The Asia- Pacific regional preparatory meeting for the 2023 COP to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions recently took place in Thailand in March 2023. Organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and funded by the Governments of Germany and Switzerland. About 100 representatives, including 79 representatives from 29 Parties, 5 representatives from 4 regional centers and 16 representatives from 10 observer organizations attended the meeting. Amongst these parties representatives were Vavia Tangatataia and Roselyn Strickland from the National Environment Service (NES) whom represented the Cook Islands. As a party to all three Conventions, the Cook Islands has been a party to the BRS conventions since 2004 and has also observed the progress and challenges underpinning the conventions mostly around national implementation aspects which were also relatively similar for other regional parties.
According to both representatives, the objectives of the meeting allows Parties within the Asia- Pacific region the opportunity to engage and consult each other ahead of time on substantive matters relating to BRS, identify priorities and challenges and to facilitate regional positions prior to the upcoming COP which will take place in Geneva (Switzerland) from 1- 12 May of this year.
About 9 items were discussed throughout the meetings, mostly follow- ups from the previous COP discussions, namely: regional joint issues and synergies of BRS conventions in combatting illegal trafficking and trade of hazardous chemicals and wastes, technical assistance, strategic issues and legal, compliance and governance matters. The extensive consultations amongst participants also briefly made references to the evolving intergovernmental negotiating committee for the anticipated upcoming global plastic treaty.
The meeting was facilitated by the members of the bureau of the Asia- Pacific region for BRS and was also open to some observer participation by interest groups. Other parts of the sessions were closed for just the parties.
The next action plans moving forward after this meeting was for an ad hoc committee to be formulated whom will take on the core responsibility of drafting an Asia- Pacific regional statement document. The document will then be issued back to all the parties for comments and recommendations anticipated for the 1 April 2023. This regional statement has value providing the conferences of the parties to review and to further provide input also from a national position prior to the BRS COP in May 2023