Geneva, 1 May 2015
Ahmad Fawzi, Director a.i. of the UN Information Service in Geneva, chaired the briefing. The Spokespersons for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the International Federation of the Red Cross, the United Nations Refugee Agency and the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, participated.
Allegations of Sexual Abuse in the Central African Republic
Asked about the case of Mr. Anders Kompass, an OHCHR employee who had allegedly leaked information on the ongoing investigation into sexual abuse of children by French peacekeepers in the Central African Republic, Mr. Fawzi informed that UN Spokesman in New York had made remarks on that issue the previous day; the remarks would be shared with the journalists.
Rupert Colville, for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), explained that there were two investigations under way, and because of that the OHCHR was very constrained in what it could say at this point.
The first, and the most important, investigation was into extremely serious allegations of sexual abuse of children by French soldiers in the Central African Republic. That was being investigated by the French authorities. The French authorities said publicly that that investigation had started on 31 July 2014.
The allegations about what happened to those children were abhorrent. The details, contained in interviews with alleged victims and witnesses by UN investigators in summer 2014, including one of our staff, were utterly odious. OHCHR was glad that the French authorities were investigating it and that they had said they planned to call for the harshest punishments available under the law for anyone found guilty. That was incredibly important, not just as a matter of accountability, but also as deterrence. There had been far too many incidents of peacekeeping troops engaged in such acts, whether within UN peacekeeping forces, or – as in the current case – forces that were operating independently. OHCHR had been cooperating with the French authorities and would continue to do so to the best of our ability.
Mr. Colville explained that the second investigation was internal, and was being carried out by Office of the Internal Oversight Services (OIOIS) at the request of the High Commissioner. A statement had been made about that by the Secretary-General’s Spokesperson in New York on 29 April, and there was not much to be added given that the investigation was underway. The investigation concerned the manner in which confidential information, and especially the identities of child victims and witnesses, as well as of the investigators, had been communicated to external actors in possible breach of strict rules that existed to protect victims, witnesses and investigators. Obviously, that was a matter of great importance, which was why such rules existed. Victims, witnesses and investigators might be extremely vulnerable to reprisals, and the OHCHR knew of plenty of cases elsewhere where they had disappeared.
In addition, sources, especially victims and witnesses, had to be able to give their informed consent before their identities were shared with third parties. In the case of young children — and the youngest of the victims is believed to have been between 8 and 9 years old — informed consent cannot be obtained.
OHCHR was extremely concerned that in recent days copies of the preliminary compilation of un-redacted interviews with those children appeared to have been given to journalists, possibly with the names still un-redacted, and urged any media organization or other individual that had that document not to circulate that information any further. The protection of sources had to be of paramount importance. As a concrete illustration of that concern, the OHCHR knew for a fact that at least one of the individuals named in this document had been contacted by a number of different media organizations over the previous few days, which was very worrying. The core issue here was the protection of witnesses, victims and investigators and whether or not that had been compromised, and indeed was still being compromised.
Mr. Colville clarified that the case in question did not concern UN peacekeepers. The French force in the CAR was not under the umbrella of the UN. Why would OHCHR – or indeed the wider UN — try to protect French troops accused of such odious acts against children by sitting on such information?
The timeline of events would obviously be clarified during the investigation, but it was incorrect to say that the collection of interviews had been submitted on 24 June. That was the date the last interview with one of the children had taken place. As far as the OHCHR was aware at this point, the document containing the interviews had been apparently sent to Geneva in mid-July, and the French said they had started their investigation on 31 July 2014.
Asked why the Attorney General of Bangui had not been informed of the document, Mr. Colville said that he had no knowledge of that.
If the violation had not occurred under the UN peacekeeping mandate, why the OHCHR was investigating it, a journalist asked. Mr. Colville said that the OHCHR had heard of allegations and started investigating, which was why the investigation had started. OHCHR was looking into various abuses around the world, regardless of who committed them.
A question was asked whether information was being given to Chadian and Ecuadorian Guinean authorities, given the alleged involvement of their troops in sexual abuse. Mr. Colville said that suggestions that there were culprits from those countries were tenuous, but that issue might well be covered by the French investigation. Mr. Colville stressed that it was often more likely to identify culprits if the investigation was conducted quietly and without revealing identities of victims, witnesses and investigators.
