currently 185 parties to the Convention.

Recent Highlights: At its 2019 meeting the COP agreed to list dicofol and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), its salts, and PFOA-related compounds in Annex A (elimination) of the Convention. For PFOA, a widely used group of industrial chemicals, the COP agreed to eight specific exemptions, including for use in firefighting foam for liquid fuel vapor suppression and liquid fuel fires (Class B fires) in installed systems. On firefighting foams, the COP agreed that each party that registers an exemption for this use will, by the end of 2022, if it has the capacity to do so, but no later than 2025, restrict uses to sites where all releases can be contained. The COP again could not reach consensus on a compliance mechanism.

Synergies

Simultaneous extraordinary meetings of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm (BRS) COPs (ExCOPs) were held twice. The first, held on 22-24 February 2010 in Bali, Indonesia, resulted from the work of the Ad Hoc Joint Working Group on Enhancing Cooperation and Coordination among the BRS Conventions, which was mandated to prepare joint recommendations on enhanced cooperation and coordination for submission to the three COPs. Delegates adopted an omnibus synergies decision on joint services, joint activities, synchronization of the budget cycles, joint audits, joint managerial functions, and review arrangements. In the decision on review arrangements, the ExCOPs, inter alia, decided to review in 2013 how the synergies arrangements had contributed to achieving a set of objectives, such as strengthening the implementation of the three Conventions and maximizing the effective and efficient use of resources at all levels.

The second simultaneous meeting of the ExCOPs was held in conjunction with the back-to-back meetings of the COPs from 28 April-10 May 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland. Delegates adopted an omnibus decision on enhancing cooperation and coordination among the BRS Conventions. The ExCOPs, inter alia, decided to undertake a review of the synergies process and the organization of the Secretariats and to continue to present joint activities as an integral part of the proposed programmes of work and budgets of the three Conventions.

On enhanced cooperation and coordination among the technical bodies of the BRS Conventions, the ExCOPs requested alignment of the working arrangements of the Rotterdam Convention CRC with those of the Stockholm Convention POPRC to support effective participation of experts and observers, and encouraged the POPRC to involve experts from the Basel Convention when discussing waste issues.

On wider cooperation, the ExCOPs requested the Secretariat to enhance cooperation with the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) and expressed interest in coordinating with the Minamata Convention on Mercury. On facilitating financial resources for chemical wastes, the ExCOPs welcomed an integrated approach that includes mainstreaming, industry involvement, and dedicated external finance.

Report of the Meetings

The Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm (BRS) COPs opened on Monday, 6 June, with a cultural performance by Swiss musicians and a video summarizing the key messages from the high-level segment held on 1 June in Stockholm, Sweden, in which 82 ministers participated.

Simonetta Sommaruga, Federal Councillor, Head of Federal Department for the Environment, Transport, Energy, and Communication, Switzerland, highlighted the consensus that emerged in the high-level segment on the importance of implementing the BRS Conventions in contributing to the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, the Paris Agreement on climate change, and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Inger Andersen, Executive Director, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), delivered a video message underscoring that the BRS Conventions are essential to delivering solutions for a healthy planet. Recalling the decisions made at the fifth session of UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) to negotiate a new legally-binding instrument on plastic pollution and establish a science-policy panel on the sound management of chemicals and waste, she indicated UNEP will work closely with the BRS Conventions on these initiatives.

Rolph Payet, Executive Secretary of the BRS Conventions, observed the growing visibility of the Conventions since the last in-person COPs in 2019, as evident from the high-level segment in Stockholm. He noted the full agenda and stressed interconnections with other environmental regimes, including climate change, biodiversity, and the upcoming negotiations for a treaty on plastic pollution. He also encouraged parties to consider gender when nominating officers, and to fulfill their financial obligations.

Rémi Nono-Womdim, Executive Secretary of the Rotterdam Convention (RC), noted the biodiversity loss and adverse health effects caused by hazardous pesticides. He pointed out that four out of the seven chemicals proposed for listing under the RC are pesticides and severely hazardous pesticide formulations and underscored that the Convention Secretariat continues to provide support to all parties that request information on safer alternatives, including those proposed for listing. He stressed that strong capacities for chemicals and waste management are prerequisites to the implementation of the RC.

Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, Chairperson and CEO of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), stressed the need to determine the collective financial needs of parties. He urged parties to provide individual financial information to aid joint project development. He lauded the record-breaking GEF-8 replenishment, which for the first time in 20 years increased to USD 800 million—nearly a 30% increase compared to GEF-7—for chemicals and waste. He noted these funds will enable a focus on mercury, waste reduction, and pesticide use.

Opening Statements: Basel Convention (BC) COP15 President Osvaldo Álvarez-Pérez (Chile) spoke on behalf of the three COP Presidents, expressing appreciation for the support received for their work over the past three years. He highlighted the opportunity to meet in person and looked forward to a fruitful meeting. Many groups commended the efforts of the Presidents, Secretariat, regional centres, and working groups during the pandemic.

Ecuador, for the Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC), stressed the region requires additional, accessible, and predictable financial resources and greater technical assistance and technology transfer to implement the Conventions. On the Stockholm Convention (SC), he highlighted challenges posed as the number of listed chemicals continues to increase. On the RC, he supported constructive dialogue on the rules of procedure for the compliance committee, which he stressed should not be punitive.

Ghana, on behalf of the AFRICAN GROUP, on the BC, requested the technical guidelines to be “tested” in a regional context. On the SC, noting the region’s vulnerability, he stressed that the elimination dates for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) can no longer be deferred, all policies should be informed by empirical data, and called for synergies among international conventions.

Iran, for the ASIA-PACIFIC REGION, welcomed the entry into force of the Ban Amendment, many of the BC technical guidelines, and highlighted that the plastic waste and electronic and electric (e-waste) guidelines require further consideration. He observed the problem of medical waste and called for international cooperation and partnerships to identify solutions. He called on all parties in a position to do so to fulfill their commitments to provide financial and technical support.

The EUROPEAN UNION (EU) expressed concern that the planetary boundary for chemical pollution has been breached. On the BC, she looked forward to engaging on the Ghana-Switzerland e-waste proposal (CHW.15/CRP.3) and on adopting the technical guidelines for plastic waste. On the RC, she urged parties to list all chemicals on the agenda and suggested considering reforms to the Convention. On the SC, she called for establishing a compliance mechanism and meeting the PCB targets.

Georgia, for CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE, stressed the need for robust compliance mechanisms and the need to improve electronic reporting and for financial and technical support for reporting. On the SC, she expressed concern that the PCB targets may not be met and cited financial and technical assistance gaps to eliminate PCB use and waste.

Several groups condemned the Russian Federation’s aggression in Ukraine. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION stated it acted in self-defense.

Organizational Matters

Adoption of the agenda and organization of work: The agendas and organization of work for the three COPs were adopted (CHW.15/1, Add.1, Rev.1; RC/COP.10/1, Add.1, Rev.1; POPS/COP.10/1, Add.1, Rev.1).

Election of officers: The Secretariat introduced the documents (CHW.15/2, INF/3; RC/COP.10/2, INF/3; and POPS/COP.10/2, INF/3).

BC Election of Officers: Delegates elected to the COP16 Bureau: Reginald Hernaus (Netherlands) as President; María Eugenia Gonzales Anaya (Mexico) as Rapporteur; Karim Ouamane (Algeria); Joseph Edmund (Ghana); Rosa Vivien Ratnawati (Indonesia); Mohammad Amman (Bahrain); Magda Gosk (Poland); Artak Khachatryan (Armenia); Miguel Eduardo Ruiz Botero (Colombia); and Lana Barbour (Australia).

For the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) Bureau: Nawaf Essam Bilasi (Saudi Arabia) and Chenibet Hala (Algeria) as Co-Chairs; Judith Torres (Uruguay); Patrick McKell (United Kingdom); and Katrin Kaare (Estonia).

For the Implementation and Compliance Committee (ICC): Patience Nambalirwa Nsereko (Uganda); Ann De Jonghe (Belgium); Tatiana Tugui (Moldova); and Satyendra Kumar (India). GRULAC did not nominate a candidate at this time.

For the Environmental Network for Optimizing Regulatory Compliance on Illegal Traffic (ENFORCE): Norhisham Abdul Hamid (Malaysia); Kristine Vardanashvili (Georgia); Simeon Pulchérie (Benin); Lael Bertide-Josiah (Antigua and Barbuda); and Katie Olley (United Kingdom).

RC Election of Officers: Delegates elected to the COP11 Bureau: Ana Berejiani (Georgia) as President; Joswa Aoudou (Cameroon) as Rapporteur; Mohammad Khashashneh (Jordan); Osvaldo Álvarez-Pérez (Chile); and Tuulia Toikka (Finland).

Delegates appointed to the CRC, with terms of office commencing at the closure of COP10: Noluzuko Gwayi (South Africa); Joseph Cantamanto Edmund (Ghana); Christian Berame (Rwanda); Saida Ech-chyeb (Morocco); Li Cangmin (China); Palharp Sinhaseni (Thailand); Shankar Prasad Paudel (Nepal); Zaigham Abbas (Pakistan); Suzana Andrejevic Stefanovic (Serbia); Judīte Dipāne (Latvia); Victorine Pinas (Suriname); Hasmath Jamil Ali (Trinidad and Tobago); Suresh Amichand (Guyana); Christian Bart (Canada); Qinghong Pu (Australia); Carles Escriva (Germany); and Charles Bodar (Netherlands).

SC Election of Officers: Delegates elected to the COP11 Bureau: Keima Gardiner (Trinidad and Tobago) as President; Ivan Djurickovic (Serbia) as Rapporteur; Sheikh Ahmed Tunis (Sierra Leone); Caroline Theka (Malawi); Yaser Abu Shanab (State of Palestine); Wasantha Dissanayake (Sri Lanka); Mario Vujic (Croatia); Linroy Christian (Antigua and Barbuda); Maria Devlin (Sweden); and Glenn Wigley (New Zealand).

Delegates appointed to the POPRC, with terms of office commencing at the closure of COP10: Lamin Jaiteh (the Gambia); Bondi Gevao (Sierra Leone); John Mumbo (Kenya); Thabile Ndlovu (Eswatini); Witta Kartika Resto (Indonesia); Mohammad Khashashneh (Jordan); Doaa Abdallah (State of Palestine); Ved Prakash Mishra (India); Artak Khachatryan (Armenia); Katarina Rihackova (Czech Republic); Suresh Amichand (Guyana); Victorine Pinas (Suriname); Boris Avila Taborda (Colombia); Andrew Beyak (Canada); Martinus Janssen (Netherlands); Peter Dawson (New Zealand); and Timo Seppälä (Finland).

Report on credentials: On Thursday, 16 June, the COPs adopted the report on credentials (CHW.15/1/Add.1/Rev.1, INF/4/Rev.1; RC/COP.10/1/Add.1/Rev.1, INF/5/Rev.1; and POPS/COP.10/1/Add.1/Rev.1, INF/7/Rev.1).

Joint Sessions of the COPs

Matters Related to Implementation of the Conventions

Technical assistance: This item was first discussed on Tuesday, 7 June, and subsequently in a contact group on technical assistance and financial resources, co-chaired by David Kapindula (Zambia) and Premysl Stepanek (Czech Republic).

On 7 June, the Secretariat introduced the documents on technical assistance and capacity building for the implementation of the BRS Conventions (CHW.15/16, 17, INFs/28-32; RC/COP.10/15, INFs/16-19; POPS/COP.10/13, 14, and INFs/28-31, 68).

Many parties expressed appreciation for the technical assistance provided by the Secretariat and regional centres and supported the proposed technical assistance work programme for 2022-2025. The AFRICAN GROUP and many developing countries called for additional financial resources and increased national ownership in technical assistance and technology transfer.

The EU supported the proposed decisions but suggested deleting a paragraph on the establishment of two BC regional centres for the Central and Eastern European region, saying the authorization was already given in a previous COP decision.

The contact group met several times and prepared three decisions related to technical support. Key sticking points included the relationship between the terms “technical assistance,” “capacity building,” and “technology transfer.” The contact group finished its work quickly and identical decisions were adopted by the respective COPs on Thursday, 9 June. There are additional decisions on BC and SC regional centres.

Final Decisions: In the three decisions on technical assistance (CHW.15/CRP.17; POPS/COP.10/CRP.19; RC/COP.10/CRP.8), the COPs, inter alia:

  • request the Secretariat to prepare the next report on the needs of developing country parties and parties with economies in transition for technical assistance and technology transfer for submission to the COPs at their meetings in 2025;
  • welcome the technical assistance plan for the implementation of the BRS Conventions for the period 2022-25;
  • request the Secretariat to disseminate the plan by various means and to facilitate awareness of the plan by the relevant actors;
  • request the Secretariat, subject to the availability of resources, to: implement, in cooperation with relevant actors, the technical assistance plan for the period 2022-25; maintain the database and ensure that it remains accessible through the websites of the Conventions; and continue to include information on the monitoring and evaluation of projects undertaken under the technical assistance plan for the period 2022-25; and
  • request the Secretariat to report to the COPs at their next meetings on the implementation of the decision.

In the decision on BC regional and coordinating centres (CHW.15/CRP.15), the COP, inter alia:

  • requests the BC regional and coordinating centres to submit to the Secretariat: their activity reports for the period 1 January - 31 December 2022, by 31 December 2022, for consideration by COP16; their business plans for the period 1 January 2024 - 31 December 2027, by 30 September 2023, for consideration by COP17;
  • requests the Secretariat: to prepare a report on the activities of the BC regional and coordinating centres for consideration by COP16; to prepare draft evaluation reports on the performance of all 14 BC regional and coordinating centres for consideration by COP16; and to undertake specific activities to facilitate the work of the regional centres, subject to the availability of resources; and
  • invites parties, observers, and institutions in a position to do so to provide financial support to enable the BC regional and coordinating centres to implement their workplans, with the aim of supporting parties in their efforts to meet their obligations under the Convention.

In the decision on SC regional and sub-regional centres (POPS/COP.10/CRP.17), the COP, inter alia:

  • requests the SC regional and subregional centres to submit to the Secretariat: their activity reports for the period 1 January - 31 December 2022, by 31 December 2022, for consideration by COP11; their workplans for the period 1 January 2024 - 31 December 2027, by 30 September 2023, for consideration by COP12;
  • requests the Secretariat: to prepare a report on the activities of the SC regional and subregional centres for consideration by COP11; to prepare draft evaluation reports on the performance and sustainability of all 16 SC regional and subregional centres for consideration by COP11; and to undertake specific activities to facilitate the work of the regional centres, subject to the availability of resources; and
  • invites parties, observers, and institutions in a position to do so to provide financial support to enable the SC regional and subregional centres to implement their workplans, with the aim of supporting parties in their efforts to meet their obligations under the Convention.

International Cooperation and Coordination

Cooperation and Coordination with the Minamata Convention on Mercury: On Wednesday, 8 June, the Secretariat introduced the documents (CHW.15/20; INFs/40; 67; RC/COP.10/16, INFs/23, 46; POPS/COP.10/20, INFs/43, 44). Monika Stankiewicz, Executive Secretary, Minamata Convention, reported on the decision on cooperation with the BRS Conventions adopted at Minamata Convention COP4.

The EU, JORDAN, GHANA, MALI, NORWAY, SWITZERLAND, and URUGUAY proposed changes to the draft decision (CHW.15/CRP.11; RC/COP.10/CRP.7; POPS/COP.10/CRP.14). The AFRICAN GROUP, COLOMBIA, BELIZE, and PERU supported the revised proposal.

Final Decisions: In their final decisions (CHW.15/CRP.11; RC/COP.10/CRP.7; POPS/COP.10/CRP.14), the COPs request the UNEP Executive Director to support the BRS Conventions Secretariat in its efforts to enhance cooperation with the Minamata Convention Secretariat, including through the regular use of the task force comprising the two Secretariats and UNEP’s Chemicals and Health Branch as a stable framework for cooperation and the sharing of relevant Secretariat services.

The COPs further request the Executive Secretary to continue, with the Minamata Convention Secretariat and under the overall steering of the task force, inter-Secretariat working groups, as appropriate, to: 

  • cooperate on relevant administrative, programmatic, technical and technical assistance matters, and to explore ways to further strengthen the cooperation and collaboration with the Minamata Convention;
  • continue to implement shared services and the purchase of relevant services with the Minamata Convention Secretariat on a cost-recovery basis; and
  • report on the implementation of the present decision, including on a stable framework for cooperation and the sharing of services, providing an outline of the cooperation activities planned under such a framework for the biennium 2024-2025, for the consideration of and, as necessary, further guidance by, the COPs at their next meeting.

Cooperation and Coordination with Other Organizations: In plenary, on Wednesday, 8 June, the Secretariat introduced the documents (CHW.15/21/Rev.1, INFs/41, Add.1; 43-45; 56/Rev.1, 66, 67; POPS/COP/10/21/Rev.1, INFs/41, Add.1; 46/Rev.1, 47-49, 69; RC/COP.10/17/Rev.1, INFs/24.Add.1, 25/Rev.1, 27-29, 46-47).

