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Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB)

Volume 20 Number 39 | Sunday, 5 June 2016


Summary of the Tenth Meeting of the Open-ended Working Group of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal

30 May-2 June 2016 | Headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Nairobi, Kenya


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The Tenth Meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (OEWG10) convened from 30 May to 2 June 2016 at the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi, Kenya. In total, some 230 participants attended the meeting, including 175 delegates representing 95 parties, 14 representing the six Basel Convention Regional Centres, one intergovernmental organization, 30 representing 17 non-governmental organizations, and nine representing business and industry.

OEWG10 adopted 13 decisions on, inter alia: 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 wastes; technical guidelines on waste electrical and electronic equipment, including on further work before the thirteenth meeting of Conference of the Parties (COP13); national reporting; providing further legal clarity; cooperation with the Committee Administering the Mechanism for Promoting Implementation and Compliance (ICC), including on guidance on Basel Convention provisions dealing with the consequences of illegal traffic; follow-up to the Partnership for Action on Computing Equipment; the creation of a new partnership for the ESM of household waste; cooperation between the Basel Convention and the International Maritime Organization); cooperation with the World Customs Organization on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System; and the work programme for the OEWG for 2018-2019.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BASEL CONVENTION

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal was adopted in 1989 and entered into force on 5 May 1992. The Convention addresses concerns over the management, disposal and transboundary movements of hazardous wastes produced worldwide. The guiding principles of the Convention are that: the generation and transboundary movements of hazardous wastes should be reduced to a minimum; and hazardous wastes should be managed in an environmentally sound manner, treated and disposed of as close as possible to the source of generation, and minimized at the source. There are currently 183 parties to the Convention.

At the sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention (COP6) in 2002, parties created the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) as a subsidiary body to the Convention. The OEWG assists the COP in developing and continuously reviewing the implementation of the Convention’s workplan and specific operational policies and decisions for the implementation of the Convention. The OEWG considers and advises the COP on issues relating to policy, technical, scientific, legal, institutional, administrative, financial, budgetary and other aspects of the Convention’s implementation, including the training and technology transfer needs of regions and the functioning of the Basel Convention Regional Centres (BCRCs). Beyond these tasks, the OEWG prepares its workplan for the COP’s consideration and reports to the COP on the activities carried out between COP meetings.

COPs 1-6: The first meeting of the COP to the Basel Convention (COP1) was held from 3-4 December 1992. COP1 adopted a decision requesting industrialized countries to prohibit transboundary movements of hazardous wastes for final disposal to developing countries and noting that transboundary movements of wastes for recovery or recycling should be handled in an environmentally sound manner. In 1995, at COP3, this decision was translated into an amendment to the Convention, known as the Ban Amendment, which bans the export of hazardous wastes for final disposal and recycling from Annex VII countries (Member States of the European Union, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, and Lichtenstein) to non-Annex VII countries. To date, there are 86 ratifications of the Ban Amendment and it has not yet entered into force.

Regarding the wastes subject to the Ban Amendment, in 1998 COP4 adopted lists of hazardous and non-hazardous wastes as Convention Annexes VIII and IX, respectively. COP5, convened in 1999, adopted the Basel Protocol on Liability and Compensation for Damage Resulting from Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, which currently has 11 of the 20 ratifications required for it to enter into force. At COP6, held in 2002, parties established the OEWG and adopted decisions on issues relating to Convention implementation, amendments of the Convention and its annexes, and institutional, financial and procedural arrangements. COP6 also agreed to promote further cooperation between the Basel Secretariat and other organizations and secretariats involved in chemicals management.

OEWG1: At its first meeting (28 April-2 May 2003, Geneva, Switzerland), the OEWG agreed to prepare general and specific technical guidelines (TGs) on the environmentally sound management (ESM) of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) wastes. The OEWG also approved its first work programme, which included, inter alia, initiating work on other hazardous characteristics in addition to those listed in Annex III and preparing technical guidelines on the ESM of metals and metal compounds and wastes resulting from surface treatment of metals and plastics.

OEWG2: At its second meeting (20-24 October 2003, Geneva) the OEWG considered, inter alia: the draft instruction manual for the implementation of the Protocol; national definitions of hazardous wastes; and preparation of technical guidelines on POPs wastes, including wastes with low-POPs content (LPC). OEWG2 established an intersessional working group on legal aspects of the full and partial dismantling of ships.

OEWG3: At its third meeting (26-30 October 2004, Geneva), the OEWG considered the legal aspects of ship dismantling. The OEWG forwarded to COP7 a final report on issues related to Annex VII countries, including the costs and benefits of ratifying the Ban Amendment, and adopted a work programme for the Basel Convention Partnership Programme launched at COP6. OEWG3 also continued to consider definitions of LPC and environmentally-sound methods of destruction and irreversible transformation methods for POPs wastes. The Working Group considered a draft training manual to combat illegal traffic of hazardous and other waste.

COP7: At the seventh meeting of the COP (25-29 October 2004, Geneva), delegates considered decisions on a range of issues relating to the BCRCs, the Partnership Programme, institutional arrangements, the Ban Amendment, and the Protocol. COP7 also adopted decisions on definitions of hazardous wastes, hazardous waste characteristics, and several technical guidelines.

OEWG4: At its fourth meeting (4-8 July 2005, Geneva), the OEWG: encouraged pilot projects and workshops to support the Mobile Phone Partnership initiative launched in 2002; continued its work on ship dismantling; approved an instruction manual on the Basel Protocol; and agreed to establish a relationship with the UN Subcommittee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals to further work on hazard characteristics.

OEWG5: At its fifth meeting (3-7 April 2006, Geneva), the OEWG: discussed abandonment of ships and ship dismantling; forwarded to the COP draft technical guidelines for the ESM of wastes containing or contaminated with several POPs as well as amendments to the general technical guidelines on POPs waste; approved the training manual on illegal waste; and clarified the procedure for reviewing and adjusting the lists of wastes contained in Annexes VIII and IX.

COP8: At the eighth meeting of the COP (27 November-1 December 2006, Nairobi, Kenya), delegates adopted a declaration on electrical and electronic waste (e-waste) and more than 30 decisions on, inter alia: the implementation of the Strategic Plan; synergies and cooperation; e-waste and end-of-life equipment; ship dismantling; amendments to the general technical guidelines for the ESM of POPs wastes; and guidelines for the ESM of wastes.

OEWG6: At its sixth meeting (3-7 September 2007, Geneva), the OEWG discussed a review of the BCRCs and established a workplan to guide its consideration of e-waste and interim group arrangements for a Partnership for Action on Computing Equipment (PACE), which was subsequently launched in 2008. On ships, the OEWG approved guidance on the abandonment of ships on land or in ports. The OEWG also began consideration of the ESM of mercury wastes and continued work on POPs wastes.

COP9: At the ninth meeting of the COP (23-27 June 2008, Bali, Indonesia), delegates adopted more than 30 decisions on, inter alia: cooperation and coordination; review of the BCRCs; the Partnership Programme; the Strategic Plan; and technical matters. Switzerland and Indonesia announced a country-led initiative (CLI) inviting key players to discuss in an informal manner issues related to transboundary movements of hazardous wastes, especially to developing countries.

OEWG7: At its seventh meeting (10-14 May 2010, Geneva), the OEWG: considered PACE, the Indonesian-Swiss CLI, and technical guidelines on e-waste; revised the guidelines on the Mobile Phone Partnership Initiative; agreed to draft technical guidelines on the co-processing of hazardous waste in cement kilns, and to launch intersessional work to revise the technical guidelines for mercury wastes.

OEWG8: At its eighth meeting (25-28 September 2010, Geneva), the OEWG continued work on the technical guidelines on e-waste and POPs wastes. The OEWG agreed to work on technical guidelines for the new POPs added to the Stockholm Convention in 2009. As a follow-up to the Indonesian-Swiss CLI, the Working Group agreed to develop a glossary to provide further legal clarity about the interpretation of key terms, and thereby enhance implementation.

ExCOPs1: The first simultaneous extraordinary meeting of the Conferences of the Parties (ExCOPs1) to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions was held 22-24 February 2010 in Bali, Indonesia. Delegates adopted an omnibus synergies decision on joint services, joint activities, synchronization of the budget cycles, joint audits, joint managerial functions, and review arrangements.

COP10: At the tenth meeting of the COP (17-21 October 2011, Cartagena, Colombia), delegates adopted decisions on the new strategic framework and the Indonesian-Swiss CLI to improve the effectiveness of the Basel Convention. The CLI decision clarifies the interpretation of Article 17(5), and provides that the Ban Amendment will enter into force once 66 of the 87 parties that were parties when it was adopted at COP3, ratify the Amendment. COP10 also adopted 25 decisions on, inter alia: synergies; BCRCs; capacity building; the Partnership Programme; and technical matters. The Cartagena Declaration on the Prevention, Minimization and Recovery of Hazardous Wastes was also adopted.

COP11: At the eleventh meeting of the COP (28 April - 10 May 2013, Geneva), delegates adopted over 20 decisions on, inter alia: strategic issues; scientific and technical matters; legal, compliance and government matters; technical assistance; international cooperation, coordination and partnerships; resource mobilization and financial resources; programme of work; admission of observers; and a memorandum of understanding with UNEP.

