DUE to the Covid-19 global pandemic, the conference of parties of three international environmental agreements aimed at protecting human health and the environment from hazardous chemical waste will be held virtually and jointly this month.
These are the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent on Certain Chemicals in International Trade and the Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal.
This was said by the assistant programme officer in the policy and strategic unit at the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep), Giovanna Moire, when she addressed a webinar on understanding chemicals and waste management on 6 July.
These sessions are organised through the African, Caribbean and Pacific programme, supporting the understanding of multilateral environmental agreements in the two regions of the world.
The webinar was attended by about 70 journalists from across Africa, who report on environmental issues and was organised by Unep in collaboration with the African Network of Environmental Journalists.
Moire explained that the three conventions are legally binding global instruments that address environmental problems that have a trans-boundary nature and often a global scope, which can only be addressed effectively through international cooperation.
She said the joint-virtual conference of parties to these conventions will be held from 26-30 July under the theme 'Global Agreements for a Healthy Planet: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste'.
Moire said due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was not possible to organise the face to face joint CoPs, as originally planned, from 19-30 July and, therefore, the three bureaus of the conventions on 26 February decided to have a joint virtual conference.
According to Moire, a face-to-face segment is planned for 6-17 June 2022 in Geneva, Switzerland.
This meeting, she said, will consider a number of proposals received to amend the conventions.
The Global Environment Facility, which is the financial mechanism of the Stockholm Convention, has so far funded several projects in Africa, ranging from development of national implementation plans to disposal of pesticides and the identification of alternatives to the insecticide dichlorodiphenyl trichloroethane, commonly known as DDT, Moire said.
Moire added that findings of the Global Monitoring Plan on Persistent Organic Pollutants (released in May this year) had confirmed the decrease in the levels of certain persistent organic pollutants in Africa.
The webinar was a continuation of the session held on 4 May this year which focused on issues of biodiversity and the upcoming 15th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The secretariat of the Basel and Stockholm Conventions are administered by Unep in Geneva, while that of the Rotterdam Convention is jointly served by Unep and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations based in Geneva and Rome, Italy.