Parties take a step forward to make it easy to enforce Basel Ban Amendment
Despite a heavy downpour that flooded the city of Cartagena de Indias in Colombia, the venue of the ongoing 10th Conference of Parties (CoP) to the Basel Convention, day 3 of the meet saw full attendance. The day's highlight was the decision on the Ban Amendment, taken at the contact group meeting of the Indonesian-Swiss country-led initiative (CLI). The initiative was introduced on the first day of the meet; its aim is to improve effectiveness of the Basel Convention.
The parties in the CLI contact group agreed to the “fixed time” approach for implementing the Ban Amendment as against the “current time” approach. The latter has been a sticking point for the past 15 years, preventing the Basel Ban Amendment from coming into force. (See 'Fixed time v current time')
The CLI draft decision includes three mutually supportive elements: entry into force of the Ban Amendment; environmentally sound management (ESM) of hazardous wastes; and legal clarity around key Convention provisions. This is a major positive step in the direction of implementing the Ban Amendment.
The parties also agreed to the section on illegal trade and assisting vulnerable parties to prohibit hazardous waste imports with some minor changes. There were some discussions on whether to use the term “vulnerable” parties, “developing countries” or simply “parties” while referring to those countries which are unable to ensure environmentally sound management of waste.
Hong Kong Convention out of way
The Hong Kong Convention was discussed at the ship dismantling contact group meeting. On whether the Basel convention and the Hong Kong Convention had any similarities, parties noted that the two were made to fulfill divergent objectives and comparing them was like comparing apples and oranges.
Arguing that the Hong Kong Convention did not provide the same level of control, one country expressed fear of becoming a 'recycling state'. The Hong Kong Convention-supporting nations stated there was no requirement under the treaty that the state approve ship recycling facilities.
An observer pointed out that under the Hong Kong Convention there is no right to ban imports nor is there a notification procedure on such imports. Till the end of the third day, discussions continued on ship abandonment and prior informed consent.
On the issue of e-waste, it was decided that the delegates would continue to work in an inter-session working group and help draw guidelines.