The simultaneous extraordinary meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions was held in Bali, Indonesia, at the Bali International Convention Centre in, Nusa Dua, from 22 to 24 February 2010.

The convening of three independent treaty conferences simultaneously marked a historic departure for international environmental governance.

The Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in consultation with the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), took the unprecedented step of convening the three extraordinary meetings, at the request of the ordinary Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions.

UNEP serves as the secretariat to the Basel and Stockholm conventions; and FAO and UNEP jointly serve as secretariats to the Rotterdam Convention.

The three extraordinary meetings of the planet’s leading global chemicals and wastes treaties were organized in coordination with the eleventh special session of the UNEP Governing Council / Global Ministerial Environment Forum (Council/Forum). This special session of the CG/GMEF was held at the same venue from 24 to 26 February 2010.

Mandate to promote synergies between the conventions

Decision IX/10 of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, decision RC-4/11 of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade and decision SC-4/34 of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organics Pollutants are substantially identical decisions by which the conferences of the Parties of the three conventions called for a greater cooperation and coordination among the three conventions.

In those synergies decisions, the conferences agreed "to convene simultaneous extraordinary meetings of the conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions".

UNEP and the Secretariats of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions have initiated work in accordance with the mandates set out in the Synergies Decisions.

Advisory Committee on the simultaneous extraordinary meetings of the conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions

The Advisory Committee was established to provide input to the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in their preparations for the simultaneous extraordinary meetings of the conferences of the Parties. It is composed for five bureau members from each of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

The first meeting of the Advisory Committee took place on 20 July 2009 in Geneva. The second meeting of the Advisory Committee took place on 24 October 2009 in Bangkok.

Synergies Oversight Team

The Executive Director of UNEP, in consultation with the Executive Secretaries of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions has established a Synergies Oversight Team. The Synergies Oversight Team is composed of the Executive Secretary of the Basel Convention, the Executive Secretary of the Stockholm Convention, the two Executive Secretaries of the Rotterdam Convention, and a representative of UNEP and FAO.

The Synergies Oversight Team is coordinating preparations of the simultaneous extraordinary meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions. It also looks at synergies in a strategic and long term perspective.

Relevance to debates on greater coherence in international environmental governance

The synergies initiative of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions will be reported to the UNEP Governing Council / Global Ministerial Environment Forum (Council/Forum) at its eleventh special session. The Council/Forum is expected to debate the synergies process under item 4 of its agenda, which addresses “Environment in the Multilateral System”. Among the options for reform of international environmental governance, clustering and synergies between Multilateral Environmental Agreements are being considered.

The UNEP Executive Director had recommended that at its meeting on the morning of Friday, 26 February, the Council/Forum should hold a decision-making session to take necessary decisions, including any emerging from the ministerial consultations and the Committee of the Whole, together with issues of relevance to the Council/Forum emerging from the simultaneous extraordinary meetings of the conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions.

The outcome will be communicated to the United Nations General Assembly, in accordance with Governing Council decision 25/4.

Impacts on the ground

Among the actions aimed at strengthening environmental governance, UNEP has sought to increase coherence in decision-making processes at international, regional and national level.

The synergies process undertaken by the three global chemicals and wastes conventions is seen as a demonstration of how the United Nations objective of “Delivering as One” can be furthered in the area of chemicals management.

The synergies decisions taken by the three conventions’ Conferences of the Parties in 2008 and 2009 called for increased cooperation among the Convention’s Parties through such measures as integrating national focal points serving the conventions and, at regional level, designating regional centres of excellence.

The synergies decisions also call for creation of joint convention services within the convention secretariats in the areas of administration, information technology, legal services, public awareness and outreach, and resource mobilization. Budget cycles and auditing of the conventions’ operations are also to be aligned. A clearing-house mechanism serving the three conventions, which would provide a one-stop point of entry to information resources supporting implementation of the treaties, is also envisaged.

 

Last Updated ( Thursday, 04 March 2010 )