by IISD's SDG Knowledge Hub,

The Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions Secretariat has published a series of briefs focusing on success stories related to implementation of the three chemicals and waste conventions. The briefs address such themes as: incorporating the Basel Convention into national legislation to tackle the illegal use of lead acid batteries in Trinidad and Tobago; establishing a global monitoring plan (GMP) to monitor levels of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and their changes over time, as well as their global movement; and phasing out hazardous pesticides in South America through implementation of the Rotterdam Convention.

In Trinidad and Tobago, waste management rules helped enshrine the Basel Convention into law, including elements such as the registration and permitting of generators, transporters, handlers, and disposers of hazardous wastes. The project also sought to ensure the environmentally sound transportation, storage, and disposal of hazardous wastes. A regional development strategy for Central America and the Caribbean supports the environmentally sound management of used lead acid batteries, executed through the Basel Convention regional centers for the Caribbean and for Central America and Mexico.

Establishment of a GMP under the Stockholm Convention has enabled more consistent and easily accessible data for better planning to eliminate and restrict POPs, and helped fill gaps in POPs’ monitoring. The GMP: monitors levels of POPs and their changes over time, as well as their global movement; integrates data from national, regional, and global programmes, making them available through the GMP data warehouse; and enables the comparability of data. The GMP has been able to:

  • detect trends in every region and demonstrate that POPs’ concentrations are often higher than expected in some regions;
  • uncover specific trends, such as a high incidence of POPs in human breast milk in parts of Africa, due to some mothers regularly eating clay; and
  • determine significant prevalence of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (compounds used as flame retardant) in remote islands as an example of how POPs move across regions. 

Another success story spotlights farmers phasing out hazardous pesticides in South America through implementation of the Rotterdam Convention, whereby a programme was implemented to collect information on exposure to pesticides, as well as reports of actual pesticide poisoning, including hospitalization. The programme initially focused on Colombia, Panama, Guatemala, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic, with at least 100 farmers in Colombia officially confirming they had suffered from pesticide poisoning. The programme ensured the governments had solid research to undertake risk reduction measures, and that farmers had farmer field school training on integrated pest management.

Other success stories the briefs highlight include:

  • working with electricity companies in Southern Africa to prevent illegal and dangerous use of oil through building partnerships and learning from best practices (Stockholm Convention);
  • protecting populations from malaria through proper DDT regulation, with Sri Lanka providing an example of best practice (Stockholm Convention);
  • the Basel Convention’s partnership for action on computing equipment to help keep track of the world’s growing amounts of e-waste; and
  • international customs cooperation through innovative techniques to monitor the movement of illegal waste (Basel Convention).

The eleven briefs were published in March 2022, in advance of the BRS Triple COP in June. [BRS Convention Publications Landing Page




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