As the first week of the BRS COPs draws to a close, members of civil society implore delegates to support the Norwegian proposal to amend the Annexes to the Basel Convention and establish a Partnership on Plastic Waste to better manage marine plastic litter and microplastics
The 2019 meetings of the Conferences of the Parties (COP) to the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions wrapped up the first week with discussions of several waste issues, with extensive time both in plenary and a contact group devoted to work on marine plastic litter and microplastics.
Morning plenary was dominated by interventions on this complex and highly salient issue, with over 80 delegates waiting to share their views. Behind the statements, a clear division began to emerge on whether transboundary movement of plastics for recycling is a “problem” or a “solution,” given the varied capacities of countries to manage the volume of plastics and the growing amount of plastics that are of low value and therefore difficult to sell for recycling, or recycle in general.
With widespread support for the Basel Convention to be part of the global effort, delegates discussed possible ways of addressing the issue. Norway presented its proposal, which includes different measures for different types of plastic waste, namely: clean, sorted plastic waste; hazardous plastic waste; and non-hazardous, unsorted, mixed and other plastic waste. One measure discussed at length was the prior informed consent procedure, which would provide information to countries importing plastic waste. Some were concerned that such an additional requirement could impede the ability to send wastes for recycling as a key part of the circular economy.
In the afternoon, the Basel Convention discussed another mechanism increasingly at its disposal: partnerships. With multi-stakeholder partnerships in place to share information and catalyze action on computing equipment, household waste, and, perhaps soon, plastics, many delegates cited such partnerships as a key area of work for the Convention. Delegates also discussed nanomaterials, an emerging waste issue with significant data gaps.
In the evening, delegates gathered for a reception sponsored by the Government of Switzerland to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Basel Convention.
IISD Reporting Services, through its Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) Meeting Coverage, provided daily web coverage, daily reports, and a summary and analysis report from the 2019 Meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions. The summary and analysis report is available in HTML and PDF.
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