The upcoming activities and the expected results of a two-year project "Strengthening synergies between the Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm and Minamata Conventions in the Republic of Serbia" were presented at the kick-off meeting in Belgrade on Wednesday, 20th February. Serbia has ratified and implements obligations of the Basel Convention on the control of transboundary movement and disposal of hazardous waste, the Rotterdam Convention on certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade, and the Stockholm Convention committing to determine, prohibit or restrict the production, trade, and use of long-lasting organic pollutants. Also, Serbia has signed the Minamata Convention on Mercury in 2014. and prepared the Minamata Initial Assessment on Mercury for Serbia, which is the basis for the ratification of the Convention.
This new project is jointly implemented by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), with the support of a special UN program for the environment. The aim of the project is to improve the cooperation of all competent institutions: line ministries, agencies, the scientific and research community, industrial and business sectors, and civil society organizations.
Addressing the participants of the meeting, Head of the Chemicals Management Department Sonja Roglic pointed out that the first step in establishing synergies between all four conventions was already made by the selection of a national focal points within the Ministry of Environmental Protection for each of the four conventions.
UNDP Team Leader for Resilient Development Zarko Petrovic pointed out that cooperation is very important for inclusive and vital development in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals, while chemical and waste management is one of the most important areas for their achievement.
Within the project, an integrated information system for the collection and processing of data required for reporting in the field of chemicals and waste management will be prepared, and a campaign for awareness raising of the general population is planned, with a focus on vulnerable and marginalized groups of population, the harmful effects of chemicals on human health and environment, as well as their proper use and disposal.