Highlights and images for 23 February 2023

Geneva, Switzerland


Photo by John Cameron/Unsplash

On its final day, the 13th meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG-13) of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes worked in the morning in contact groups to complete work on improving the Convention’s prior informed consent (PIC) procedure and on updating the technical guidelines for the environmentally sound management (ESM) of plastic wastes. During the closing plenary delegates heard summary reports from the contact groups and then adopted recommendations for the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) in May 2023 on:

  • improving the strategic framework for Convention implementation;
  • improving the PIC procedure;
  • revisions to Convention Annexes; and
  • updated technical guidelines on plastic wastes, waste lead-acid batteries, and wastes involving persistent organic pollutants (POPs).

In their closing statements, OEWG-13 Co-Chairs Karim Ouamane (Algeria) and Nawaf Essam Bilasi (Saudi Arabia) congratulated delegates for achieving the ambitious goals of the meeting and thanked them for their hard work and dedication.

 OEWG-13 Co-Chair Karim Ouamane, Algeria, opens the final plenary session.

OEWG-13 Co-Chair Karim Ouamane, Algeria, opens the final plenary session (photo by Jose F. Pinto-Bazurco)

The OEWG forwarded to COP 16 revised findings and recommendations to improve, as appropriate, the strategic framework. Regarding the PIC procedure, the OEWG recommended to COP 16 that a small intersessional working group (SIWG) be created to identify challenges in implementing the procedure and develop recommendations to improve its functioning.

As for the Convention’s Annexes, the OEWG recommended that COP 16 request the expert working group created to review Annexes I, III and IV to consider the European Union’s proposals to amend Annex IV (disposal operations), and develop recommendations on the review of Annexes I (categories to control) & III (hazardous characteristics).

COP Recommendations

The Strategic Matters Contact Group started the day working on its recommendation on work to improve the functioning of the Convention's prior informed consent procedure. (photo by Keith Ripley)

Despite nearly one day’s work by the Technical Matters Contact Group and small drafting groups, the update of the technical guidelines on ESM of plastic wastes still retained bracketed text on issues such as policy instruments and measures, biodegradability, compostability, oxo-biodegradability, waste prevention and minimization, and chemical recycling. Delegates asked for another round of comments by 31 March, and work by the Secretariat and a SIWG to further clean up the text before COP 16 deliberations.

Delegates also asked for another round of comments by 31 March on draft updates of the two technical guidelines on ESM of POPs wastes and the update of the technical guidelines on ESM of waste lead-acid batteries, to inform COP 16 deliberations.

Dais consult

Strategic Matters Contact Group Co-Chairs Abena Ayensu, Ghana, and Sophie Bernier, Canada, confer with Andrea Lechner, BRS Secretariat (photo by Jose F. Pinto-Bazurco)

The closing plenary also heard and took note of oral reports from the Secretariat on:

  • plans for a 8-9 March 2023 expert working group meeting to consider revisions to the technical guidelines on transboundary movements of electrical and electronic waste and used electrical and electronic equipment;
  • the draft overall guidance document on ESM of household waste developed by the Household Wastes Partnership to be submitted to COP 16;
  • the workplan for the 2024–2025 biennium of the Plastics Waste Partnership;
  • wastes containing nanomaterials;
  • cooperation with the World Customs Organization on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System; and
  • the Work Programme of the OEWG for the biennium 2024−2025.

The Co-Chair gaveled the meeting closed at 4:40 pm.

The Earth Negotiations Bulletin summary and analysis of the OEWG 13 will be available on Monday, 27 February 2023.

Basel OEWG-13 huddle

Technical Matters Contact Group Co-Chairs confer with the Secretariat and co-leads of the small intersessional working group (SIWG) on plastic waste technical guidelines before the start of the morning contact group session. (photo by Keith Ripley)

ENB team at Basel OEWG-13

The ENB team at OEWG-13 (L-R) Keith Ripley, US; Wangu Mwangi, Kenya/the Netherlands; and Jose F. Pinto-Bazurco, Peru/Germany

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