Answering another question, Mr. Colville said that it would be the French authorities who would deal with their troops. Each contingent had the responsibility to ensure that its actions were in line with the international law standards. There were several layers of investigations, added Mona Rishmawi, also from the OHCHR, who put emphasis on the victims, who were very young and vulnerable, and now they were put in a position to be stigmatized. She explained that the OHCHR had internal protocols on how to deal with that.
On whether the 10 boys had been protected since being interviewed, Mr. Colville said that measures had been taken to protect them, but no further details could be provided. One person named in the document had been contacted numerous times by the media in the previous days. He refused to divulge which person, saying that providing any more details would obviously further undermine their protection.
Christophe Boulierac, for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), added that the children had been interviewed in May/June 2014, and UNICEF had been part of the interviewing team, in order to ensure that the interviews were conducted in line with the child protection guidelines. UNICEF could confirm that the children had been provided medical support and psycho-social assistance. There had also been follow-up visits by social workers. Mr. Boulierac added that the children were safe now. Protection was an issue, as was the stigma. Journalists who legitimately wanted to investigate the topic should understand that the protection issues were still pending. The children ought to continue being protected, and UNICEF had to ensure that that was indeed the case.
Comment was made that there had been similar cases in the past, when Sri Lankan blue helmets had committed similar offences in Haiti, and Moroccans in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. What had been done about those offenders by their countries? Mr. Colville said that serious crimes committed by peacekeepers should go under proper judicial process and punishment. There had to be zero tolerance on sexual abuse, rape, violence, which was the fundamental position of the OHCHR. He could not provide details of Moroccan and Sri Lankan troops and referred journalists to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.
Mr. Fawzi explained that an elaborate report had been produced then, specifying zero tolerance as the policy, and some soldiers had been convicted for those abuses. A comprehensive strategy to eliminate future sexual exploitation and abuse in peacekeeping, the so-called “Zeid report”, which had been authored by the current High Commissioner for Human Rights, had been published in 2005. That was in many ways the definitive report and set of recommendations on sexual abuse in peacekeeping operations. So the High Commissioner was particularly knowledgeable about the issue. Any allegation that he or his predecessor Navy Pillay would try to cover sexual abuse was absurd.
Mr. Colville could not comment on whether Mr. Kompass had admitted that he had leaked the report. Investigation was under way. Mr. Colville referred to the statement made by the UN Spokesman.
On why there had been no reaction by the UN to protect the children immediately in early May, once the first interviews had been conducted, Mr. Boulierac said that the last child had been interviewed at the end of June. UNICEF with partners had provided support in a very short time span. Support had been provided as soon as UNICEF had been asked to do so, in May/June 2014.
Asked how many cases of sexual abuse during peace-keeping operations had gone through the full process and how many were still pending, Ms. Rishmawi said that the United Nations applied the Human Rights Due Diligence Policy. A UN screening policy was in place for people involved in human rights violations; certain appointments, especially of commanding officers, were blocked by the UN because those people were complicit in human rights violations. The relationship between the peacekeeping troops and the United Nations was difficult because the troop contributing countries (TCCs) kept their structures in place. It was one of those systemic problems, as the UN did not have its own forces as such, and had to rely on TCCs for providing troops.
Mr. Colville explained that the media had issued the un-redacted report in the previous few days only. As far as the OHCHR was aware at this point, the preliminary compilation of the unredacted interviews had arrived in Geneva in mid-July 2014, and the French authorities had commenced their investigation in late July 2014.
Responding to the questions on the suspension of Mr. Kompass, Mr. Colville explained that he was on administrative leave with full pay. There was presumption of innocence while the investigation was ongoing. The SG Bulletin of February 2007 (ST/SGB/2007/6) dealt with the issue of confidential information.
A journalist asked for the list of peacekeepers condemned for sexual abuse since the 2005 Zeid report. Mr. Colville said that it was normally the Department of Peacekeeping Operations dealing with such abuses; that was where the investigations were taking place. Ms. Rishmawi said that when the OHCHR had presence in a country where there were allegations of human rights violations, regardless of who committed them, they would normally look into those allegations. The current case was complex as it involved very young children. She explained that the OHCHR had been following up on a number of countries, from which troops had allegedly committed offences. Detailed information would be sought from other departments, primarily from the DPKO.