The EU, with JORDAN, GHANA, MALI, NORWAY, SWITZERLAND, and URUGUAY, supported by several others, proposed amendments to the draft decision (CHW.15/CRP.10; RC/COP.10/CRP.6; POPS/COP.10/CRP.13). The proposal outlines how the BRS Conventions and parties can contribute to the intergovernmental negotiations of a new legally-binding treaty on plastic pollution and the work of the ad hoc open-ended working group to prepare proposals for a science-policy panel on sound management of chemicals and waste. It urges parties to explore linkages between the implementation of the BRS Conventions and the post-2020 biodiversity framework and climate change.

Parties suggested strengthening cooperation with other international organizations, including the Bamako Convention and the World Health Organization (WHO). Several UN bodies highlighted how their work contributes to the objectives of the BRS Conventions.

In a contact group on joint issues, co-chaired by Artak Khachatryan (Armenia) and Hassan Azhar (Maldives), parties discussed the draft decision on international cooperation and the CRPs, focusing on the scope of engagement with the UN e-waste coalition and cooperation with the WHO.

On cooperation with the prospective UN e-waste coalition, one country insisted on deleting “state and non-state actors” when referring to partners of the coalition. Some countries opposed the proposal, preferring to retain the original text explaining that the e-waste coalition is in development as a cooperative initiative of UN agencies that intends to engage with relevant state and non-state stakeholders.

On cooperation with the WHO, there was a suggestion to urge the WHO to provide regular reports on diseases and conditions associated with relevant chemicals, which the WHO explained it lacked the mandate and resources to provide. Some parties urged that the decision recognize the WHO’s role in coordinating global health responses, which was opposed by a party.

On Thursday, 16 June, the COPs adopted the decision. CHINA supported enhanced collaboration with the WHO and other bodies, but said that if the Chinese delegation to the World Health Assembly takes a different position on the WHO’s work, that delegation’s position would prevail. The intervention was noted in the meeting report.

Final Decisions: In their final decisions (CHW.15/CRP.35; RC/COP.10/CRP.17; POPS/COP.10/CRP.23), the COPs, inter alia:

  • request the Executive Secretary to participate in the intergovernmental negotiating committee for the legally-binding instrument on plastic waste, including in the marine environment;
  • request the Executive Secretary to participate in the open-ended working group for the science-policy panel;
  • urge the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to respond to the request of the Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC) so that the process for consideration of the membership of the BRS Conventions can be completed, and requests the Executive Secretary to take the necessary steps to complete the process;
  • request the Secretariat and invite the relevant custodian agencies to strengthen their collaboration to ensure appropriate linkages between the reporting system of the BC and that of the Sustainable Development Goals, including commonalities in terminology, to enable data-sharing
  • recognize the intrinsic linkage between human health and the environment, and the coordinating role of the WHO with regard to health matters, and note the importance of the continued activities of the WHO in the context of that organization’s chemicals road map and its global strategy on health, environment and climate change; and
  • request the Secretariat to forward those reports on the linkages among the BRS Conventions and work of the Convention on Biological Diversity and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to those secretariats, with an invitation to bring the reports to the attention of the respective COPs, as appropriate.

Enhancing Cooperation and Coordination among the BRS Conventions

Clearing house mechanism for information exchange: The Secretariat introduced the clearing house mechanism and workplan (CHW.15/22, INF/46; RC/COP.10/18, INF/30; POPS/COP.10/22, INF/50). The EU and Sierra Leone, for the AFRICAN GROUP, supported the efforts, noting the value of information exchange, particularly to support developing countries’ implementation efforts.

The COPs took note of the information.

Mainstreaming gender: The Secretariat introduced its report on efforts to implement the gender action plan and further activities (CHW.15/23, INF/47; RC/COP.10/19, INF/31; POPS/COP.10/23, INF/51).

MEXICO, the EU, Lesotho, for the AFRICAN GROUP, Uruguay, for GRULAC, the UK, and the INTERNATIONAL POLLUTANTS ELIMINATION NETWORK (IPEN) welcomed the Secretariat’s efforts, and underscored the disproportionate impacts of chemicals and waste on women, due to physiology and gendered patterns of work and household labor.

The AFRICAN GROUP and IPEN called for national-level gender action plans, underscoring that women have experiences and expertise that can help achieve the sound management of chemicals and waste.

The COPs took note of the information.

Synergies in preventing and combating illegal traffic and trade in hazardous chemicals and wastes: This item was taken up on Wednesday, 8 June. The Secretariat introduced the synergies-related efforts, data forms, and information collected (CHW.15/24, INF/48; RC/COP.10/20, INFs/32, 33; POPS/COP.10/24, INFs/52, 53).

Many developing countries relayed their experiences with the illegal trade in chemicals and waste and called for technical assistance to help identify and combat this problem. Developing countries stressed the need for technical assistance to enhance the capacity of border control and law enforcement agencies and for regional approaches to identify and combat illegal trafficking, among other needs.

Other issues included that often mixed, non-hazardous wastes are mislabeled as products imported for recycling or recovery, and  networks of traffickers falsify documents to facilitate illegal trade in chemicals and waste that endanger health and the environment.

The issue was forwarded to the contact group on joint issues, where there was considerable discussion on reporting illegal trafficking cases. Two parties objected to reported cases posted on the Secretariat website without verification by the parties involved. Those in support of posting reported cases said verification would cause a delay and verification may not be possible due to the illicit nature of trafficking.

The decision was adopted provisionally on Friday, 10 June and confirmed on Thursday, 16 June.

Final Decisions: In their final decisions (CHW.15/CRP.34; RC/COP.10/CRP.16; POPS/COP.10/CRP.22), the COPs request the Secretariat to:

  • collect information about confirmed cases by parties concerned by illegal trade in hazardous chemicals and wastes occurring in contravention of the Convention submitted by parties on a voluntary basis, notify the parties concerned in advance, and make such information available on the website of the Convention;
  • review existing cooperative arrangements with international organizations or entities with a mandate to prevent and combat illegal trade in hazardous chemicals;
  • continue to provide advice and, subject to the availability of resources, undertake technical assistance activities to strengthen the capacity of parties to prevent and combat illegal traffic and trade and, upon request, to identify cases, and to collect best practices from parties; and
  • report on the implementation of the present decision to the next COPs.

From science to action: On Thursday, 9 June, the Secretariat presented information on the implementation of the Science to Action roadmap (CHW.15/25, INF/49/Rev.1; RC/COP.10/21, INF/36/Rev.1; POPS/COP.10/25, INF/54/Rev.1).

The EU, opposed by IRAN, and supported by SWITZERLAND, EL SALVADOR, PERU, BRAZIL, AUSTRALIA, URUGUAY, CANADA, and the DOMINICAN REPUBLIC proposed referencing the UNEA resolution that called for the establishment of a science-policy panel for chemicals and waste.

IPEN called for full access to scientific information, particularly for developing countries, stressing that the evidence is clear that vulnerable communities suffer the most from pollution.

The COPs adopted the joint decisions with the EU’s amendment.

Final Decisions: In their decisions (CHW.15/25, RC/COP.10/21, POPS/COP.10/25), the COPs encourage parties to use the roadmap. They also request the Secretariat to:

  • undertake capacity-building and training activities to support parties in taking science-based action in the implementation of the BRS Conventions; and
  • continue to cooperate and coordinate with UNEP and, as appropriate, other relevant organizations, scientific bodies and stakeholders towards strengthening the science-policy interface, including in the context of UNEA decision 5/8 on that matter, and to report on the implementation of the present decision to the next COPs.

Programme of Work and Budget

On Tuesday, 7 June, Executive Secretary Payet outlined the two budget scenarios for 2022-2023, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and voluntary funding from donors. The Secretariat introduced the revised combined proposal (CHW.15/26/Rev.1; RC/COP.10/22/Rev.1; and POPS/COP.10/26/Rev.1), as well as a document on the mobilization of resources under all three Conventions from non-state actors (CHW.15/28/Rev.1; RC/COP.10/24/Rev.1 and POPS/COP.10/28/Rev.1), which the COPs took note of.

Delegates agreed to establish a joint contact group, co-chaired by Reginald Hernaus (the Netherlands) and Sam Adu-Kumi (Ghana). This group met 11 times over two weeks. In the contact group, one party had asked to bracket the paragraphs related to funding for the RC compliance mechanism, saying that parties that do not accept the mechanism should not have to financially contribute to it.

On Friday, 17 June, BC COP15 President Álvarez-Pérez invited the Co-Chairs of the contact group to present the draft decisions for the biennium 2022-23, noting that each COP would consider its respective decision individually, although the decisions are nearly identical. Adu-Kumi presented the outcomes of the group’s work, noting several countries that submitted notifications of non-acceptance of the RC compliance mechanism asked whether these notifications would be taken into account in allocation of resources. Executive Secretary Payet reported that China, Iran, the Russian Federation, and Syria had submitted notifications of non-acceptance and confirmed that the Secretariat will take their status into account in allocation of resources.

Final Decisions: In the final decisions (CHW.15/CRP.36 and Add.1; RC/COP.10/CRP.18 and Add.1; and POPS/COP.10/CRP.24 and Add.1), the COPs, inter alia:

  • approve the programme budget for their respective Conventions for biennium 2022-2023;
  • authorize the Executive Secretary to make commitments up to the amount of the approved operational budget, drawing upon available cash resources;
  • decide to maintain the working capital reserve at the level of 15% of the annual average of the biennial operational budget for the biennium 2022-23; and
  • recall that contributions to the respective Convention’s general trust fund are expected by 1 January of the year for which those contributions have been budgeted, urge parties to pay their contributions promptly, encourage parties in a position to do so to pay their contributions by 16 October 2022 for the calendar year 2023, and request the Secretariat to notify parties of the amounts of their contributions as early as possible.

Memoranda of Understanding

On Thursday, 9 June, the COPs took note of the documents (CHW.15/27, INFs/58, 63/Rev.1; RC/COP.10/23, INFs/40, 44/Rev.1, 26/Rev.1; POPS/COP.10/27, INFs/61, 65/Rev.1), which include, inter alia, the new delegation of authority policy.

Venue and Date of the Next Meeting of the COPs

This item was taken up on Wednesday, 8 June. Vaughn Miller, Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources, the BAHAMAS, offered to host the next BRS COPs, citing his island’s deep concern with the triple planetary crisis, particularly as it affects small island states. Parties accepted the offer on Thursday, 16 June, noting this would be the first time a Caribbean state hosted the COPs.

Final Decisions: In their decisions (CHW.15/CRP.19; RC/COP.10/CRP.9; POPS/COP.10/CRP.20), the COPs, inter alia:

  • agree, subject to the satisfactory conclusion of a host country agreement between the Government of the Bahamas and the Executive Secretary on arrangements for the meetings of the COPs, to convene these meetings back-to-back in the Bahamas in 2023;
  • decide that the meetings will include joint sessions, where appropriate, on joint issues and that the meetings will not include a high-level segment; and
  • request the Executive Secretary, to assist parties in preparing for the back-to-back meetings, to support, subject to the availability of resources, regional meetings, coordinated with other regional meetings, to assist regional preparatory processes

Other Matters

Admission of Observers: The COPs took note of the lists of observers requesting admission (CHW.15/INF/70; RC/COP.10/INF/38; POPS/COP.11/INF/8).

Adoption of the Report

On Wednesday, 15 June, the COPs adopted the report of the joint sessions (CHW.15/L.2; RC/COP.10/L.2; POPS/COP.10/L.2) and the report and key messages of the high-level segment held on 1 June (CRP.8).

Basel Convention COP15

Matters Related to the Implementation of the Convention

Strategic issues: Strategic framework: In plenary on Sunday, 12 June, the Secretariat introduced the documents (CHW.15/3, Add.1, INFs/5, 6/Rev.1).

The EU, supported by NORWAY and NEW ZEALAND, introduced CRP.20, which invites parties and observers to submit comments on difficulties regarding and ways to improve the PIC procedure. He also suggested deferring the discussion on the development of a new strategic framework to future COPs.

CANADA introduced CRP.16, saying that it builds upon the existing framework in revising and improving the strategic framework, and proposed establishing a contact group.

In the contact group, co-chaired by Keima Gardiner (Trinidad and Tobago) and Yaser Abu Shanab (Palestine), discussions centered around the two conference room papers (CRPs). Many participants indicated that the two proposals can be complementary, noting that improvement in both areas could enhance the Convention’s effectiveness.

On the work to improve the PIC procedure’s functioning, participants agreed to invite parties and observers to submit information on challenges in the PIC procedure’s implementation and views to improve its functioning. Many countries proposed to recognize the challenges that developing countries face and their need for financial and technical assistance. One group opposed mentioning such challenges and needs. A party indicated that not all developing countries may need financial and technical assistance and suggested using “often” to qualify such needs. Participants ultimately agreed to recognize the challenges and needs of developing countries by referring to the technical assistance needs assessment conducted by the Secretariat.

On the development of a new strategic framework, parties tried to find a common ground between one proposal—to establish an expert working group to begin work to develop a new strategic framework—and another—to exchange information and take up the issue at COP16. A proposal for a group to review the recommendations of the expert group and identify areas for improvement in a future strategic framework, without pre-judging its duration or timing, served as the basis for subsequent discussions. Some parties called for highlighting the need for further technical assistance, capacity building, cooperation, and technology transfer when reviewing the report’s recommendations.

There was considerable discussion of the group’s membership, including if it should be open-ended.

The decision was adopted on Thursday, 16 June.

Final Decision: In the final decision (CHW.15/CRP.31), the COP, inter alia:

  • decides to improve, as appropriate, the strategic framework for 2012-2021, taking into account the main findings, conclusions and recommendations of the report on the final evaluation of the strategic framework, as reflected in the decisions adopted at COP15 and on the lessons learned in the preparation of the report, especially those pertaining to technical assistance, capacity building, technology transfer and cooperation, including through strengthened and coordinated actions of regional centres;
  • decides that the small intersessional working group will continue its work and be open to all parties inviting representation of the five UN regional groups and observers, including the BC regional and coordinating centres;
  • requests the small intersessional working group to develop findings and recommendations to improve the strategic framework for 2012-2021, present a draft of its findings and recommendations for consideration by OEWG13, and present recommendations to COP16;
  • invites parties and observers to submit to the Secretariat, by 30 November 2022, information on challenges in the implementation of the PIC procedure and on best practices, possible approaches, initiatives, and views to improve the functioning of the procedure, recognizing that developing countries face increasing challenges in the implementation of the PIC procedure and need further financial and technical assistance and capacity building to address those challenges;
  • requests the Secretariat to make the information received available on the Convention’s website and prepare a compilation and synthesis of the information received, subject to the availability of resources, for consideration by OEWG13; and
  • requests the OEWG, based on its consideration of the compilation and synthesis of information, to develop draft recommendations for consideration by COP16.

Addressing the entry into force of the Ban Amendment: This agenda item was taken up in plenary on Sunday, 12 June.

The DOMINICAN REPUBLIC and THAILAND reported they are working toward the acceptance of the Amendment. Exemplifying an export of hazardous waste from Italy to Tunisia, CÔTE D’IVOIRE suggested the Secretariat develop a register of all Ban Amendment violations. Many encouraged parties to ratify the Amendment.

Final Decision: In its decision (CHW.15/4), the COP:

  • calls upon parties that have not yet done so to ratify the Ban Amendment;
  • invites parties to continue to take action towards encouraging and assisting others to ratify and implement the Ban Amendment; and
  • requests the Secretariat, subject to the availability of resources and upon request, to continue to assist parties that are having difficulties in ratifying the Ban Amendment, including through the provision of technical assistance activities.

Development of guidelines for environmentally sound management: The Secretariat introduced the documents (CHW.15/5, Add.1, 32) and the manual for stakeholders to ensure that notifications of transboundary movements meet environmentally sound management requirements (OEWG.12/INF/5/Rev.2) on Sunday, 12 June.

Many welcomed the development of the guidelines, noting the importance of technical support for developing countries to fulfill their obligations under the Convention. IRAN said implementation should be voluntary, citing financial and technical challenges.

Final Decision: In its decision (CHW.15/5), the COP:

  • adopts the revised draft practical manual for stakeholders to ensure that notifications of transboundary movements meet environmentally sound management requirements;
  • invites parties and others to undertake activities to use, promote, and disseminate the toolkit on environmentally sound management;
  • invites parties and others to provide the Secretariat with information on the environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes and other wastes, in particular, activities, initiatives, and case studies that may promote implementation and complement the toolkit on environmentally sound management, and requests the Secretariat to make such information available on the BC’s website;
  • requests the Secretariat, subject to the availability of resources, to undertake activities to promote and disseminate the toolkit; and
  • requests the Secretariat, subject to the availability of resources, and as part of its technical assistance activities on waste prevention and minimization, to work with developing country parties and parties with economies in transition to consider existing good practices and examples received and to develop examples of practices that might address their particular circumstances, building on existing guidance under the BC.

