South Africa was selected as a site to establish Basel Convention Regional Centre for English-speaking countries in Africa in 1997. Africa Institute for the Environmentally Sound Management of Hazardous and other wastes, the Africa Institute in short, was established for this purpose as an inter-governmental organization in March 2004 through an agreement between member states. Botswana, Lesotho, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania, South Africa and Zambia have ratified the agreement as of today. The BCRC South Africa was formally established through a framework agreement that was signed between the Africa Institute and the Secretariat of the Basel Convention in 2012.
The same centre was nominated also to serve as Stockholm Convention regional centre in July 2010 for English speaking African Parties and has been endorsed since 2011 as the Regional Centre for Capacity-building and the transfer of technology by the Conference of the Parties of the Stockholm Convention.
In keeping with the synergy decision that was taken by the Parties to the Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam conventions, the Africa Institute also serves within the region to address the Rotterdam convention capacity-building initiatives as well. The Institute positions itself as a suitable vehicle that the countries in the region will use to also implement the Mercury treaty once it is finalized. Since the New Inception of the Institute (2009), a number of partnerships have been forged successfully and cooperation started working with:
- Government of Denmark
- Government of Sweden, through The Swedish Chemical Agency(KemI)
- Government of Finland, through MFA and with Finnish Environment Authority (SYKE)
- Relevant United Nations Agencies, such as UNEP, UNIDO, UNITAR
These Institutions provide much needed financial and technical support to the Institute, and allowed it to mount the critical skills, through current professional staff of the Institute. It was through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland that three professional staff members were employed; these are highly qualified personnel with Masters and Ph.D. qualifications in Chemistry, Environmental Management and Ecology. The Institute has implemented and executed a range of projects in most of the member countries, including the following:
- Program and Institutional Support for Establishment and Operation of the Africa Institute for Environmentally Sound Management of Hazardous and Other Wastes
- Management of Chemicals in English Speaking Africa Countries
- Ports Management – “Probo Koala” Project
- Capacity Strengthening and Technical Assistance for the Implementation of Stockholm Convention National Implementation Plans (NIPs) in African Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Islands Developing States (SIDS).
Angola, Botswana, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
For more information visit: www.africainstitute.info