Why does the Special Programme matter?

The Special Programme aims to support institutional strengthening at the national level for implementation of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, the Minamata convention and the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM).

Through the Special Programme, support can be provided to developing countries and countries with economies in transition to enhance their sustainable institutional capacity to develop, adopt, monitor and enforce policy, legislation and regulation and to gain access to financial and other resources for effective frameworks for the implementation of the legally binding chemicals and waste conventions and SAICM.

Mandate

In June 2014, at its first meeting, the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) adopted the terms of reference for a Special Programme in Resolution UNEA 1/5 II. The Special Programme is to be funded by voluntary contributions and will support institutional strengthening at the national level to enhance the implementation of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, the Minamata Convention and the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management. The resolution requests UNEP to establish and administer the Special Programme and its Trust Fund as well as to provide a Secretariat to deliver administrative support to the Programme.
The Special Programme intend to support country-driven institutional strengthening at the national level, in the context of an integrated approach to address the financing of sound management of chemicals and wastes, taking into account:

  • National development strategies, plans and priorities of each country; and
  • Increase sustainable public institutional capacity for the sound management of chemicals and wastes throughout their life cycle.

Further information can be found in the terms of reference of the Special Programme.

Governance

The secretariat of the Special Programme is hosted within UNEP’s Chemicals and Waste Branch in DTIE and became operational in 2015.

The Executive Board is the decision making body and oversees the Special Programme with the support of the secretariat. The term of its representatives is in a two years rotation. The Executive Board is composed of 10 representatives.

The representatives from recipient countries on the Executive Board are: Kenya representing Africa, Pakistan representing Asia and Pacific, Brazil and Argentina representing Latin America and the Caribbean (noting that these countries will share the two-year term), Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia representing Central and Eastern Europe, and Yemen representing least developed countries and small island developing States.
The donor representatives on the Executive Board are: the European Union, Finland, Germany, Sweden, and the USA. 

Contributions

The Special Programme is open to receive voluntary contributions and applications for support for seven years from the date it is established. Contributions are encouraged from all signatories and parties to the conventions. Governments in a position to do so, as well as the private sector and other stakeholders, are encouraged to mobilize the financial resources for the effective establishment and quick start implementation of the Special Programme.

The Trust Fund for the Special Programme is established at United Nations Headquarters and is open to receive funds since September 2015. Significant contributions have been pledged to the Special Programme from the European Union, the Government of Finland, the Government of Sweden, the Government of USA, the Government of Germany, the Government of Austria and, Government of the Netherlands and the Government of Norway.

Eligibility for support from the Special Programme

  • To avoid duplication and proliferation of funding mechanisms and associated administration the Special Programme funds activities that fall outside the mandate of the Global Environment Facility
  • Support from the Special Programme is available for developing countries, taking into account the special needs of least developed countries and small island developing States, and for countries with economies in transition, with priority given to those with least capacity
  • Applicants are eligible if they are party to any one of the relevant conventions or have demonstrated that they are in the process of preparing for ratification of any one of the conventions
  • Applications must include identification of the associated domestic measures to be taken to ensure that the national institutional capacity supported by the Special Programme is sustainable in the long term
  • The Special Programme receives applications directly from national Governments

Range of funded activities

  • Identifying national institutional capacity weaknesses, gaps and needs, as well as strengthening the institutional capacity to do so, where required
  • Strengthening institutional capacity to plan, develop, undertake and monitor
  • Coordinate the implementation of policies, strategies and national programmes for the sound management of chemicals and wastes
  • Strengthening institutional capacity to improve progress reporting and performance evaluation capabilities
  • Promoting an enabling environment to foster the ratification of the Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm conventions and the Minamata Convention
  • Enabling the design and operation of institutional structures dedicated to the promotion of the sound management of chemicals and wastes throughout their life cycle
  • Strengthening institutional capacity to promote measures to support all aspects of the sound management of chemicals and wastes, including more specific nationally identified thematic areas covered by the Instruments