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Image of the week | Advancing a Human Rights-based Approach to Pollution for People and the Planet | BRS COPs 2023 Side Event, 10 May 2023. The event explored recent developments in the interconnectedness between human rights, a just transition, and the environment, and identified key entry points to strengthen a human rights-based approach to the implementation of the chemicals and waste conventions in the run-up to major related negotiations. Photo © Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions Secretariat.

2023 BRS COPs | Two Weeks of Intense Meetings To Accelerate Action

The 2023 meetings of the Conference of Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions held under the theme Accelerating action: Targets for the sound management of chemicals and waste”, concluded on Friday 12 May 2023, after two weeks of intense discussions and high emotions. → Find out more in the daily coverage from the Earth Negotiation Bulletin and find other useful information in our update on the meetings.

The positive results achieved include the listing of three new chemicals (UV-328, Dechlorane Plus, methoxychlor) that pose significant health and environmental risks for elimination under the Stockholm Convention, during the first week. Outcomes and highlights from the second week of negotiations also include: 

  • Parties to the Basel Convention adopted technical guidelines on the environmentally sound management of plastic waste, POPs waste, and e-waste.
  • Parties to the Stockholm Convention adopted a compliance mechanism, a decision outstanding since 2006.
  • Countries have adopted a resource mobilization strategy to help raise resources on the scale needed to rise to the challenges of safely managing chemicals and waste.
  • Parties to the Rotterdam Convention agreed to list terbufos, making it subject to Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure.

Analyses of the meetings issued the second week include:

Reports issued during the two weeks included:

  • Chemicals in Plastics – A Technical Report | UNEP and BRS
    This report launched as an information document of the BRS COPs meeting has made the buzz. Unveiling, among other information, that at least 3,200 of the chemicals used in plastics have properties of concern, the report calls for urgent action to address chemicals in plastics as part of the global action on plastic pollution, to protect human health and the environment, and transition to a toxic-free and sustainable circular economy.
  • PFAS in Selected Products in Indonesia | Nexus3 Foundation and IPEN
    This study found the “Forever Chemicals” per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in synthetic clothing, food packaging, and other consumer products sold in Indonesia. The study found that 62% of Indonesian samples tested had high levels of PFAS, above the safety limits proposed in the EU for PFAS in consumer products.
  • Tackling Toxics: Gender Dimensions of Chemicals and Waste Policies in Relation to BRS Conventions | WECF, Nexus3 Foundation, AEEFG and CEJAD
    The scoping study “Gender, Chemicals and Waste” was carried out in Kenya and Tunisia between January and June 2022 on behalf of the BRS Conventions secretariat. The scoping study’s aim was to identify the gender dimensions of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions as well as the Minamata Convention.

What’s Next | Various international processes on the International Environmental Negotiations Agenda that will hold their meetings in 2023 will play an important role in advancing the work towards the safe management of chemicals:

2023 Geneva Dialogues on Human Rights and Climate Change

The 2023 edition of the Geneva Dialogues on Human Rights and Climate Change will convene this week at Palais des Nations. Leading experts will take stock of the relevant work that has been conducted so far by the Human Rights Council, the Special Procedures, the Universal Periodic Review, Human Rights Treaty Bodies, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in identifying the rights that are affected in the context of climate change, as well as the relevant obligations of States. The dialogues will address existing gaps and potential next steps on five specific themes: addressing remedy in the context of Loss and Damage; supporting a just transition; opposing the expansion of fossil fuels; protecting civic space; and preventing further harm potentially caused by false solutions to climate change. The Dialogues are organized by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR), Earthjustice, and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Geneva Office, with the support of the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, and the Geneva Environment Network. →  Watch live the event taking place on 17 May 2023 from 14:00 to 18:00 PM CEST.

Countdown to World Environment Day

This year marks the 50th anniversary of World Environment Day, which will focus on solutions to plastic pollution, a major contributor to the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. Since its first celebration in 1973, the day has been an occasion to raise awareness of environmental problems and to call for collaborative action across actors around the world.

Building on the landmark resolution to develop a legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution and other multilateral negotiations, and on discussions in international Geneva addressing plastics on the environmental agenda, the Geneva Environment Network is organizing a high-level dialogue to celebrate the day. The event will highlight efforts and progress undertaken by actors in Geneva to beat plastic pollution, including through the Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues. Leading diplomats and international experts taking the floor at this event will highlight how the international Geneva multilateral diplomacy system, with its numerous intergovernmental organizations, permanent governmental missions, NGOs, platforms, academic institutions, and other stakeholders, is engaged in finding solutions to beat plastic pollution. The high-level dialogue will be followed by a reception offered by the Swiss Government and local authorities. → Learn more and register to attend the event in person on 5 June 2023 from 11:00 CEST.

First Global Consultation on Nature-based Solutions 

The First Global Consultation meeting in the series of intergovernmental consultations on nature-based solutions will be a virtual meeting to take place online from 16 – 17 May 2023. Following the adoption of resolution 5/5 Nature-based-Solutions for supporting sustainable development at the United Nations Environment Assembly Resolution in March 2022, the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme has been requested to convene Intergovernmental Consultations on Nature-based Solutions. → More information on the mandate of the consultations can be found in the background paper.

Recent events co-organized by the Geneva Environment Network addressed the dimensions of decent work and potential options for innovative and increased finance in Nature-based Solutions.

Green Spring | Fête de la Nature, Walking the Talk & More

This week, the Ascension will allow some to enjoy a long weekend. Various interesting events are taking place around Geneva which will allow you to enjoy a green spring, including:

  • Feu Ô Lac | The City and Canton of Geneva are organizing a three-day-long celebration around the lake.
  • Fête de la Nature 2023 | Celebrated under the theme ‘Safe Waters’, more than 300 activities around nature will take place from 18 to 28 May 2023.
  • Walk the Talk: Health for All Challenge | Get ready for the 4th edition returning on Sunday, 21 May 2023 to provide a healthy kick-start to the Seventy-sixth World Health Assembly.

Taking Place Abroad

  • High-Level Meeting on the Midterm Review of the Sendai Framework | From 17 to 19 May 2023, world leaders will meet at the UN Headquarters in New York to review progress, stumbles, and best practices in achieving the Sendai Framework’s goals of preventing and reducing disaster risk — all against a backdrop of dire human, environmental, and economic impacts.

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