ExCOPs2: The second simultaneous extraordinary meeting of the Conferences of the Parties (ExCOPs2) to the BRS Conventions was held in conjunction with the back-to-back meetings of the COPs from 28 April - 10 May 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland. Delegates adopted, inter alia, an omnibus decision on enhancing cooperation and coordination among the BRS Conventions.

OEWG9: At its ninth meeting (16-19 September 2014, Geneva), the OEWG adopted decisions on, inter alia: technical guidelines on e-waste and wastes containing POPs and mercury; a glossary of terms to provide legal clarity; and national reporting. OEWG9 also considered its future working arrangements.

COP12: At the twelfth meeting of the COP (4-15 May 2015, Geneva), delegates adopted 25 decisions, including those approving seven POPs wastes technical guidelines, updated technical guidelines on mercury wastes, and, on an interim basis, technical guidelines on e-waste. COP12 also adopted decisions on, inter alia: follow-up to the Indonesian-Swiss CLI; the roadmap for action on the implementation of the Cartagena Declaration; national reporting; technical assistance; PACE; and the OEWG programme of work and operations for 2016-2017.

OEWG10 REPORT

Co-Chairs Lloyd Pascal (Dominica) and Santiago Dávila Sena (Spain) opened OEWG10 on Monday morning, 30 May 2016. Kerstin Stendahl, Deputy Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions, emphasized the importance of the OEWG’s work to strengthening the Basel Convention and the broader chemicals and waste cluster. She also underscored that many of the agenda items “form the building blocks” to help the Basel Convention respond to the waste challenges in today’s world and contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Recalling that the SDGs stress the importance of partnerships, she noted the successful partnerships the Basel Convention has had in the past and the importance of OEWG10 discussions towards a new partnership addressing household wastes.

Co-Chair Dávila Sena introduced the members of the OEWG10 Bureau, including himself as Co-Chair for legal issues, Pascal as Co-Chair for technical matters, Shruti Rai Bhardwaj (India) as Vice-Chair for technical matters, Gordana Petkovic (Serbia) as Vice-Chair for legal matters, and Petronella Rumbidzai Shoko (Zimbabwe) as Rapporteur.

The Netherlands, on behalf of the European Union (EU) and its Member States, highlighted issues on the agenda of particular importance to the EU, namely: the glossary of terms and definitions; possible amendments of Convention Annexes I, III, IV and IX; the inventory of existing Basel Convention guidance on ESM and a reflection on the best way to provide effective guidance in the future; the e-waste TGs; and the new partnership on household wastes. He also highlighted current work within the EU on creating a circular economy, and suggested that the Basel Convention and its Strategic Framework might benefit from a similar shift from a waste management approach to a life-cycle approach.

Uruguay, for the Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC): emphasized support for capacity building, technical assistance and technology transfer for the effective implementation of the Convention, and the role of the BCRCs in supporting GRULAC countries. She suggested the Convention should have supplementary financial mechanisms, additional to those earmarked for other conventions, in instances defined case-by-case by the ICC and acknowledged the opportunity for the Basel Convention and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development represented by the Technology Facilitation Mechanism. She expressed interest in making progress on outstanding issues in the e-waste TGs with a view to achieving adoption of the finalized TGs at COP13; supported finalizing the glossary; called for a gradual process regarding possible amendment of Annexes I, III, IV and IX; and supported updating outdated TGs, such as those on lead-acid batteries.

Egypt highlighted its national 2030 sustainable development plan and management plan for e-waste, and stressed the importance of the BCRCs for the implementation of the Convention. Liberia, on behalf of the African Group, said the e-waste guidelines are a high priority for the region, and called for good progress on the various TGs under consideration at OEWG10.

Parties then adopted the agenda (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/1 and Add.1) and agreed to the proposed organization of work (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/INF/1 and INF/2), with Pakistan noting the limited capacity of small delegations to attend parallel contact group sessions.

MATTERS RELATED TO THE WORK PROGRAMME OF THE OPEN-ENDED WORKING GROUP FOR 2016-2017

STRATEGIC ISSUES: Strategic Framework: On Monday, the Secretariat introduced the report on preparation of the mid-term evaluation of the strategic framework (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/2).

Canada introduced its proposed revision of the draft decision on the mid-term evaluation of the strategic framework (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/CRP.1) and, echoed by Switzerland, suggested that parties have the opportunity to comment on the draft mid-term evaluation report before the Secretariat finalizes it. Thailand, with the EU and Japan, supported the proposed action. China and Cuba highlighted the importance of taking into account the mid-term evaluation results in the 2018-2019 biennium work plan and budget cycle. The OEWG took note of the information provided and agreed to discuss Canada’s proposal later in the session in order to give delegations more time to review it.

In the plenary on Thursday, delegates considered the draft decisions proposed by Canada (CRP.1) and by the EU (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/CRP.7). Stressing the importance of the mid-term evaluation, Canada supported the EU proposal and suggested funding be made available to carry out the work. Delegates adopted the draft decision proposed by the EU (CRP.7) without amendment. 

Final Decision: In the decision (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/ CRP.7), the OEWG:

  • invites parties to provide to the Secretariat, by 30 September 2016, information for the year 2015 relevant to the indicators listed in Section V of the strategic framework set out in the annex to decision BC-10/2, as requested in paragraph 17 of the strategic framework, using the format for reporting developed by the Secretariat;
  • requests the Secretariat, on the basis of the information received, to prepare a draft report on the mid-term evaluation of the strategic framework to be available by 15 November 2016 on the Basel Convention website;
  • invites parties and others to provide comments to the Secretariat on the draft report, by 15 January 2017; and
  • requests the Secretariat to prepare a revised draft report, taking into account the comments received for consideration at COP-13.

Developing Guidelines for Environmentally Sound Management: On Monday, the Secretariat introduced notes on: developing ESM guidelines (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/3); revised draft practical manuals for the promotion of the ESM of wastes (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/INF/3); revised draft fact sheets on specific waste streams (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/INF/4); a draft outline of guidance to assist parties in developing efficient strategies for achieving the prevention and minimization of the generation of hazardous and other wastes and their disposal (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/INF/5); inventory, categorization and analysis of existing Basel Convention documents related to ESM (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/INF/6); a report of the activities undertaken by the expert working group on ESM (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/INF/7); and draft outlines of practical manuals on extended producer responsibility and financing the ESM of wastes (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/INF/7/Add.1).

GRULAC supported the draft decision on developing guidelines for ESM. Thailand highlighted the importance of practical manuals on ESM. Liberia, for the African Group, supported the improvement of manuals. Indonesia stressed the importance of capacity building for their implementation.

New Zealand stressed the need for collaborative work between BRS Conventions. Argentina recalled that the guidelines are not legally binding, but rather are good practices available to countries.

Canada requested discussing questions raised in the information paper on the inventory of existing Basel Convention documents related to ESM, noting that such discussions could provide directions for future work. With Switzerland and the EU, she proposed a contact group on this agenda item.

A contact group on strategic matters was created, to address this and other matters, co-chaired by Angela Patricia Rivera Galvis (Colombia) and Prakash Kowlesser (Mauritius).

In discussions on Tuesday, the contact group recommended that the technical guidance on ESM be targeted to specific audiences in both longer and shorter formats, and that a consistent format should be set for presenting information about the pilot projects, so that users can easily find the information relevant to their areas of interest. The Secretariat explained that an Internet portal on ESM is under development, and will be available in time for COP13 in 2017.

In informal discussions on Tuesday, some contact group members developed recommendations for questions to be addressed in a user survey to assess the value and utility of the technical guidance contained in the inventory of Basel Convention documents related to ESM. The participants in the informal discussion proposed that the survey should be a 10-15 minute online survey with no open-ended questions, which will inquire about frequency and extent of use of the documents listed in the inventory of technical guidance, user preferences, and whether and how users are disseminating the information. The group also recommended that the survey should identify respondents in terms of their country, agency and position, and that the results, when released, should be aggregated and not linked to specific countries. Based on the questions drafted, the group requested the Secretariat to develop such a questionnaire to assess the relevance and utility of the technical guidance documents on ESM.

In plenary on Thursday, OEWG10 Co-Chair Dávila Sena introduced the draft decision, explaining that the contact group had agreed that the expert working group should continue its work, and that an online survey will be carried out.

The Basel Action Network (BAN) called for invitations to “parties” to be revised as “parties and others” to permit observers to respond. Canada, the EU, Switzerland and the US supported this proposal, and the decision was adopted.

Final Decision: In its final decision (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/CRP.10), the OEWG, inter alia:

  • requests the Expert Working Group on ESM to continue to develop activities, subject to the availability of resources, to implement its work programme;
  • welcomes the revised draft practical manuals for promoting ESM and the revised draft fact sheets on specific waste streams, and invites parties and others to submit comments to the Secretariat by 30 September 2016;
  • requests the Expert Working Group to continue its work to develop draft practical manuals on extended producer responsibility and financing systems for ESM, and to make them available by 31 October 2016 for comments; and invites parties and others to comment to the Secretariat by 15 December 2016;
  • requests the Expert Working Group to take these comments into consideration and to finalize the draft practical manuals and fact sheets for consideration and possible adoption by COP13;
  • requests the Secretariat to develop an online survey to assess the relevance and utility of the Basel Convention documents related to ESM, as outlined in document UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/INF/6, based on the guidance provided in the annex, and to make it available to parties by 15 September 2016;
  • invites parties to respond to the online survey by 15 November 2016; and
  • requests the Secretariat to prepare a report on the survey results for COP13.

