A workshop on e-waste was jointly organized in Lagos, Nigeria in October 2015 by the Africa Hub, the Basel Convention Coordinating Center (BCCC), and the Secretariat of Basel/Rotterdam/Stockholm. It resulted in the identification of common goals and activities that the Africa Hub would undertake with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), BCCR Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa. Furthermore, it resulted in the formulation of concrete recommendations on e-waste management in Africa.
Furthermore, presentations on the ACP MEAs project were made during the Pan African Parliament in Johannesburg in August 2015, as well as during GIZ and Basel Convention Secretariat workshops for African experts on ABS in Addis Ababa in November 2015.
A road map and inception report on the East African Community (EAC) framework on biosafety was also compiled with the aim of leading work to better control genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and living genetically modified organisms (LGMOs) while providing safe health conditions.
The CARICOM Secretariat organized a national MEAs workshop for Customs and Border Control officers in Georgetown, Guyana in March 2015. Furthermore, in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, the CARICOM Secretariat delivered a regional workshop on Sustainable Financing and Resource Mobilization for Biodiversity, in St. John’s, in Antigua and Barbuda in May 2015.
In November 2015, in cooperation with the ABS Capacity Development Initiative, the Caribbean Hub organized a regional workshop in Paramaribo, Suriname, on the negotiation of mutually agreed terms and contracts for access and benefit-sharing under the Nagoya Protocol. Additionally, the Caribbean Hub partnered with the Basel Convention Regional Centre for the Caribbean on several awareness-raising activities related to the Minamata Convention on Mercury, including the preparation and dissemination of a fact sheet on the Minamata Convention.
The Pacific Hub was successful in delivering National Environment Management Strategies (NEMS) training and formulation for Fiji, Tuvalu, Marshall Islands, and Vanuatu. The strategies set the direction for these countries to address environment issues in line with the achievement of MEA commitments and the National Sustainable Development Strategic goals.
From September 28-30, the Pacific Hub provided support and capacity building efforts in a workshop for access and benefit sharing (ABS) framework under the Nagoya protocol in partnership with GIZ, USP, and IUCN in Fiji. Moreover, State of Environment Reporting and report formulation for Marshall Islands and capacity building efforts were extended to the Cook Islands. The Pacific Hub also delivered on Environmental Impact Assessment capacity building and awareness activities as well as the provision of technical support and information on EIA processes with Secretariat of the Pacific Community on Deep Sea Mining and the integration of Environmental and Social Safeguards in partnership with ADB/World Bank. The Hub continued its work on the National Minimum Development Indicators database by enhancing the focus on the biodiversity and protected areas component.
Implementation of Specific MEAs
Within Component 2 of the Project – which specifically focuses on the implementation of MEAs in the biodiversity and chemicals & waste cluster – a number of workshops were organized for capacity building and legal support. African countries were provided support in strengthening their national Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) frameworks for the ratification, entry into force and implementation of the Nagoya Protocol ABS. Two capacity building workshops were organized to review the legal and regulatory frameworks, including administrative procedures in collaboration with the Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat.
A workshop was organized in Nairobi, Kenya in August, 2015 and gathered 40 participants on the theme ‘The Rotterdam Convention: legislative and regulatory measures for sound industrial chemicals management in the east African sub-region.’ Moreover, during the same month a regional workshop was held to ‘Support African countries to ratify and implement the Minamata Convention’ in Nairobi, Kenya. The workshop provided a platform for information exchange on environmentally sound practices and techniques that prevent mercury impacts on health and the environment. A report on the situational analysis on mercury management and implementation of the Minamata Convention on mercury in Uganda and Ghana was also produced.
Additionally, in order to raise the awareness among African journalists on the environmental challenges facing the continent, a capacity building workshop was organised by one of the NGO partners - the Environmental Compliance Institute (ECI) in collaboration with Media for Environment, Science, Health and Agriculture (MESHA). The workshop took place in Nairobi, Kenya from 15 to 16th October 2015 and brought together 40 journalists from the four African sub-regions (Eastern, Northern, Southern and Western). The event culminated in the publication of the ‘Handbook for African Journalists on Multilateral Environmental Agreements’ that was widely distributed. Some of the facilitators and resource persons included established environmental journalists, environmental lawyers, representatives from civil society, government implementing agencies and institutions of higher learning. Through the workshop, the participants engaged in understanding the existing and emerging response mechanisms under global and regional MEAs, the national implementation mechanisms, as well as best practices on effective reporting strategies for the continent's priority environmental issues.
Highlights of FAO's involvement in 2015
Efficiently regulated and managed pesticide registration schemes are building blocks to the implementation of the chemical Conventions. Most of developing countries, however, lack to a greater or lesser extent fully operational systems for pesticide registration. It is in this context, that the MEAs II project focuses on increasing the effectiveness of the pesticide registration in ACP countries.
FAO is developing a web-based Registration Toolkit to assist pesticide registrars in the evaluation and authorization of pesticides. The toolkit is being developed through a series of technical workshops held since 2014 with international experts. In 2015, the fifth workshop on pesticide efficacy assessment took place in Rome from 17-19 March, 2015.
In Africa, efforts towards the goal of harmonizing pesticide regulation moved forward through the organization of a Consultation for Regional Harmonization of Pesticide Regulation in the East African Community held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in June 2015. The aim was to review existing regulatory processes and related activities on pesticides in the EAC countries and provide recommendations for a practical and sustainable modality to assist the countries to harmonize pesticide registration; and to initiate the preparation of guidelines on harmonization of pesticide legislation and registration requirements. Three working groups of experts on pesticide residues, efficacy trials and data requirement were proposed to develop regional guidelines to guide the EAC towards harmonisation.n July of 2015 rgional workshop for the Southern African Pesticide Regulators’ Forum (SAPReF) was held in Harare, Zimbabwe to elaborate a strategic action plan for SAPReF that will guide short and long term activities to build capacity on sound pesticide management. As part of the same events, Designated National Authorities were trained on better enforcement of Rotterdam Convention and risk reduction of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs). One SADC country, Mozambique, has already taken the important regulatory decisions to ban all HHP products.
An analysis of existing most recent NBSAPs was undertaken to identify gaps in terms of issues and country priorities. Kenya was identified as focus country where synergies between biodiversity and chemicals management will be elaborated and introduced into the new NBSAP.
In the Caribbean, a Regional Technical Working Group on Pesticide Evaluation for Registration, involving pesticide registrars and observers from the Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA), and other regional institutions as well as CARICOM Secretariat, was established, with the aim of evaluating applications for the registration of pesticides products.
In the Pacific, the proposal to harmonize pesticide legislation and registration for the Pacific Island countries was firstly presented at the 4th Regional Meeting of Heads of Agriculture and Forestry Services (HOAFS) in 2010 and was since discussed in 3 large regional consultations. In May 2015, the representatives of twelve countries endorsed a proposal outlining the scope, objective, institutional arrangements and operational mechanisms of a regional scheme and recommended its inclusion in the agenda of the next HOAFs meeting. The overall aim of the scheme is to reduce pesticide risks and ensure their efficacy and quality. A Technical and Legal Working Group on Harmonisation of Pesticide Registration has been established with the endorsement of the participating countries.
Finally, sites that are heavily contaminated with pesticides have been investigated in Kenya, Botswana and Eritrea and risk mitigations measures have been proposed to the concerned authorities.