Mr. Colville could not provide much information on the French investigation and could not comment on the length of the investigation. French authorities had to be asked about details. There were no indications that there should not be confidence in the way the investigation was being conducted.
On whether protection measures had been taken for other children, Mr. Boulierac said that UNICEF had increased its activities following the interviews. He reiterated that there was still ongoing violence in the CAR, and the overall situation was still very worrying for the children in the CAR.
Answering a question, Mr. Colville said that it was possible that there could be more cases of such abuses, but there was no information at this point.
Benoit Matsha-Carpentier, for the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), stated that the Burundi Red Cross had a network 150,000 volunteers which were running first aid at that moment referring patients to the hospital and they were monitoring the situation.
Christine South, also for the IFRC, stated that they were increasingly focused on the outline areas. As it was written in the previous day’s press release, through the network of Nepal’s Red Cross and 2,100 volunteers and 34 national response teams, the IFRC had already got access to some of the remote areas. There they carried out assessment and had provided basic assistance, such as first aid, distribution of tarp poles, aqua taps and other materials in the areas of Sindhupalchok, Malachy, Saltara – both in the north. The IFRC had very good visual communication with photographs of the situation. People were in a very desperate need in some of those villages, where 90 percent of the houses were destroyed, and people were living in wet conditions with the rains having started. Thus, the priority was to provide more assistance into those areas.
Japanese, Canadian, Philippines and Hong Kong Red Cross teams, with basic health care units had arrived. Those teams were now allocated and starting to work on set up in those villages and districts, as well as in Dhunche, Rasuwa, Pakora and Nagarkot. The needs in those districts were huge in terms of water and sanitation, shelter, food and medicines. The IFRC was focused on shelter with the distribution of tarp poles and sanitation needs. Government and private donors were providing a lot of water, but sanitation was a major gap so Nepal Red Cross was looking to build 90 latrines in Kathmandu to address immediate needs and mass sanitation modules were been mobilized as first priority.
Ms. South said that the IFRC was experiencing the same problems as other partners, including congestion at the airport, but things seemed to be moving and one flight of non-food items had arrived the previous day and another tonight. German and Spanish Red Cross had delivered aid via flights by their Governments.
The IFRC was also focused on communication because of the community outreach, and they were starting to work on radio slots to help to provide information on distributions, health and hygiene. An operations update was expected to be available online today and the emergency appeal would be revised the following week.
An effort was made to enable people to stay as close as possible of their communities, to minimize transitional shelter and looking at community solutions as much as possible, so people could be returning to their homes as soon as they were safe.
A family link website had been restored, and was available in English and Nepali. It had had one million visits in a few days.
Asked about the complaints of the Nepali people about how quick the aid was, especially in isolated areas, Mr. Carpentier said that the logistical constrains were very challenging. The Nepal Red Cross and the IFRC were involved in disaster risk reduction and preparedness before the earthquake and there was a strong contingency plan. The Nepal Red Cross, before the earthquake had had stock for providing support to 19,000 people, which they had been using while waiting for the international assistance to arrive.
Mr. Boulierac informed that despite technical restrictions at the airport in Kathmandu, a UNICEF cargo flight had arrived this morning with 44 metric tons of relief supplies (tents, blankets, and first aid kits). That delivery was in addition to 41 tons of supplies that had been delivered in the country during the previous 48 hours and 30 tons that had been pre-positioned before the quake.
UNICEF was in the process of decentralizing its actions in order to ensure that aid and services were delivered quickly and efficiently to the affected areas outside Kathmandu. Mr. Boulierac mentioned that 1.7 million children were in urgent need of humanitarian assistance in the 21 most affected districts. Mr. Boulierac also informed that UNICEF was putting its efforts primarily on children with the provision of drinking water, hygiene kits, tents and medical supplies.
Tarik Jašareviæ, for the World Health Organization (WHO), said that the WHO had just completed assessment of 22 hospitals in the most affected districts in Nepal. Four district hospitals had been badly damaged, and some of them were only partially functioning. No additional medical workers were needed, but what were needed were supplies. There were more than 60 foreign medical teams in the country, whose capacities were currently being matched with the needs on the ground. The number of trauma patients was decreasing, and the focus now was on the prevention of communicable diseases. No unusual increase in the number of diarrheal diseases had been reported so far.
