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Enforce Ban Amendment to the Basel Convention in Letter & Spirit

Written By Gopal Krishna on Saturday, June 16, 2012 | 10:20 PM

Note:Government of India must ratify Ban Amendment to the Basel Convention to ban trade in hazardous wastes in order to achieve the ‘overarching objective of the Basel Convention to protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects of hazardous wastes’. ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)demands compliance with the agreement that sought prohibition of all transboundary movements of hazardous wastes destined for recovery or recycling operations from OECD to non-OECD States by 31 December 1997. This has not happened so far. It only reveals that government is indifferent to the public health consequences under the dictates of hazardous waste traders and countries who have mastered the art of dumping their hazardous wastes in developing countries like India. Although a historic agreement unblocked an amendment that will ban the export of hazardous wastes from OECD to non-OECD countries, known as the Ban Amendment was adopted on 21 October at the 10th meeting of the Parties to the Convention (COP10), in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, those countries which have been dumping hazardous waste to developing countries have entered into bilateral trade agreements. Thus, the intent of the multilateral agreement is being outwitted by bilateral free trade agreements. Rio+20 must act to arrest such mutilation of international agreements. Gopal Krishna ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) Historic agreement ends 15 year deadlock over banning North-South movements of hazardous waste International conference adopts a package of strategic decisions on waste avoidance and management in the 21st century Geneva (25 October 2011) – Representatives of 118 members of the Basel Convention, the global treaty on waste management, have reached a historic agreement unblocking an amendment that will ban the export of hazardous wastes from OECD to non-OECD countries, known as the Ban Amendment. The groundbreaking decision, containing a set of measures aimed at strengthening international control of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes, was adopted on 21 October, the closing day of the 10th meeting of the Parties to the Convention (COP10), in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. The ground for the breakthrough was prepared by the Country Led Initiative (CLI) to Improve the Effectiveness of the Basel Convention, initiated by the Governments of Indonesia and Switzerland at the last Conference in 2008. The effort was supported by the Government of Colombia, host of the Conference. The so-called CLI decision allows the Ban Amendment to come into force for those countries who wish to adhere to it, but also moves forward in establishing a regime for countries who wish to trade in waste to ensure the minimization of health and environmental impacts, ensuring adequate social and labour conditions and creating new economic opportunities. It clarifies the interpretation of Article 17(5) of the Convention, setting the bar for entry into force of the Ban Amendment. The amendment will enter force once an additional 17 parties ratify it. “The results of the Cartagena conference offer a concrete example of how transformative environmental action can serve to reduce poverty and promote a healthy environment and social equity, advancing the promise of a green, sustainable economy which will be the focus of the Rio+20 conference next year,” said UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. "All too often UN negotiations can be characterized by frustration and stalemate. The Cartagena meeting provides an antidote to such perceptions and bodes well for the next round of discussions on the way forwards towards an ambitious mercury treaty that reconvene at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi next week," he added. “In Cartagena, we have demonstrated that multilateralism works,” said Paula Caballero, the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs officer who served as President of COP10. “The striking progress made in Cartagena demonstrates how by working together Governments can find common ground on issues that have confounded agreement for well over a decade. Cartagena has given to the global community a model for achieving sustainable development in the field of waste management,” said Jim Willis, Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions. The agreement on the Ban Amendment capped a week of negotiations between the Conference’s 700 participants. In addition to the CLI decision, the Conference in Cartagena also adopted Strategic Framework for the implementation of the Convention over the years 2012-2021, which sets out a vision, guiding principles, strategic objectives, means of implementation, and indicators of achievements. The Strategic Framework aims at strengthening the environmentally sound management of such wastes as a contribution to promoting human health, sustainable livelihoods, and eradicating poverty. Technical Guidelines were adopted on co-processing of hazardous wastes in cement kilns, environmentally sound management of mercury wastes, and environmentally sound management of used tyres, and further work was mandated on additional guidelines. More than 25 separate decisions on matters as wide-ranging as compliance, financial assistance, private- public partnerships, and the role of the Regional Centres for Training and Technology. The Parties also adopted the Cartagena Declaration on prevention and minimization of hazardous wastes. The declaration complements the Strategic Framework in determining the work under the Convention in years to come. It reaffirms that the Basel Convention is the primary global legal instrument for guiding the environmentally sound management of hazardous and other wastes and their disposal, including efforts to prevent and minimize their generation, and efficiently and safely manage those that cannot be avoided. A key provision of the declaration recommends that the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) “should