RECETOX at the annual meeting of the regional centers of the Stockholm and Basel Conventions

Every year, the Stockholm and Basel Regional Centers directors meet to discuss ongoing projects and joint plans for the following year. Since it was appointed a Regional Center in 2007, RECETOX has been involved in building/strengthening expertise and technological capacities in Central and Eastern Europe and assisting other countries in the region in implementing both Conventions.

10 Dec 2021

This year’s event, which took place online on 23-24 November 2021, was attended by 23 representatives from centers around the world. Jewel Batchasingh from the Basel Convention Centre in Trinidad and Tobago chaired the meeting. At the annual meeting, Dr. Kateřina Šebková, the Director of the National and Regional Centers at RECETOX, shared the Centers’ experience with the other representatives. The representatives discussed the work plan of the Conventions and the tasks of the Regional Centers, namely technical support and capacity-building for the implementation of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and the Basel Convention on Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes, providing assistance and cooperation in capacity building and technology sharing for the management of chemicals, including also the Minamata Convention protecting human health and the environment from mercury emissions and releases caused by human activities. Other discussion topics included the substitution of banned chemicals, assessing current environmental risks, and monitoring environmental changes.

In addition to the regular schedule, the Centers worked on improving communication and awareness of both Conventions on the 20th anniversary of the Stockholm Convention signing and preparing the content for the annual campaign running from May 2021 to June 2022. Another task was preparation for the joint COPs meeting in Geneva from 6-17 June 2022. Also, the Centers shared information and experience in areas of collaboration such as science, research, seminars, new guidance documents, and further opportunities for cooperation.

The Regional Centers launched sixteen projects in 2021 to address global plastic production, disposal, and waste. Although the world has been affected by a global pandemic, there is increasing collaboration between the Regional Centers linking continents to help achieve common goals.

“It's great to see that all the centers are developing, building better facilities and teams, and have the capacity for bigger and more complex projects. It's a joy to see the shift - five years ago, many centers were organizing just a few activities per year, while now they are implementing million-dollar projects to remove mercury or POPs from the environment, dispose of waste PCB oils or help set up environmentally sound waste management. The differences between centers are narrowing. We complement each other well; this year, the necessity of "online life" has led to closer cooperation between the continents. As RECETOX, we are happy to be part of this dynamic network. We have a lot to be proud of, a lot to share, and a lot to learn…" says Katerina Sebkova, who also adds that the scope of activities is growing due to the increasing number of substances and topics that the centers support.

RECETOX reported on its activities in 2021: by sharing knowledge with others in the 17th International Summer School online and on its work in the CEE region (Moldova, Ukraine, Bosnia, and Herzegovina). The RECETOX supported development of evidence-based legislation and setting national priorities for countries in the region in the short term (three years). As the Regional Center, RECETOX acts as a strategic scientific partner for more than a dozen countries in Asia and Latin America; it supports collaboration and research projects monitoring toxic substances in the environment, education in chemical risk-assessment, and interdisciplinary cooperation in environmental health.

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