An annex to the decision provides “Guidance to the Secretariat for the development of an online survey to assess the relevance and utility of the Basel Convention documents related to ESM.”

Cartagena Declaration on the Prevention, Minimization and Recovery of Hazardous Wastes and Other Wastes: On Monday, the Secretariat introduced the relevant documents, including a draft outline of guidance to assist parties in developing efficient strategies for achieving prevention and minimization of the generation of hazardous and other wastes and their disposal (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/4 and INF/5).

GRULAC called for the decision to include a reference to capacity building and, with Thailand, on technical assistance. Pakistan stressed the need for technology transfer to reduce wastes at the source. The African Group called for reference to financial support. China asked for mentioning best available environmental practices. Brazil highlighted the possibility of using the Technology Facilitation Mechanism for promoting implementation of the Cartagena Declaration.

The Island Sustainability Alliance CIS Inc. (ISACI) stressed the link between the proposed resolution and the prevention of land-based marine pollution, and the decision of the second United Nations Environment Assembly (-2) on marine plastic litter and microplastics.

The Global Diagnostic Imaging, Healthcare Information Technology and Radiation Therapy Trade Association (DITTA) called for including definitions of waste and life-cycle management of electronic material.

The Strategic Matters Contact Group met on Monday evening to discuss the EU discussion paper on guidance to assist parties in developing strategies for the prevention and minimization of hazardous wastes (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.INF/5), and its proposed draft outline of the guidance (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/CRP.3). Contact Group Co-Chair Rivera Galvis reported back to plenary on Tuesday that the group had completed its draft outline and table of guidelines, and invited parties to submit their comments for consideration at COP13.

On Tuesday afternoon and evening, the contact group discussed the draft decision text. One regional group, supported by a BCRC, called for making technology transfer happen through the Technology Facilitation Mechanism. Another regional group preferred more general text as presented in the UNEA-2 resolution on delivering on the 2030 Agenda. Representatives from the two regional groups met informally to draft compromise language.

On Wednesday afternoon, the contact group revisited the draft decision text and considered a proposal from a regional group of developing countries. Several developed country delegates expressed concern that the proposal highlighted specific paragraphs from the UNEA-2 decision on the roles of UNEP and UNEA in delivering on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with regard to means of implementation, technology transfer, human rights and gender equality. They stressed that these paragraphs should not be taken out of the context of the UNEA-2 decision.

A developing country delegate questioned why technology transfer could not be referenced in the OEWG decision, if others had no objection to this. Some developed country delegates said that the OEWG, as a subsidiary body, should not be addressing a broad international process that procedurally would be more suitable as a COP decision.

After informal discussions to resolve their differences, the contact group reviewed and agreed to new text that parties adopted without further discussion. ISACI expressed interest in contributing to the content of the guidance called for in the decision, especially on public health matters.

Final Decision: In the final decision (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/CRP.9), the OEWG invites COP13 to consider the outcome of UNEA-2, in particular the resolutions on sound management of chemicals and waste, sustainable consumption and production (SCP), marine plastic litter and microplastics, and delivery on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It also recalls Article 10 of the Basel Convention on international cooperation, and paragraph 12 of the Cartagena Declaration, which encourages parties, signatories and others in a position to do so to assist in capacity building and technology transfer for waste prevention and minimization in regions needing such assistance.

Furthermore, the OEWG:

  • encourages parties and other stakeholders to continue to undertake activities to implement the road map for action on the implementation of the Cartagena Declaration, and to provide information on such activities to the Secretariat;
  • welcomes the work undertaken by the expert working group on ESM to develop a draft outline of guidance to assist parties in developing efficient strategies for achieving the prevention and minimization of the generation of hazardous and other wastes and their disposal;
  • requests the Expert Working Group on ESM to continue its work to develop the draft guidance referred to above, on the basis of the revised outline set out in the annex to the decision, and to make it available by 31 October 2016 for comments by parties and others;
  • invites parties and others to submit comments on the draft guidance by 15 December 2016; and
  • requests the Expert Working Group to revise the draft guidance, taking into account the comments received, for consideration by COP13.

SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL MATTERS: Technical Guidelines for ESM of wastes consisting of, containing or contaminated with POPs: On Monday, the Secretariat introduced the relevant documents (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/5, INF/18-21). Pakistan called for these TGs to address in detail acceptable methods for destroying POPs wastes. Canada suggested extending the deadline for comments to October 2016. Australia suggested that the low-POPs content (LPC) issue be discussed by a contact group.

Norway said it wanted to phase out POPs, and preferred that the POPs level allowed in wastes should be set as low as possible. Recalling that Stockholm Convention Article 6 calls for POPs in waste to be destroyed or irreversibly transformed so that they no longer exhibit POPs characteristics, he said POPs waste should not be recycled, as some have suggested. South Africa agreed that the lowest possible LPC level should be set based on peer-reviewed research. The EU expressed satisfaction that the LPC levels suggested match those in EU legislation, and noted that the EU has adopted a new LPC level for hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD).

Kenya called for the TGs to address unintentionally produced POPs (UPOPs) to provide two sets of guidelines, with one focused on specific UPOPs and the other providing a comprehensive list of UPOPS and containing general guidelines.

Saying that the draft POPs TGs are generally “excellent” and that LPC values may cause problems in remediation of sites contaminated with POPs, India suggested that setting LPC values should be deferred. Argentina called for providing TG drafts in all the official UN languages, not just English.

The International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN) called for establishing LPC thresholds based on sound science that is protective of human health instead of political, ideological or market considerations, and suggested LPCs of 50 ppm for polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), 100 ppm for HBCD and 1 ppb for polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and furans (PCDD/Fs).

A Technical Matters Contact Group, co-chaired by Magda Gosk (Poland) and Jane Stratford (UK), was created and charged with discussing the LPC values proposed in INF/23, discussing and revising INF/18-21, and preparing a draft decision on the POPs TGs.

The group started work on this topic on Tuesday with a discussion on LPC, with most interventions reiterating positions taken in plenary. The group decided to invite parties to submit formal comments to the Secretariat on LPC values to be included in the TGs and related information, including on studies, taking into account relevant information from the Stockholm Convention. The Secretariat would be requested to provide COP13 with a compilation of these comments and related information.

The group then turned to organizing work on the draft TGs with a view to their adoption at COP13. The group was briefed by lead authors on the background and rationale for each of the proposed POPs wastes TGs, and then discussed possible workplans. Based on these discussions, a decision was drafted with specific workplans in an annex, including those regarding: revising the draft technical guidelines set out in documents INF/18-21; revising the General TGs on the ESM of POPs wastes and TGs on the ESM of POP pesticides wastes; and consideration of LPC.

Technical Matters Contact Group Co-Chair Stratford introduced the draft decision on Thursday and explained the thinking behind it. OEWG10 Co-Chair Pascal noted that some of the TGs still lacked lead countries and urged countries to consider volunteering so that the Secretariat did not have to do the work itself. The decision was adopted without discussion.

Final Decision: In its final decision (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/CRP.14), OEWG10:

  • welcomes the contribution made by Japan in taking the lead in updating TGs on ESM of wastes consisting of, containing or contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polychlorinated terphenyls (PCTs), or polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) including hexabromobiphenyl set out in document UNEP/CHW/OEWG.12/5/Add.5/Rev.1 to include polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCNs), and the offer made by Canada to take the lead in updating the general TGs on ESM of wastes consisting of, containing or contaminated with POPs set out in document UNEP/CHW.12/5/Add.2/Rev.1;
  • invites parties and others to submit to the Secretariat, by 15 September 2016, comments on the draft TGs on: hexachlorobutadiene (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/INF/18); pentachlorophenol and its salts and esters (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/INF/19); PCBs, PCTs, PCNs or PBBs including hexabromobiphenyl (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/INF/20); and unintentionally produced polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins, polychlorinated dibenzofurans, hexachlorobenzene, PCBs, pentachlorobenzene or PCNs (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/INF/21);
  • invites parties and others to submit to the Secretariat, by 15 November 2016, comments on the first revised drafts of the general TGs on POPs and the TGs on pesticides, which are to be revised to include hexachlorobutadiene and pentachlorophenol and its salts and esters;
  • invites parties and others to submit to the Secretariat, by 28 February 2017, comments on the second revised drafts of the general TGs and the TGs on pesticides;
  • invites parties and others to submit to the Secretariat, by 15 December 2016, taking into account relevant information from the work undertaken in the framework of the Stockholm Convention, further comments on the LPC values included in the existing and draft technical guidelines, and on related information, including on: countries’ implementation and related challenges; analytical capabilities for measuring POPs content; and studies, as referred to in the annex to the decision; and
  • agrees to work in accordance with the workplans set out in the annex to the decision.

Technical guidelines on transboundary movements of electrical and electronic waste and used electrical and electronic equipment, in particular regarding the distinction between waste and non-waste under the Basel Convention: On Monday, the Secretariat introduced the relevant documents (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/5, INF/22).