Elisabeth Byrs, for the World Food Programme (WFP), said that a WFP-chartered planeload of 50 metric tons of high-energy biscuits had arrived in Kathmandu the previous day for urgent distribution to affected people affected by the earthquake.
WFP was distributing food to survivors in some of the hardest-hit districts in Nepal. Food distributions had begun in Gorkha district and Dhading district, and would roll out to more priority districts in the coming days.
In its emergency response, the WFP was also supporting logistics for the entire humanitarian community, and was using a hub at Kathmandu airport to help manage the flow of relief cargo arriving by air.
Ms. Byrs informed that the WFP needed USD 116.5 million to provide food for 1.4 million people in Central and Western Nepal for three months. For common services related to logistics, air transport and telecommunications the WFP required another USD 34 million over the next three months.
Rice delivered by a helicopter had been distributed to 1,700 people on 29 April in Gumda and Ghyachok localities and neighbouring areas in a hard-to-reach mountainous region in Ghorka district. Low cloud and rain, as well as the rough terrain with few landing zones, made deliveries of assistance by helicopter challenging.
WFP was pushing ahead to push food into more of the hardest-hit districts with the aim of completing distributions in some six remote districts in the coming days. WFP was asked by the Government to focus on food distributions in the most remote parts of Nepal, and aimed to reach a total of 1.4 million people in Central and Western regions. The Government was planning to focus on food distributions in Kathmandu Valley.
Ms. Byrs specified that the WFP had around 2,000 metric tons of food in Nepal at various locations and had already begun distributing that food in the worst-affected areas. WFP was also in the process of buying more food locally and in India. High-energy biscuits had also arrived by air for immediate distribution. The so-called “food pipeline” was not empty.
Asked about the dissatisfaction of the Nepalese people regarding the slow delivery of aid, Ms. Byrs responded that the UN could not do miracles, given logistics challenges and infrastructure. WFP had had a logistics hub set up at the Kathmandu airport, which was fully operational. A huge effort was being done by all UN agencies. Distribution had been started as soon as it was possible; 2,000 metric tonnes of food were currently available and the helicopter was doing its maximum given the conditions. UN was gearing up aggressively, and the operations were being scaled up.
On the exact figure of arrivals and departures from the airport, Mr. Carpentier and Ms. South said that there were set time slots. Flights with goods from Dubai had been ready for several days, but they could not be brought in until now. It was not only flight slots, but also getting deliveries out of the airport, that constituted a complex logistics challenge.
Mona Rishmawi, also for the OHCHR, informed that she had headed an OHCHR delegation to the Maldives from 20 to 23 April to examine the broader issues related to the criminal case against former President Mohammad Nasheed, who was serving a 13-year prison sentence.
After meetings with Government and judicial officials, civil society members and with Mr. Nasheed, the delegation’s findings suggested that, however serious the allegations against him, the trial of Mr Nasheed had been vastly unfair and his conviction had been arbitrary and disproportionate.
In the absence of an adequate criminal code, evidence law, and criminal procedures, the Prosecutor-General and the judges had excessive discretionary powers that worked in this case against Mr Nasheed. He had learnt about the new charge under the Terrorism Act only upon arrest. Following a rushed process that had taken place over less than three weeks, at night, and often without the presence of Mr. Nasheed’s lawyers, he had been convicted and sentenced. Importantly, the court had denied Mr. Nasheed the possibility to prepare and present adequate defence, including calling defence witnesses, and examining the evidence against him.
Ms. Rishmawi stated that the judiciary has wide discretionary powers that do not work to the benefit of fair trial.
OHCHR once again stressed the need for the authorities to allow an environment conducive to political dialogue in the country to resolve several highly political cases.
During the visit, the OHCHR team had stressed to the Government the need to ensure the safety of Mr. Nasheed. The team had been told that all appropriate measures to safeguard his security, well-being and health would be taken. Mr. Nasheed was in a high-security prison now.
The OHCHR would, of course, continue to engage with the Government on those issues and would continue to monitor the situation closely.
Answering a question, Ms. Rishmawi said that there was no proper evidence code or procedural code, and the judges had extreme discretionary powers. If a former President was treated like that, what about a regular person? Questions were raised on the fairness of the entire system, and not only with regard to the former President. OHCHR saw the principle of fair trial as the main issue at stake. The current structures allowed for huge discretionary powers and the international pressure could help fix the flaws.
