ACP MEAs newsletter A retrospect of 2014

2014 marked a key year for the ACP MEAs project as it transitioned from its first phase (2009-2014) to its second and final phase (2014-2017), with a targeted objective of increasing capacity building for the implementation of the biodiversity and chemicals & waste MEA clusters (CBD, CITES, CMS, Ramsar, ITPGRFA, WHC, Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm Convention) in the African, Caribbean, and Pacific group of countries. With a focus on institutional and national capacity building as well as a synergistic implementation of the MEAs clusters, the project aims to reduce the adverse effects of loss of biodiversity and contribute to the sound management of chemicals, including the adequate disposal of waste and obsolete pesticides. The project has brought together the concerted efforts of regional hubs including the Caribbean Community Secretariat (CARICOM, Caribbean Hub), Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP, Pacific Hub), and the African Union Commission (AUC, Africa Hub) as well as global partners such as the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), along with select NGOs and collaborating centers.

Building on the Momentum of Phase 1

Phase 2 built on the momentum of Phase 1 and incorporated many of the lessons that emerged. As a result, the approach in Phase 2 was more targeted - prioritizing certain areas of high impact. This included the wide spread implementation of an integrated and synergistic approach to the MEAs, continuing to build national capacity, up-scaling mainstreaming approaches and increasing the visibility of the project over all.

Phase 1 made significant progress in building the capacity of regional and national institutions to reduce the social and environmental impacts associated with pesticides, to minimise their use in agriculture, to strengthen their regulation and to eliminate obsolete stocks according to safety standards as set in the international conventions on chemical waste (Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions). The second phase (signed in 2014) of the programme has expanded its scope to include the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in recognition of the fact that biodiversity is a key driver of sustainable practices in development such as the maintaining of healthy ecosystems services like pollination and pest control, among many others. Sound chemical management - in particular of pesticides - is key to sustainable intensification of agriculture and conservation of biodiversity. Thus, FAO is a key partner in the project that works in collaboration with the regional hubs in ACP countries and their technical committees with the mandate for pesticides management. At the country level, FAO collaborates with the appropriate Ministries (Agriculture, Environment, Health) to address the issues of improved pesticide management and risk reduction.

At the inception of the project in 2009, there was no institution in Africa which provided support to all African ACP countries to implement MEAs. However, since then, the African Hub as the main body for such work has become fully operational and incorporated into the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA) at the AUC. A number of firsts took place during the first phase of the project, including the 1st conference of Parties to the Bamako Convention, the introduction of bio-safety laws in Malawi and Mauritania, Burundi and Uganda’s development of regulatory frameworks on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), among many other achievements. One particularly successful outcome from the efforts of the project was the Colloquium of Parliamentarians in Entebbe, Uganda in June 2012, which culminated in the creation of the network of African Parliamentarians known as the Green Birds Africa, to promote environmental sound management through legislative and national channels. This momentum was carried forward into 2015 with the organization of another Parliamentarian Colloquium in Addis Ababa.

In the Caribbean region, CARICOM - as the main regional partner - played a key role in building the regional hub in Phase 1. In order to prioritize and synthesize countries' capacity needs, it conducted a comprehensive needs assessment survey, which subsequently set the tone for the framework of activities in the region thereafter. Thus, CARICOM was successful in delivering a range of training workshops on negotiation techniques and skills which was identified as a key area of priority. These training workshops were well received and reviewed by participants with indications that participants have been able to directly apply and use the knowledge and skills obtained. Training was also delivered in the areas of project management and the drafting of legislation for the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing and the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

Based on an existing template prepared by the SPREP and the Government of Australia, CARICOM also developed a template for potential use by Caribbean countries in their reporting for a cluster of biodiversity MEAs, and held a regional workshop to guide the function and use of the proposed Caribbean Harmonized Reporting Template (CHaRT). Through the dialogue with and participation of the UNEP-WCMC, the CHaRT development has also helped to inform the wider thrust towards harmonization and simplification of biodiversity reporting and knowledge management.

A key area that the Pacific Hub has focused on prioritizing is the building of the National Minimum Development Indicators, which are a core set of statistics across key sectors to provide a succinct picture of the state of development concerning a particular development theme, nationally. The Pacific Hub carried forth this work in the first year of Phase 2 (2014), by working to build capacities of the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) through effective MEAs engagement, national implementation of international targets, and strengthening monitoring and reporting systems. An example of this is the process of integrating National Environment Management Strategies with MEA targets which was accomplished in Fiji, Tuvalu and Vanuatu in 2014.

The following section will provide brief updates and highlights on the activities in 2014, which were carried out by the regional hubs and partners in pursuit of the objectives of the ACP MEA 2 project.

Africa Hub

Although the first year of the second phase of the ACP-MEAs project was shorter for the AH given that the Cooperation Agreement was signed in June 2014, almost all planned activities were implemented. Negotiators in biodiversity and mercury-related conventions received support for the preparation of the COP-MOP of the CBD in South Korea in October 2014 as well as the sixth session of the intergovernmental negotiating committee on mercury (INC6) in Thailand in November 2014. Both groups of negotiators showed high level of participation in the negotiations at the COP-MOP of the CBD and at INC6 in Thailand in November 2014, respectively. As a result, robust strategies of negotiations and common positions were developed for the Africa region. The strategies developed by the negotiators of biodiversity were re-enforced by the coordination mechanism on biodiversity negotiations whose development was initiated in a workshop organized in August 2014. The mechanism was tabled to the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) of February 2015 for review and there was recommendation for further work.

From December 3-5, 2014, the ‘Parliamentarian Colloquium on Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs)-Biodiversity and Chemical/Waste Clusters’ took place in Addis Ababa, bringing together national and regional Parliamentarians, including those of the Pan African Parliament, MEAs experts, civil society organizations, AU Member States, United Nations Environment Programme, European Commission, Regional Economic Communities, (RECs), NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA), international organizations, MEAs Secretariats, and other partners.