Scientific and technical matters: Technical guidelines: This item was first addressed in plenary on Monday, 6 June, then subsequently addressed by a contact group on technical matters, co-chaired by Patrick McKell (UK) and Magdalena Frydrych (Poland). Parties agreed to use the outcomes of the OEWG12 (CHW.15/32) that was held on 4-6 April 2022, as the basis for their work.

POPs wastes: On Monday, 6 June, the Secretariat introduced the technical guidelines on POPs wastes (CHW.15/6, Adds.1-3). AUSTRALIA, supported by NEW ZEALAND, introduced CHW.15/CRP.4 on the use of cement kilns for the destruction of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

In the contact group, a group disagreed with the addition of the information from Australia on the use of cement kilns for PFAS wastes. Some supported a reference to the commercialization of the technology saying that this did not add a new technical proposal, but only confirmed what was happening.

Further discussion centered on the low-POPs content values. Several parties supported the proposed limit for dicofol (50 mg/kg). On perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), parties noted the proposed approach for a general limit (50 mg/kg) and another limit for aqueous film forming foams (0.025mg/kg or 1 mg/kg for related compounds) and all parties supported further intersessional discussions on this “novel” approach. One group worried about setting a precedent for setting separate limits for different waste streams.

A party proposed limit values for some older POPs on which the values are still bracketed. On brominated diphenyl ethers (BDEs), the party proposed removing the option of the highest value, opposed by another party. Observers noted the presence of BDEs in recycled products, including toys, while others suggested lower limits would stifle innovation in the recycling industry. Parties were split, with one calling for a careful approach given the implications for recycling. A developing country group urged stronger limits to ensure that imported or illegally-dumped wastes would be safe.

A few countries cited the need for more work on the limits for short-term chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs) to understand the implications of the various values, given the presence of SCCPs in a range of products, including plastics.

The COP adopted the decision and the technical guidelines (CRP.14/Add.2, CRP.14/Add.3) on 14 June.

Final Decision: In the final decision (CRP.14/Add.1), the COP:

  • adopts the technical guidelines: general technical guidelines on POPs wastes; wastes consisting of, containing or contaminated with perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), its salts and perfluorooctane sulfonyl fluoride (PFOSF) and PFOA, its salts and PFOA-related compounds wastes; and wastes consisting of, containing or contaminated with the pesticides aldrin, alpha hexachlorocyclohexane, beta hexachlorocyclohexane, chlordane, chlordecone, dicofol, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, hexachlorobenzene, hexachlorobutadiene, lindane, mirex, pentachlorobenzene, pentachlorophenol and its salts, PFOS, its salts and PFOSF, technical endosulfan and its related isomers or toxaphene or with hexachlorobenzene as an industrial chemical;
  • decides to extend the mandate of the small intersessional working group to monitor and assist in the review, updating and preparation, as appropriate, of technical guidelines regarding POPs wastes;
  • recognizes that in some cases provisional low POP content values have been established at previous meetings of the COP and that in other cases knowledge limitations have posed challenges to the setting of such values;
  • decides to continue working towards a review of provisional low POP content values in the technical guidelines, and other technical guidelines, as appropriate, before COP16 with a view to establishing low POP content values for POPs for which no single value has been established;
  • invites parties and observers to provide to the Secretariat, by 30 October 2022, comments on cement kiln co-incineration, on additional guidance on other disposal methods when the POP content is low, and on further or updated examples of national legislation for inclusion in the technical guidelines, including on any concentration limits, as well as links to online sources where such legislation can be found.
  • decides that the following should be considered in the updating of the general technical guidelines: establishment of levels of destruction and irreversible transformation for the chemicals necessary to ensure that, when disposed of, they do not exhibit the characteristics of POPs; determination of which disposal methods constitute environmentally sound disposal; and establishment, as appropriate, of the concentration levels of the chemicals in order to define for them low POP content; and
  • requests the Secretariat to prepare a compilation of comments and information; continue to undertake technical assistance activities in the use of the adopted technical guidelines, in cooperation with the BC regional and coordinating centres, to prepare a short document explaining how the technical guidelines can be used at the national level; and report to COP16.

Incineration on land (D10) and specially engineered landfill (D5): On Monday, 6 June, the Secretariat introduced the relevant documents (CHW.15/6, Add.4, Add.5; /32, INFs/11/Rev.2 and 12/Rev.2).

CANADA presented the intersessional group’s work, on behalf of Canada and Argentina on D5, and Canada and Japan on D10. She noted the updated guidelines were the result of five years of work and underscored that parties heavily use both disposal methods.

ARGENTINA proposed developing additional guidelines, including for opening and closing landfills, citing a manual on management of hazardous waste developed with Canada, which could enable developing countries to learn and be proactive with issues caused by hazardous waste mismanagement.

The COP adopted the decision and the technical guidelines (CRP.12/Add.1, CRP.12/Add.2) on 14 June.

Final Decision: In its decision (CRP.12), the COP, inter alia:

  • adopts the technical guidelines on the incineration of hazardous wastes and other wastes as covered by disposal operations D10 and R1 and on disposal of hazardous wastes and other wastes in specially engineered landfill (D5);
  • notes the small intersessional working group completed its mandate and agrees to disband it; and
  • requests the Secretariat to prepare a compilation of comments and information; continue to undertake technical assistance activities in the use of the adopted technical guidelines, in cooperation with the BC regional and coordinating centres, and to prepare a short document explaining how the technical guidelines can be used at the national level.

Mercury waste: On Monday, 6 June, the Secretariat introduced the documents (CHW.15/6, Add.6, /32, INF/13/Rev.2). JAPAN presented the work of the intersessional group, expanding on the elaboration of the draft guidelines and the linkages with the Minamata Convention. CHINA drew attention to its suggestions contained in CHW.15/CRP.6.

The contact group agreed to address the concerns in the CRP submitted by China to ensure consistency and coherence with the ongoing discussions under the Minamata Convention.

The COP adopted its decision and the technical guidelines (CRP.13/Add.1) on 13 June.

Final Decision: In its decision (CRP.13), the COP, inter alia:

  • adopts the technical guidelines on the environmentally sound management of wastes consisting of, containing or contaminated with mercury or mercury compounds; and
  • requests the Secretariat to prepare a compilation of comments and information; continue to undertake technical assistance activities in the use of the adopted technical guidelines, in cooperation with the BC regional and coordinating centres, and to prepare a short document explaining how the technical guidelines can be used at the national level.

Plastic waste: On Monday, 6 June, the Secretariat introduced the documents (CHW.15/6 and Add.7). On behalf of the co-lead countries (China, Japan, and the UK) in developing these guidelines, JAPAN introduced the draft updated version of the technical guidelines (CRP.5), which resulted from further revisions after OEWG12 in April 2022.

In the contact group, several parties called for completing the technical guidelines on this issue, saying this would be a useful input to the negotiations on the new plastics treaty. By the end of the two weeks, the group agreed to extend the mandate of the small intersessional working group.

Among the points debated by participants, observers called for scientific references in support of chemical recycling. Participants debated the proper terminology for the sources of plastic waste leakage, including how to capture nano-plastic and pellets, as well as the characteristics of biodegradable plastics, including the threshold for identifying plastic as compostable and the appropriate mechanisms for breaking down these plastics.

In various places in the document, including in the waste prevention and minimization section, some parties suggested that measures should account for national circumstances, needs, and priorities, and parties should be “encouraged to,” rather than “should” undertake such policies. The opposing group noted that technical guidance is not legally-binding. Participants discussed the table of examples of policies and measures, with one developing country suggesting deleting a ban on single-use plastics, opposed by others.

On 15 June, the COP adopted the decision with a proposed way forward for the intersessional work along with guidelines contained in CRP.27/Add.1.

Final Decision: In the final decision (CRP.27), the COP:

  • underscores the importance of the timely updating of the technical guidelines and notes the progress achieved during COP15 towards their finalization;
  • extends the mandate of the small intersessional working group;
  • invites parties and observers to nominate additional experts to participate in the small intersessional working group, and to inform the Secretariat of their nominations by 31 July 2022;
  • invites parties and observers to submit to the Secretariat, by 16 September 2022, general comments and textual proposals on the draft updated technical guidelines, referring to specific paragraphs and tables, together with related rationales, if possible and as appropriate, and requests the Secretariat to make the general comments and the proposals available on the Convention website;
  • invites the Governments of China, Japan and the UK, as co-lead countries, in consultation with the small intersessional working group, to prepare a further updated version of the technical guidelines, taking into account the discussion during COP15 and the general comments and textual proposals received, for consideration by OEWG13;
  • decides that the small intersessional working group will operate by electronic means and, subject to the availability of resources, will also hold face-to-face meetings;
  • requests the Secretariat to transmit the present decision, and to report on progress regarding the draft updated technical guidelines, to the UNEP Executive Director and to the intergovernmental negotiating committee established to negotiate a legally-binding instrument on plastic pollution; and
  • requests the Secretariat to report on the implementation of the present decision to OEWG13 and COP16.

Lead-acid batteries: On Monday, 6 June, the Secretariat introduced the document (CHW.15/6).

In the contact group, there was recognition of the need to proactively address other waste batteries, especially lithium-ion batteries. Some parties said there is a limited pool of experts and time and preferred to address all batteries in one guideline document. One group stressed the urgent need to prioritize waste lead-acid batteries and called for first updating these guidelines. In support, others noted the differences between batteries in terms of their management and safe disposal operations, including that technology for disposing of lithium-ion batteries is still emerging. The group adopted a “one group, two guidelines” approach that would prioritize waste lead-acid batteries.

Final Decision: In its final decision (CRP.18), the COP:

  • decides the technical guidelines on the environmentally sound management of waste lead-acid batteries should be updated and welcomes with appreciation the offer from Uruguay to serve as the lead country;
  • decides that technical guidelines on the environmentally sound management of waste batteries other than waste lead-acid batteries should be developed and invites parties to consider serving as a lead country;
  • establishes a small intersessional working group, operating by electronic means, to undertake, as a priority and a matter of urgency, the updating of the lead-acid battery technical guidelines, as well as to develop the guidelines for other waste batteries; and
  • invites parties and observers to nominate experts to participate in the small intersessional working group and to inform the Secretariat of their nominations by 31 July 2022.

Classification and hazard characterization of wastes: On Sunday, 12 June, the Secretariat introduced a draft decision and relevant document (CHW.15/7, INF/8).

The EU supported the draft decision, but called for further consideration of the references to the OEWG, given that the COP is yet to take decisions on its work programme.

COLOMBIA and Ghana, for the AFRICAN GROUP, supported continued cooperation with the World Customs Organization (WCO) on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System. IPEN called on parties to ensure that appropriate controls are applied to waste-derived fuels to ensure transparency of transboundary movements.

Final Decision: In its decision (CHW.15/7), the COP, inter alia, requests the Secretariat to:

  • continue to develop, for submission to the WCO, proposals for amending the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System to allow the identification of the types of wastes set out in subparagraph 3(a) of decision BC-14/9 that have not already been included in a proposal
  • continue, under the guidance of the OEWG, its cooperation with the Harmonized System Committee and relevant subcommittees of the WCO in order to facilitate the inclusion of wastes covered by the BC in the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System; and
  • report on progress achieved in the implementation of the present decision to the OEWG13 and COP16.

National reporting: On Sunday, 12 June, the Secretariat introduced the documents (CHW.15/8 and 32, INF/9, 19, 50, 51, 61), noting that comments received from parties and observers are available online.

The EU called for adding a reference to the revised practical guidance for the inventories for waste batteries containing lead and for waste oil. TÜRKIYE called for standardization of parties’ inventories, noting wide variation in waste notifications. Ghana, for the AFRICAN GROUP, highlighted the need for training related to Convention obligations.

On 13 June, the COP adopted the decision and took note of the draft practical guidances on batteries containing lithium (CRP.21), on inventories of obsolete pesticides and pesticide-container waste (CRP.22), and on the development of inventories of plastic waste (CRP.23).

Final Decision: In its decision (CHW.15/8), the COP, inter alia, requests the Secretariat to:

  • continue to develop the electronic reporting system and to support parties in using it;
  • continue to develop, subject to the availability of resources, practical guidance on the development of inventories for waste streams considered to be a medium priority for consideration by COP16;
  • make available in the six official UN languages, subject to the availability of resources, the practical guidance on the development of inventories of plastic waste, obsolete pesticides and pesticide-container waste, and waste batteries containing lithium;
  • undertake, subject to the availability of resources, pilot projects to test the practical guidance on the development of an inventory of plastic waste, obsolete pesticides and pesticide-container waste, and waste batteries containing lithium, and to prepare, on the basis of the outcomes of those projects and comments received by parties and observers on their experience in using the guidance, revised practical guidance for consideration by COP17;
  • widely disseminate the Waste Without Frontiers II report, subject to the availability of resources;
  • continue, subject to the availability of resources, to provide training to developing countries and other countries that need assistance to meet their reporting obligations, in cooperation with the BC regional and coordinating centres, and in doing so to prioritize capacity building for parties to develop national inventories and national legislation hand-in-hand, to build on the approach taken by the ICC; and
  • report to COP16 on the implementation of this decision.

Electronic approaches to the notification and movement documents: On Sunday, 12 June, the Secretariat introduced the documents (CHW.15/9, INF/62). Several countries highlighted the value of electronic approaches to notification in improving monitoring and transparency. The EU noted that references to the OEWG might require consideration after discussion of its work programme. BRAZIL called for OEWG13 to address electronic approaches.

Final Decision: In the final decision (CHW.15/9), the COP, inter alia:

  • establishes a small intersessional working group, operating by electronic means, to look further into electronic approaches to the notification and movement documents, taking into account the report of the first consultative workshop on this issue, including the elements for further discussion set out therein and previous reports prepared on that topic;
  • invites parties and observers to nominate experts with relevant knowledge of and expertise in the implementation of the PIC procedure of the BC, and experts with experience in developing software in the areas of trade, customs or related areas, to participate in the small intersessional working group, and to inform the Secretariat of their nominations; 
  • invites parties to consider serving as lead countries;
  • requests the lead country or countries or, if there is no lead country or countries, the Secretariat, subject to the availability of resources, in consultation with the small intersessional working group, to prepare a report with recommendations on the next steps regarding the work on electronic approaches to the notification and movement documents, for consideration by OEWG13;
  • invites parties willing to do so to work on pilot projects, taking into account the experiences of other parties and of non-parties, and the work carried out by other international organizations, and to submit lessons learned to the Secretariat; and
  • requests the Secretariat to: organize, subject to the availability of resources, and in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, technical assistance activities and awareness-raising events; make available on the Convention’s website lessons learned and information about pilot projects; and report to OEWG13 and  COP16 on progress in the implementation of this decision.

Further consideration of plastic waste: On Sunday, 12 June, the Secretariat introduced the documents (CHW.15/10, 32, INFs/10-12) and opened the item for discussion. Parties’ interventions stressed the need to address this important waste stream, particularly given the new negotiations for a legally-binding instrument on plastic pollution. Noting the EU’s extensive list of proposed amendments, BC COP President Álvarez-Pérez mandated the contact group on technical matters to consider the changes.

In the contact group, co-chaired by Patrick McKnell (UK) and Magda Gosk (Poland), participants discussed whether or not to request the Secretariat and regional centres to provide support for the implementation of the BC’s plastic waste-related provisions. Noting these actions were covered by the technical assistance decision, they agreed to delete the relevant paragraphs and to extend the mandate of the small intersessional working group to update the plastics waste draft technical guidelines.

The COP adopted the decision on Wednesday, 15 June.

Final Decision: In the final decision (CRP.26), the COP, inter alia:

  • decides to update the technical guidelines on the environmentally sound management of used and waste pneumatic tyres;
  • invites parties to consider serving as lead countries for the updating of the guidelines and to inform the Secretariat by 31 July 2022 of their willingness to do so;
  • decides to establish a small intersessional working group, operating by electronic means and, subject to the availability of resources, through face-to-face meetings, to update the guidelines;
  • invites parties and others to nominate experts to participate in the small intersessional working group and to inform the Secretariat of their nominations by 31 July 2022; and
  • requests the lead country, or, in the absence of a lead country, the Secretariat, subject to the availability of resources, to prepare the draft updated technical guidelines in consultation with the small intersessional working group for consideration by OEWG13.

Waste containing nanomaterials: On Sunday, 12 June, the Secretariat presented a draft decision and relevant document (CHW.15/11, INF/52). Several parties supported the decision. IPEN urged parties to generate information on waste containing nanomaterials and encouraged the Secretariat and partners to increase awareness-raising activities.

Final Decision: In its decision (CHW.15/11), the COP, inter alia, requests the Secretariat to:

  • continue to develop, for submission to the WCO, proposals for amending the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System to allow the identification of the types of wastes set out in subparagraph 3(a) of decision BC-14/9 that have not already been included in a proposal;
  • continue, under the guidance of the OEWG, its cooperation with the Harmonized System Committee and relevant subcommittees of the WCO in order to facilitate the inclusion of wastes covered by the BC in the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System; and
  • report on progress achieved in the implementation of the present decision to OEWG13 and COP16.