On whether the former President had expressed any hope of release, Ms. Rishmawi stated when the delegation saw him, he was in a minimum security prison. He seemed to be in good spirits, but was not relaxed as he was facing 13 years in prison; he also worried a lot about his safety. OHCHR had stressed that the Government was responsible for his safety to ensure that he is not exposed to various dangers.
Asked whether there was any recourse to appeal, Ms. Rishmawi said the time of the appeal had been reduced from 90 to 10 days. Mr. Nasheed was not able to get all the necessary documentation in those 10 days. What was left was that the current President still had clemency powers. Mr. Nasheed had a team of very good lawyers, who had had access to him. Following his conviction and transfer to high security prison, it was not clear whether he would have the same access to his lawyers and family.
Ms. Rishmawi informed that the following week, the Maldives was scheduled to be looked at during the Universal Periodic Review at the Human Rights Council.
Mr. Colville said that the OHCHR was deeply concerned about the series of measures taken this week by Burundian authorities to seriously curtail the exercise of the rights to freedom of peaceful expression and assembly.
The reported use of live ammunition by intelligence and security forces during protests was particularly alarming and the OHCHR urged the authorities to ensure that international standards, including the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, were fully respected.
Hundreds of people had been detained since the demonstrations had begun on 26 April. According to one credible report, over 400 individuals were being held in extremely overcrowded conditions, with detainees having to sleep standing up. Detainees had also been beaten, particularly on their feet and buttocks, with some of those released having trouble walking due to the beating.
With the electoral campaign due to officially begin in just nine days, the OHCHR was calling on the authorities to ensure the space necessary for the conduct of free and fair elections. Restricting independent coverage by closing radio stations, curbing live coverage of protests and curbing the use of social media would not succeed in quashing dissent. Freedom of expression and the right to information had to be protected.
As the High Commissioner had stressed during his visit to Burundi just two weeks earlier, “Criticism is a vital element of democracy, not a threat that must be crushed. The right to freedom of expression and opinion is enshrined in international treaties ratified by Burundi, and the Government is obliged to uphold those treaties.”
On whether Burundi was at the danger of descending into civil war, Mr. Colville said that the early warning statement by the High Commissioner a few weeks before had been issued with exactly that in mind. Refugee movements had already been taking place. Ethnic element had not been the issue at the time of the High Commissioner’s visit.
The numbers of persons killed stood at least six persons, and one soldier shot dead, according to the local Red Cross.
OHCHR had not addressed the issue of limits of presidential terms. The Arusha Agreement had specified two terms, whereas the Constitution was a bit more ambiguous.
Mr. Boulierac stated that UNICEF was preoccupied by the situation in Burundi, where children might become victims of the confrontations both in and around Bujumbura. He informed on violations of children’s rights since the protests had begun in and around Bujumbura on 26 April, with children drawn into protests, detained and wounded physically, as well as the case of a child killed.
Mr. Boulierac reminded that Burundian and international laws clearly established the obligation to respect the rights of children and protect them against violence. Government forces and Burundian security should ensure that children were taken out of any movement that put them at risk and threatened their physical integrity. UNICEF was coordinating with the OHCHR verification visits to prisons in Bujumbura, and was auditing the number of schools that had closed because of insecurity in the municipalities of Bujumbura. Among the thousands of people who had crossed borders to Rwanda there were many children. UNICEF was supporting the response primarily in water and Sanitation, Early childhood, Child protection and Nutrition. However, the exponential growth in the numbers of refugees required additional resources to quickly scale up the response and ensure readiness for additional new arrivals.
Babar Baloch, for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), said that the latest updated figures for Burundians fleeing the country stood at over 26,000. Over 21,000 had gone to Rwanda, 4,000 to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the rest to Tanzania.
Mr. Fawzi would subsequently provide more information on the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy visit to Burundi.
Sarah Bel, of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), announced a press release from the Climate Vulnerable Forum, whose Secretariat was hosted at the UNDP. Ms. Bel also announced three reports which described the negative impact of climate change on human rights, labour productivity and migration. The reports were conducted by leading experts and summited today to the UNFCCC. The negotiation around emission reduction was focused on achieving a goal of 2 degree temperature rise.
