Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm Conventions in Geneva

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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”.

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)”.

BRS Conventions – Brief Background:

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.

Basel Convention:

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.

Rotterdam Convention:

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.

Stockholm Convention:

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.

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