Legal, Compliance, and Governance Matters: Committee Administering the Mechanism for Promoting Implementation and Compliance: On Friday, 10 June, the Secretariat presented the Committee’s work and guidance documents (CHW.15/12/Rev.2, Adds.1, 2, /32, INFs/13-17), as well as reference documents (OEWG.12/INF/24/Rev.2 and INF/23/Rev.2).

Florisvindo Furtado, Chair of the ICC, presented the report on national reporting, progress made by ICC in its Programme of Work, and its recommendations. BC COP President Álvarez-Pérez asked for comments on the draft decision, as well as two guidances: on insurance, bond and guarantee, and on the transit transboundary movement. Most countries supported draft guidances, as well as the draft decision “in principle.”

In the contact group on legal matters, co-chaired by Mari Liis Ummik (Estonia) and Florisvindo Furtado (Cabo Verde), the discussion revolved around the expansion of the ICC’s mandate, as well as the potential delineation of the terms “technical assistance” and “capacity building.” On the ICC’s mandate, after many parties expressed concern about the punitive nature of the proposed amendment, delegates agreed to delete the text of the proposed amendment in full.

On the delineation of terms, some parties believed “capacity building” is within the scope of “technical assistance,” while others stressed that capacity building is more specific and, unlike technical assistance, prescribes a sustainable outcome of the activity. Parties eventually agreed to include the reference to capacity building in addition to technical assistance, given its importance in addressing illegal trade.

On Thursday, 16 June, the COP adopted the final decision.

Final Decision: The COP adopted a five-part decision (CRP.30).

On national reporting, the COP, inter alia:

  • sets, as a way of measuring progress in the overall implementation of and compliance with paragraph 3 of Article 13 of the Convention (reporting), the following targets for the reports due for 2018 and subsequent years: 25% of the reports due are transmitted complete and on time; 50% of the reports due are transmitted complete, whether on time or late; and 70% of the reports due are transmitted;
  • requests the Secretariat to include, in its technical assistance activities relating to the transmission of national reports, assistance for parties in integrating action to address related needs into their Cooperation Framework;
  • requests the Secretariat, and invites UNEP and other entities with a mandate to support parties with the implementation of the BC, such as the FAO and the GEF, including in the context of relevant activities funded under the SC, UN Development Programme, UN Industrial Development Organization, the World Bank, and regional development banks, to work in partnership with respect to supporting parties with national reporting needs and to liaise with the appropriate UN country teams and resident coordinators with a view to integrating action to address those needs into the Cooperation Frameworks of those parties;
  • requests the Secretariat to include the transmission of national reports as a concrete output of its technical assistance activities or to seek the inclusion of such transmission as a concrete output of technical assistance activities funded by it, to support parties in the implementation of the Convention; and
  • requests the Secretariat, subject to the availability of resources, to continue to regularly publish Waste Without Frontiers and to strengthen the electronic reporting system for querying national reports; to explore opportunities to regularly publish a publication providing information on the legal and institutional trends illustrated by the information set out in the national reports and highlighting the work of the ICC in that regard; and to step up its efforts to communicate more widely, to the relevant national and international stakeholders involved in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG 12, the importance of the transmission of national reports under the BC.

On illegal traffic, the COP, inter alia, requests the Secretariat to:

  • consolidate on a yearly basis and improve the visibility on its website of information on cases of illegal traffic reported by parties, based on their national reports;
  • assist parties in preventing and combating illegal traffic, in the context of their respective activities, such as enforcement operations, to collect information based on information in national reports on how many cases of illegal traffic there were, with respect to which wastes, in which regions and how they were resolved;
  • assist parties in preventing and combating illegal traffic to cooperate with one another, including through ENFORCE, to undertake the joint training of the competent authorities and enforcement entities in preventing and combating illegal traffic with a view to enhancing coordination at the national level, including with regard to the formalization of national coordination mechanisms;
  • subject to the availability of resources, and with a view to improving support for joint operations undertaken by members of ENFORCE with enforcement authorities, particularly customs authorities,  facilitate the organization of joint inspections and enforcement operations led by members of ENFORCE, assist with the preparation of such joint inspections and enforcement operations by providing, in cooperation with members of ENFORCE, training to the participating national authorities, and follow up the operations with sessions on lessons learned particularly with respect to planning, the methods used and how existing enforcement structures might be developed and improved; and
  • organize, subject to the availability of resources, joint workshops involving the members of ENFORCE to train the competent authorities and enforcement authorities dealing with illegal traffic.

Regarding ENFORCE, the COP, inter alia:

  • decides the programme of work and budget for the BC for the biennium 2022-2023 will provide for the separate funding of the activities of ENFORCE, including its operational activities, its use of the Convention website to disseminate information and its training activities; and
  • decides, with a view to aligning the term of office of the Chair and Vice-Chair of ENFORCE, to amend the terms of reference of the Environmental Network to establish rotational membership and to lengthen the terms for Chairs and Vice-Chairs;

On the control system, the COP adopts the guidances on insurance, bond and guarantee, and on transit transboundary movements.

On the work programme and election of officers, the COP, inter alia:

  • approves the work programme for 2022-2023, annexed to the present decision;
  • requests the ICC to establish priorities, work methods, and schedules for the activities and to coordinate with the OEWG, the Secretariat, and the BC regional and coordinating centres;
  • requests the ICC to consult parties on the draft work programme for 2024-2025 and report to COP16 on the work done; and
  • requests the ICC to elect five members.

Providing further legal clarity: On Monday, 6 June, the Secretariat introduced the documents (CHW.15/13, /32 INFs/18, 20-25), the proposal by the EU to amend Annex IV (disposal operations) and certain entries in Annexes II (categories of wastes requiring special consideration) and IX (non-wastes) (13/Add.1), and the proposal by Ghana and Switzerland to amend Annexes II, VIII (wastes) and IX (13/Add.2). A contact group, co-chaired by Mari-Liis Ummik (Estonia) and Florisvindo Furtato (Cabo Verde), met throughout the two weeks.

On Annexes II, VII, and IX, stressing that e-waste is a major problem for the environment and human health and less than 20% of the global e-waste is properly disposed of, SWITZERLAND introduced its proposal with Ghana, which is to:

  • add a new entry to Annex II for waste electrical and electronic equipment, its components and constituents that not considered as hazardous;
  • re-word entry A1180 in Annex VIII for e-waste categorized as hazardous; and
  • delete the entries B1110 and B4030 as they would be duplicative to the new Annex II entry.

She explained that these entries would make all transboundary movements of e-waste subject to the PIC procedure, and suggested accepting this principle, then concrete wording of the e-waste entries.

Many countries supported further addressing e-waste through the Basel Convention and called for additional work.

In the contact group, attention focused on the “mirror entry” approach. The mirror entry would be the Annex II entry, which would include the e-wastes that are not in Annex VIII. The approach proved difficult to implement. Some parties preferred a simple approach that would state that Annex II wastes are all e-wastes that are not in Annex VIII. Other parties stressed the need for clarity, to provide examples, and to guide implementing agencies as to which wastes are hazardous and which are not. Due to the mixed nature of e-waste, some parties said that some proposals would be the mirror of all of Annex VIII, and not specific to e-waste. Countries agreed to only “mirror the intent” of the A1180 listing in Annex VIII, by providing examples but without trying to list the opposite of all of the e-wastes that are hazardous wastes in Annex VIII.

There was general agreement to include electronic components in the listing, opposed by one country that said that some wastes that are otherwise non-hazardous may contain a small electrical component such as a display device, and stressed that this small component should not make the entire waste hazardous. With another party, she urged clarity on what is and is not hazardous e-waste.

On Annex IV, the EU underscored the need for clear criteria to support parties and operators to trade e-waste legally and safely, and highlighted that their proposal seeks to promote a common understanding and interpretation of the disposal operations under Annex IV, building on the work of the expert group.

CANADA, supported by JAPAN and ARGENTINA, introduced CRP.7 on Annex IV that encapsulates the expert group’s recommendations, which she said was broader than, but could be considered in conjunction with, the EU’s proposal.

In the contact group, countries debated whether to use the proposal from the EU or from Canada, Japan, and Argentina as the basis for negotiations. Some noted that the latter proposal is broader and includes all of the expert group recommendations, while the EU proposal is narrower in scope. Unable to agree, the EU proposal was used as a starting point, because it was in the pre-meeting documents and had a different status. The elements from the other proposal were inserted into the EU proposal and parties agreed to discuss this issue at the OEWG.

On the way forward, countries debated whether to continue work in the OEWG or the expert group, how to reflect the expert group’s recommendations, and whether to identify issues for further discussion.

Final Decision: In its decision regarding amendments to Annexes II, VIII, and IX (CRP.29), the COP:

  • amends Annex II by adding entry Y49 (electronic and electrical waste);
  • amends Annex VIII by inserting a new entry A1181 (electrical and electronic waste) that notes the related entry Y49 in Annex II;
  • adds a footnote to the entry A1180 in Annex VIII, as follows: “Entry A1180 is effective until 31 December 2024”;
  • deletes entries B1110 and B4030 in Annex IX; and
  • requests the Depositary to communicate the adoption of the amendments set out in the present decision to all parties on 30 June 2024 so that the amendments will become effective on 1 January 2025 pursuant to subparagraphs (b) and (c) of paragraph 2 of Article 18 of the Convention.

In its decision on Annex IV (CHW.15/CRP.33), the COP acknowledges the need for further discussion on amendments to Annex IV, for example, on the following issues, among others:

  • general introduction, captions and introductory text;
  • keeping, deleting, merging or splitting existing operations;
  • inclusion of new operations, for example, on preparing for reuse and catch-all operations;
  • consideration of non-environmentally sound management operations, for example, open burning; 
  • inclusion of clarifying examples; and
  • ordering and numbering of operations.

The COP requests:

  • the OEWG to consider the proposals by the EU to amend Annex IV and certain entries in Annexes II and IX to the BC, and the recommendations and findings of the expert working group, taking into account the discussions at COP15, as well as the progress made in the review of Annexes I and III, and to provide recommendations for consideration by COP16;
  • the regional groups that have not yet nominated 10 experts with relevant expertise to serve as members of the expert working group to nominate the remaining experts by 31 July 2022 through their Bureau representatives;
  • the Secretariat to facilitate the nomination process; and
  • the Secretariat to report on the implementation of this decision to OEWG13 and COP16.

National Legislation, Notifications, Enforcement of the Convention, and Efforts to Combat Illegal Traffic: On Friday, 10 June, the Secretariat introduced the report and draft decision (CHW.15/14).

The EU noted that the proposed decision should take into account the decision on the ICC to ensure coherence. Many developing countries cited national challenges with combating illegal traffic and suggested: submitting updated contacts of national authorities; providing financial support and assistance with national legislation; and declaring emergency responses.

Final Decision: In its final decision (CHW.15/14), the COP:

  • reminds parties of the need to fulfil their obligations under Article 4.4 (general obligations) and Article 9.5 (national legislation for illegal traffic), including by updating or developing stringent legislation on the control of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and by incorporating into their national legislation appropriate sanctions or penalties for illegal traffic in hazardous wastes and other wastes; and
  • invites parties to continue to share information on best practices with the Secretariat.

The COP requests the Secretariat to:

  • continue to maintain a collection of best practices for preventing and punishing illegal traffic, forms for reporting confirmed cases of illegal traffic, information on national definitions of hazardous wastes, and information on import or export restrictions or prohibitions, and to continue to make that information available on the Convention website;
  • make information on national definitions of hazardous wastes, and information on import or export restrictions or prohibitions available in the six official languages, subject to the availability of resources;
  • provide parties, upon request, with advice on matters pertaining to the implementation and enforcement of the Convention, including on the development and updating of national legislation or other measures, and assistance in the identification of cases of illegal traffic;
  • continue to cooperate with enforcement organizations and networks;
  • further develop tools, including e-learning tools, and organize enforcement training activities, subject to the availability of resources, in collaboration with the BC regional and coordinating centres, the secretariats of other relevant multilateral environmental agreements and other international organizations, agencies or programmes and to assist parties, particularly developing-country parties and parties with economies in transition, to develop national legislation and other measures to implement and enforce the Convention and to prevent and punish illegal traffic; and
  • report on the implementation of the present decision to COP16.

Proposal by the Russian Federation to Amend Article 6.2: This item was first discussed on Friday, 10 June. Parties acknowledged the need consider ways to improve the PIC procedure, including facilitating importers to provide responses to notifiers (Article 6.2). There was no agreement to take up the matter in a contact group under this agenda item, and the issue was addressed under the strategic framework, as agreed on Sunday, 12 June.

Basel Convention Partnership Programme: This item was discussed on 12, 13, and 14 June and decisions on the various partnership programmes were taken on the relevant days.

Follow-up Partnership to the Partnership for Action on Computing Equipment (PACE): On Sunday, 12 June, the Secretariat introduced the progress report of the Partnership and its recommendations (CHW.15/32, INFs/33, CHW/OEWG.12/37/Rev.1). Co-Chair of the Follow-up to PACE, Leila Devia (BC Regional Centre Argentina), outlined the recommendations, including amending the group’s terms of reference and work programme to include additional types of e-waste.

Countries adopted this part of the decision.

Final Decision: In the final decision (CHW.15/18/Rev.1), the COP:

  • adopts the amendments to the Partnership’s terms of reference, including the new name of the Partnership (Partnership for Action on Challenges relating to E-waste,” in short “PACE II), and the programme of work for 2022-2023;
  • invites parties, signatories and all other stakeholders, including manufacturers, recyclers, refurbishers, academia, relevant e-waste platforms, non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations, and former partners of the PACE to communicate to the Secretariat no later than 31 August 2022 their wish to be admitted as a member of the working group of the Partnership;
  • requests the working group of the Partnership to implement the activities in the programme of work for 2022-2023; and
  • requests the Secretariat to report on progress in the implementation of the present decision to OEWG13 and COP16.

ENFORCE: In plenary on 12 June, the Secretariat introduced the progress report (CHW.15/INF/34). Co-Chair of ENFORCE, Katie Olley (UK), presented recommendations to make the Network more specific and action-oriented. After a discussion on the possible interlinkages with the ICC, on Monday, 13 June, the COP adopted the ENFORCE section of the decision.

Final Decision: In the final decision (CHW.15/18/Rev.1), the COP:

  • invites entities with a specific mandate to deliver implementation and enforcement capacity-building activities that could assist parties in preventing and combating illegal traffic of hazardous wastes and other wastes to consider sending a duly motivated request to the Chair of the Network regarding admission as members of the Network;
  • elects representatives of five parties to the BC to serve as members of the Network;
  • designates four representatives of the BC regional and coordinating centres to serve as members of the Network; and
  • requests the Secretariat to report on progress in the implementation of the present decision to COP16.

Household Waste Partnership: In plenary on 12 June, the Secretariat presented the guidance document and report on activities of the Partnership (CHW.15/18/Rev.1/Add.1, INF/35).

Co-Chair of the Informal Group Gabriela Medina Amarante (Uruguay) reported that the guidance was being trialed in Trinidad and Tobago. TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO reported it trialed six of the ten modules, which already provided lessons on the need for support and integrated solid waste management systems.

JORDAN, URUGUAY, NIGERIA, and SWITZERLAND supported the guidance document and encouraged further work given the difficulties of managing this wastestream.

The UK, the EU, and CANADA observed duplication with other technical guidelines and suggested postponing this decision until the completion of those guidelines and the trial period. SWITZERLAND said the guidelines could be adopted on an interim basis.

The US suggested that parties remove the references to proposed amendments to Annex IV (disposal operations).

On 14 June, the Secretariat presented a revised draft decision and the COP adopted it.

Final Decision: In the final decision (CHW.15/CRP.25), the COP:

  • invites parties and others to provide further comments on the draft overall guidance document to the Secretariat by 15 October 2022;
  • requests the working group to prepare, by 15 December 2022, a revised draft of the overall guidance document, taking into account: the comments received prior to COP15; the discussions at COP15; any additional comments received by 15 October 2022; and the outcomes of pilot projects or testing of the draft overall guidance document undertaken by parties, and taking into careful consideration existing guidance under the Convention, for consideration by COP 16;
  • invites parties and others to provide comments on the revised draft of the overall guidance document to the Secretariat by 15 February 2023, and requests the Secretariat to publish the comments received on the Convention website and prepare a compilation of those comments for consideration by COP16.

The COP also requests the working group to implement the following activities, which constitute the workplan of the Partnership for 2022-2023:

  • activities for awareness-raising and training relating to the environmentally sound management of household waste, coordination of outreach activities, and cooperation with other organizations working on household waste management;
  • further development of the draft overall guidance document on the environmentally sound management of household waste; and
  • continued coordination of outreach activities and cooperation with other organizations working on household waste management, including the Partnership on Plastic Waste, to prevent overlap between programmes and to share lessons learned.