The reports highlighted that if the international response to climate change was not more ambitious, fundamental rights would be seriously undermined, displacement of people would increase, and tropical counties’ economies would lose billions of dollars. For instance, the Report on the Impact of Labour Productivity showed that the number of work hours would be lost because of extreme heat, which directly would impact GDP of tropical countries. The 20 countries of the Climate Vulnerable Forum called for a more ambitious climate change agreement and for more substantive plans to reduce emissions so that global temperature increase gets limited to 1.5 Celsius.
Consultations on Syria
Mr. Fawzi informed that the UN-run closed consultations on Syria, separately with each party, would take place in Geneva the following week. There would be no photo opportunities or press stakeouts. The Special Envoy would hold a press conference in Press Room III on 5 May at 11:30 a.m. No major communique or document was expected. Progress would be assessed within several weeks and the Special Envoy would inform the Secretary-General about it. UN photographer and UNTV would take some photos and footage and provide them to the press corps. UN Information Service would be provided with occasional updates, which could be shared with the media.
Mr. Fawzi said that a new spokesperson for the Special Envoy would be on board shortly and her contacts would be shared in due course. The Office of the Special Envoy would be moving due to the upcoming ILO and WHO assemblies.
Asked whether a few cameras would not be allowed in, Mr. Fawzi said that professional quality image would be provided by UNTV.
Suggestion was made to allow for taking photos at the beginning of the session, as per earlier practice. Mr. Fawzi reiterated that the Special Envoy wanted to limit it to one UN photographer and UN videographer. The mediator insisted that his consultations remained closed, private and confidential.
Mr. Fawzi explained that the consultations would commence on 5 May in the afternoon, following the Special Envoy’s press conference. It was difficult to predict duration of any meeting; that depended on the size of the delegation and other factors at play. There would be no meeting of the delegations; they were meeting separately with the Special Envoy or the Deputy Special Envoy. The Special Envoy had received replies from some invitees and no replies from others.
On which countries had been invited, Mr. Fawzi said that the Special Envoy had invited as many parties as possible. He did not have the concrete list of countries.
Speaking for the Human Rights Council, Mr. Fawzi said that the Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review Working Group would start its session on 4 May, and it would last until 15 May. Fourteen countries would be reviewed. An update would be sent out later in the day.
Catherine Huissoud, for the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD), informed that the Commission on Science and Technology for Development would take place from 4 to 8 May. The Commission would focus on two priority themes – Strategic foresight for the post-2015 development agenda and digital development – as well as the progress made in implementing the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).
On 6 May, a high-level panel would discuss the theme of strategic foresight and how it could help policymakers gain insight on future STI trends, thus enabling them to allocate resources in a way that prepared societies for disruptive change.
In particular, the panel would review technologies that could help policymakers manage food and water resources more efficiently, and assist them in addressing growth in energy demands while simultaneously moving to more sustainable energy systems.
The high-level panel would also examine the theme of digital development and look at new technologies that could bridge the digital divide and contribute to job growth in developing countries.
According to recent estimates, the segment of the population between 15 and 24 would comprise 75 per cent of the workforce by 2025. However, it would be necessary to strengthen the digital capabilities of millennials in developing countries to enable them to transition from being ICT users to digital innovators.
The third main theme of the CSTD would be the Ministerial Roundtable on 4 May on the 10-year review of progress made in implementing the WSIS outcomes. An interactive debate would follow the Roundtable and continue through 5 May.
Charlie Avis, for the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, informed that the 2015 triple Conference of Parties would take place in Geneva, from 4 to 15 May. It would be the 12th meeting of the COP to the Basel Convention, the 7th meeting of the COP to the Rotterdam Convention, and the 7th meeting of the COP to the Stockholm Convention. Some meetings would include joint sessions. More than 1,500 delegates were expected. A press conference on the 2015 Triple COPs: Setting the Scene for Sustainable Management of Chemicals and Waste, Worldwide would take place in Press Room I on 4 May at 2:30 p.m. Speakers would include Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, Rolph Payet, Executive Secretary of Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions, and Clayton Campanhola, FAO Executive Secretary of Rotterdam Convention.
Source: The United Nations Office in Geneva (UNOG)