Noting many issues remain unresolved in the interim TGs on e-waste adopted at COP12 (UNEP/CHW.12/5/Add.1/Rev.1), the African Group, with Trinidad and Tobago, highlighted the lack of strong regulatory frameworks and environmentally sound facilities for treating e-waste and near-end-of-life electronic equipment, and suggested updating the TGs on e-waste. 

Iran, with the State of Palestine, suggested the producing company and the exporting country provide the importing country with information on hazardous compounds contained in the used equipment, and that the exporting country should be responsible for e-waste disposal.

Noting the interim TGs on e-waste was a significant achievement at COP12, Australia, Japan, the EU, Norway and Switzerland suggested the OEWG focus its discussion on the remaining issues listed in Appendix V of the interim guidelines, and that the Secretariat collect information on the practical application of the guidelines among parties, as a basis for adopting new guidelines at COP13.

New Zealand welcomed the distinction between waste and non-waste, and urged parties applying the guidelines to accumulate and share their practical experience without delay.

Highlighting that the e-waste issue poses great risks to developing countries, China, with Uruguay, stressed the urgency to resolve the remaining issues in Appendix V of the interim guidelines.

Brazil called for revising the interim TGs on e-waste focusing on hazardous wastes that can be recycled, and highlighted that the classification of a waste as hazardous must be determined by the text of the Convention. 

Thailand underscored that hazardous wastes resulting from repair and refurbishment should be returned to the exporting country for ESM, unless the importing country had facilities to treat it in an environmentally-sound way.

Bangladesh called for technical assistance to implement the guidelines.

South Africa suggested information about the manufacturing date and the expected lifespan of products is made available to inform the decision of developing countries on purchasing or accepting donations of secondhand goods.

Noting the imperfection of the interim TGs on e-waste adopted at COP12, India suggested adding trade-related issues to the TGs and re-opening the discussion for greater clarity. Kenya suggested focusing on the unresolved issues mentioned in Appendix V without adding others. 

BAN cautioned that a loophole exists for exporting e-waste with the claim that it is repairable used equipment, and urged the OEWG “to remedy the mistake made at COP12.”

Saying her country and region cannot afford to treat e-waste, Cook Islands urged for enforcing extended producer responsibility and incorporating international best experience into national standards.

Indonesia, with the Dominican Republic, stressed the need for making a distinction between waste and non-waste.

DITTA stressed the need for exemptions for medical devices as non-wastes.

The OEWG agreed to mandate the Technical Matters Contact Group to consider the comments received on the interim TGs on e-waste summarized in INF/22 and those comments made in plenary and to prepare a decision on how to reach agreement on the remaining issues of the interim e-waste TGs.

In its initial deliberations on Monday evening, the group addressed residual lifetime and age of used equipment. The group noted the difficulty of establishing common criteria, given the variability of many factors, including the type of equipment, its maintenance, and the relevant country situation. When discussion of this issue resumed on Wednesday, a developing country suggested, and it was generally agreed, that a single approach to this question could not be adopted and country-based criteria should be used. The group also agreed that approaches to determining residual lifetime other than the three suggested in formal comments submitted can be collected.

Turning to the unresolved issue of obsolete technologies, including cathode ray tubes (CRTs) on Wednesday, delegates noted the lack of a clear and common definition of “obsolete technologies.” A developed country proposed referring this question to the small intersessional working group (SIWG). An observer proposed, and delegates agreed, to differentiate CRTs contained in specialized equipment such as medical and broadcasting equipment from those in consumer products such as televisions. An observer, supported by several countries, further proposed three different categories: banned technology; obsolete hazardous technology not banned; and expendables that are toxic, such as certain batteries and toner cartridges.

On the management of hazardous wastes from failure analysis, repair and refurbishment operations in developing countries, an observer warned against trade exemptions, and stressed exporting countries should take back the waste if not found to be legitimate repair or refurbishment cases, saying that otherwise it would contradict the Ban Amendment and undermine the basis of the Convention. Many countries raised the problematic situation where both exporting and importing countries do not have ESM facilities. They also stressed the exporting country’s responsibility for determining whether there can be ESM disposal of wastes in the destination country. One developed country suggested the use of a certification mechanism. A regional group stressed the Ban Amendment does not apply to trade of used equipment that is not yet waste at the moment of export.

An observer, supported by a developed country, stressed the need for work on country notification when opting-in to allow imports or exports of used electrical and electronic equipment destined for failure analysis, repair or refurbishment as a control mechanism. A developing country suggested using national reporting mechanisms. Delegates then debated the legal and feasibility aspects of this notification, stressing the importance of written consent.

The contact group agreed to request the SIWG to redraft the e-waste TGs to take into account these discussions.

Co-Chair Gosk introduced a draft decision on Wednesday afternoon. The contact group debated a number of issues, including: the breadth of the mandate to give to the SIWG; what sort of reference, if any, to include regarding the Ban Amendment and a legal assessment of its probable impact on e-waste; the necessity of collecting more information on experience, and difficulties encountered, in implementing the guidelines; whether to solicit another round of comments on all outstanding issues, or just restrict it to certain ones; and how best to increase participation in the SIWG and recruit a lead country for the SIWG.

When Gosk introduced the revised draft decision to the Thursday plenary, she outlined its main elements. The EU, Japan, India and Pakistan suggested minor amendments to the decision text, and after these were incorporated into the text and read aloud to the plenary, the decision was adopted as amended.

Final Decision: As amended and agreed orally during plenary, the final decision (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/CRP.16):

  • invites interested parties and others to join the SIWG on e-waste;
  • invites interested parties to consider serving as lead country, or to provide financial support, for further development of the TGs, in consultation with the SIWG;
  • requests the Secretariat to send out a questionnaire, to be developed in consultation with the SIWG, to parties and others by 29 July 2016, in order to elicit information on their experiences in the implementation of the TGs and request responses by 15 January 2017;
  • requests the Secretariat to prepare a compilation of questionnaire responses received for consideration by COP13; and
  • invites parties and others to provide comments on the issues mentioned in paragraph 5 of decision BC-12/5 to the Secretariat by 30 October 2016, and requests the Secretariat to publish the comments received on the Basel Convention website and prepare a compilation of all the comments for consideration at COP13.

The OEWG also mandates the SIWG, working by electronic means and, subject to availability of funding, through a face-to-face meeting, to further explore options for addressing outstanding issues, in particular those contained in Appendix V of the TGs, taking into account the following:

  • the residual lifetime and age of used equipment may be based on country-level criteria;
  • the management of hazardous wastes resulting from failure analysis, repair and refurbishment operations in developing countries may focus on ESM, and that the transboundary movement of such hazardous wastes should take place in case of the non-availability of ESM in the importing country;
  • the potential link between the Ban Amendment and these TGs should be examined;
  • the concept of obsolete technologies, including the link with subparagraph 5(d) of decision BC-12/5, should be further clarified, taking into consideration other relevant multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) and country-level criteria;
  • the differences between consumer goods and special-purpose equipment, such as medical equipment, should be examined when referring to CRTs, in the context of subparagraph 31(b) of the TGs should be taken into account in references to CRTs; and
  • the procedure of party notification referred to in item 1 of Appendix V should be further examined in terms of its practicality and legal implications.

The Secretariat is requested to provide legal advice and report on progress in the implementation of the present decision for consideration by COP13.

Consideration of whether to update the technical guidelines on incineration on land, on specially engineered landfill and on physico-chemical treatment and biological treatment: On Monday, the Secretariat introduced this item by discussing the relevant portion of its note on technical guidelines (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/5).  Co-Chair Pascal noted that no party has offered to lead on this issue, and the Secretariat has not received any offer to fund this work.

Argentina, Colombia, Canada, India, South Africa and China supported work to update these TGs to reflect the technological advancements since their development and adoption. Colombia stressed they are in the process of preparing legislation on requirements for stored hazardous wastes and incineration of wastes, and Canada underlined that revising guidelines is part of the core mandate of the Convention and should not be impeded by financial constraints.

The EU stressed that the need for this update should be examined based on experience and other guidelines in the context of the whole programme, to see if this is a priority.

The Technical Matters Contact Group was mandated to consider whether the three TGs should be updated, and to propose a decision.

On Thursday, Technical Matters Contact Group Co-Chair Gosk reported to plenary that, after liaising with the Strategic Matters Contact Group, it had been decided to add these three TGs to the list of ESM guidance marked for possible updating, and that a statement should be read into the report of OEWG10 saying that the OEWG recommends that COP13 consider whether these TGs should be updated, taking into account the results of the survey contained in the decision on Developing Guidelines for ESM (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/CRP.10).

National reporting: On Monday, the Secretariat introduced its notes on national reporting (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/6) and on a report including a proposal for a list of hazardous waste streams for which practical guidance on inventory could be developed (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/INF/8). India supported the list in its current form. Kenya suggested that some important waste streams were omitted from the list, such as vehicle spare parts, and suggested reviewing and revising the list.

Switzerland supported the idea of guidance on waste stream inventory, but suggested testing the guidance by focusing on a more limited list of waste streams. The EU said only hazardous wastes should be in the waste streams list developed by the Secretariat, and asked for deleting reference to waste tires. They also asked that waste codes be provided for all items in the list.

While generally supporting the preparation of guidance on inventory of waste streams, Iran stressed that any effort must be accompanied by adequate financial and technical assistance so that developing countries could actually follow the guidance. Noting that COP12 had adopted a manual on inventory, Canada suggested waiting first to see how the new manual is used and then decide on whether further guidance is needed.