consider prevention, minimization and recovery of wastes as a key contribution to advancing the three pillars of sustainable development through environmentally and socially sound economic development, poverty reduction, and protection of human health and livelihoods.” The declaration also calls for the creation of a global methodology for accurate measurement of national waste generation. This would provide a means of gauging national efforts to make progress in waste prevention. The Cartagena meeting was the last of three related conferences of the Parties to the major chemicals and waste global treaties held in 2011. The parties to the Stockholm and Rotterdam conventions had met in April and June 2011, respectively. Decisions on synergies between the three conventions taken at the earlier meetings depended on the concurrent agreement of COP10. The Basel Convention´s Parties adopted a substantially identical decision enhancing cooperation and coordination among the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions and agreed on joint activities in the synergies part of the 2012-2013 work programme. The 10th meeting of the Conference to the Parties to the Basel Convention was held from 17–21 October 2011. The eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties will be held in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2013. Mr. Franz Perrez (Switzerland) was elected to serve as President of the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties. Note to editors: The 1989 Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal is the most comprehensive global environmental treaty dealing with hazardous and other wastes. It has 178 members (Parties) and aims to protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects of the generation, management, transboundary movements and disposal of hazardous and other wastes. The Basel Convention has two pillars. First, it regulates the transboundary movements of hazardous and other wastes. Second, the Convention obliges its Parties to ensure that such wastes are managed and disposed of in an environmentally sound manner. To this end, Parties are required to prevent or minimize the generation of wastes at source, to treat and dispose of wastes as close as possible to their place of generation and to minimize the quantities that are moved across borders. Strong controls have to be applied from the generation of a hazardous waste to its storage, transport, treatment, reuse, recycling, recovery and final disposal. The Conference of the Parties is the supreme decision-making organ of the Basel Convention. It meets every other year to discuss programmatic and budgetary issues for the next biennium. The Ban Amendment was adopted in 1995. Entry into force of the amendment had been mired in a controversy over the number of ratifications by Parties needed to bring this about. In the intervening decade, the quantity of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes has increased. A growing share of the international trade in hazardous waste is believed to lie outside of the framework of environmentally sound management. Trade in hazardous waste has grown significantly between developing countries, a trend unforeseen when the Convention was adopted more than two decades ago. Such trade is not addressed by the Ban Amendment. Recent years have seen efforts under the Basel Convention to develop a global strategy for environmentally sound waste management. In 2002, UNEP has established under the Basel Convention a partnership addressing the environmentally sound management of used and end-of-life mobile phones, the first of several strategic partnerships in different areas of waste management. In 2008 an additional partnership - the Partnership for Action on Computing Equipment (PACE) - was launched on used and end-of-life computing equipments. In these partnerships government representatives work together with the manufacturers, recycling industry, academic institutions and public interest NGOs. The Basel Convention has 14 Regional and Coordinating Centres, with one or more operating on every continent. The Centres develop and undertake regional projects, and deliver training and technology transfer for the implementation of the Convention under the direction of the Conference of the Parties and of the Secretariat of the Convention. The Cartagena meeting was held under the theme “Prevention, minimization and recovery of wastes”. It marked only the second time the Conference of the Parties has been held in the Latin American and Caribbean region. The first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention was held in Piriapolis, Uruguay, in 1992. The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2011 to be the International Year of Chemistry. For more information, please contact: Ms. Katharina Kummer Peiry, Executive Secretary, Secretariat of the Basel Convention, +41-22-917 5488, e-mail: Katharina.Kummer@unep.org Mr. Michael Stanley-Jones, Press Officer, Joint Services of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, UNEP, +41 (0)79 730 4495, e-mail: SafePlanet@unep.org Ban Amendment to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal Geneva, 22 September 1995 By decision III/1, of 22 September 1995, the Third meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the above Convention, which took place in Geneva from 18 to 22 September 1995, adopted an Amendment to the Convention (including the adoption of Annex VII). Article 17 (5) of the Convention which reads as follows: "Instruments of ratification, approval, formal confirmation or acceptance of amendments shall be deposited with the Depositary. Amendments adopted in accordance with paragraphs 3 or 4 [of article 17 of the Convention] shall enter into force between Parties having accepted them on the ninetieth day after the receipt by the Depositary of their instrument of ratification, approval, formal confirmation or acceptance by at least three-fourths of the Parties who accepted them or by at least two thirds of the Parties to the protocol concerned who accepted them, except as may otherwise be provided in such protocol. The amendments shall enter into force for any