12th Meeting of the Open-ended Working Group of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal (OEWG12)

1 and 3 September 2020 and March 2021

The Twelfth Meeting of the Open-ended Working Group of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal (OEWG12) will convene 1 September and 3 September in a virtual format. The purpose of the meeting is to take stock of progress on a number of important issues and to set the work plan for the coming year.

Substantive negotiations are exceedingly difficult in a virtual environment. Instead, the Secretariat and the Chairs of intersessional working groups will provide reports to participants for comment. These issues stem from mandates given by the 14th meeting of the COP (COP14), which was held in 2019. Please consult our summary and analysis of COP14.

Plastic wastes loom large on the agenda, after the recent decision to make plastic wastes subject to the Convention’s prior informed consent procedure. The procedure allows countries to understand the contents and risks associated with a waste shipment and refuse it if they see fit. There will be updates provided on the development of technical guidelines on plastic wastes, and on developing national inventories for plastic wastes as part of national reporting. Participants will also hear an update on a possible future assessment of the effectiveness of the Convention’s efforts to address plastic waste.

There are several other issues to update OEWG participants. Participants will hear updates on strategic matters, and on legal, governance and enforcement matters.

Technical work, however, is the bulk of the OEWG’s current workplan. The OEWG participants will hear updates on efforts to further technical guidelines on e-waste, persistent organic pollutants (POPs) wastes, and mercury wastes. Participants will hear updates on work to assist parties in preparing their national reports through draft practical guidances on developing national inventories for priority waste streams and obsolete pesticides and pesticide-container waste. Nanomaterials is another area of technical work on the agenda, that represents a long-standing issue with considerable scientific uncertainty.

There will be an update on work to gather experiences in developing and implementing electronic systems for exchanging information on, or controlling, the movements of goods and wastes. Such work could help to facilitate implementation of the prior informed consent procedure of the Basel Convention.

The OEWG also will consider its draft work programme for the biennium 2022-2023 with the aim of approving it for consideration by the next Basel Convention COP.

The online segment will consist of two online sessions held over two days, on Tuesday, 1 September 2020 and on Thursday, 3 September 2020, starting at 2:00 p.m. (UTC +2) on both days. Each session will last for three hours.

OEWG12 will then be suspended and reconvene at a face-to-face meeting tentatively scheduled for March 2021, in Nairobi, Kenya, subject to the availability of resources and a positive development of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the face-to-face segment, the OEWG will consider the various products of the intersessional processes, and work on negotiating and revising them. The outcomes of the deliberations of the OEWG will be transmitted by OEWG to COP15 for its consideration.

A subsidiary body to the Basel Convention, the OEWG assists the Convention’s 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. 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.

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