The Technical Matters Contact Group was mandated with reviewing and revising the proposed list, and preparing a draft decision on the inventory guidance issue. On Tuesday, the contact group examined the draft list and informed that for the moment there was only enough funding for preparation of inventory guidance to cover three waste stream categories. The group then decided to focus on used lead-acid batteries, e-waste and waste oils.

On Thursday, Technical Matters Contact Group Co-Chair Stratford introduced a draft decision calling for the preparation of inventory guidance for the three items. The decision was adopted without discussion.

Final Decision: In its decision (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/CRP.11), the OEWG agrees that additional practical guidance on the development of inventories should be developed for used lead-acid batteries, e-waste and waste oils, and requests the Secretariat to develop, within available resources, guidance for these waste streams to complement the methodological guide for the development of inventories of hazardous wastes and other wastes under the Basel Convention for consideration and possible adoption by COP13.

LEGAL, GOVERNANCE AND ENFORCEMENT MATTERS: Consultation with the Committee Administering the Mechanism for Promoting Implementation and Compliance: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced the relevant documents: its notes on consultation with the ICC (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/7); and guidance on the implementation of the Basel Convention provisions dealing with the consequences of illegal traffic (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/INF/9).

ICC Chair Juan Ignacio Simonelli (Argentina) highlighted that the guidance was a practical tool to assist parties in implementing their obligation to prevent and punish illegal traffic of hazardous wastes in practice, and is intended for adoption at COP13. Switzerland, with the EU and Japan, expressed support for the guidance document.

Egypt called for support for capacity building for countries with economies in transition. China, with Argentina, Liberia and Zimbabwe, stressed the importance of BCRCs to combat illegal traffic, and with Guinea-Bissau, encouraged the ICC to finalize the draft with comments received at OEWG10. Iran suggested mentioning the exporter country’s responsibility for the disposal of hazardous wastes in the guidance.

Canada suggested that after the ICC incorporated comments from OEWG10, the revised draft guidance should be shared for parties’ comments before COP13.

The OEWG forwarded the draft decision and guidelines to the Legal Matters Contact Group, co-chaired by Simon Parker (UK) and Humphrey Kasiya Mwale (Zambia), for further deliberation.

In the contact group, delegates recommended incorporating another round of comments before the guidance is submitted to COP13. They conducted a read-through of the EU submission on the draft guidance document (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/CRP.2), which discussed implementation of paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 of Article 9 dealing with the responsibilities of the state of export (paragraph 2), the state of import (paragraph 3) and action to be taken by parties when responsibility cannot be assigned to either the state of export or the state of import (paragraph 4).

Some countries suggested that in the event that “the competent authority” cannot be contacted in a case of illegal traffic, a state could be contacted through its Basel Convention focal point, embassy or permanent mission, or other ministries relevant to transboundary movements, stressing that the competent authority and the focal point should complement each other’s work.

Regarding liability for damage, they proposed moving the relevant section to the end of the document or an appendix, on the basis that this matter does not relate directly to Convention Article 9. They also suggested providing a reference to the Basel Protocol on Liability and Compensation, which is not yet in force.

Regarding illegal traffic deemed to be as the result of conduct on the part of the exporter or generator, some delegates queried the mention of a “financial guarantee,” such as insurance, covering the shipment. They asked how costs incurred by the receiving country can be covered by such guarantees, and requested further clarification. They agreed to delete reference to recovery costs, in relation to costs of disposal, and to explain in a footnote that, in some countries, recovery costs are included in the costs of disposal.

Delegates queried what course of action should be taken when the party of import does not have adequate facilities for treatment of hazardous waste and no party of export takes responsibility. It was suggested that the Secretariat may be able to advise in such cases.

Delegates then reviewed the appendices to the guidance on illegal traffic proposed by the EU, including: a request form and notification form for the take-back of wastes deemed to be illegal traffic; a graphic illustration of the suggested take-back procedure; a graphic illustration in case take-back of the wastes is considered impracticable; and the implementation of the take-back procedure in a case study.

The group forwarded a revised draft decision to the OEWG, which was adopted without discussion on Thursday.

Final Decision: In the final decision (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/CRP.13), the OEWG:

  • welcomes the work undertaken by the ICC and the opportunity to be consulted on the ICC’s development of guidance on the implementation of paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 of Article 9 of the Convention; and
  • invites the Committee to consider preparing a revised version of the guidance on the implementation of those paragraphs, taking into account comments received during OEWG10, inviting related comments from parties and others, and finalizing the guidance, taking into account comments received, for consideration and possible adoption by COP13.

Providing further legal clarity: On Monday, the Secretariat introduced its notes on: providing further legal clarity (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/8); a revised glossary of terms (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/INF/10); views received from parties and others on the review of Annexes I, III and IV and related aspects of Annex IX to the Basel Convention (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/INF/11); and a report on the review of Annex IV and related aspects of Annex IX to the Basel Convention (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/INF/12).

Japan, Switzerland, the EU and Argentina supported the current version of the glossary and suggested recommending its adoption at COP13. Brazil said it needed more time for domestic review of the glossary, and proposed having another round of comments before COP13.

On reviewing the Convention annexes, which list categories of wastes, hazardous characteristics, and disposal and recovery operations, Japan said that revision of the annexes should bear in mind the TGs on e-waste. The EU recalled its submitted comments in INF/11, and suggested that the SIWG on Legal Clarity be given a role. New Zealand supported a targeted review of the annexes, focusing only on the areas already identified as requiring attention. Canada, Switzerland and the EU called for an extension of the comment period so that more views can be collected from parties.

During Tuesday afternoon’s plenary, Brazil withdrew its request for another round of comments before COP13

On Tuesday afternoon, the contact group prepared a draft decision. One country offered to take the lead in preparing recommendations on the review of Annexes I, III, IV and elements of Annex IX to the Convention. In response to requests from other countries for further details, she proposed producing a concept note conducting a broad consultation with all parties and presenting the revised version at COP13 for consideration. She welcomed guidance from parties.

Delegates debated whether to review all four annexes at once, or to have a gradual process, starting with Annex IV and related aspects of Annex IX as a priority, while inviting views on Annexes I and III, which are more complex.

Delegates agreed to send comments to both the lead country and the Secretariat, so as to save time while maintaining the Secretariat as the focal point. They also debated whether to “invite” or to “urge” countries to submit their views on the concept paper.

Delegates proposed asking for assistance of the regional centers to ensure better responses to the questionnaire and to share comments received with all member countries to ensure transparency.

On Wednesday the Legal Matters Contact Group finalized its discussion of the draft decision with the insertion of proposed timelines. They agreed that parties and others will provide their views by 15 July 2016 to a concept note that will be drafted by Canada by 26 August 2016, and official comments will be submitted by 28 October 2016. They noted that this timing allows almost two months of response time. Given the limited time available for preparation before COP13, they agreed to forego a proposed initial consultation with the SIWG on Legal Clarity, and to distribute the concept note directly to parties. They requested the final report on legal clarity be submitted by 17 January 2017.

On Thursday, contact group Co-Chair Parker presented the draft decision, noting that Canada had offered to lead the process of preparing the review, and consultations had outlined a clear way forward. He highlighted that parties may nominate additional representatives to the SIWG. The plenary adopted the draft decision without further comment.

Final Decision: In the final decision (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/CRP.12), the OEWG:

  • recommends that COP13 adopt the glossary of terms developed by the SIWG on Legal Clarity;
  • welcomes Canada’s offer to serve as lead country for the review of Annexes 1, III and IV to the Convention and related aspects of Annex IX until COP-13;
  • invites parties and others to provide by 15 July 2016 further views on the options identified in Section II of Annex II to document UNEP/CHW.12/INF/52;
  • invites parties to nominate to the Secretariat by 15 July 2016 further experts for participation in the SIWG on Legal Clarity;
  • invites Canada to develop by 26 August 2016 a concept paper on the review of the annexes;
  • invites parties, with the support of the BCRCs, as appropriate, and others, to submit to the Secretariat and Canada by 28 October 2016 their views on the concept paper, and requests the Secretariat to compile these views and make them available on the Basel Convention website; and
  • invites Canada to analyze the views received on the concept paper, and to prepare, in consultation with the SIWG on Legal Clarity, a report for consideration at COP13.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION AND COORDINATION: Basel Convention Partnership Programme: Partnership for Action on Computing Equipment (PACE): In plenary on Monday, the Secretariat introduced the relevant documents on PACE (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/9 and INF/13).

PACE Working Group Co-Chair Marco Buletti (Switzerland) presented the progress made since COP12 to complete some of the tasks from the 2014-2015 work programme and called for comments and guidance from the OEWG on: work on Section 3 of the guidance document on ESM of used and end-of-life computing equipment; a draft concept for a follow-up partnership to the PACE; and a manual on steps to establish and implement the ESM of used and end-of-life computing equipment.

PACE Working Group Co-Chair Leila Devia (Argentina) updated delegates on the pilot projects and said that results and lessons learned will be presented at COP13 for consideration.

The EU stressed the importance of the partnership, calling for a contact group to discuss this agenda item. The Strategic Matters Contact Group was mandated to prepare a revised draft decision on the guidance document and the draft concept for a follow-up partnership to the PACE, taking into account the submission by the EU.