The COP requests the Secretariat to report on progress to OEWG13 and COP16.

Plastic Waste Partnership: In plenary, on 12 June, the Secretariat introduced the group’s activities (CHW.15/INF/36). Co-Chair of the Plastic Waste Partnership, Ole Thomas Thommesen (Norway), highlighted the work of the four project groups and the implementation of pilot projects.

Many countries supported the partnership’s work and urged interested actors, particularly the private sector, to join.

Final Decision: In the final decision (CRP.24), the COP, inter alia:

  • invites parties and others who have not yet nominated members to the working group and who wish to do so to inform the Secretariat;
  • requests the working group to continue to implement the workplan for the biennium 2020-2021 during the biennium 2022-2023; and
  • requests the Secretariat to report on progress to OEWG13 and COP16.

Work programme of the Open-Ended Working Group for the period 2020-2021: On Monday, 13 June, the Secretariat introduced the draft work programme (CHW.15/19).

The EU, supported by NORWAY and the UK, proposed to have OEWG13 after COP16 due to the short timeframe between COP15 and COP16 and a heavy agenda during this period, which includes upcoming negotiations for the treaty on plastic pollution.

Many others supported holding OEWG13 before COP16, underscoring its critical role in facilitating the COP’s work.

On Tuesday, 14 June, after consultations with regional groups, BC COP President Álvarez-Pérez proposed to hold OEWG13 in Geneva, face-to-face only, for three days during the week commencing 20 February 2023. CHINA called for a hybrid format if necessary and, after a lengthy discussion, COP President Álvarez-Pérez suggested replicating in the decision the text delineating conditions for online participation in the current BRS COPs, as set out in the report of the May 2022 meeting of the Bureau. He noted this text allows for online participation, subject to the availability of resources, when delegates are prevented from attending due to COVID-19 restrictions or a positive test. Parties agreed to this amendment and adopted the decision.

Final Decision: In the final decision (CRP.28), the COP adopted the work programme of the OEWG for the biennium 2022-2023, as set out in the annex to the decision.

Adoption of the Report

On Wednesday, 15 June, delegates reviewed the report of the meeting (CHW.15/L.2/Add.1 and L.2/Add.2).

CHINA requested an amendment to paragraph 45 of CHW.15/L.2/Add.2, noting, inter alia, it had not “insisted” on working online at OEWG13 and had instead called on the BC COP to “consider the option of” holding a hybrid meeting.

The report was adopted as orally amended.

Rotterdam Convention COP10

Rules of Procedure for the COP

The COP deferred the issue (RC/COP.10/3) to its next meeting and will continue adopting decisions by consensus.

Matters Related to the Implementation of the Convention

Status of implementation: On Tuesday, 14 June, the Secretariat introduced the relevant documents (UNEP.FAO/RC/COP.10/4, INF/6, 7).

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA and SERBIA reported on regional efforts with support from FAO to build technical capacity, which resulted in submitting final notifications of regulatory action for five substances.

The EU introduced a draft decision (CRP.12) that, she said, largely replicates the text of the previous COP decision on this matter. She welcomed progress on notifications of final regulatory action and urged parties to: submit missing import responses; work on the overall quality of data and submissions; and keep information on designated national authorities updated.

NIGERIA, MEXICO, and PAKISTAN stressed the importance of information for decision making and requested the continuation of support for technical capacity-building, including for customs officers.

The COP adopted the decision as proposed by the EU.

Final Decision: In the decision (RC/COP.10/CRP.12), the COP encourages parties to:

  • adopt a national definition for the term “pesticide” and communicate national definitions to the Secretariat;
  • take into account differences among parties in the definition of the term “pesticide” in their communication with other parties through export notifications and import responses;
  • ensure the effective operation of the RC by submitting notifications of final regulatory action (FRA), proposals for listing severely hazardous pesticide formulations, and import responses for listed chemicals;
  • use the FRA evaluation toolkit, the toolbox for decision making in chemicals management, and other relevant tools for national risk evaluation and decision making, and for preparation of notifications of FRA; and
  • provide the Secretariat with information that might assist other parties prepare and notify FRAs.

The COP also urges parties to:

  • ensure the effective implementation of Article 11 (obligations related to exports), which is an important contribution to the fight against the illegal trade in chemicals that are subject to the Convention;
  • ensure proper implementation of Article 13 (information to accompany exports), in particular the stipulation that a safety data sheet that follows an internationally recognized format be sent to each importer of both chemicals listed in Annex III and chemicals banned or severely restricted in the exporting country’s territory, to be used for occupational purposes, in one or more of the official languages of the importing party, as far as practicable; and
  • ensure the shipping document for an individual chemical or group of chemicals listed in Annex III bears the respective Harmonized System customs code when exported whenever a code has been assigned.

The COP also:

  • invites parties, non-parties, industry, civil society, and other stakeholders to provide to the Secretariat data on international trade in chemicals listed or recommended for listing in Annex III; and
  • requests the Secretariat, subject to the availability of resources, to continue implementing the provisions on this matter and to report on implementation to COP11.

Listing of Chemicals in Annex III to the Convention: Chemical Review Committee (CRC): On Monday, 13 June, the Secretariat introduced the document outlining CRC-related developments for action by the COP (RC/COP.10/5). CRC Chair Noluzuko Gwayi (South Africa) reported on the Committee’s work, including its review of notifications of final regulatory action on several chemicals. Delegates then discussed the work of the CRC.

On Thursday, 16 June, the Secretariat introduced the draft decision on the operations of the CRC (CRP.13), noting the decision requests the CRC to elect a new Chair.

Algeria, for the AFRICAN GROUP, supported by PAKISTAN, SAUDI ARABIA, PALESTINE, and Chile on behalf of GRULAC, requested that the current CRC Chair be elected for a second term, and asked that the draft decision be changed to note her election.

After an inquiry from NORWAY, with NEW ZEALAND, the EU, and SWITZERLAND on whether the CRC should follow the same process as the POPRC, the Secretariat clarified that Rule 30 of the rules of procedure states that the COP elects the Chair, but the practice has been for both the CRC and the POPRC to identify an interim Chair, which is then confirmed by the COP.

With the understanding that the current Chair will continue, parties agreed to remove the text that requests the CRC to elect an interim Chair and adopted the decision.

Final Decision: In its final decision (RC/COP.10/CRP.13), the COP, inter alia:

  • appoints the 17 designated experts listed in the annex to the decision to serve as CRC members with terms of office beginning at the closure of COP10 and ending on 30 April 2026;
  • confirms the appointment of Noluzuko Gwayi as Chair for a second term; and
  • requests the Secretariat to continue implementing training activities for new and existing members, within the framework of the technical assistance plan, subject to the availability of resources, considering different delivery techniques and information channels, such as workshops and online training, and to report on the results to COP11.

Listing of chemicals: Delegates considered the proposed listing of seven chemicals to Annex III of the RC. DecaBDE and PFOA, its salts, and related compounds were discussed in plenary and were ultimately listed in the Convention. Acetochlor and carbosulfan were discussed in a Friends of the President group. A contact group, co-chaired by Marit Randall (Norway) and Carol Theka (Malawi), met to discuss challenges and potential ways forward with listing paraquat dichloride formulations, fenthion ultra-low volume formulations, and chrysotile asbestos.

Following these discussions, on Thursday, 16 June, the Secretariat introduced the draft decision (CRP.15), which states the COP recalls the objective of the Convention and takes note of the discussion on challenges, concerns, views, and possible ways forward.

After some debate over a change proposed by INDIA, but opposed by several parties, to take note of the challenges identified, the RC COP adopted the decision on each of the following agenda items: chrysotile asbestos; fenthion ultra-low volume formulation; paraquat dichloride formulation; carbosulfan; and acetochlor.

Final Decision: In the decision (RC/COP.10/CRP.15), the COP:

  • recalls the objective of the RC; and
  • takes note of the discussions on challenges, concerns, views, and possible ways forward at COP10 in relation to the chemicals for which the COP was not able to reach consensus on listing in Annex III to the Convention.

Acetochlor: On Monday, 13 June, the Secretariat introduced the documents on acetochlor, an herbicide commonly used to control weeds in corn crops (RC/COP.10/6, 6/Add.1, and INF/8/Rev.1). RC COP Acting President Khashashneh reminded delegates that COP9 decided that all the criteria for listing acetochlor in Annex III were met and invited parties to adopt a decision to list the substance.

Many countries supported listing, emphasizing that acetochlor is harmful to human health, and that listing facilitates information exchange between countries and does not constitute a ban.

GUATEMALA, supported by ARGENTINA and SERBIA, objected to listing acetochlor, saying that this would limit its availability, increase the cost of agricultural production, and affect food security. IRAN noted acetochlor is used in his country and requested deferring this issue to the next COP.

CROPLIFE INTERNATIONAL said that: insufficient scientific rigor was applied to review some of the notifications of final regulatory action on this substance; listing is tantamount to a ban; and reduced availability of effective crop protection tools like acetochlor is a risk to the global trade of cost-effectively produced food.

On Thursday, 16 June, RC COP Acting President Mohammed Khashashneh reported that parties had been unable to come to consensus on listing acetochlor, and the issue would thus be forwarded to COP11 for further consideration.

Carbosulfan: On Monday, 13 June, the Secretariat introduced the documents on carbosulfan, a pesticide used in homes, gardens and agricultural applications (RC/COP.10/7, Add.1, INF/8/Rev.1). RC COP Acting President Khashashneh reminded delegates that parties agreed at COP8 that all requirements for listing carbosulfan in Annex III had been met, but parties had thus far been unable to reach an agreement to include the substance in Annex III.

Many countries supported listing.

INDIA, PARAGUAY, and GUATEMALA opposed, noting that carbosulfan is an important insecticide used in their countries and saying that listing would significantly impact their agricultural production. IRAN and INDONESIA suggested deferring further consideration of this substance.

BRAZIL noted that listing would lead some international certification agencies to ban carbosulfan and consequently create trade barriers for this important insecticide, which he said lacks substitutes.

CROPLIFE INTERNATIONAL said there is no direct causal relationship between the use of carbosulfan and the reported detriments to human health and the environment and called on parties to reject the CRC’s recommendation.

The issue was subsequently discussed in a Friends of the President’s group and later in a contact group on listing.

On Thursday, 16 June, RC COP Acting President Khashashneh reported that parties had been unable to come to consensus on listing carbosulfan, and the issue would thus be forwarded to COP11 for further consideration.

Paraquat dichloride formulation: On Tuesday, 14 June, the Secretariat introduced the documents on the herbicide paraquat (RC/COP.10/11, Add.1, INF/8/Rev.1), inviting parties to consider including in Annex III the liquid formulations containing paraquat dichloride at or above 276 g/L, corresponding to paraquat ion at or above 200 g/L. RC COP Acting President Khashashneh noted that at COP6, parties decided that all requirements for listing had been met but had subsequently been unable to reach consensus on this issue.

Many countries supported listing, noting that listing substances in Annex III does not constitute a ban.

IRAN said that he would be able to support listing in 2023, after his country bans the chemical. INDONESIA proposed to defer consideration of listing to a future meeting. INDIA, ARGENTINA, PARAGUAY, and GUATEMALA opposed, saying listing would affect food security. AGROCARE opposed any measures, including listing, which would affect production and food security when viable alternatives are not available.

WOMEN ENGAGE FOR A COMMON FUTURE supported listing, underscoring the severe risks that farmers in developing countries face when using severely hazardous pesticides like paraquat dichloride formulations.

On Thursday, 16 June, RC COP Vice-President Khashashneh reported that parties had been unable to reach consensus and the item would be considered at COP11. 

Fenthion ultra-low volume formulation: On Tuesday, 14 June, the Secretariat introduced the documents related to this substance, which is used to control insects, ticks and mites, and birds (RC/COP.10/10, 10/Add.1, INF/8/Rev.1). RC COP Acting President Khashashneh reminded delegates that COP8 agreed that all requirements for listing have been met.

Many countries supported the listing, stressing that listing would not constitute a ban or hinder trade.

KENYA, ETHIOPIA, and SUDAN opposed the listing, stressing the lack of alternatives and citing the importance of food security and their vulnerability to the crop damage caused by quelea quelea birds.

CHAD recalled that it had proposed the listing in 2012 due to cases of fenthion poisoning, commended the potential listing and, with NIGERIA, requested the Secretariat, FAO, and donors to provide technical and financial support to develop alternatives for use against quelea quelea birds to ensure food security.

On Thursday, 16 June, RC COP Acting President Khashashneh reported that parties had been unable to reach consensus to list fenthion and the item would be considered at COP11.

Chrysotile Asbestos: On Tuesday, 14 June, the Secretariat introduced the documents on this common form of asbestos (RC/COP.10/8, Add.1, INF/8/Rev.1), noting that COP3 decided that the criteria for listing have been met, but parties had been unable to reach consensus to include the substance in Annex III to the Convention.

ZIMBABWE, INDIA, and PAKISTAN opposed listing. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION and KAZAKHSTAN called for ending consideration of listing chrysotile asbestos. A couple of observers opposed listing, citing economic benefits.

The majority of countries supported listing. Several observers also supported listing to protect the health of workers and women, among others.

On Thursday, 16 June, KAZAKHSTAN, supported by SYRIA, the RUSSIAN FEDERATION, and ZIMBABWE introduced a draft decision (CRP.14) indicating that the COP has completed the procedure for reviewing the listing of chrysotile asbestos in Annex III and removing the chemical from the list of candidates for Annex III. Many countries opposed the proposal.

RC COP Acting President Khashashneh reported that parties had been unable to reach consensus on chrysotile asbestos and the item would be included on the COP11 agenda.

Decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE): On Monday, 13 June, the Secretariat introduced the documents (RC/COP.10/9, Add.1, INFs/10, 11, 8/Rev.1).

Many countries supported the listing. IRAN requested to defer the listing to the next COP due to his country’s use of this chemical.

The US supported listing but expressed concern that one of the supporting documents considered at CRC15 was not available in the CRC’s working language.

IPEN supported the listing, underscoring the presence of this toxic chemical in toys and breastmilk, and lamented the exemptions in the SC’s listing.

On Wednesday, 15 June, IRAN highlighted the constructive nature of discussions and stated that while it was difficult for them to agree with this decision, they were willing to be flexible, following requests from RC COP Acting President Khashashneh and other parties.

The RC COP adopted the decision to list decaBDE in Annex III of the Convention.

Final Decision: In the decision (RC/COP.10/9), the COP:

  • amends Annex III to the Rotterdam Convention to list decaBDE; and
  • approves the decision guidance document on decaBDE (RC/COP.10/9/Add.1).

PFOA, its salts, and related compounds: On Tuesday, 14 June, the Secretariat introduced the documents (RC/COP.10/12, 12/Add.1, INFs/12, 13 and 8/Rev.1).

Many parties and observers supported listing and noted that listing substances does not constitute a ban.

The EU, JAPAN, and CANADA supported requesting the Secretariat to prepare an indicative list of PFOA, its salts, and related compounds, which would be posted to the RC website and updated periodically to facilitate the implementation of the PIC procedure.

IRAN called for deferring the discussion of listing to the next COP.

Parties adopted the first part of the decision, which concludes that all requirements for listing have been met. RC COP Acting President Khashashneh invited parties to adopt the second part of the decision, to list the substances in Annex III to the RC. IRAN opposed. RC COP Acting President Khashashneh said the COP would return to this issue later in the meeting.

On Wednesday, 15 June, RC COP Acting President Khashashneh reported that consultations had been conducted with concerned parties and invited the RC COP to adopt the decision to list these substances in Annex III to the Convention.

The RC COP adopted the decision. 

Final Decision: In its final decision (RC/COP.10/12), the COP:

  • amends Annex III to the RC to list PFOA, its salts, and PFOA-related compounds; and
  • approves the decision guidance document on PFOA, its salts and PFOA-related compounds (RC/COP.10/12/Add.1).

Enhancing the effectiveness of the Convention: On Tuesday, 14 June, the Secretariat presented a proposed draft decision on the dissemination strategy for obtaining and using information in capacity-building and technical assistance activities (RC/COP.10/13) and the proposed amendment to Article 16 (technical assistance) (FAO/RC/COP.10/13/Add.1).

On Article 16, many developing countries supported the proposed amendment, which was submitted by 13 African countries and would, inter alia, require parties to provide technical and financial assistance to developing country parties through the GEF, to support informed decisions to list chemicals in Annex III.

INDIA and IRAN supported the amendment but called for removing a reference to a link between providing financial assistance and listing of chemicals.

South Africa, for the AFRICAN GROUP, asked for continued intersessional work on the proposal if the COP could not adopt it, with the aim to address it at the next meeting.

Reaffirming their commitment to provide financial assistance to developing country parties, the EU, NORWAY, JAPAN, and CANADA opposed the amendment. The EU noted that financial support for RC-related issues is covered under the GEF focal area of chemicals and waste, as well as the UNEP special programme on institutional strengthening for the chemicals cluster.

