Ms. Katharina Kummer Peiry heads the Secretariat of the Basel Convention since September 2007. A specialist in international environmental law and policy, she has worked on issues related to the Basel Convention since 1988, when she joined the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi to assist in the negotiation process of the Convention. 2008 thus marked her personal 20th anniversary with the Basel Convention
Serving in the International Affairs Division of the Swiss Agency of Environment, and subsequently as Head of Section on Environmental Affairs in the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs from 1994 to 1999, Katharina Kummer Peiry participated in various environmental negotiation processes and chaired negotiating groups on legal and institutional issues. In 2000, she founded a consulting firm specializing in international environmental policy and law, with which she worked until 2007. From 1999 to 2007, she also taught international environmental law at the Master level at the University of Berne (Switzerland).
Katharina Kummer Peiry holds a PhD in International Law from the University of London (United Kingdom) and a Master of Law from the University of Zurich (Switzerland), as well as a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Mediation from the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland). She has authored, and contributed to, numerous academic publications on international environmental law, international chemicals and waste management and other environmental issues. 1995 saw the publication of her book International Management of Hazardous Wastes: The Basel Convention and Related Legal Rules. It is still considered by many as the standard work on the Basel Convention.