Opening remarks by Kerstin Stendahl, Deputy Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, at the Launch of the Patent Landscape Report on E-Waste Recycling Technologies prepared in collaboration between WIPO and UNEP/BR
Geneva, 12 December 2013
Welcome everyone at the International Environment House and thank you to the Geneva Environment Network, who organized this event and provided the refreshments.
We are happy to present the result of a fruitful collaboration with WIPO related to e-waste, the “Patent Landscape Report on Electronic Waste Recycling and Material Recovery Technologies” to provide insight into how the patent and business literature can be probed to advance technical progress and maintain a competitive environment.
Concern about environmental damage caused by careless handling and disposing of e-waste was raised already more than a decade ago. E-waste is a priority waste stream under the Basel Convention since 2006.
Additional focus on hazardous flame retardants in e-products, the PBDEs, came up under the Stockholm Convention a few years later and lead to the ban of these compounds in 2009.
Environmentally sound management of e-waste is a complex task where issues of refurbishment, reuse, recycling, material recovery and disposal have to be considered. But also issues of waste avoidance and minimization including product design play an important role if we want to manage the life-cycle of e-products in a sustainable manner.
Clearly, a multi-stakeholder approach is needed where different groups and organizations with specialized expertise work together and contribute to a common goal.
We have the chance in Geneva to have many different UN organizations and we noticed with satisfaction a growing interest from many of them on matters related to e-waste.
The Secretariat is working closely, amongst others, with the ITU on a handbook on “Life-cycle management of ICT equipment’, with the International Labour Organization (ILO), which is, for example, exploring the flows of e-waste, the risks it poses to e-waste workers and the environment, as well as labour issues and regulatory frameworks and with WHO on e-waste and child/vulnerable populations’ health initiative.
All work areas are extremely important pieces of the mosaic we try to put together to get a better understanding of the complex picture of environmentally sound management of e-waste.
I give the floor first to WIPO and thereafter to Mr. Bradley, who will moderate and facilitate the discussion.
Today’s presentations will be available on the Geneva Environment Network website.