Supporting development of environmental policies at the national level
In Togo, the Hub has recently partnered with the Ministry of Environment to develop an Integrated Environmental Policy, which will further strengthen the country’s commitment to protecting the environment through policy mechanisms.
In Liberia and Burkina Faso, the Hub is supporting the development of legislative and regulatory framework strategy for the sound management of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). POPs are organic chemical substances, which possess a particular combination of physical and chemical properties such that, once released into the environment, can be toxic to both humans and wildlife. The strategies – being developed by Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia and the Ministry of Environment, Green Economy and Climate Change in Burkina Faso – are expected to be completed by June 2017.
Some upcoming activities of the African Hub include a workshop on enforcement and compliance for biodiversity cluster MEAs, specifically CITES and CMS with a focus on elephant protection under the Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE)/Elephant Trust Fund to be held in end of April 2017 in Arusha, Tanzania as well as a workshop for Member States to promote ratification of the Nagoya and Kuala Lumpur Protocols to be held in May 2017 in Lome, Togo.
Tackling pesticides by training inspectors and customs officials on imported pesticides
In order to better manage and control imported pesticides, the Caribbean Hub organized a regional training workshop to equip the key players - pesticides inspectors and customs officers – with better knowledge and skills on this issue. Through the workshop, the participants gained a better understanding of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions (BRS Conventions) and their role in pesticides management and controlled importation. The training took place with a focus on teacher training – a successful method of capacity building in Caribbean Hub – which enables participants to carry forward the knowledge and train others at the national level.
The workshop also proved to be a platform for enhancing synergies and collaboration as it promoted national level cooperation between customs authorities and the pesticides inspectorate of various countries.
Held in Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia from March 15 to 17, 2017, the workshop was attended by 25 participants from 11 Caribbean ACP countries. It also served as a key example of institutional partnerships under the ACP MEAs 2 programme as it was a joint initiative between CARICOM and FAO. On the FAO side, the workshop was also supported by the GEF project for Disposal of Obsolete Pesticides including Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), Promotion of Alternatives and Strengthening Pesticides Management in the Caribbean.
Participants evaluated the workshop highly, giving it an average score of 4.7 out of 5 in the post-workshop evaluation. They indicated that it substantially increased their understanding of key topics such as pesticides inspection, incident investigation, the BRS Conventions, and the roles of customs and pesticides inspectors in pesticides management. They assessed the workshop as being highly relevant to their jobs. Within two weeks of the workshop, the organizers received information from participants about seizures of illegal pesticides in two countries, showing that the knowledge gained at the workshop was immediately being put to effective use.
Promoting the environmentally sound management of hazardous waste and other waste in the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI)
Transboundary movements of hazardous and other wastes has been a global issue with human health and the environment bearing the brunt of its adverse impacts. A number of multilateral environment agreements, most notably the Basel Convention, have created a framework at the international level to control and manage the movement of such waste. At the regional level, the Waigani Convention, similar to the Basel Covention, aims to ban the importation into Forum Island Countries of hazardous and radioactive Wastes and to control the trans-boundary movement and management of hazardous wastes within the South Pacific region.
The ACP MEAs Programme, thus, funded the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI) – a non-Waigani Convention member – to attend the Sixth Meeting of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC 6) for the Waigani Convention which was held on 20-21 February, 2017 in Nuku’alofa, Tonga. Recently, RMI has made great strides in increasing their commitments to waste management by introducing innovative waste management initiatives such as the Used Lead Acid Battery (ULAB) buy-back scheme, signing the first ever Basel Permit for the export of lead acid batteries for the country, mobilizing and raising awareness for sound waste management among the youth, to name just a few.
Participating at STAC 6 – a regional intergovernmental platforms for the Waigani Convention – not only enables regional-level collaboration but brings countries a step closer towards turning the tide on the fight against hazardous and other waste.