An inter-ministerial Indian delegation headed by the
Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Ajay
Narayan Jha, will participate in the 2017 Conference of Parties (COPs) to the
Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm (BRS) Conventions. The delegation
will include representatives from the Ministry of Environment, Forest &
Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)/Permanent
Mission of India (PMI) to UN in Geneva, Ministry of Electronics and Information
Technology (MeitY), Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Ministry of
Chemicals & Fertilizers (MoC&F), Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers
Welfare (MoA&FW) and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoH&FW).
three COPs to BRS Conventions will be held jointly and back-to-back from April
24-May 5, 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland. This year the meetings will also feature
a high-level segment to be attended by Ministers of the Parties. The high-level
segment is scheduled for the afternoon of May 4 and the morning of May 5, 2017.
The theme of the meetings and the high-level segment will be - "A
future detoxified: sound management of chemicals and waste".
is committed towards its obligations of BRS Conventions. It is also important,
at the same time, to safeguard the country’s interest. In this context, the
Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is playing an instrumental
role in environmentally sound management of hazardous chemicals and waste,
keeping in view the overall objectives of sustainable development and growth.
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)”.
meetings of COPs 2017 to BRS conventions will feature separate sessions on
issues pertaining to the three Conventions, as well as joint sessions on common
issues of the three Conventions. The agenda of the 2017 BRS COPs meetings cover
a wide gamut of issues including - technical guidelines on transboundary
movements of electrical and electronic waste and used electrical and electronic
equipment; technical guidelines for environmentally sound management of wastes,
consisting of, containing or contaminated with low persistent organic
pollutants (POPs) in Basel Convention, national reporting, capacity building
and technical assistance; listing of chemicals viz chrysotile asbestos,
paraquat dichloride, fenthion, trichlorfon, short chain chlorinated paraffins,
tributyltin compounds, carbofuran and carbosulfan under Annex III to the
Rotterdam Convention and listing of chemicals viz short chain chlorinated
paraffins, decabromodiphenyl ether and Hexachlorobutadiene under Annex A, B,
and C to the Stockholm Convention. The meetings are highly technical and
scientific in nature. The subject matter during negotiations and deliberations
in the COPs are of vital importance, which can have far-reaching ramifications
on trade and industry in the country in particular, industrial chemicals and electronic
and electrical industry.
most important matters to be deliberated during COPs include - listing
of chemicals under Rotterdam and Stockholm Convention may
industrial growth. The inclusion
of chemicals under Rotterdam Convention does not ban the chemical. However,
importing countries need to follow the PIC procedure. Listing of hazardous
chemicals may lead to an increase in the trade cost, as well as delay the
import/export process. Listing of chemicals under Stockholm convention
bans/restrict the chemicals for trade, import, export and use along with
minimizes unintentional release of POPs.
Conventions – Brief Background
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. To enhance cooperation and
coordination among the BRS Conventions, their respective conferences of the
Parties have taken a series of decisions. This "synergies process"
aims to strengthen the implementation of the three conventions at the national,
regional and global levels by providing coherent policy guidance, enhancing
efficiency in the provision of support to Parties to the Conventions, reducing
their administrative burden and maximising the effective and efficient use of
resources at all levels, while maintaining the legal autonomy of these three
multilateral environmental agreements. In addition to initiating reforms to the
secretariats of the three Conventions on an administrative as well as
operational level, this process is changing the way in which the implementation
of the Conventions are undertaken at the national and regional levels. Parties
to the Conventions and entities supporting countries in the implementation of
the Conventions, such as regional centres, intergovernmental organizations and
non-governmental organizations, also undertake efforts to increase coherence in
the implementation of the Conventions.
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.
Environmental awareness and tightening of environmental regulations in the
industrialised world during 1970s and 1980s had led to an increasing public
resistance to the disposal of hazardous wastes – in accordance with what became
known as the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) syndrome – and to an escalation of
disposal costs. This in turn led some operators to seek cheap disposal options
for hazardous wastes in the developing world, which was lagging in environmental
awareness regulations and enforcement mechanisms.
this background, the Basel Convention was negotiated in the late 1980s, and at
the time of its adoption its thrust to combat the “toxic trade”. The
overarching objective of the Basel Convention is to protect human health and
the environment against adverse effects of hazardous wastes. Its scope covers a
wide range of wastes defined as “hazardous wastes” based on their origin and/or
composition and their characteristics, including “other wastes” - the household
waste and incinerator ash. The Convention also covers hazardous wastes
that are explosive, flammable, poisonous, infectious, corrosive, toxic, or
eco-toxic. The Convention aims towards restricting transboundary 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.
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 Convention's
objective is to promote shared responsibility and cooperative efforts among
parties in the international trade of listed chemicals in the Rotterdam
Convention, to protect human health and the environment, and to contribute to
the environmentally sound use of chemicals. 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.
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.
of the COPs of BRS Conventions are generally held every alternate year. India
has participated in the earlier meetings of the COPs of the BRS Conventions.
Previously, COP 12 of Basel Convention and COP 7 meetings of Rotterdam and
Stockholm Conventions were held in Geneva, Switzerland from May 4-15, 2015.