Be Aware of Toxic Chemicals in Everyday Life

To start the second week, attention turned to the Basel Convention. With much work completed under the Stockholm Convention, and launched under the Rotterdam Convention, it’s time for the Basel Convention to pick up on issues related to its implementation.

These include several issues that help countries provide information on the shipments of hazardous waste that move across borders. Trade and waste management involves a huge range of stakeholders, from implementing agencies in countries to industry actors, and local communities. The Basel Convention took decisions on several partnership programmes, on e-waste, plastics, and household waste.

A contact group on legal matters agreed to the draft text on the work programme of the Committee administering the mechanism for promoting implementation and compliance for the biennium 2024-2025.

Want to dig deeper? Read the full Earth Negotiations Bulletin daily report.

A contact group considered the effectiveness of the Rotterdam Convention with a focus on a proposal to add a new Annex to the Convention. This would be a place to list chemicals that were recommended by the Chemical Review Committee, but not agreed to by all parties. For those who wish to be part of the new Annex, those chemicals would be subject to the Convention’s prior informed consent procedure. 

Countries exchanged their initial views that revealed a wide divide between those opposed and in support. Some raised procedural concerns about how the proposal was put forward. Others voiced substantive concerns. Several countries supported the suggested amendment, citing the benefits to the reputation and effectiveness of the Convention. They also stressed that the amendment could help provide information for countries to manage unwanted imports of hazardous chemicals.

Some work continued under the Stockholm Convention, on its compliance mechanism. It inched forward today as countries made further compromises to reach consensus. This is considerable progress given the long delay in securing a compliance mechanism for this Convention.

Side Events

The side event topics highlighted the huge range of issues that these three treaties touch upon. While one focused on environmentally sound management (ESM) of e-waste, in the context of the circular economy and trade, another looked at ESM of refrigerators, cooling, and heating equipment. One event focused on innovative practices for ESM of plastic wastes.

For those working on a possible compliance mechanism for the Stockholm Convention, or engaging with the recently-formed mechanism for Rotterdam, there was an event on the successes and opportunities offered by the Basel Convention Implementation and Compliance Committee.

All ENB photos are free to use with attribution. For the 2023 BRS COPs, please use: Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth.

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