other Party on the ninetieth day after that Party deposits its instrument of ratification, approval, formal confirmation or acceptance of the amendments."In accordance with paragraph 3 of Article 25 of the Basel Convention, applicable mutatis mutandis to amendments of the Convention, for the purpose of entry into force, any instrument deposited by a political and/or economic integration organization shall not be counted as additional to those deposited by member States of such organization. Accordingly, as a regional economic integration organisation, ratification by the European Union does not count in addition to the ratifications by Member States of the Union for the purposes of entry into force of this instrument. Total number of ratifications: 73 Participant Date * Albania 27.10.2005 A Andorra 23.07.99 A Argentina 19.09.11 Austria 17.10.99 A Bahrain 25.07.05 Belgium 20.06.03 Bolivia 31.03.05 Botswana 17.06.04 A Brunei Darussalam 16.12.02 A Bulgaria 15.02.00 Chile 12.08.09 A China 01.05.01 Cook Islands 29.06.04 Cyprus 07.07.00 A Czech Republic 28.02.00 A Denmark 1 10.09.97 AA Ecuador 06.03.98 Egypt 27.01.04 Estonia 02.08.01 Ethiopia 08.10.03 European Union 30.09.97 AA Finland 05.09.96 A France 18.11.03 AA Gambia 07.03.01 Germany 24.05.02 A Ghana 09.06.05 Greece 12.07.10 (a) Hungary 25.05.04 AA Indonesia 24.10.05 Ireland 13.11.09 Italy 03.03.09 Jordan 06.12.04 AA Kenya 09.09.09 A Kuwait 12.05.06 Latvia 18.12.03 A Lesotho 22.02.12 A Liberia 16.09.05 A Liechtenstein 20.05.03 A Lithuania 07.11.03 A Luxembourg 14.08.97 Malaysia 26.10.01 Malta 12.12.11 A Mauritius 09.11.04 Montenegro 2 22.11.06 d Morocco 10.09.04 AA Netherlands 22.01.01 A Nigeria 24.05.04 Norway 16.07.97 A Oman 17.05.04 Panama 07.10.98 Paraguay 28.08.98 Poland 29.01.03 A Portugal 30.10.00 Qatar 28.02.02 Republic of Moldova 28.10.08 A Romania 17.07.02 A Serbia 22.11.02 A Slovakia 11.09.98 A Slovenia 01.12.04 Spain 07.08.97 A Sri Lanka 29.01.99 St. Lucia 22.01.02 Sweden 10.09.97 A Switzerland 07.11.02 A Syrian Arab Republic 05.10.04 The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 18.11.04 Trinidad & Tobago 12.01.00 Tunisia 26.10.99 Turkey 27.08.03 United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 3 13.10.97 United Republic of Tanzania 26.08.02 Uruguay 10.03.99 Zambia 27.07.11 (a) Accession; (A) Acceptance; (AA) Approval; (c) Formal confirmation; Ratification; (d) Succession Declarations and Reservations (Unless otherwise indicated, the declarations were made upon formal confirmation, ratification, acceptance, formal confirmation, approval or accession.) Syrian Arab Republic Declaration: . . . that the accession of the Syrian Arab Republic to the Amendment and the Protocol shall not under any circumstances whatsoever signify recognition of Israel, nor shall it lead to entry therewith into any dealings that may be governed by the provisions of the said Amendment and Protocol. Notes With a reservation for the application to the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Subsequently, on 15 April 1998, the Government of Denmark informed the Secretary General of the following: "... the reservation for the application of the Amendment to Greenland is hereby lifted" Only the information pertaining to the Convention as kept in the custody of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in his capacity as Depositary constitutes authentic information for the purposes of the Convention. Please consult the website of the Depositary for authoritative information (http://untreaty.un.org/), the following is issued for information purposes only . The National Assembly of the Republic of Montenegro adopted its Declaration of Independence on 3 June 2006, following the referendum in the Republic of Montenegro on 21 May 2006, which took place pursuant to Article 60 of the Constitutional Charter of Serbia and Montenegro. The Republic of Serbia continued the membership of Serbia and Montenegro in the United Nations, including all organs and organizations of the United Nations system, on the basis of Article 60 of the Constitutional Charter of Serbia and Montenegro, activated by the Declaration of Independence adopted by the National Assembly of Montenegro on 3 June 2006. Accordingly, by a letter dated 3 June 2006, the President of the Republic of Serbia notified the Secretary-General that "membership of the state union of Serbia and Montenegro is continued by the Republic of Serbia in the United Nations, including all organs and organizations of the United Nations system". Subsequently, in a letter dated 16 June 2006, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia informed the Secretary-General that "the Republic of Serbia continues to exercise its rights and honour its commitments deriving from international treaties concluded by Serbia and Montenegro. Therefore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requests that the Republic of Serbia be considered a party to all international agreements in force, instead of Serbia and Montenegro. Furthermore, the Government of the Republic of Serbia will perform the functions formerly performed by the Council of ministers of the state union of Serbia and Montenegro as depositary for the corresponding multilateral treaties." Moreover, in a letter dated 30 June 2006, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia confirmed that "all treaty actions undertaken by Serbia and Montenegro will continue in force with respect to the Republic of Serbia with effect from 3 June 2006. Therefore, all declarations, reservations and notifications made by Serbia and Montenegro will be maintained by the Republic of Serbia until the Secretary-General, as depositary, is duly notified otherwise." On behalf of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the British Antarctic Territory. Further, on 12 December 2001, the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland informed the Secretary-General that "the amendment shall extend to the Isle of Man for whose international relations the Government of the United Kingdom is responsible". On 27 November 2002: on behalf of the Bailiwick of Guernsey. On 6 September 2006: on behalf of Akrotiri and Dhekelia.
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