Secretariat Outlines Plans for Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm COPs

11 January 2013: The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions has provided a briefing on recent decisions about the upcoming Conferences of the Parties (COPs) of the three conventions. Ordinary and extraordinary COPs are scheduled to take place back-to-back from 28 April-10 May 2013, in Geneva, Switzerland.

The briefing for diplomatic missions took place in Geneva, Switzerland, on 11 January 2013. It covered decisions taken by a joint meeting of the bureaux of the COPs, held on 13-14 December 2012. Just prior to that meeting, the Secretariat reported, the Presidents of each COP met to agree on joint proposals. The bureaux then largely agreed to the Presidents' proposals. Resulting decisions included final dates for the COPs, a complex schedule for the weeks, agreement to hold a high-level segment (HLS) from 9-10 May, and agreement that the number of contact groups running in parallel must be limited to avoid delegations being stretched too thin.

According to the Secretariat's briefing, funding is available for the attendance of one participant per Convention for which an eligible country is a party -- in other words, up to three participants for those countries party to all three conventions. To encourage attendance by high level officials, additional funding will be provided for one minister or deputy minister from each party to at least one convention to attend the planned HLS. Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland and the European Commission have already provided funding for participants' travel.

The Secretariat also outlined plans for the HLS, on the theme of synergies and national implementation of the three conventions. The HLS objectives will be to: raise ministers' awareness on chemicals and wastes issues; encourage synergies among ministers at the national level; elevate the profile of chemicals in national development agendas; and provide an opportunity to share best practices and lessons learned.

The briefing explained that as currently envisioned, ministerial round tables will take place on the afternoon of 9 May, followed by a ministerial dinner that evening, and a presentation of conclusions of the ministerial panels to plenary on the morning of 10 May. [Secretariat Press Release on COP Presidents Meeting] [Report of COP Presidents Meeting] [Presentations to Permanent Missions in Geneva]