ISLANDS Press Release: UPOPs Awareness Raising Campaign

The GEF ISLANDS Programme aims to support small islands developing states (SIDS) to enter a safe chemical development pathway through strengthening their ability to control the flow of chemicals, products, and materials into their territories and to unlock resources for long term management of chemicals and wastes in SIDS. The two (2) Caribbean child projects, GEF 10279 and 10472 seek to address the sound management of chemicals and waste across twelve (12) project countries (Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, The Dominican Republic, Guyana, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago).

The open burning of accumulated waste is one of the major environmental issues in the Caribbean and it is still widely practiced throughout the region. This is largely due to insufficient waste management infrastructure and a lack of awareness of the risks to human health and the environment. One of these risks involved with open burning is the release of harmful Unintentional Persistent Organic Pollutants (UPOPs), which are toxic, man-made, hazardous chemicals that have dangerous effects on the environment and our health. Short-term exposure to UPOPs may result in skin lesions such as chloracne, patchy darkening of the skin, and altered liver function.

With the aim to reduce these risks and address the issue of open burning of waste, the BCRC-Caribbean has initiated Activity 2.1.3 under the ISLANDS Caribbean child projects.

The objectives of this activity are to:

  • Develop an awareness raising campaign for UPOPs and promote best available techniques and/or best environmental practices (BAT/BEP) to minimize UPOPs emissions and;
  • Promote BEP to prevent and minimize UPOPs emissions from the open burning of waste in the Caribbean region.
  • Develop a mobile app for two (2) selected project countries based on the criteria outlined in the Assessment Phase of the activity.

This activity commenced with the Virtual Inception Workshop on 14 September 2023, to introduce the Consulting Team engaged to support the execution of this activity to the project stakeholders.

Representatives of the National Working Groups (NWGs) from the project countries were in attendance. Opening remarks were provided by, Ms. Laura Teixeira, Project Execution Officer II of the BCRC-Caribbean, as well as Ms. Yolanda Cachu on behalf of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Mr. Shahad Ali, Lead of the consulting team that will be spearheading the work under this activity.

The consultancy is expected to run for 15 months, from September 2023 to November 2024. Following this inception meeting, the consultants will proceed with conducting the assessment phase for this activity, where they will engage with stakeholders to gather information on the current situation in each of the project countries as it relates to the issue and management of open dumping and burning of waste.

The BCRC-Caribbean thanks all stakeholders for their support of the activity thus far and looks forward to its successful execution as part of the wider programmes towards protecting human health and the environment.

Follow our website and social media pages for updates on this exciting project.

For more information, please contact Ms. Laura Teixeira via email at and/or Mr. Michael Liu via email at



The Implementing Sustainable Low and Non-Chemical Development in Small Island Developing States (ISLANDS) Programme is a $515-million, five-year initiative backed by the Global Environment Facility (providing $61 million), supporting 33 Small Island Developing States in four regions – the Atlantic, Caribbean, Indian and Pacific to reduce and manage toxic waste in their territories. ISLANDS is led by the United Nations Environment Programme, in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the Inter-American Development Bank.

About the UN Environment Programme 

The UN Environment Programme is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

About the Global Environment Facility 

The Global Environment Facility is the largest multilateral fund working to enable developing countries to invest in nature. It supports the implementation of international environmental conventions on biodiversity, climate change, chemicals, and desertification. Since 1991, it has provided more than $21.7 billion in grants and blended finance and mobilized an additional $119 billion in co-financing for more than 5,000 projects and programmes.

About the BCRC-Caribbean

The BCRC-Caribbean is one of 14 global regional and coordinating centres established under The Basel Convention. The Centre serves 15 Caribbean countries that are Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm, and Minamata Conventions and assists them with implementing their international obligations to manage wastes and chemicals and protect human health and the environment.