22–26 FEBRUARY 2010. The simultaneous extraordinary meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (ExCOPs) open today at the Bali International Convention Centre and will continue until 24 February 2010. They will be followed by the 11th Special Session of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GCSS-11/GMEF), which will be held from 24–26 February 2010. The ExCOPs are expected to take decisions on inter alia; joint activities, managerial functions and services; synchronization of the budget cycles of the three conventions; joint audits of the accounts; and a review mechanism and follow-up work on enhancing coordination and cooperation among the three conventions. Following the ExCOPs, GCSS-11/GMEF will consider emerging policy issues under the overall theme of environment in the multilateral system. Specific themes to be considered are: international environmental governance (IEG) and sustainable development; the green economy; and biodiversity and ecosystems.



AD HOC JOINT WORKING GROUP: The Ad hoc Joint Working Group on Enhancing Cooperation and Coordination among the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (AHJWG) was established pursuant to decision SC-2/15 of the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, COP decision RC-3/8 of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, and COP decision VIII/8 of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal. The mandate of the group was to prepare joint recommendations on enhanced cooperation and coordination for submission to the COPs of all the three conventions. The AHJWG convened three meetings from 26–28 March 2007 in Helsinki, Finland, 10–13 December 2007 in Vienna, Austria, and 25–28 March 2008 in Rome, Italy.

BASEL CONVENTION COP-9: This meeting was held from 23–27 June 2008 in Bali, Indonesia. COP-9 adopted more than 30 decisions prepared by the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) including on the Strategic Plan, linking the evaluation of the effectiveness of the Convention with the new strategic framework beyond 2010 and, in this context, approving a suitable budget. Delegates adopted the recommendation of the AHJWG.

ROTTERDAM CONVENTION COP-4: This meeting convened from 27–31 October 2008 in Rome, Italy. The COP adopted 13 decisions including on the addition of tributyltin compounds to Annex III of the Convention (chemicals subject to the PIC procedure), and a programme of work and budget for the triennium 2009-11. The meeting adopted the recommendations of the AHJWG.

STOCKHOLM CONVENTION COP-4: This meeting convened from 4–8 May 2009 in Geneva, Switzerland, and adopted the recommendations of the AHJWG. Delegates also addressed: a non-compliance mechanism; effectiveness evaluation; financial resources; and recommendations from the POPs Review Committee to schedule nine additional chemicals under the Convention.


As a result of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, the UN General Assembly (UNGA), in its resolution 2997 (XXVII) of 1972, officially established UNEP as the central UN node for global environmental cooperation and treaty making. The resolution also established the UNEP Governing Council (GC) to provide a forum for the international community to address major and emerging environmental policy issues. The GC’s responsibilities include the promotion of international environmental cooperation and the recommendation of policies to achieve this, and the provision of policy guidance for the direction and coordination of environmental programmes in the UN system. The GC reports to the UNGA, which also elects the GC’s 58 members for four-year terms, taking into account the principle of equitable regional representation. The GMEF is constituted by the GC, as envisaged in UNGA resolution 53/242 of 1999. The purpose of the GMEF is to institute, at a high political level, a process for reviewing important and emerging policy issues in the field of the environment.

GCSS-6 /GMEF: GCSS-6/GMEF took place from 29–31 May 2000, in Malmö, Sweden. Ministers adopted the Malmö Ministerial Declaration, which agreed that the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) should review the requirements for a greatly strengthened institutional structure for IEG.

GC-21/GMEF: GC-21/GMEF took place from 5–9 February 2001 in Nairobi, Kenya. Delegates established the Open-ended Intergovernmental Group of Ministers or Their Representatives (IGM) to undertake a comprehensive policy-oriented assessment of existing institutional weaknesses, as well as future needs and options for strengthening IEG. They also adopted decision 21/7, which requests the UNEP Executive Director to examine the need for a Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM).

GCSS-7/GMEF: GCSS-7/GMEF was held from 13–15 February 2002 in Cartagena, Colombia. In decision SS.VII/1, the GC/GMEF adopted the IGM report, which contained recommendations aimed at strengthening IEG, including through: improved coherence in international environmental policy-making; strengthening the role and financial situation of UNEP; improved coordination among and effectiveness of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs); and capacity building, technology transfer and country-level coordination. Delegates also adopted decisions related to, inter alia, SAICM.
WSSD: WSSD was held from 26 August to 4 September 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) sets out a framework for action to implement the commitments originally agreed at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. The JPOI, among other things, emphasized that the international community should fully implement the outcomes of decision SS.VII/1on IEG.

GC-22/GMEF: GC-22/GMEF took place from 3–7 February 2003 in Nairobi, Kenya. Delegates adopted more than 40 decisions on issues including IEG, SAICM and a Mercury Programme.
GCSS-8/GMEF: GCSS-8/GMEF took place from 29–31 March 2004 in Jeju, Republic of Korea. At the conclusion of the ministerial consultations, delegates adopted the “Jeju Initiative,