Inter-Ministerial Delegation to Participate in Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm Conventions in Geneva
An inter-ministerial Indian delegation headed by the Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ajay Narayan Jha, will participate in the 2017 Conference of Parties (COPs) to the Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm (BRS) Conventions.
- The three COPs to BRS Conventions will be held jointly and back-to-back from April 24-May 5, 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland.
- The theme of the meetings and the high-level segment will be – “A future detoxified: sound management of chemicals and waste”.
- Meetings of the COPs of BRS Conventions are generally held every alternate year.
- India has participated in the earlier meetings of the COPs of the BRS Conventions.
- Previously, COP 12 of Basel Convention and COP 7 meetings of Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions were held in Geneva, Switzerland in May 2015.
- Conference of Parties (COPs) to the BRS Convention include – the 13th meeting of the Conference of Parties to “Basel Convention (BC COP 13); the 8th meeting of the Conference of Parties to “Rotterdam Convention (RC COP 8) and 8th meeting of the Conference of Parties to “Stockholm Convention (SC COP 8).
- While the Basel Convention will discuss the control of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal, the Rotterdam Convention will deliberate on the prior informed consent procedure for certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade” and the Stockholm Convention is on persistent organic pollutants (POPs)”.
- The most important matters to be deliberated during COPs include – listing of chemicals under Rotterdam and Stockholm Convention may have an impact on industrial growth. The inclusion of chemicals under Rotterdam Convention does not ban the chemical. However, importing countries need to follow the PIC procedure.
- The Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions are multilateral environmental agreements, which share the common objective of protecting human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals and wastes.
- To enhance cooperation and coordination among the BRS Conventions, their respective conferences of the Parties have taken a series of decisions.
- This “synergies process” aims to strengthen the implementation of the three conventions at the national, regional and global levels by providing coherent policy guidance, enhancing efficiency in the provision of support to Parties to the Conventions, reducing their administrative burden and maximising the effective and efficient use of resources at all levels, while maintaining the legal autonomy of these three multilateral environmental agreements.
- In addition to initiating reforms to the secretariats of the three Conventions on an administrative as well as operational level, this process is changing the way in which the implementation of the Conventions are undertaken at the national and regional levels.
- Parties to the Conventions and entities supporting countries in the implementation of the Conventions, such as regional centres, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations, also undertake efforts to increase coherence in the implementation of the Conventions.
- The Basel Convention was adopted on March 22, 1989 by the Conference of Plenipotentiaries in Basel, Switzerland, in response to a public outcry, following the discovery, in the 1980s, in Africa and other parts of the developing world of deposits of toxic wastes imported from abroad.
- The Convention also covers hazardous wastes that are explosive, flammable, poisonous, infectious, corrosive, toxic, or eco-toxic.
- The Convention aims towards restricting trans-boundary movements of hazardous wastes and its disposal with environmentally sound management (ESM).
- The Basel Convention was adopted in 1989 and entered into force on May 5, 1992. India ratified the Convention in June 24, 1992.
- The Rotterdam Convention is a multilateral environmental agreement which prescribes obligations on the importers and exporters of certain hazardous chemicals.
- Parties are empowered to make informed decisions about the chemicals they wish to import.
- The Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure is the mechanism for formally obtaining and disseminating the decisions of importing Parties, as to whether they wish to receive future shipments of those chemicals listed in Annex III of the Convention and for ensuring compliance with these decisions by exporting Parties.
- As of now, a total of 47 chemicals are listed in Annex III of the Convention. Out of these, 33 are pesticides and 14 industrial chemicals, which are subject to PIC procedures.
- The Convention was adopted on September 10, 1998 and entered into force on February 24, 2004. India ratified the Convention on May 24, 2005.
- The Stockholm Convention is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from a class of chemicals known as Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).
- These remain intact in the environment for long periods (persistent), become widely distributed geographically (long range transport), accumulate in the fatty tissue of humans and wildlife (bioaccumulation), and have a harmful impact on human health, or on environment (toxic).
- Under the Convention, the chemicals can be listed for complete elimination from production, use, export and import (Annex-A), Restriction in use and production for specific purpose only (Annex-B) or Unintentional production (Annex-C).
- The implementation of the Convention requires the parties to take measures to eliminate or reduce the release of these POPs into the environment.
- Till date, 26 chemicals are listed as POPs under the Stockholm Convention. As of now, India has ratified only the 12 initially listed POPs.
- The Convention was adopted on May 22, 2001 and entered into force on May 17, 2004. India ratified the Convention on January 13, 2006.