Important technical and legal steps were taken by two subsidiary bodies of the Basel Convention last week at meetings held in Nairobi, Kenya. The Basel Convention’s OEWG is at the heart of efforts to reach several of the 2030 sustainable development goals, while the ICC is central to measuring progress towards these goals. Highlights of these meetings include progress towards the establishment of a new public-private global partnership on household waste; progress on defining guidance to countries on the environmentally sound management of E-waste and POPs waste; and progress with 12 specific submissions concerning individual Parties’ compliance and on a range of other issues of implementation and compliance with the Convention.
Held back-to-back with the 2nd United Nations Environment Assembly, UNEA2, the 10th meeting of the Open-ended Working Group of the Basel Convention (OEWG-10) took place from 30 May to 2 June and focused on the development of guidelines that promote the environmentally sound management (ESM) of wastes and on improving national reporting. Some 210 experts gathered from all over the world, including representatives from national governments, international organizations, civil society and the private sector. With funding support provided by Denmark, Germany, Finland, Japan and Sweden, strong inputs were secured from developing countries.
OEWG10 - 13 decisions for more sustainable management of waste
A series of concrete steps were agreed, through the adoption of 13 decisions setting direction for further work on waste management until the next Conference of Parties, COP-13, which will be held in Geneva in April 2017. The OEWG provides a leadership role in the development of the technical guidelines for the ESM of specific wastes types or waste streams, which are especially useful in national waste management activities. OEWG-10 passed decisions relating to guidelines on the three newly-listed persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in the Stockholm Convention; and guidelines on e-waste, the fastest growing waste stream in the world today.
In particular, OEWG-10 adopted decisions agreeing ways forward for:
- Preparation of the mid-term evaluation of the strategic framework;
- Developing guidelines for environmentally sound management (ESM);
- The Cartagena Declaration on Prevention, Minimization and Recovery of Hazardous Wastes and Other Wastes
- Technical guidelines on persistent organic pollutant (POP) wastes;
- Technical guidelines on e-waste, including on further work before COP-13;
- National reporting;
- Providing further legal clarity;
- Consultation with the Committee Administering the Mechanism for Promoting Implementation and Compliance on guidance on the Basel Convention provisions dealing with illegal traffic;
- Follow-up to the Partnership for Action on Computing Equipment (PACE);
- The creation of a new partnership for the ESM of household wastes;
- Cooperation between the Basel Convention and the International Maritime Organization (IMO);
- Cooperation with the World Customs Organization (WCO) on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System; and
- The work programme for the OEWG for 2018-2019.
It is estimated that, by 2018, there will be 50 million metric tonnes of e-waste produced per year, far-outstripping current capacities to properly manage it in an environmentally and socially appropriate manner. E-waste is a fast-growing wastestream and poses a number of serious threats to human health and the environment. Conversely, if undertaken in an environmentally sound manner, e-waste recycling can offer sustainable livelihoods, green and decent work, and contribute to the development of a circular economy and the transition to a greener, more inclusive economy. The E-waste technical guidelines are designed to assist governments protect human health and the environment through sound management of waste, and also offer important clarification regarding the question of “what is waste” in order to guide receiving and sending countries as to which types of product constitute e-waste and therefore fall under the jurisdiction of the Basel Convention.
For more on the outcomes of this meeting, including the technical guidelines and other OEWG products, please go to our website.
ICC-12 – The Basel Convention’s Implementation and Compliance Committee
The 12th meeting of the Implementation and Compliance Committee of the Basel Convention (ICC-12)) took place on 4-6 June 2016, under the chairmanship of Mr Juan Simonelli (Argentina).
The goal of the Basel ICC is to assist Parties implement and comply with the Convention. ICC-12 considered twelve specific submissions regarding Party implementation and compliance. Among other things, the ICC decided that the compliance matters regarding Afghanistan and Togo were resolved, it approved two compliance action plans submitted respectively by Eritrea and Liberia as well as new compliance action submitted by Togo, and it monitored the progress made by Bhutan, Cabo Verde, Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau and Swaziland in implementing their compliance action plans with the support of the implementation fund.
ICC-12 also made progress on all the general issues of implementation and compliance under its work programme. It reached conclusions on:
- The development of guidance on illegal traffic;
- Further work towards the development of guidance on insurance, bond and guarantee;
- The classification of individual compliance performance with the national reporting obligation for 2013;
- Steps to improve the completeness and timeliness of national reporting, including a side event on national reporting during COP-13;
- Key issues pertaining to transit transboundary movements;
- The initiation of work towards the development of electronic approaches to the notification and movement documents; and
- Measures to improve the development of adequate national legal frameworks.
For more on the outcomes of this meeting, please go to our website.
Notes for editors:
- The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal is the most comprehensive international environmental agreement on hazardous and other wastes and has 183 parties. See www.basel.int.
- The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions, or BRS, supports parties implement the three leading multilateral environment agreements governing chemicals and waste, in order to protect human health and the environment. See www.brsmeas.org.
For more information, please refer to:
Programme Officer, for OEWG-10
Juliette Voinov Kohler
Legal officer, for ICC-12
Charlie Avis, Public Information Officer