On Tuesday the Strategic Matters Contact Group discussed decision text. A regional group, supported by others, proposed text requesting the Partnership Working Group to revise the draft concept for a follow-up partnership, taking into account comments made during OEWG10, for submission to COP13. Delegates agreed to this proposal.

On Thursday in plenary, delegates considered the draft decision submitted by the Strategic Matters Contact Group and adopted it without amendment.

Final Decision: In the decision (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/CRP.8), the OEWG:

  • takes note of the progress made in the implementation of the PACE, including the draft revision in the guidance document on ESM of used and end-of-life computing equipment, and the draft concept for a follow-up partnership to the PACE;
  • invites parties and others to submit comments on the draft revised Section 3 of the guidance document and the draft concept for a follow-up partnership to the Secretariat by 15 September 2016;
  • requests the Partnership Working Group to revise Section 3 of the guidance document, taking into account comments made at OEWG10 and further comments submitted, for consideration and possible adoption at COP13;
  • requests the Partnership Working Group to revise the draft concept for a follow-up partnership, taking into account comments made at OEWG10 and comments submitted for COP13 consideration;
  • requests the Secretariat to prepare a draft decision on the establishment of a follow-up partnership for consideration at COP13; and
  • takes note of the manual on steps to establish and implement ESM of used and end-of-life computing equipment and encourages parties and others, particularly countries where ESM is not fully established, to use it.

Household Waste: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced its note on creating innovative solutions through the Basel Convention for the ESM of household waste (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/10) and on a draft concept note for a household waste partnership (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/INF/14).

Prakash Kowlesser (Mauritius), Co-Chair of the Informal Group on Household Wastes, reported on the preparation of the draft concept note, observing that the group decided it could be used as a basis for the development of a workplan on ESM of household waste and for partnership with municipalities, and that a household waste partnership be established under the Basel Convention.

Many, including the African Group, Norway, Kenya, Switzerland and the EU, supported the work of the Informal Group and welcomed the draft. Liberia noted household wastes are mixed with other more toxic wastes and are often sent to poorly managed dump sites, and highlighted the need for more awareness-raising campaigns.

Kenya stressed the importance of household waste guidelines, given the increases in rural to urban immigration in Africa. The EU highlighted selective collection of household wastes as a priority of the proposed partnership. Iran stressed the need for financial resources for its full success.

Co-Chair Kowlesser proposed postponing the adoption of the decision to Thursday to allow colleagues participating in a concurrent contact group to be present.

On Thursday in plenary, delegates considered a draft decision submitted by the EU on creating innovative solutions through the Basel Convention for the ESM of household waste (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/CRP.5), suggesting the Secretariat prepare a draft decision on the establishment of a household waste partnership for consideration at COP13. After clarifying the feasibility of the timeline raised by Switzerland, delegates adopted the proposed draft decision without amendment.

Final Decision: In the decision (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/CRP.5), the OEWG:

  • acknowledges the interest of parties and others in actively participating in the Informal Group on the ESM of household waste and welcomes the progress made by the group in developing a workplan and a concept for a partnership to assist municipalities;
  • supports the proposal of the Informal Group for the COP to establish a household waste partnership under the Basel Convention;
  • invites parties and others to submit comments on the draft concept note on the household waste partnership to the Secretariat by 15 September 2016;
  • requests the Informal Group to finalize the draft concept note for a household waste partnership, including terms of reference and a workplan for the biennium 2018-2019, taking into account the discussions during OEWG10 and comments submitted, and to submit the draft concept note to COP13 for consideration;
  • requests the Secretariat to prepare a draft decision on the establishment of a household waste partnership for consideration by COP13; and
  • requests the Secretariat to continue to facilitate and provide expertise to the Informal Group.

Cooperation between the Basel Convention and the International Maritime Organization (IMO): On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced its notes on the cooperation between the Basel Convention and the IMO (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/11) and on a revised draft guidance manual on how to improve the sea-land interface (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/INF/15).

The EU, Canada, Madagascar, Australia, the Dominican Republic, the African Group, Argentina, Japan, Chile, ISACI and the BCRC for Asia and the Pacific welcomed the revised draft guidance manual on sea-land interface. Japan noted the draft was appropriate and comprehensive, and the EU and Canada asked for a further round of comments.

The African Group requested the French version of the preliminary guidelines and Madagascar suggested establishing a special contact group on this issue.

Chile stressed the link to the resolution adopted by UNEA-2 on marine plastic litter and microplastics, and the importance of increasing public awareness on this issue.

Noting few receiving facilities in Pacific Island ports, ISACI said dumping in the sea is unacceptable. She urged following the precautionary principle in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development to protect the environment and human health, in particular in small island developing states.

The Secretariat noted the translated version of the preliminary guidelines would be available at COP13.

Delegates agreed to invite parties to submit further comments, and requested the Secretariat to revise the draft based on these comments.

Final Decision: In the decision (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/CRP.6), the OEWG:

  • invites parties and others to submit comments on the revised draft guidance manual on how to improve the sea-land interface to the Secretariat by 31 October 2016; and
  • requests the Secretariat to revise the draft guidance manual, taking into account the discussions at OEWG10 and the comments received, and to submit it as so revised to COP13 for consideration.

Cooperation with the World Customs Organization (WCO) on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS): This item was taken up on Tuesday, with the Secretariat’s introduction of its note on cooperation with WCO on the HS (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/INF/16).

Canada expressed concern about how the distinction between waste and non-waste is being defined. Australia noted that the WCO coding system focuses on the nature and composition of a good, rather than the Basel Convention’s focus on its function. He requested the Secretariat to provide further information about the status of the Basel Convention proposal to the WCO, and for any future reporting to explain the implications of any WCO outcomes for the Basel Convention.

The EU requested the Secretariat to ensure that the need for codes for e-waste, end-of-life vehicles, and waste tires are included in the WCO discussions, and proposed that OEWG10 take note of the Secretariat’s information. Chile highlighted its national efforts to identify various types of waste.

The Secretariat clarified that the WCO subcommittee’s e-waste discussions are not concluded, and that amendments may be included in the 2022 version, as the 2017 amendments have already been adopted.

Canada questioned how both the WCO and Basel Convention processes on e-waste can be moving in parallel, and requested more information from the Secretariat about the previous submission to the WCO in 2013. Chile asked about the deadline for presenting a proposal to the WCO for the next round of amendments. OEWG Co-Chair Pascal encouraged countries with concerns to discuss the matter directly with the Secretariat. The Secretariat proposed addressing the issue intersessionally so that countries can offer their guidance, explaining that, while an e-waste proposal had previously been submitted to the WCO, problems of definition and opposition by some Basel Convention parties had hindered its progress.

In the Thursday plenary, Canada put forward a proposed decision text with new and revised entries. The EU supported the text, and requested reference to end-of-life vehicles, e-waste and waste tires.

India noted that the next opportunity to incorporate further details in the HS would be in six years’ time, and that limiting the discussion to these three types of waste meanwhile “would truncate our work.” He said that, while these three types of waste are generating the largest volumes, there are many other types that should also be given attention. The EU concurred that the discussion should not be limited to these, and delegates agreed to say “including” these three. Co-Chair Dávila Sena noted that “waste tires” should be referred to as “pneumatic waste tires.”

With these changes, the plenary adopted the decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/CRP.15), the OEWG:

  • takes note of the information provided by the Secretariat in document UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/INF/16; and
  • requests the Secretariat to prepare a report outlining the status of the work of the WCO on the HS, and compile a list of all proposals for new and revised entries under consideration by the WCO.

FINANCIAL MATTERS: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced a note on information on financial matters (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/INF/17), noting that a new accounting system had delayed the 2015 financial reports.

Switzerland, with the EU, underscored the lack of sufficient detail in the financial report, and suggested the Secretariat share further details at the next Bureau meeting.

Noting the outstanding issue on financial matters, Japan said more progress should be made on synergies and joint management.

Canada said that only one-third of the contributions for 2016 have been received, and suggested the OEWG meeting report highlight this issue to ensure effective preparation for COP13.

The Secretariat took note of these comments.

Final Outcome:  The OEWG agreed to take note of the report on financial matters (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/INF/17), and to include the discussion on this issue in the meeting report.

WORK PROGRAMME OF THE OPEN-ENDED WORKING GROUP FOR 2018-2019

On Thursday, the Secretariat introduced the work programme of the OEWG for 2018-2019 (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/12).

Thailand, with Chile, suggested work on the control of transboundary movements of e-waste and its TGs be included and prioritized in the OEWG’s work for 2018-2019. Stating support for the work programme, EU suggested the OEWG10 decisions be reflected in the work programme. After the Secretariat clarified that the draft will be revised in light of the decisions adopted at OEWG10, delegates adopted the draft work programme of the OEWG for 2018-2019.

Final Decision: In the decision (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/12), the OEWG:

  • invites parties and others to submit to the Secretariat comments on the draft work programme by 30 September 2016, and requests the Secretariat to make the comments available on the Basel Convention website;
  • requests the Secretariat to revise the draft work programme, in consultation with the Bureau of the OEWG and the Bureau of the COP and taking into account the discussions at OEWG10, for consideration and possible adoption at COP13; and
  • requests the Secretariat to prepare a draft decision on the work programme of the OEWG for 2018-2019 for consideration and possible adoption at COP13.

