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Ministers to gather for key discussions on waste, chemicals and the environment
16/ 02/ 2010

Ministers to gather for key discussions on waste, chemicals and the environmentMore than 140 governments are expected to attend the triple-headed conferences of the Parties.

Geneva, 16 February 2010 - On 21-26 February 2010, more than one hundred Environment Ministers, civil society representatives, experts and high-profile environmental figures from around the world will gather in Bali for the largest global environmental gathering since Copenhagen.

For the first time, the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions parties will convene their independent conferences of the parties simultaneously, in a novel effort to strengthen synergies between the world's three leading chemicals and waste treaties.

The simultaneous extraordinary meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions will be held from 22 to 24 February 2010, on the eve of the opening of the 11th Special Session of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum, in Bali.

More than 140 governments are expected to attend the triple-headed conferences of the Parties.

Change will strengthen coherence, ease burdens on Governments

In an historic departure for the international system of environmental governance, the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions will consider adoption of a sweeping set of decisions in Bali that would link their efforts together, while respecting their legal autonomy.

"By working in sync, the conventions are strengthening the international effort to manage chemicals and wastes safely. We are freeing up scarce resources so countries can concentrate on what is needed most to make the planet a safe place to live again," said Donald Cooper, UNEP Co-Executive Secretary of the Rotterdam Convention and Executive Secretary of the Stockholm Convention.

Among the actions aimed at strengthening environmental governance, UNEP has sought to increase coherence in decision-making processes at international, regional and national level.

The synergies process undertaken by the three global chemicals and wastes conventions is seen as a demonstration of how the United Nations objective of

"Delivering as One" can be furthered in the area of chemicals and wastes management.

The synergies decisions build on decisions taken by the three conventions' Conferences of the Parties in 2008 and 2009, which called for increased cooperation among the Convention's Parties through such measures as integrating national focal points serving the conventions and, at regional level, designating regional centres of excellence.

The synergies decisions also support the life cycle approach to chemicals and waste management, directing resources to the national level for a more coherent implementation of the three conventions.

"A 'life-cycle approach' to chemicals and waste management must start before 'the cradle' of production and extend beyond 'the grave' of disposal," said Peter Kenmore, Co-Executive Secretary of the Rotterdam Convention (FAO).

United Nations Body Burden Forum will launch global Safe Planet Campaign
On the closing day of the simultaneous extraordinary meetings of the Conferences of the Parties, UNEP and FAO representatives will launch Safe Planet: the United Nations Campaign for Responsibility on Hazardous Chemicals and Wastes.
This unique and ambitious campaign for ensuring the safety of the environment and human health from hazardous chemicals and wastes will be launched at a special media event in Bali on 24 February 2010, beginning at 2:15 p.m.

"The Campaign is designed to show that we must take responsibility for keeping the planet safe from hazardous chemicals and wastes. It's our job to advance solutions in every part of the planet," said Katharina Kummer Peiry, Executive Secretary of the Basel Convention.

The United Nations Body Burden Forum will introduce a test case bio-monitoring project for awareness-raising which is being conducted by the Safe Planet Campaign. Human bio-monitoring is a method of assessing the toxic chemical burden increasingly borne by the life of our planet.

The Forum will feature pledges by supporters of the Safe Planet Campaign to have their own chemical body burdens tested. The results of the tests would later be made public.

The Safe Planet Campaign will involve a number of United Nations agencies, as well as major stakeholder groups. Jan Kubiš, Executive Secretary of the United Nations
Economic Commission for Europe, welcomed the upcoming launch of the U.N. Campaign for Responsibility on Hazardous Chemicals and Wastes.

"UNECE cooperates closely with UNEP on implementation of comprehensive approaches to chemical pollutants and waste, in order to deliver as "One United Nations", Mr. Kubiš said. Additional Three separate meetings will take place in Nusa Dua (Bali) over the course of the week:

Civil Society forum on 21-22 February: Eleventh Session of the Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum (GMGSF)

Chemicals and Waste Ministerial Meeting on 22-24 February:
Simultaneous Extraordinary Meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the
Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions

UNEP Ministerial Meeting on 24-26 February: 11th Special Session of the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum The gathering will be attended by Environment Ministers from over 100 countries, Heads of UN agencies including UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, scientists and environmental experts, leading journalists and media professionals from across the globe, and business and civil society leaders.

Alongside the ministerial meetings, UNEP will organize 'Reporting Green – The Environment as News', a Media Workshop on 22-23 February.

Further information on the simultaneous extraordinary conferences of the Parties to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants can be found on the conferences website: http://excops.unep.ch/.

For more information please Contact:
Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson/Head of Media, Nairobi, + 254-20-7623084; + 254-733-632755 (m); +41-79-596-5737 (m2), e-mail: nick.nuttall@unep.org

Michael Stanley-Jones, Press Focal Point/Public Information Officer, Joint Convention Services, Secretariats of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions, + 41-22-917-8668; (m) + 41-79-730-4495, e-mail: msjones@pic.int or SafePlanet@unep.org

Further Resources
11th Special Session of the Governing Council