The Basel Convention was principally devoted to setting up a
framework for controlling the "transboundary" movements of
hazardous wastes, that is, the movement of hazardous wastes across
international frontiers. It also developed the criteria for
"environmentally sound management". A Control System, based on
prior written notification, was also put into place.
The Secretariats of the Basel and Stockholm conventions are
administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and
are located in Geneva, Switzerland. The Secretariat of the
Rotterdam Convention is jointly served by UNEP and the Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). It is based
in Geneva, Switzerland, and in Rome, Italy.
In 2012, the Secretariats of the Basel and Stockholm conventions,
as well as the UNEP-part of the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat,
moved from three separate secretariats with a programmatic
structure to a single Secretariat with a matrix structure serving
the three conventions. Since October 2014, Mr. Rolph Payet is
serving as the Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and
Stockholm Conventions. The FAO-part of the Rotterdam Convention
Secretariat is currently headed by the Executive Secretary, Mr.
The mandates of the Secretariats are laid out in Article 16 of the
Basel Convention, Article 20 of the Rotterdam Convention and
Article 19 of the Stockholm Convention. The principal functions are
to prepare for and service meetings of the conferences of the
parties and its subsidiary bodies, to receive and convey
information, to assist or facilitate assistance to parties upon
request and to coordinate with other international bodies.