OTHER MATTERS

On Thursday, the Secretariat announced the launch of a participant online survey to collect comments from participants on their experiences with regard to the arrangements of OEWG10, within two months of the end of the OEWG10, as requested by COP12 decision BC-12/19. He also introduced the comments received through the survey will be compiled and submitted to COP13 for consideration and adoption for the further institutional strengthening of the OEWG.

The OEWG took note of this information.

CLOSING PLENARY

On Thursday afternoon, the OEWG reviewed and approved the report of the meeting (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.10/L.1) with an oral amendment from India noting that follow-up work on the e-waste TGs should address all outstanding issues, not just those mentioned in paragraph 5 of decision BC-12/5 and Appendix 5 of the e-waste TGs.

GRULAC thanked the OEWG for following up on two longstanding GRULAC requests, namely that there should only be two contact groups held in parallel and that interpretation not used for plenary be allocated to a contact group. Recalling that decision BC VI/36 on institutional arrangements called for the OEWG to address technology transfer, she expressed regret that OEWG10 did not make explicit reference to the Technology Facilitation Mechanism, which could strengthen implementation of the Basel Convention. She said technology, along with capacity building and mobilization of new and additional financial resources, are key for effective Convention implementation by developing countries. She expressed regret that more progress was not made on outstanding issues involving the e-waste TGs and that these discussions has been postponed to the SIWG, and urged all parties to work together to achieve finalization of the TGs at COP13.

The EU welcomed the finalization of the glossary as an important step toward clarifying the distinction between waste and non-waste, Canada’s offer to lead work on a possible revision of the Convention annexes, progress on the Cartagena roadmap, progress in discussions on the POPs and e-waste guidelines, and Canada’s offer to take the lead in revision of the general TGs on POPs wastes. He also hailed the decision to work toward creation of a Convention partnership on household wastes.

The Asia-Pacific Group said work on the POPs and e-waste TGs were “of paramount importance” to her region, and called for early conclusion of the guidelines using a consensus-based approach. She stressed the importance of capacity building, awareness raising and technology transfer in addressing these issues, and encouraged donor parties and international financial institutions to provide technical assistance to developing countries on these issues and enhance the BCRCs’ capacity to address them. She called for dedicated work to finalize the e-waste TGs at COP13. She underscored the importance of SDG12 on SCP, which, she said, contained important concepts for ESM of wastes and implementation of the Basel Convention.

Serbia, on behalf of the Central and Eastern European Group, stressed the importance of the legal and strategic issues discussed at OEWG10. Noting the low participation from her region at OEWG10, she urged assistance so that more CEE members could attend OEWG sessions and ensure balanced participation from all UN regions. She also underscored the importance of regional meetings in preparation for COP13.

The African Group welcomed steps taken toward the mid-term evaluation of the strategic framework, the development of guidance on ESM, the guidance on the implementation of Convention Article 9 with respect to illegal traffic, and the decision to recommend to COP13 the establishment of a household waste partnership. He hailed the decision on the Cartagena Declaration, which he said was very important to his region because it advocates for prevention and minimization. He welcomed work on the POPs waste TGs and progress made in discussing outstanding issues in the e-waste TGs. He requested the Secretariat to ensure that the BCRCs are strengthened and capacitated to efficiently and effectively coordinate regional initiatives.

Switzerland hailed: the constructive nature of OEWG10 discussions; the “frank and productive” deliberations on outstanding issues involving e-wastes; the decision to advance work on the Convention’s annexes; the decision on follow-up to the PACE; and the recommendation regarding a household waste partnership. He said the signals he had seen at OEWG10 were promising for a successful COP13.

Brazil noted that the Basel Convention has seen many significant developments in recent years. Recalling the adoption in September 2015 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs, he underscored the importance of SDGs 11 (sustainable cities) and 12 (SCP) for the sound management of waste and stressed strict controls on transboundary movements of hazardous wastes. He urged the Convention to explore possible synergies with the SDGs at COP13. He also called for examining how the Technology Facilitation Mechanism can help developing countries improve their waste management and the implementation of the Basel Convention.

Canada urged all parties to actively participate in the effort in coming months to seek comments on possible revision of Convention Annexes I, III, IV and IX.

In a special presentation, the African Group offered a gift to Ibrahim Shafii of the BRS Secretariat in recognition of his years of service to the Basel Convention and his upcoming retirement.

Co-Chair Pascal gaveled the meeting to a close at 4:27 pm.

A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF OEWG10

One year after the last Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention, parties gathered in Nairobi with a full agenda of technical, legal and strategic matters. OEWG10 was expected to make progress on technical guidelines on e-waste, among other technical guidelines, and determine which of the existing stock of technical guidance has proven useful in guiding implementation and which may be out of date and in need of revision. On legal matters, the OEWG discussed possible revision of the Convention’s annexes to reflect current realities, and recommended approval of a glossary that seeks to bridge gaps in Convention interpretation. On strategic questions, the OEWG discussed the future direction in Convention implementation, and how it ties into recent developments, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and resolutions adopted by the second United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2).

Discussion on these matters, however, highlighted growing tensions with the anticipated entry into force of the Ban Amendment. This brief analysis explores how this tension played out, with reference to some of main outcomes of the meeting.

THE BAN AMENDMENT IN A CHANGING WORLD

The Ban Amendment, put forward at COP2 in 1994, prohibits all transboundary movements of hazardous wastes from the Annex VII countries (the EU, Liechtenstein and other OECD countries) to non-Annex VII countries. At the time, the Amendment was seen as protecting poorer countries from becoming a dumping ground for hazardous wastes from richer countries that could develop the capability for dealing with their own waste at home.

Fast forward 22 years to 2016, and the situation is now much different. Some developing countries said during the week that they now have, or soon might have, greater capability to treat hazardous waste, and may profit from doing so.

India and many African countries also pointed out at OEWG10 that equipment considered to be obsolete in Annex VII countries may still have further lifespan elsewhere. Televisions with cathode ray tubes, for example, are rapidly becoming obsolete in wealthier countries that switched to digital broadcast signals and replaced analog, CRT-based TVs with flat screen models, but could be useful for many more years in poorer nations that have yet to switch to digital TV broadcasting.

Some parties and observers, including industry, were therefore seeking to introduce, in the technical guidelines on e-waste, provisions that would allow the transport of some hazardous wastes intended for reuse, recycling and recovery operations.

Opponents of such a move say it would provide an implementation loophole. “This could allow unscrupulous industry actors to indiscriminately, but legally, dump hazardous wastes in countries with poor waste management facilities,” said a long-time observer of the Basel process. “Without checks and safeguards, any kind of e-waste could be claimed as repairable equipment.”

For others, the current economic reality and the practical aspects surrounding waste recycling and disposal, in terms of distances of facilities and complexity and costs of technologies, are such that an increasing number of countries see the trade of waste as an economic opportunity. For example, a country that has recently joined the OECD noted that, once the Ban Amendment enters into force, it would no longer be able to send its e-waste to a neighboring country that has good capacity to process the waste, but instead would have to ship it to other OECD countries far away.

Other observers also point out that the international policy discourse on waste management is becoming integrated into discussion of sustainable consumption and production, as enshrined now in SDG 12, which calls for reducing waste generation and adopting a life-cycle approach to the management of chemicals and waste. Some consider that the Basel Convention has not sufficiently emphasized these aspects, and that it is now time to do so.

Delegates also had difficult discussions on the determination of POPs levels that could be considered low enough to allow for safe recycling of wastes. While the Stockholm and Basel Conventions have introduced preliminary low POPs content levels, with a view to later setting a final level, some countries highlighted scientific research showing that the use of contaminated recycled materials, such as recycled polystyrene packaging, may open the way for contamination of food products. They argue that recent scientific research suggests that POPs levels in recycled materials may still pose health risks even when the source waste contained officially “safe” levels, so there may be no such thing as a “safe” low-POPs content value.

CALL FOR CAPACITY BUILDING AND TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER

Questions of capacity building and technology transfer were repeatedly put forward by developing countries throughout the week and across various agenda items. They pointed out that COP decisions, such as decision VI/36, provide for the OEWG to address technology transfer. While developing countries assert that they do not want to be dumping grounds for hazardous wastes, at the same time they do not want to lose any potential economic opportunities. As it stands, the Ban Amendment would allow them to trade hazardous wastes among themselves and to send wastes to Annex VII countries for recovery operations, but would not allow developing countries to receive wastes from Annex VII countries to “mine,” which some regard as a new kind of environmental injustice.

The discussion on the Cartagena Declaration on the Prevention, Minimization and Recovery of Hazardous Wastes and Other Wastes was another example where some developing countries insisted on referring to paragraphs from UNEA-2 decisions relevant to means of implementation and technology transfer, with the final decision text recalling paragraph 12 of the Cartagena Declaration, which “encourages Parties, signatories and others in a position to do so to assist in capacity building and technology transfer for waste prevention and minimization in regions needing such assistance.”

Capacity building and technology transfer are most needed at borders to control and prevent illegal shipments, in particular in countries with poor ESM facilities. According to official data from the United Nations COMTRADE database, trade from Annex VII countries to non-Annex VII countries accounted for only 1% of total trade by 2012. However, experts in the area assert that the reality is much different, noting that a high proportion of trade is not classified as waste and/or traded under the radar, including trade from Annex VII to non-Annex VII countries. Hazardous wastes still end their journey in non-consenting countries that have little capacity to deal with them in an environmentally sound manner.

