Suman Sharma
Suman Sharma
Topic: COUNTDOWN TO THE TRIPLE COPs: How does Technical Assistance assist Parties implement the Chemicals and Waste Conventions?
Suman is a Programme Officer in BRS Secretariat serving as lead contact point for issues relating to the Basel and Stockholm Convention Regional Centres and is responsible for implementing the activ...
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Number of questions: [1]
Posted on 26/03/2015 15:05:17
Dear Mr Sharma
What kinds of technical assistance supports does the Secretariat offer to developing countries, who can apply is it only government officials or are they also open to NGOs and private sector and universities, and how do you ensure the activities are actually responding to real - as opposed to perceived - needs of developing countries in the fields of hazardous waste, environmentally sound management of chemicals, and greening of the relevant sectors?
Richard Rast (from Germany)
Dear Mr Rast,
Many thanks indeed for your very pertinent question. I see that there are 3 main points in your question: What kind of technical assistance support is offered by the Secretariat; who in the developing country is eligible to receive such support and how do you identify the needs of the countries?

On the first part of your question, the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions have mandated through their relevant articles on the role of Secretariat to provide assistance to the eligible country parties to enable them to implement their obligations under the Conventions upon request. To fulfill this mandate the Secretariat has been implementing several activities which include preparing and publishing various awareness raising materials, technical guidance on various relevant issues, organizing training programmes and facilitating the work of relevant partners to name a few.
Realizing the importance of the providing technical assistance to the developing countries, the Secretariat has reorganized itself to have a full-fledged Technical Assistance Branch. The technical assistance programme under these Conventions comprises following four major pillars: The first pillar is need assessment, development of supporting tools and methodologies. The technical assistance needs of the parties are identified through various sources such as national implementation plans, national reports, national action plans, or even direct requests made by parties. In addition to these information sources, the Secretariat collects information on their needs through online need assessment questionnaire periodically. I believe this also answers to the third part of your question.
The second pillar is training and capacity-building activities. A large number of training and capacity building activities on various thematic issues that are listed in the approved work programme of the Secretariat are organized mostly at regional and subregional level. In some cases such capacity building activities are even organized at national level. The participants of these training and capacity building programmes have often been from NGOs and academic institutions as well.
The third pillar is Partnerships. This is another area of assistance where the secretariat works with relevant partners. A public private Partnership for Action on Computing Equipment (PACE) to deal with the electronic waste is one of the examples of such partnership. More such partnerships for example with academia and research institutions to deal with various issues under all 3 Conventions are being considered.
The fourth pillar is Regional centres. The Basel and Stockholm Conventions have established a network of 23 regional centres around the globe to provide technical assistance and capacity building including technology transfer to developing countries. Among these 7 centres are both the Basel and Stockholm convention centres. These centres are required to prepare their workplans/business plans in consultation with the Parties they serve. This is another opportunity to identify the real needs of the parties. Once these plans are finalized, the centres start approaching various donors and funding sources to secure funding to implement various activities from their plans. The secretariat works very closely with the centres and facilitates their task. The regional centre have been very effective in supporting regional delivery of technical assistance catalyzed by the Secretariat. In addition, a number of regional centres have been involved in executing various big projects funded by GEF in collaboration with other partner agencies to assist parties in implementing their obligations under the Conventions.

On your question about who in developing country receives the technical assistance, I believe I briefly touched upon that while answering your other questions above. As mentioned earlier the Secretariat is mandated to provide assistance to the eligible parties upon request. It is therefore up to the parties to decide who they want to include in receiving assistance provided by the Secretariat.
I would like to thank you very much for your question and giving me this opportunity.