SAUDI ARABIA opposed the amendment, expressing reservations about expanding the scope of Article 16 and merging technical and financial assistance.

On Friday, 17 June, RC COP Acting President Khashashneh reported that his consultations with parties had not yielded consensus. Parties agreed to consider this issue again at COP11.

On the dissemination strategy, the EU, supported by CANADA, NORWAY, and JAPAN, introduced CRP.11, with proposed amendments to the draft decision on enhancing the effectiveness of the RC. She explained these amendments would request the Secretariat to, inter alia, strengthen the dissemination of information on chemicals recommended for listing but not yet listed, and report to COP11 on the activities undertaken and their evaluation.

BRAZIL proposed considering an electronic approach to the PIC procedure to enhance its effectiveness and, with the US, noted technical barriers to trade that arise when listing is used by international certification agencies to block exports of certain products and goods.

The RUSSIAN FEDERATION opposed including chemicals proposed for listing in the scope of the strategy. The EU agreed to remove the paragraph. The decision was adopted as amended.

Final Decision: In the decision (RC/COP.10/CRP.11), the COP:

  • welcomes the dissemination strategy for obtaining and using information and its use in capacity-building and technical assistance activities; and
  • requests the Secretariat, subject to the availability of resources, to: implement the activities proposed in the strategy, including a review and analysis of the impacts of new ways to disseminate information used for technical assistance; and to report on the activities undertaken, including on their evaluation, to COP11.

Compliance: On Monday, 13 June, the Secretariat introduced the documents (RC/COP.9/14/Rev.1 and INF/52), including a draft decision requesting the Compliance Committee to examine systemic issues of general compliance issues of interest to all parties.

South Africa, for the AFRICAN GROUP, and NEPAL emphasized the need for financial and technical assistance to facilitate compliance.

CANADA introduced a proposed programme of work for the RC Compliance Committee for the 2022-2023 biennium (CRP.10), noting it was co-sponsored by Burkina Faso, Chile, Mali, Senegal, Switzerland, and the UK. The proponents of the CRP highlighted that it would allow the Committee to begin its work immediately and support countries in implementing their commitments.

The COP adopted the decision.

Final Decision: In its final decision (FAO/RC/COP.10/CRP.10), the COP adopts the programme of work of the Compliance Committee for the biennium 2022-2023 as set out in the annex.

The COP requests the Compliance Committee to submit a report for consideration by COP11 reflecting:

  • the work it has undertaken in accordance with its 2022-2023 programme of work;
  • conclusions or recommendations regarding compliance issues the Compliance Committee has identified and considered;
  • its proposed 2024-2025 programme of work; and
  • the schedule of expected meetings it considers necessary for the implementation of its 2024-2025 programme of work.

The decision also contains an annex with the programme of work of the Compliance Committee for the biennium 2022-2023.

Adoption of the Report

On Friday, 17 June, the COP adopted the draft report (RC/COP.10/L.2/Add.1).

Stockholm Convention COP10

Rules of Procedure for the COP

The Secretariat introduced a note on the rules of procedure (POPS/COP.10/3), noting that paragraph 1 of Rule 45 on voting procedures remains in brackets. Delegates agreed to defer this issue to COP11.

Matters Related to the Implementation of the Convention

Measures to reduce or eliminate releases from intentional production and use: Exemptions: On Wednesday, 8 June, SC COP President Silvija Nora Kalnins invited delegates to adopt the decision (POPS/COP.10/4/Rev.1).

After additional time to consult, IRAN requested an exemption for decaBDE, PFOA, its salts and related compounds, and perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), its salts, and related compounds. The Secretariat responded that, according to the SC, IRAN can apply for exemptions of decaBDE and PFOA, its salts, and PFOA-related compounds, but the listing of PFHxS, its salts, and PFHxS-related compounds has not yet been considered for adoption. Parties adopted the decision.

Final Decision: In its decision (POPS/COP.10/4/Rev.1), the SC reminds parties may wish to register for specific exemptions or acceptable purposes that are currently available or provide notifications of chemicals occurring as constituents of articles or of the production and use of chemicals as closed-system site-limited intermediates to so notify the Secretariat using the relevant forms. It also requests the Secretariat to continue to maintain, update and make available the forms, registers, and related information, as appropriate.

On decaBDE and SCCPs, the COP:

  • notes that no parties have registered for the specific exemptions for production and use of SCCPs for any of the applications listed in Annex A, or for production and use of decaBDE for polyurethane foam for building insulation, which may indicate those exemptions might no longer be needed;
  • urges parties that have identified the need for continued production or use of SCCPs or decaBDE to register for specific exemptions, and to provide notifications of chemicals occurring as constituents;
  • invites parties and observers to provide to the Secretariat, by 31 August 2022, information on the composition of commercial chlorinated paraffins that include homologues with C10–C13 chain length;
  • invites parties listed in the register for specific exemptions for decaBDE to provide to the Secretariat, by 31 August 2022, additional information to justify the need for the registration of such exemptions, including on: production, uses, efficiency and efficacy of possible control measures, availability, suitability, and implementation of alternatives, control and monitoring capacity, and control actions taken; and
  • requests the POPRC to analyze additional information relating to decaBDE and SCCPs that may become available before POPRC18 and to update, as needed, the reports on the review of information related to specific exemptions for decaBDE and SCCPs.

DDT: On Tuesday, 7 June, the Secretariat introduced the documents related to the evaluation of the continued need for DDT for disease vector control and the promotion of alternatives (POPS/COP.10/5, INFs/9, 10), noting the draft decision invites the COP to, inter alia, take note of the recommendations of the DDT Expert Group. UNEP presented the road map for the development of DDT alternatives (POPS/COP.10/INF/11).

Highlighting recent changes in vector control options and availability of alternatives, the EU presented a proposal (CRP.7) to amend the draft decision that, inter alia: initiates a review of the continued need for DDT; requests parties on the DDT Register to review their current needs; and begins consultations on a phase-out plan. The EU withdrew part of the proposal that called for, at the next COP, ending the ability for new countries to join the DDT Register but maintained, supported by NORWAY, that the reporting cycle could be changed to two years.

Ghana, for the AFRICAN GROUP, stressed that DDT reporting schedules should take empirical data into consideration and informed the plenary about an ongoing African regional project on finding effective alternatives for all African countries on the DDT Register. SOUTH AFRICA, UGANDA, ZIMBABWE, and NAMIBIA noted that, while in some cases alternatives are being used, their effectiveness is inconsistent, and it is not possible to fully replace DDT. INDIA emphasized that DDT is still needed to save lives. PERU and MEXICO supported DDT phase-out but stressed the need for alternatives.

KENYA highlighted the existence of cheap, safe, and environmentally friendly alternatives to DDT, including nets and malaria vaccines. INDONESIA proposed that DDT should be fully eliminated in the health sector.

CANADA supported the recommendations of the DDT expert group and suggested adding text to the draft decision indicating that DDT phase-out plans are “subject to availability of resources.” IRAN noted that, in some instances, resources were not provided and suggested this be reflected in the decision.

NORWAY pointed out that DDT levels in the Arctic have declined since the substance was listed in the SC.

Noting the comments received and proposal for amendments submitted by the EU, SC COP President Kalnins asked the Secretariat to prepare a revised draft decision.

On Thursday, 9 June, SC COP President Kalnins invited parties to adopt the revised decision on DDT (CRP.16) without the square brackets around text inviting parties “in a position to do so” to provide technical and financial resources to support the implementation of activities set out in the road map.

IRAN asked if his country had proposed the square brackets. SC COP President Kalnins confirmed this and noted that the EU had preferred to retain “in a position to do so.” IRAN insisted on deleting the bracketed text. The EU said it could live with this amendment.

Parties adopted the decision as amended.

Final Decision: In its final decision (POPS/COP.10/CRP.16), the COP:

  • invites the 18 parties currently included in the register of acceptable purposes for DDT to review their needs regarding the use of DDT and to transmit a revised notification adjusted to the present needs or withdraw from the register by 31 December 2022;
  • decides to initiate, subject to the availability of resources, through the DDT expert group, an intersessional process of consultations with those parties that are on the DDT register as of 1 January 2023 on a possible phase-out plan, and requests the expert group to report to COP11 on the prospects of phasing out DDT for those parties;
  • notes the necessity of providing technical, financial and other assistance to developing country parties and parties with economies in transition;
  • encourages parties that use DDT to establish a system for monitoring exposure to DDT among spray workers and recipient households to verify whether proper implementation of protective measures limits such exposure;
  • decides to evaluate, at COP11, the continued need for DDT for disease vector control on the basis of available scientific, technical, environmental, and economic information, including that provided by the DDT expert group;
  • requests the Secretariat to continue to support the process set out in Annex I to decision SC-3/2 on DDT;
  • requests the Secretariat, subject to the availability of resources, to: assist parties reporting on DDT and promoting locally safe, effective, and affordable alternatives for a sustainable transition away from DDT; and to support the DDT expert group in undertaking the intersessional process of consultations with those parties that are on the DDT register on a possible phase-out plan; 
  • welcomes collaboration with the WHO in the process of reporting on and assessment and evaluation of the continued need for DDT and in promoting suitable alternatives to DDT;
  • requests the Secretariat, subject to the availability of resources, to continue to participate in the activities of the road map; and
  • invites parties and others to provide technical and financial resources to support the implementation of the activities set out in the road map.

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs): On Tuesday, 7 June, the Secretariat introduced the draft decision and documents (POPS/COP.10/6, INFs/12/Rev.1, 13/Rev.1, 14) on work toward eliminating the use of PCBs.

Stressing its commitment to support developing countries in meeting the 2025 and 2028 deadlines by providing knowledge and best practices, the EU presented a proposed draft decision (CRP.8) that would amend the draft decision presented by urging parties to “step up their efforts” by immediately implementing actions to eliminate the use of PCBs in equipment by 2025 and to achieve the environmentally sound management of waste liquids containing PCBs and equipment contaminated with PCBs by 2028. The EU’s proposed decision would also invite governments and others to assist parties by developing guidance and a roadmap for implementation and requests the Secretariat to develop templates and prepare an analysis of further actions that could guide the efforts of parties to meet the deadlines. The US suggested clarifying the responsible entity for developing the guidance and roadmap.

MALI, BENIN, BURKINA FASO, the GAMBIA, the DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO, CONGO, PAKISTAN, SIERRA LEONE, and KENYA reported that, despite their efforts to identify and dispose of PCB stockpiles, additional funding and technical support are required to meet the deadlines.

SERBIA supported all proposed actions on PCBs, including those suggested by the EU, and reported it had eliminated stockpiles with GEF assistance, using technology recommended under the guidelines.

CHINA reported significant progress in eliminating PCBs and taking offline all PCB-contaminated equipment, meeting the 2025 deadline ahead of schedule. INDONESIA and the MALDIVES reported on their ongoing work to meet the PCB elimination deadlines. MOROCCO noted it is considering disposal using cement factories and requested support from the regional centre.

IPEN lamented slow progress in disposing of PCB stockpiles and noted that incineration is a source of unintentional POPs releases. Underscoring the need to use non-combustion technologies, he urged the Secretariat and the GEF to consider deploying support for developing technologies for local treatment in developing countries.

SC COP President Kalnins requested the Secretariat to prepare a draft decision based on POPS/COP.10/6 and CRP.8, taking into consideration plenary comments.

On Thursday, 9 June, the COP adopted the revised draft decision.

Final Decision: In its decision (POPS/COP.10/CRP.15), the COP:

  • urges parties to step up their efforts by, among other things, immediately implementing actions to eliminate the use of PCBs in equipment by 2025 and to achieve the environmentally sound management as waste of liquids containing PCBs and equipment contaminated with PCBs having a content above 0.005% by 2028;
  • urges parties to provide information on progress in eliminating PCBs in their fifth national reports to be submitted, pursuant to Article 15 of the Convention, by 31 August 2022;
  • takes note of the report on the activities of the PCBs Elimination Network prepared by UNEP’s Chemicals and Health Branch, and invites it to provide information on the activities of the Network to COP11;
  • requests the Secretariat, subject to the availability of resources, to continue to participate in the activities of the PCBs Network and to assist parties in their efforts to implement the provisions of Part II of Annex A to the Convention;
  • invites countries, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, research institutions, industry bodies, and other stakeholders to provide technical and financial support for the work of the PCBs Elimination Network and to assist parties in their efforts to undertake actions;
  • requests the Secretariat, subject to the availability of resources, to include, in the context of the preparation of the draft strategy referred to in paragraph 6 (c) of decision SC-9/3: templates for a strategy and a road map that can be used by parties for their national actions; and an analysis of further actions that could be useful at the global level to guide parties’ efforts to meet the 2025 and 2028 goals of the Convention.

Brominated Diphenyl Ethers (BDEs): On Tuesday, 7 June, the Secretariat introduced the draft decision and related document (POPS/COP.10/7 and INF/15).

The EU, opposed by IRAN, proposed to strengthen the language by replacing “encourages” with “requests” or “urges” in an action to parties currently registered for specific exemptions for the use of BDEs to review their continued need for such registration and to make the resulting information available to the Secretariat. The US emphasized the continuing need for BDE exemptions.

After consultations, SC COP President Kalnins asked Iran if it could accept the EU’s proposal, and parties adopted the revised draft decision.

Final Decision: In its final decision (POPS/COP.10/7), the COP:

  • undertakes an evaluation of parties’ progress towards eliminating BDEs contained in articles and a review of the continued need for specific exemptions at COP12;
  • urges parties currently registered for specific exemptions for the use of BDEs to review their continued need for such registration and to make the resulting information available to the Secretariat; and
  • requests the Secretariat to undertake, subject to the availability of resources, activities to support parties in collecting the information required and in implementing measures to facilitate the elimination of BDEs contained in articles and to report to COP12 on the activities undertaken.

Measures to Reduce or Eliminate Releases from Unintentional Production: On Wednesday, 8 June, the Secretariat introduced the draft decision and relevant documents (POPS/COP.10/8; INFs/16-20, 66/Rev.1, 67).

Sierra Leone, for the AFRICAN GROUP, underscored the need for technical assistance and technology transfer to help countries manage unintentionally produced POPs. COLOMBIA underscored that managing PFOA and PFOS is a major challenge for developing countries.

IPEN called for reporting on POPs released into the water and through waste, in addition to atmospheric emissions.

The EU and BRAZIL expressed concern about requiring parties to develop full and complete release inventories and assessments.

CHINA proposed revising the text to replace the references to source inventories and release estimates with “to conduct a review every five years of those strategies and of their success in meeting the obligations of paragraph (a) in Article 5” (action plans). The EU expressed concern about deleting references to source inventories and release estimates. CHINA underscored that its proposed text is consistent with the wording of the Convention. NIGERIA asked whether the intention is to encourage parties to develop an inventory system or to conduct an inventory.

After consultations, BRAZIL indicated the original text in paragraph 10 that urges parties to develop full and complete source inventories and release estimates of dioxins and furans was not acceptable, and suggested replacing “urges” with “encourages.” The EU agreed.

SC COP President Kalnins requested the Secretariat, in consultation with China and the EU, to prepare a revised draft decision for consideration later in the meeting.

On 10 June, the COP adopted the revised draft decision.

Final Decision: In its decision (POPS/COP.10/CRP.18), the COP:

  • welcomes the guidances on best available techniques and best environmental practices (BAT/BEP) for use of hexabromocyclododocane and pentachlorophenol, listed with specific exemptions, and PFOA/PFOS and related compounds and pentaBDEs listed under the SC;
  • takes note of the draft guidance on the identification and management of POPs contaminated sites;
  • requests the experts on the Toolkit and on BAT/BEP to continue the work on the ongoing review and updating of the guidelines and guidance;
  • requests the Secretariat, subject to the availability of resources, to continue to support the experts and to continue to implement awareness-raising and technical assistance activities to promote the Toolkit and the guidelines and guidance on BAT/BEP;
  • requests the Secretariat to organize one meeting of the experts and, subject to the availability of resources, a second meeting; and
  • encourages parties to develop source inventories and release estimates of dioxins and furans and to conduct a review every five years of the strategies referred to in paragraph (a)(iii) of Article 5 and their success in meeting the obligations of paragraph (a) of Article 5 (action plans), in order to evaluate the efficacy of the measures taken towards the minimization and, where feasible, ultimate elimination of releases.

Measures to Reduce or Eliminate Releases from Wastes: On Monday, 6 June, the Secretariat introduced the document on measures to reduce or eliminate releases from wastes (POPS/COP.10/9). The EU supported the draft decision outlined in the document.

SIERRA LEONE, NIGERIA, BENIN, MALI, SUDAN, PAKISTAN, and IRAN stressed the need for capacity-building support to identify and dispose of POPs wastes. CAMEROON thanked the GEF, UNEP, and FAO for their technical assistance, and noting cost increases due to COVID-19, requested more assistance to meet the obligations.