LOOKING AHEAD TO COP13

While OEWG10 did manage to advance several items, such as the glossary and work on PACE follow-up, and forming a household waste partnership, many participants lamented the little progress made at OEWG10 on several key issues, with much work shunted off to small intersessional working groups that have limited participation and less transparency. This was the case for contentious questions on POPs waste and e-waste, which are, in turn, not trivial matters, as at the end of the day, “determining what is a waste and what is not a waste determines what can be traded and what cannot be traded.”

Another concern in the run-up to COP13 as well as in the OEWG’s work programme for 2018-19 is the question of resources. Some delegates flagged during OEWG10 that, to date, only one-third of the pledged contributions for 2016 has been received by the Secretariat. Others were dismayed to find out that after reviewing a long list of waste streams for which inventory guidance should be provided for national reporting, existing resources will only allow work on three: used lead-acid batteries, e-waste and waste oils. Several countries also protested suggestions that work on updating existing guidelines may be limited due to resource constraints.

OEWG10 Co-Chair Dávila Sena cautioned delegates during the opening plenary that, “We are here for the environment, not for the market or for the economy; we are not here to talk about turning wastes into goods.” While this is the view that many take of the Basel Convention, OEWG10 delegates inevitably grappled with the issue of whether protecting the environment and human health, and seeking economic opportunities, are mutually exclusive when it comes to waste.

As this tension played out at the level of setting technical guidelines, it became clear that eventually the OEWG and the COP will need to directly address the implications of the Ban Amendment in the changing economic and policy environment, where waste flows reflect our increasingly interconnected, interdependent world.

UPCOMING MEETINGS

50th Meeting of the GEF Council: The Council of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) meets twice a year to approve new projects with global environmental benefits in the GEF’s focal areas, including chemicals and waste, and in the GEF’s integrated approach programmes.  dates: 6-9 June 2016  location: Washington, D.C., US  contact: GEF Secretariat  phone: +1-202-473-0508  fax: +1-202-522-3240  email: secretariat@thegef.org www: https://www.thegef.org/

Global Workshop on Enhancing National Cooperation and Coordination for the Implementation of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions: Organized by the BRS Secretariat and funded by Switzerland, this workshop aims to facilitate the establishment and strengthening of existent national institutional structures and coordination mechanisms, and to provide a platform to share best practices and lessons learned related to substantive and procedural issues encountered by parties in implementing the BRS Conventions.  dates: 20-22 June 2016  location: Geneva, Switzerland  contact: Tatiana Terekhova, BRS Secretariat  phone: +41-22-917-8340  email: Tatiana.Terekhova@brsmeas.org www: http://synergies.pops.int/Implementation/TechnicalAssistance/Workshops/
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Regional Workshop on Enhancing Capacities for the ESM of E-waste in Eastern Europe and Central Asia Countries: Organized by the BRS Secretariat and funded by the EU, this workshop targets national officials in 12 countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia to discuss the challenges and solutions related to transboundary movements and the ESM of e-waste, discuss best practices in ESM of e-waste, and disseminate the TGs and guidance document developed under the Basel Convention and the PACE, as well as information on policy tools, certification schemes and regional initiatives on ESM of e-wastes.  dates: 5-7 July 2016  location: Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan  contact: Tatiana Terekhova, BRS Secretariat  phone: +41-22-917-8340  email: Tatiana.Terekhova@brsmeas.org www: http://www.basel.int/Implementation/TechnicalAssistance/Partnerships/
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Fifth Meeting of the Expert Working Group on ESM: The Expert Working Group will discuss, inter alia: pilot projects to demonstrate ESM; draft guidance to assist parties in developing efficient strategies for achieving the prevention and minimization of the generation of hazardous and other wastes and their disposal; manuals on extended producer responsibility and financing systems for ESM; and development of an internet portal for information gathering and sharing.  dates: 13-15 July 2016  location: Bratislava, Slovakia  contact: Susan Wingfield, BRS Secretariat  phone: +41-22-917-8406  email: susan.wingfield@brsmeas.org www: www.basel.int

Informal Group on Household Wastes:  Decision BC-12/13 called for the Informal Group on Household Waste to develop a workplan on ESM of household waste with a focus on the needs of developing countries and countries with economies in transition. The Group is expected to draft a concept note, terms of reference and 2018-2019 work programme for a household wastes partnership.  dates: 2-4 August 2016  location: Montevideo, Uruguay  contact: Matthias Kern, BRS Secretariat  phone: +41-22-917-8767  email: matthias.kern@brsmeas.org  www: http://www.basel.int/Implementation/TechnicalAssistance/Partnerships/
HouseholdWaste/Meetings/1stMeetingMontevideo,UruguayAug2016/tabid/5158/Default.aspx

Twelfth Meeting of the Chemical Review Committee (CRC-12): The Rotterdam Convention CRC will consider draft decision guidance documents on carbofuran and carbosulfan, and review the notifications of final regulatory action for atrazine. It will also consider notifications found to meet Annex I criteria.  dates: 14-16 September 2016  location: Rome, Italy  contact: BRS Secretariat  phone: +41-22-917-8729  fax: +41-22-917-8098  email: brs@brsmeas.org www: http://www.pic.int/TheConvention/ChemicalReviewCommittee/Meetings/
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Twelfth Meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC-12): The Stockholm Convention POPs Review Committee will consider the draft risk profiles for dicofol and pentadecafluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), further information related to Annex F for decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE), and the draft risk management evaluation for short-chained chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs), among other topics.  dates: 19-23 September 2016  location: Rome, Italy  contact: Kei Ohno Woodall, BRS Secretariat  phone: +41-22-917-8201  fax: +41-22-917-8098  email: kei.ohno-woodall@brsmeas.org www: http://www.pops.int

Eleventh International Conference on Waste Management and Technology (ICWMT 11): Organized by the BCRC for Asia and the Pacific, and hosted by UNEP, the Stockholm Convention Regional Centre for Capacity-Building and the Transfer of Technology in Asia and the Pacific, China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection and others, ICWMT 11 participants will discuss the theme of “Green Low-carbon Circular Development,” including such issues as e-waste management and recycling, end-of-life vehicle management and recycling, POPs waste management and disposal, management and disposal of wastes containing heavy metals, hazardous waste management, technology transfer, circular economy design and implementation, and regional chemicals management and emergency response.  dates: 21-24 October 2016  location: Beijing, China  contact: Shi Xiong, BCRC for Asia and the Pacific  phone: +86-10-62794351  fax: +86-10-62772048  email: icwmt@tsinghua.edu.cn www: http://2016.icwmt.org/ICWMT2016/indexen.asp?id=3099

51st Meeting of the GEF Council: The GEF Council meets twice a year to approve new projects with global environmental benefits in the GEF’s focal areas, including chemicals and waste, and in the GEF’s integrated approach programmes.  dates: 24-27 October 2016  location: Washington D.C., US  contact: GEF Secretariat  phone: +1-202-473-0508  fax: +1-202-522-3240  email: secretariat@thegef.org www: https://www.thegef.org

Seventh Regional 3R Forum in Asia and the Pacific: Organized and co-hosted by the UN Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD), the Forum is intended to serve as a framework for 3R (reduce, reuse, recycle) policy dialogue among high-level government representatives from Asia-Pacific countries, city mayors and administrators, and other professionals. The forum will focus on technical assistance for country projects, information sharing and networking for the promotion of 3R policies in Asia and the Pacific.  dates: 2-4 November 2016  location: Adelaide, Australia  contact: UNCRD Secretariat  phone: +81-52-561-9377  fax: +81-52-561-9375  email: rep@uncrd.or.jp www: http://www.uncrd.or.jp/?page=view&nr=261&type=230&menu=214

First Meeting of the SAICM Intersessional Process: Through its Resolution IV/4, the fourth session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM4) held in September 2015 decided to initiate an intersessional process to prepare recommendations regarding the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) and the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020 for consideration by ICCM5, expected to be held in 2020. ICCM4 decided that the intersessional process should include, in principle, two meetings before the third meeting of the SAICM Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG3) (to be held in 2018 or early 2019) and another between OEWG3 and ICCM5. The first intersessional meeting is expected to focus in part on a discussion of an independent evaluation of SAICM for 2006-2015.  dates: 7-9 February 2017  location: TBA   contact: SAICM Secretariat   phone: +41-22-917-8532  fax: +41-22-797-3460  email: saicm.chemicals@unep.org www: http://www.saicm.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=569&Itemid=779

Thirteenth Meeting of the COP to the Basel Convention, the Eighth Meeting of the COP to the Rotterdam Convention and the Eighth Meeting of the COP to the Stockholm Convention: These meetings will convene back-to-back in 2017 to discuss issues for each Convention, and joint issues shared among the Conventions.  dates: 23 April - 4 May 2017  location: Geneva, Switzerland  contact:  BRS Secretariat  phone: +41-22-917-8729  fax: +41-22-917-8098  email: brs@unep.org www: http://www.basel.int , http://www.pic.int , http://www.pops.int

For additional meetings, see http://chemicals-l.iisd.org/