Parliamentarian Colloquium on Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) - Biodiversity and Chemical/Waste Clusters’ from December 3-5, 2014 in Addis Ababa

The purpose of the Entebbe colloquium was to raise awareness of Parliamentarians in environmental management, environmental policy and mainstreaming of MEAs in sustainable development plans and policies. Parliaments are crucial enablers for promoting sustainable development, environmental governance and for advancing law and policy in their capacities as legislative bodies of states. The keen interest shown by Parliamentarians to engage their governments and constituencies in the promotion of sound management of biodiversity and chemicals/wastes was indicative of the success of the event. The main output of the Entebbe colloquium was a source book on MEAs mainstreaming for African Parliamentarians. The colloquium also resulted in two important outcomes namely; a Decision of the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN) urging Governments to work closely with Parliamentarians in MEAs development, and the establishment of a network of African Parliamentarians called “Green Bird-Africa” (GBA). The objective of the network is to promote environmental sustainability in Africa.

Caribbean Hub

In 2014, the CARICOM Secretariat continued to build on the achievements of ACP-MEAs Phase I to deliver support and capacity-building services to Caribbean countries and regional partners. In September 2014, in Georgetown, Guyana, the Caribbean Hub organised a regional preparatory workshop, including refresher training on MEAs negotiations, for the 12th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP-12). In advance of COP-12, the Hub, in co-operation with the Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development, also developed and disseminated a series of guidance briefs on negotiating MEAs. A national MEAs enforcement workshop for Customs and Border Control personnel was held in St. George’s, Grenada, in November 2014.

In addition, the Caribbean Hub engaged with the IUCN, CBD Secretariat, ABS Capacity Development Initiative (ABS-CDI) and the Secretariat of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States concerning ratification and implementation of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing. Activities in this regard included the production of a fact sheet on the Nagoya Protocol, partnering with the CBD Secretariat on the delivery of a workshop for CARICOM Member States on the Nagoya Protocol (May 2014) and with the ABS-CDI on the delivery of the 3rd Caribbean Access and Benefit-Sharing workshop (November 2014).

Dr. Therese Yarde, Project Coordinator, Caribbean Hub Capacity Building ACP-MEAs
At the Workshop for Customs Officers and Border Control Officials on November 11-13, 2014 in Grenada

Pacific Hub

The National Environment Management Strategies (NEMS) formulation process began in Tuvalu, Fiji and Vanuatu, to fully integrate national implementation plans for MEAs (through NBSAPs, National Action Plans, National Adaptation Programme of Action) into a single national planning document – the NEMS. Additionally, Fiji and Cook Islands completed capacity building efforts for their respective State of Environment Reports. SPREP also organised the training for Pacific Island countries for their negotiations with users of genetic resources under the Nagoya Protocol. The access and benefit sharing workshops were held in Nadi and Sydney from August 5-8, 2014 to support Pacific Island Countries’ understanding and potentially becoming members of ABS. It was expected that at least four extra Pacific ACP countries would become party to particular MEAs and benefit from SPREP’s advice on benefits of becoming party. Moreover, considerable efforts were made to mainstream MEA considerations to be factored in at all levels, whether it is through Environmental Impact Assessments, Strategic Environmental Assessment, or Integrated Environmental Assessment.

Delegates from Fiji speaking at the Convention on Migratory Species COP 11 in Quito, Ecuador

Focus areas of FAO’s support

1. Identification of regional proprieties to enhance the implementation of target MEAs on chemicals: In 2014, the focus of work was the validation of priorities in the three ACP regions and the exploration of institutional structures for implementation of the synergic activities on agriculture-biodiversity. This was done through three regional planning workshops that allowed key stakeholders to discuss needs and update priority areas of work at the regional level:

a. In the African region, priorities identified included the harmonisation of pesticide legislations and regulations, training on pesticide registration and risk assessment; identification and risk reduction strategies for Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs).

b. In the Caribbean region, it was agreed to prioritize updating of national legislations to meet the requirements of target MEAs, regional harmonization of pesticide legislation, regulation and registration, including adopting of a common pesticide labelling system; training on risk evaluation and remediation of contaminated sites.

c. In the Pacific region, priorities identified were the preparation of a regional harmonized registration system for pesticides; the establishment of a Regulators Forum to facilitate information sharing among regulators in the islands; support in developing strategies for container management and remediation of contaminated sites; promotion of alternative agricultural practices, e.g. IPM and organic agriculture.

2. Capacity building of regional and national authorities was planned to enforce the MEAs chemical cluster and the CBD. Training and workshops of pesticide regulators and Designated National Authorities on Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions enforcement, pesticide risk assessment, and safeguarding and disposal operations were planned for the three regions.

3. Provision of tools and databases to better support the implementation of the target MEAs. Four technical working groups met during 2014 to start the process of developing a pesticide registration toolkit, aimed at assisting pesticide registrars in the evaluation and authorization of pesticides. The existing Pesticide Stock Management System (PSMS) web-based tool, developed to assist countries in management of obsolete stocks in locust-affected countries, was also upgraded in 2014, and a first demo version was released for review and discussion.

To find out more information on the project, kindly visit:

The ACP MEAs is a joint EU-UNEP partnership project. This Newsletter has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the views, policies or official opinion of the European Commission, UNEP or contributory organizations. For more information on ACP MEAs please contact: Mr. Mamadou Kane ( Anjana Varma (

Created By
Anjana Varma


Photos are courtesy of National Geographic, Google images, with event photos provided by AUC, CARICOM, SPREP, FAO, UNEP.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.