International conference on chemicals and hazardous waste in Geneva

The three conventions that govern chemicals and hazardous waste at international level have convened in Geneva from 28 April to 10 May 2013 (Stockholm, Rotterdam and Basel Conventions). Five additional chemicals will be subject to international regulation.

Three conventions have been established that regulate chemicals and hazardous waste at global level :

  • Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP);
  • Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (PIC);
  • Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal.

Since 2010, at the instigation of Switzerland in particular, the three conventions have benefited from shared management and secretariat. This merger, which is aimed at intensifying coordination and cooperation in relation to chemicals and toxic waste, represents a pioneering development in the field of environmental governance.

HBCD, a flame retardant, was added to the list of persistent organic pollutants (Stockholm Convention). Its production and use shall be prohibited from now on. Exceptions may be allowed for the next five years for the use of HBCD as an additive in extruded and expanded polystyrene used in the insulation of buildings.

Four other chemicals were added to the Rotterdam Convention. Henceforth, exports of these chemicals will only be possible with the prior agreement of the recipient countries, which shall be duly informed of the associated risks to health and the environment.

In the context of the Basel Convention, the states also adopted a series of technical documents which will improve the management of waste and the control of movements of waste between countries. Furthermore, the synergies process between the three conventions will be intensified. The states approved a joint programme for the three conventions for the next two years, which is accompanied by a joint budget. The conventions will pursue their specific activities in parallel to the synergies process.

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Last modification 10.05.2013

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