IPEN welcomed the draft guidelines, noting it is the “first serious effort in 20 years” to provide guidance on contaminated sites, noting that guidelines cover many important issues, including the application of non-combustion techniques and treatment of POPs in soil and groundwater, and PFAS contamination. He urged parties to adopt the guidelines at the next COP in 2023.

After the BC technical matters contact group worked on the POPs waste technical guidelines, the COP adopted the decision on Thursday, 9 June.

Final Decision: In the decision (POPS/COP.10/9), the COP adopts:

  • general technical guidelines on the environmentally sound management of wastes consisting of, containing or contaminated with POPs;
  • technical guidelines on the environmentally sound management of wastes consisting of, containing or contaminated with PFOS, its salts and PFOSF and PFOA, its salts and PFOA-related compounds;
  • technical guidelines on the environmentally sound management of wastes consisting of, containing or contaminated with the pesticides aldrin, alpha hexachlorocyclohexane, beta hexachlorocyclohexane, chlordane, chlordecone, dicofol, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, hexachlorobenzene, hexachlorobutadiene, lindane, mirex, pentachlorobenzene, pentachlorophenol and its salts, PFOS, its salts and PFOSF, technical endosulfan and its related isomers or toxaphene or with hexachlorobenzene as an industrial chemical.

The COP extends the mandate of the small intersessional working group to monitor and assist in the review, updating and preparation, as appropriate, of technical guidelines regarding POPs, and working in particular by electronic means.

Implementation Plans: On Wednesday, 8 June, the Secretariat introduced the documents (POPS/COP.10/10, INFs/21-26, 55), noting fewer parties are transmitting updated national implementation plans (NIPs) as additional POPs are listed.

Several developing countries reported on their progress in updating their NIPs and cited numerous challenges, including a lack of technical and financial resources and analytical capacity. They welcomed the technical assistance provided and urged the need to enhance support and to reflect this need in the decision.

The EU called on parties to elaborate and update their plans and proposed changing the submission date from 31 August to 31 October. CANADA called for “urging” rather than “encouraging” parties to transmit their NIPs.

The US expressed concern over the significant resources put into updating the NIP guidelines, noting this only should be done upon request from parties.

IPEN urged parties to update their NIPs, noting that eight have not completed NIPs for the original POPs and only 26 NIPs are completed for POPs listed at COP8. He recommended the Secretariat investigate the obstacles countries face in developing and updating their NIPs and offer guidance to ensure inclusive processes to update NIPs.

Final Decision: In its decision (POPS/COP.10/10), the COP:

  • welcomes the implementation plans transmitted by parties and urges those parties that have not transmitted their implementation plans to transmit them as soon as possible;
  • invites parties and observers to provide comments to the Secretariat on the guidance by 31 October 2022;
  • invites the appropriate bodies of the BC to review waste-related aspects of the guidance and to provide comments to the Secretariat by 31 October 2022;
  • invites parties to submit to the Secretariat comments on the electronic templates, and request the Secretariat to compile those comments for consideration at COP11; and
  • requests the Secretariat, subject to the availability of resources, to continue to further revise the guidance, to identify any need for further guidance and tools to support parties in developing and updating their national implementation plans and to undertake capacity-building activities accordingly, to continue to support the improvement of the electronic templates for the reporting of quantitative and qualitative information contained in national implementation plans, and to develop a global approach to the review and updating of national implementation plans that addresses the barriers identified by parties.

Listing of Chemicals in Annex A, B or C to the Convention: POPRC: Development of actions for the COP: On Monday, 6 June, the Secretariat introduced the relevant documents (POPS/COP.10/11, INF/4/Rev.2). POPRC interim Chair Peter Dawson (New Zealand) reported on the technical work of the Committee, including on chemicals currently under review (Dechlorane Plus, methoxychlor, and UV-328) and on the indicative list of substances covered by the listing of PFOA, its salts and PFOA-related compounds.

On Tuesday, 7 June, the COP adopted the decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (POPS/COP.10/11), the COP:

  • welcomes the reports of the POPRC on the work at its 15th and 16th meetings;
  • appoints the 17 designated experts listed in the annex to the decision to serve as members of the Committee with terms of office from the closure of COP10 to 4 May 2026;
  • requests the Committee to identify by 15 July 2022, by electronic means, an interim Chair to preside over the Committee’s eighteenth meeting, and decides to consider the election of the Chair of the Committee at COP11;
  • invites parties and observers to submit to the Secretariat any further information regarding identification of substances covered by the listing of PFOA, its salts, and PFOA-related compounds so that the information can be considered when the indicative list of PFOA, its salts, and PFOA-related compounds is updated;
  • requests the Secretariat to continue, subject to the availability of resources, to undertake activities to support parties, incoming members and newly appointed experts in participating effectively in the process for reviewing and listing new chemicals under the SC and the work of the Committee and to report on the results of those activities to COP11;
  • adopts the amended distribution of countries for regional groups for the purpose of membership in the Committee;
  • requests the Secretariat to prepare and maintain a revised distribution of countries for regional groups for the purpose of membership in the Committee, reflecting, as they occur, any changes in the names of parties, and to make it available on the website of the Convention; and
  • also requests the Secretariat to continue to monitor and report to the COP on the need to change the distribution of countries for regional groups for purposes of membership in the Committee.

PFHxS, its salts, and related compounds: On Monday, 6 June, the Secretariat introduced the relevant documents (POPS/COP.10/11, INFs/4/Rev.2, 12, 27).

Many countries and observers supported the recommendations by the POPRC to list PFHxS, its salts and PFHxS-related compounds in Annex A to the Convention without exemptions. Several developing countries noted the need for support for inventories, disposal, and updating national implementation plans.

THAILAND supported the listing but called for a specific exemption for firefighting foams, while the RUSSIAN FEDERATION cautioned that scientific information was lacking and encouraged further discussion within a contact group. The US suggested adding a definition to the decision.

In the listing contact group, co-chaired by Maria Devlin (Sweden) and Linroy Christian (Antigua and Barbuda), delegates discussed the chemical definition to better align with COP9 decision on PFOA. They also developed further actions to be taken related to the listing (CRP.11), including specifying that that an indicative list of chemicals will be developed, and to urge countries to consider the health and environmental effects of fluorine-based firefighting foams when replacing PFHxS-related foams.

In plenary, IRAN said it could not accept the listing, given the use of PFHxS in textiles and carpets in his country. The Secretariat recalled that countries could opt-out of new listings within one year of the communication by the depository, and for those countries, the amendment would not enter into force.

After consultations, the COP adopted the decisions.

Final Decisions: In its decision on the listing of PFHxS, its salts, and related compounds (POPS/COP.10/CRP.10), the COP decides to amend part I of Annex A to the SC to list PFHxS, its salts and PFHxS-related compounds without specific exemptions.

In its decision on actions related to PFHxS, its salts, and related compounds (POPS/COP.10/CRP.11), the COP:

  • invites parties and others to take into account the information available in the initial indicative list of substances and to provide further information regarding the identification of substances covered by the listing of PFHxS, its salts and PFHxS related compounds;
  • requests the Secretariat to compile, in consultation with the POPRC, the submitted information, and to establish an indicative list of PFHxS, its salts, and related compounds, make it available on the Convention website, and update it periodically; and
  • urges parties that, when replacing firefighting foams containing PFHxS, its salts and PFHxS-related compounds, they consider that fluorine-based firefighting foams could have negative environmental, human health and socio-economic impacts owing to their persistency and mobility.

Financial Resources and Mechanisms: On Tuesday, June 7, the Secretariat presented relevant documents (POPS/COP.10/15/Rev.1, INFs/32-36, 36/Add.1, 56, 56/Add.1, 63, 64). UNEP presented the special programme (CHW.15/INF/38; RC/COP.19/INF/21; POPS/COP.10/INF/38), which the three COPs noted in a joint session. The GEF presented its report (POPs/COP.10/INF/36 and 36/ Add.1), noting that out of USD 800 million allocated for the chemicals and waste focal area in GEF-8, over USD 400 million will be dedicated to SC implementation.

Many countries welcomed the GEF-8 replenishment. BRAZIL called for further simplifying the GEF approval process. Many developing countries stressed that new listings increase financial needs, with countries highlighting support needs for updating national implementation plans, meeting PCB deadlines, dealing with DDT and other pesticides, and supporting national reporting and laboratories.

CANADA and the US urged countries to stress their financial needs on chemicals at the GEF.

IRAN expressed concerns regarding GEF not serving all parties equally and, with VENEZUELA, requested the COPs to urge the GEF to stop politicizing funding decisions.

CHINA requested the GEF to implement parties’ guidance, including on priority funding areas. He also noted the funding gap remains and called on developed countries to increase financial assistance.

IPEN called insufficient funding the main challenge of SC implementation, pointing out that USD 400 million dedicated to the SC constitutes less than 10% of parties’ needs.

In the contact group, co-chaired by David Kapindula (Zambia) and Premysl Stepanek (Czech Republic), discussions revolved around five issues: reacting to GEF-8 replenishment; preparing a report on accessibility and availability of GEF funding for certain parties; addressing the lack of responses to the needs assessment questionnaire; providing financial support for the elimination of PCBs and meeting the SC deadlines; as well as an understanding of the lack of funding as a “financial need” or “financial gap.”

On reacting to GEF replenishment, some parties were not eager to “welcome” or even “take note” of it given lack of accessibility of GEF funds, while others wanted to reflect increased allocation to chemicals and waste in the decision. Since parties could not agree, the paragraph was removed from the final draft.

On preparing a report on accessibility and availability of GEF funding for certain parties, parties could not agree whether a survey or a compilation of views would be a better form of the document that a report, as well as whether it is reasonable to assess “availability,” as well as doing it for “certain” parties. Since parties could not agree, the provision was removed from the final draft.

On addressing the lack of responses to the needs assessment questionnaire, parties could not agree whether the low rate of responses should be mentioned in conjunction with further provision of assistance to parties aiming at addressing this issue, who should provide such assistance, and in which form. In the final version of the paragraph, the COP requests the Secretariat to assist parties in evaluating their needs, including to improve the low rate of responses. 

On providing financial support for the elimination of PCBs and meeting the SC deadlines, parties debated whether to “urge” or “encourage” countries and others that are in a position to do so, as well as a range of public and private sources, to provide additional support. Some insisted on “encourage,” underscoring the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, others preferred “urge” given lack of funding and quickly approaching deadline. Parties agreed to “strongly encourage.”

On understanding of the lack of funding for POPs elimination as a “financial need” or “financial gap,” some parties stressed that given the data gaps, as identified in the needs assessment report, it is not accurate to talk about financial gap, and financial needs would be a better option. Others noted that while the report did mention lack of data used to generate a scenario and identify a financial gap, it also stated that the data on PCBs is underestimated, hence having the full dataset will lead to identifying a bigger financial gap. Parties eventually agreed to use “projected gap” for PCBs, and “funding needs” in relation to other POPs.

On Friday, June 17, COP adopted the final decision.

Final Decision: In its final decision (POPS/COP.10/CRP.21), the COP requests the GEF, taking into account the specific deadlines set forth by the SC and the information contained in the GEF and funding needs assessment reports, to consider, in its programming of areas of work for the period 2022-2026, the following priority areas:

  • elimination of the use of PCBs in equipment by 2025;
  • environmentally sound waste management of liquids containing PCBs and equipment contaminated with PCBs (content above 0.005%) as soon as possible and no later than 2028;
  • environmentally sound management and disposal of newly listed POPs, with a focus on brominated flame retardants, fluorinated persistent organic pollutants and chlorinated paraffins;
  • environmentally sound management and disposal of pesticides containing or consisting of POPs pollutants, including obsolete stockpiles;
  • restriction of DDT production and use to disease vector control in accordance with WHO recommendations and guidelines on the use of DDT in cases where locally safe, effective and affordable alternatives are not available to a party to the SC; and
  • introduction and use of BAT/BEP to minimize and ultimately eliminate releases of unintentionally produced POPs.

The COP requests the GEF to consider in its programming of areas of work for the period 2022-2026:

  • the review and updating of NIPs, including, as appropriate, their initial development;
  • the development and strengthening of national legislation and regulations for meeting obligations with regard to POPs listed in the annexes to the Convention; and
  • the implementation of the activities related to the global monitoring plan and capacity building to sustain the new monitoring initiatives that provide data and information for the global monitoring report prepared in connection with the continued evaluation of the effectiveness of the Convention.

The COP further requests the GEF to:

  • consider in the implementation of the GEF-8 replenishment the information contained in the needs assessment report and any other information on matters related to the financial mechanism submitted to the Facility by the Secretariat; and
  • indicate, in its report to COP11, how the needs assessment report has been reflected in the outcomes of the negotiations on and implementation of the GEF-8 replenishment.

The COP also:

  • takes note of the report on the assessment of the funding needed by developing country parties and parties with economies in transition for the implementation of the Convention over the period 2022-2026 and requests the Secretariat, subject to the availability of resources, to provide assistance to parties to facilitate their assessment of the funding they need, including to address the low rate of response that affects the quality of the scenario presented;
  • requests the Secretariat to prepare draft terms of reference for the assessment of funding needs to implement the SC over the period 2026-2030, on the basis of the terms of reference for the previous assessment and taking into consideration the observations and recommendations contained in the needs assessment report for consideration and possible adoption at COP11;
  • takes note of the projected funding gap, with regard to achieving the elimination of the use of PCBs in equipment by 2025 and the environmentally sound waste management of liquids containing PCBs and equipment contaminated with PCBs having a content above 0.005% as soon as possible and no later than 2028;
  • urges and requests the GEF to explore all feasible options available to provide enhanced support to achieve the elimination of the use of PCBs in equipment by 2025 and the environmentally sound waste management of liquids containing PCBs and equipment contaminated with PCBs having a content above 0.005% as soon as possible and no later than 2028, recognizing the importance and urgency of these actions within the period of the eighth and ninth GEF replenishment cycles;
  • decides to assess the projected funding needs to support achieving the elimination of the use of PCBs in equipment by 2025 and the environmentally sound waste management of liquids containing PCBs and equipment contaminated with PCBs having a content above 0.005% as soon as possible and no later than 2028, in the context of the sixth review of the financial mechanism;
  • requests the Secretariat, subject to the availability of resources, to prepare a report on further options for addressing the needs, including funding needs, and challenges met to reach the targets related to the elimination of PCBs, for consideration by COP11; and
  • requests the Secretariat, in consultation with the GEF Secretariat, to prepare a report on the implementation of the memorandum of understanding between the COP and GEF Council with regard to cooperation between the secretariats and reciprocal representation, including follow-up actions, for consideration by COP11.

Reporting pursuant to Article 15: On Wednesday, 8 June, the Secretariat introduced the update on reporting (POPS/COP.10/16).

The EU, supported by BRAZIL, underscoring the importance of reported data, particularly for needs assessment, proposed to add that national reports should be submitted “on time” as well as “complete.”

SERBIA pointed out the low level and quality of submissions, thanked the Secretariat for webinars on reporting, and underscored the importance of reporting, especially considering their role in the effectiveness evaluation.

The SC COP adopted the decision with the EU’s edit.

Final Decision: In the decision (POPS/COP.10/16), the COP:

  • urges parties to submit their fifth report by 31 August 2022, complete and on time, to facilitate subsequent evaluations of the effectiveness of the Convention and other processes that rely on national reporting data;
  • requests the Secretariat to further improve the electronic reporting system, taking into account the proposed revision to the format for PCB information; update the electronic reporting system to include PFHxS, its salts, and related compounds; and further improve the electronic reporting system to allow for online visualization of information in the periodic reports based on national reports; and
  • requests the Secretariat, subject to the availability of resources, to provide feedback to parties regarding the submission of their national reports, with a view to improving the quality and completeness of the reported data and information; and continue capacity-building and training activities to support parties, in cooperation with the SC regional centres and other partners.

Effectiveness Evaluation: On Tuesday, 7 June, the Secretariat introduced the draft decision (POPS/COP.10/17) and the global monitoring plan for effectiveness evaluation (POPS/COP.10/18; INF/41, 42). UNEP discussed the reports of the meetings of the global coordination group to the global monitoring plan (INF/40/Rev.1), noting the data generated.

The EU supported the proposed decisions. PAKISTAN and GHANA highlighted data gaps in their regions while THAILAND and KENYA discussed national initiatives.

Ecuador, for GRULAC, called for science and policy linkages; VENEZUELA for heightened analytical capacity; and URUGUAY for linkages between environmental and human health. ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA stressed the central role of data, while TUNISIA said the evaluation could enable gaps to be filled and challenges met.

IPEN drew attention to the burden carried by Indigenous Peoples and other vulnerable communities. IRAN reflected that parties might suffer delays while attempting to intensify their efforts.

