Contributed by Melanie Bateman
Three international conventions address issues related to chemicals and hazardous waste at the global level: the Stockholm Convention seeks to protect human health and the environment from persistent organic pollutants; the Rotterdam Convention supports information exchange on hazardous chemicals and ensures that trade in certain hazardous chemicals only occurs with countries’ prior informed consent; and the Basel Convention controls the international movement and disposal of hazardous wastes. To build synergies between these conventions, the meetings of the governing bodies of each will be held back-to-back in Geneva from 4 to 15 May, 2015. The “triple COPs” (Conference of Parties) will be kicked off by a joint session of the governing bodies of all three conventions. This joint session will address areas of common interest such as technical assistance, international cooperation and non-compliance.
The joint session will be followed by individual meetings of each of the three COPs to address issues that are specific to each convention. Pesticides which are potentially harmful to human health and the environment are on the agendas of the COPs of both the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions. For example, the Rotterdam COP will consider the possible addition of the pesticides methamidophos and trichlorfon as well as highly hazardous formulations of fenthion and paraquat dichloride to the list of chemicals requiring “prior informed consent”. The Stockholm Convention COP will assess whether to include chemicals such as the pesticide pentachlorophenol in the list of persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
In case you have burning questions about these or other multilateral environmental agreements, UNEP has an online tool that you can use to put your questions directly to the experts. Each day a different expert is available to answer questions.
In its “countdown to the triple COPs”, a range of experts in the line-up are there to answer questions specifically related to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions. For example, today, 16 April, Kei Ohno will be answering questions about the listing of additional POPs under the Stockholm Convention.