March-April 2015: Minamata regional workshops back to back with BRS COPs preparatory meetings

Following a first series of 12 sub-regional workshops held between March 2014 and February 2015, the Interim Secretariat is organizing, together with the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS), a new round of regional workshops to support ratification and effective implementation of the Minamata Convention, back to back with the regional preparatory meetings to the 2015 BRS Conventions conferences of the parties (COP).

Two joint Minamata and BRS Conventions regional meetings have been held so far, for Asia and the Pacific in Jakarta from 17 to 20 March 2015 and for Africa in Nairobi from 24 to 27 March 2015. The Asia and the Pacific meetings were attended by 160 participants, including 103 government representatives from 39 countries, and the Africa regional meetings were attended by 163 participants, including 140 government representatives from 43 countries.

The Asia and the Pacific regional meetings were opened on Tuesday 17 March 2015 by His Excellency Mr. Muhammad Ilham Malik, Deputy Minister for Hazardous Substances, Hazardous Waste and Solid Waste Management, Ministry of Environment and Forestry of Indonesia, Her Excellency Ms. Yvonne Baumann, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Switzerland to Indonesia, Mr. Rolph Payet, Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, Mr. Jacob Duer, Coordinator, Interim Secretariat of the Minamata Convention, and Mr. Ridwan Tamin, Head of the Regional Center for the Basel and Stockholm Conventions in Indonesia.

The Africa regional meetings were opened on Tuesday 24 March 2015 by Mr. Geoffrey Wahunga, Director General, National Environmental Management Agency of Kenya, Ms. Gabi Eigenmann, Federal Office for the Environment of Switzerland, Mr. Rolph Payet, Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions and Mr. Tim Kasten, Deputy Director, UNEP DTIE.

The aim of the Minamata regional workshops is to support countries in their efforts towards ratification and effective implementation of the Convention, building on lessons learned from previous sub-regional workshops. They represent an opportunity to discuss progress to date and possible areas of cooperation within the region as well as preparations for the seventh session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee and COP1.

Intergovernmental organizations and UN Agencies that play an important role in supporting efforts towards ratification and implementation of the Convention, including the GEF, UNDP, UNIDO, UNITAR, WHO, UNEP, Basel and Stockholm Regional Centres as well as several NGOs active in the respective regions also took part in the meetings.

Two additional Minamata and BRS regional meetings will be held in April 2015: for Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia from 7 to 10 April in Bratislava, Slovakia, and for Latin America and the Caribbean from 14 to 17 April, in Montevideo, Uruguay.

The regional workshops on the Minamata Convention are organized thanks to the generous support of the Governments of Switzerland and Norway.

Compendiums for the workshops will be made available here.

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