Final Decisions: In the decision on the effectiveness evaluation (POPS/COP.10/17), the COP:

  • requests the effectiveness evaluation committee to perform its tasks according to the framework for effectiveness evaluation, and to report to COP11;
  • requests the DDT expert group, the experts on the Toolkit for Identification and Quantification of Releases of Dioxins, Furans and Other Unintentional POPs and on BAT/BEP, and the small intersessional working group on PCBs, subject to the availability of resources, to finalize the structured reports within their areas of expertise for consideration by the committee, as specified in the effectiveness evaluation framework; and
  • requests the Secretariat to support the work of the effectiveness evaluation committee, including in the development of the effectiveness evaluation report.

In its decision on the global monitoring programme (POPS/COP.10/18), the COP:

  • requests the global coordination group to finalize the global monitoring report, including an evaluation and assessment of changes in POPs concentrations over time, for consideration by COP11;
  • requests the Secretariat to support the global coordination group and regional organization groups in the implementation of the global monitoring plan, and to continue training and capacity-building activities to assist countries in implementing the global monitoring plan; and
  • requests the Secretariat to organize one meeting of the global coordination group.

Compliance: On Tuesday, 7 June, the Secretariat introduced procedures and mechanisms (POPS/COP.10/19). SC COP President Kalnins reminded parties of the existence of two versions of the draft text on compliance mechanisms from COP6 and COP7.

The AFRICAN GROUP, SERBIA, the DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, SAUDI ARABIA, KAZAKHSTAN, VENEZUELA, PALESTINE, and IRAN stressed that financial resources, technical assistance, and technology transfer are prerequisites for compliance. CHINA called for a fair and effective compliance mechanism, while INDIA and COLOMBIA noted it should not be punitive and include supportive measures. THAILAND said the decision should be adopted by consensus.

SWITZERLAND, the EU, and the US indicated their preference for the COP6 text.

IPEN said this COP is an opportunity to identify areas of difficulties in the implementation of the SC and encouraged parties to adopt an effective compliance mechanism.

On Friday, 10 June, SC COP President Kalnins proposed establishing a contact group on compliance with a mandate to discuss the role of a compliance committee in providing technical assistance, financial resources and technology transfer, and supporting parties facing implementation challenges due to lack of technical assistance, financial resources, and technology transfer, co-chaired by Glenn Wigley (New Zealand) and Trecia David (Guyana). The Co-Chairs would then prepare a summary of the group’s discussions and report back to the plenary.

Many countries supported establishment of the contact group. INDIA, noting its many objections to previous drafts on compliance, opposed a contact group and called for intersessional work. IRAN noted it could go along with the establishment of the group, called for a “softer discussion.” SC COP President Kalnins said that a decision would not be adopted at this meeting and the summary would help inform discussions at COP11.

The contact group discussed two general aspects of a potential compliance committee: its role regarding parties’ obligations to provide technical assistance and financial resources, and its role in supporting parties who face implementation challenges. Various views were expressed, with discussion mostly revolving around the latter aspect. Delegates shared positive experience with the BC ICC, stressed importance of a non-punitive and facilitative approach, and highlighted the link between compliance and effectiveness assessment. Some delegates expressed views that an SC compliance committee should be established with only one possible trigger, by the party itself, to initiate the process of assistance, while others countered that a minimum of three, as outlined in the BC compliance mechanism, should be considered.

On Monday, 13 June, parties agreed that the contact group should further discuss: triggers; measures, or what could be the outcome of the facilitation procedure undertaken; and what further action the committee could recommend to parties.

On Thursday, 16 June, SC COP President Kalnins reported that consensus could not be reached on this item and it would be taken up at the next COP.

Adoption of the Report

On Friday, 10 June, the COP adopted the report (POPS/COP.10 L.2/Add.1), as presented by Rapporteur Seyed Mahdi Parsaei (Iran).

Closure of the Meeting

During the closing plenary on Friday, 17 June, Ghana, for the AFRICAN GROUP, thanked all delegates for their cooperative and collaborative sprit to make progress on many issues, but highlighted the need to strengthen the region’s capacity for the effective implementation of the BRS Conventions through provision of new technologies and enhanced access to adequate and sufficient funding. He called on parties to follow the producer responsibility principle in ensuring sound management of lithium-ion batteries, stopping exports of waste batteries to Africa, and acting on the Ban Amendment and the Bamako Convention.

The EU lauded the agreement to include all e-wastes in the BC, indicating that the amendment shows the BRS Conventions can grow to address new challenges. Noting the listing of only two new chemicals in the RC’s Annex III, she was deeply concerned that a few parties continued to block listing of five chemicals although the COP has agreed that all criteria for listing have been met. She regretted that the COP cannot welcome the GEF’s eighth replenishment, which constitutes the largest GEF’s funding increase in history and looked forward to progress on the SC’s compliance mechanism and improving the RC’s effectiveness.

Poland, on behalf of CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE, highlighted the e-waste amendments in the BC as an “incredible achievement” and celebrated the adoption of several technical guidelines. She appreciated the decision to hold OEWG13 before COP16 and welcomed the decision on technical assistance and financial mechanism. Noting her concern over the lack of consensus on listing of some chemicals in the RC and the SC’s compliance mechanism, she looked forward to fruitful engagement in intersessional work and future meetings.

Iran, for ASIA-PACIFIC, noted well-informed decisions, citing the technical guidelines, review of the annexes, strategic framework, and listings. He appreciated consensus-based decision-making, noting it should be preserved as the heart of the BRS Conventions. He noted that finalizing pending listings under SC and RC, as well as compliance under the SC, needs special attention to address concerns of developing parties by providing support to developing parties through technical assistance, transfer of technology, capacity building, and financial assistance.

Ecuador, for GRULAC, stressed the need to increase the amount of accessible, sustainable, and predictable financial resources for his region as well as the regional centres. He noted several decisions, including those on the work of the OEWG, plastics, regional centres, strategic framework, and PIC. He noted engagement in the work on amending RC Annex III, which did not lead to the listing, and stressed it should be clear that listing does not imply prohibition of trade.

CHINA thanked the Secretariat for providing his delegation the opportunity to participate online and expressed hope that it would be possible to meet in person very soon.

BRAZIL stressed importance of electronic PIC procedure under the RC and BC to make it more efficient and modern and less bureaucratic and time consuming. He also reiterated concern at private entities diverting the RC from its purpose.

IPEN appreciated hard work and noted listing decisions: of the PFHxS without exemptions under the SC and of the decaBDE and PFOA under the RC. She urged for a wider scope of future nominations under the SC, and for parties to end the stalemate in listing of several chemicals under the RC. She welcomed the BC e-waste amendment, but called for addressing the loophole of movement for repair and repurposing, especially considering the increased production of lithium batteries.

Emphasizing that “if we lose the planet, we all lose,” BRS Executive Secretary Rolph Payet expressed deep thanks to delegates for their hard work and achievements during the meeting, noted there is “a lot more work to be done,” and looked forward to seeing delegates in the Bahamas in 11 months.

In his closing remarks, RC COP10 Acting President Khashashneh lamented that the COP was able to list only two of the seven chemical substances under consideration, despite consensus that requirements for listing were met. He gaveled RC COP10 to a close at 5:12 pm.

SC COP10 President Kalnins celebrated the COP’s decision to list PFHxS, lauded the open and transparent exchange of views on a compliance mechanism, and expressed confidence that the SC will be able to adopt a mechanism soon and continue to list chemicals in its annexes. She gaveled SC COP10 to a close at 5:19 pm.

BC COP15 President Álvarez-Pérez thanked all delegates and offered special appreciation for the work of SC COP10 President Kalnins, who was concluding her work with the BRS Conventions. He gaveled BC COP15 to a close at 5:24 pm.

A Brief Analysis of the Meetings

Where once the “TripleCOPs” forged the synergies among the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions, the 2022 meetings brought into sharp relief that the three Conventions are on very different paths. Each Convention is a “living treaty,” able to amend its annexes to add new chemicals and wastes, and respond to new challenges. For each treaty, it is a powerful mechanism, if parties can agree to use it. The Basel Convention flexed this institutional muscle, while the Rotterdam Convention managed to add just two of the seven chemicals proposed to its prior informed consent (PIC) procedure. The Stockholm Convention has a long history of listing new chemicals, and continued that trend at this meeting. But it now faces the downstream consequences of that success: new chemicals bring added implementation challenges.

This brief analysis considers the successes of each Convention, as well as the challenges that lie ahead.

Leaps and Bounds under the Basel Convention

As the world continues on a path of overconsumption and extraction, the growth of waste seems limitless. In the past, the Basel Convention has been reactive rather than proactive, responding to e-waste belatedly and listing plastics only in 2019—although it was the first body to take multilateral action on this complex issue. At this meeting, the Conference of the Parties (COP) took two huge strides forward by including the full scope of e-waste in its controls and starting work on lithium-ion and other batteries. The latter waste stream is set to swell as the world attempts to mitigate climate change by transitioning to electric vehicles and renewable energy.

Reaching consensus on the e-waste amendments was a significant achievement. E-waste is the fastest-growing waste stream in the world, with only 17% recycled or recovered in 2019. Shipments of e-waste are often mixed, with many different types of equipment, each with a combination of various materials. A circuit board, for example, contains plastic, metals, and potentially hazardous chemicals. For developing countries, e-waste represents a serious health and environmental threat. Now, all countries will have information about what’s in each shipment, and they can refuse it.

This meeting was the first time that parties could fully address the proposal from Switzerland and Ghana. The proposal is fairly new, and the Open-ended Working Group meeting in 2022 did not have a mandate to discuss changes to Annex II, which lists wastes of special concern. This is an integral part of the proposal. All non-hazardous e-wastes are included in this Annex and are therefore subject to the PIC procedure. The combination of the Annex II listing with the revised Annex VIII (hazardous wastes) listing means the entire waste stream, which has largely been unregulated, is now completely covered by the Convention.

However, it took the full two weeks to determine how to use the Convention’s existing architecture to make this idea a reality. The Convention was written with simpler waste streams in mind; streams that are often less mixed, contain fewer components, and are less pervasive. Parties faced two challenges. First, they had to delineate the hazardous wastes from the non-hazardous wastes so it would be clear which wastes require environmentally-sound management and which only require the PIC procedure. Second, they had to make sure no e-wastes were inadvertently omitted.

Some delegates described the result as inelegant but hopefully effective. Some parties, especially those with large markets for used equipment, worried that the Annex II listing was not clear enough to manage the many pieces of equipment that could contain as little as a display device. One party wanted to specify precisely how much of an item has to be electronic to be categorized as e-waste—an issue that was uncannily similar to the long-running discussion years ago on ship dismantling. The proposal now, as then, proved unworkable. Any waste with an e-waste component is included in the listings. More work will be required to fully distinguish “waste” from “non-waste,” but parties celebrated their work as a significant step forward.

Recalling the 2019 decision to subject many types of plastic wastes to the PIC procedure, several delegates said the COP seems “reinvigorated” and more comfortable amending the annexes than in years past. Instead of focusing almost exclusively on technical work, parties are using the Convention’s legal mechanisms to respond to waste concerns. The Basel Convention’s plastics amendments make it a central body in the newly-launched negotiations of an agreement on plastics pollution, and one observer hoped its work could raise the profile of the BRS Conventions as a whole.

Searching for an Open Path under the Rotterdam Convention

The Rotterdam Convention is designed to facilitate information exchange, ensuring that countries importing chemicals of concern understand the potential impacts of these substances. Listing chemicals in Annex III does not constitute a ban on production, use or international trade. However, many parties and observers consistently oppose the listing of economically valuable substances, citing concerns that listing will reduce the availability of these chemicals. This concern is particularly evident in discussions of agricultural chemicals that some countries rely on to protect their crops from birds, insects, and weeds.

The opposition to listing valuable substances in the Rotterdam Convention has been persistent—in the case of chrysotile asbestos, it dates back to 2003. At COP10, parties were only able to agree to list two substances—decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Since both of these industrial chemicals are slated for elimination under the Stockholm Convention, there was limited incentive for parties to try to protect these substances from perceived negative impacts on trade.

Five other chemicals have been on the Convention’s agenda for many years, despite the fact that the COP has agreed that the criteria for listing them are met. These “zombie chemicals” include the agricultural chemicals acetochlor, carbosulfan, paraquat, and fenthion. The fifth zombie chemical is chrysotile asbestos, which accounts for 99% of global asbestos production. This substance causes several types of cancer, and while it has been banned in some regions, it is still used in many countries in construction (e.g., in roof tiles and water pipes) because it is considered to be durable and affordable. While the evidence of dangers posed by chrysotile asbestos is incontrovertible, at COP10 several parties and observers called for further scientific review of the substance or for ending its consideration altogether.

One seasoned delegate recalled that, when the Convention was adopted “a gentleman’s agreement” (perhaps when the gender balance was far short of today’s standards) was struck to list the chemicals recommended by the Chemicals Review Committee. But several developments have since undermined that agreement. Fears that a PIC listing will suppress the availability of chemicals have been exacerbated by the economic disruption caused by major world events, including the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine. These events have disrupted supply chains and heightened the risks of severe food insecurity in many parts of the world, reinforcing the opposition of many parties to any actions that could require use of more costly alternatives.

Relatedly, some parties cited the impact of listing on private standards and other international codes, such as the Better Cotton Initiative, that use Annex III to develop lists of banned substances. While voluntary, these standards are widely used by buyers in developed countries as sourcing requirements. As a result, these parties argue, listing substances triggers a de facto ban in global markets, again significantly limiting market access. One developing country said these private actors “deviate the Convention from its noble purpose.” Progress on listing the five zombie chemicals, as well as future recommendations, may require the Rotterdam Convention to consider its influence on and relationship with increasingly powerful private governance schemes.

During COP10, parties spent many hours trying to forge paths to consensus on long-standing issues. When these efforts failed, some delegates hinted that changing the decision-making rules to allow voting might be the only way to ensure multilateral cooperation and protect the objective of the Convention. Resistance to such a move would almost certainly be enormous, but fears about the future of the Convention might motivate parties to take bold steps to break the pattern of deadlock.

Fueling Ambition with Resources under the Stockholm Convention

Unlike the Rotterdam Convention, the Stockholm Convention is making significant progress in listing new substances. At COP10, parties agreed to ban perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), an industrial chemical used in products such as firefighting foams, stain-resistant fabrics, and grease-resistant food packaging. PFHxS is one of many thousands of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), highly persistent substances commonly known as “forever chemicals.” These highly toxic chemicals are linked to cancer, thyroid problems, and infertility. PFHxS is considered by some to be a “regrettable substitution” for closely-related chemicals already listed in the Stockholm Convention, including perfluoroctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluooroctanoic acid (PFOA). As individual PFAS are phased out by the parties to the Stockholm Convention, many delegates are warning that the “tidal wave” of widely-used and easily substituted PFAS will require a different approach to regulation, perhaps one that regulates these substances as a category.

Another key challenge for the Stockholm Convention is providing enough financial and technical support to help parties implement their commitments. As in past years, many developing countries reiterated the importance of financial resources, technical assistance, technology transfer, and capacity building. Many expressed appreciation for the work of the Secretariat in providing training, workshops, and other mechanisms for capacity building, but said more is needed to enable them to tackle existing POPs and new listings.

A key concern was the looming deadline for elimination of one of the first 12 chemicals to be listed under the Convention: PCBs. Parties are required to end use of PCBs in equipment by 2025, and ensure environmentally sound waste management of liquids containing PCBs and equipment contaminated with PCBs by 2028. As calculated by the assessment of funding needs, elimination of PCBs will require almost USD 2.4 billion. For many delegates, this daunting figure dampened their enthusiasm for the 8th replenishment of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). While the GEF increased funding for chemicals, its increase to USD 800 million (of which USD 400 million was allocated to the Stockholm Convention) falls far short of the funding needed just for PCB elimination.

Several developing country parties emphasized that funding for implementation is key to any future agreements to establish a compliance mechanism. While delegates in the technical assistance and financial mechanism contact group debated strengthening language on commitments to provide support, delegates in the contact group on compliance were expressing doubts about the logic of establishing a potentially punitive mechanism in the absence of sufficient means to support non-compliant countries. The importance of resolving these interconnected issues will only grow as the Stockholm Convention adds new POPs to its annexes.

Looking Ahead

Public awareness of chemical pollution is on the rise, due in part to the visibility of plastic pollution, as well as media attention in many countries to the “forever chemicals” contaminating soil and water. In the coming months, the global community will negotiate two significant new instruments: an international legally-binding instrument on plastic pollution, and a new science-policy panel that is expected to take a broad approach to the sound management of chemicals and waste. Negotiations on the follow up of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) are still underway, with delegates hoping for a successful resolution, soon.

These new and ongoing negotiations add to the already heavy load for the relatively small community of delegates and observers dedicated to chemicals and wastes. Before the next TripleCOP, just 11 months away, each subsidiary body will meet, and drafters will rush to prepare key guidelines and proposals. These delegates are experienced in building synergies. This rather unique expertise will be put to the test in the coming year. Ensuring a close relationship between the new and existing instruments in this space will be essential to effective action to address the critical threats to human health and the environment posed by hazardous chemicals and waste.

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