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Analysis

Push to strengthen Basel Convention regional centres

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Oct 21, 2011 | From the print edition

Centres in turn will assist in ratifying ban on toxic exports from rich nations to the poor

With a day to spare, the tenth Conference of Parties (COP 10) to the Basel Convention, currently meeting at Cartagena de Indias, completed nearly 90 per cent of the work that it set out for the conference.

This was in sharp contrast to the COP 9 meet at Bali, where, delegates recall, 90 per cent of the work remained unfinished a day before the meeting was to conclude.

On Thursday, COP 10 adopted a decision to review and the strengthen the Basel Convention Regional Centres (BCRCs). The parties had agreed on day three that  BCRCs will assist the parties to ratify the Ban Amendment, which bans export of hazardous wastes from rich countries to the poor. China proposed a regional centre for Asia and Pacific region, hosted by Tsinghua University, to serve as the coordinating centre for the Asia and Pacific regions. The BCRCs were established for training and technology transfer at COP 6 in Geneva in 2002.

The parties also adopted technical guidelines on e-waste, co-processing and cement kilns, mercury and guidelines on end-of-life computing equipments without any amendments. The contact group on technical matters decided that it will continue to work through an inter-sessional working group and amend the Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) programme so as to include the recent decisions taken by the Stockholm Convention's Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRCs) and to determine methods of disposal and concentration levels of POPs with reference to the Stockholm Convention.

The contact group on the Indonesian-Swiss country-led initiative (CLI) reviewed the goals, indicators and means of implementing the initiative. CLI was introduced to improve effectiveness of the Basel Convention. The CLI draft decision includes three mutually supportive elements: entry into force of the Ban Amendment; ESM of hazardous wastes; and legal clarity around key Convention provisions.

While most delegates suggested and supported a mid-term evaluation of the programme so that the parties could receive early warnings and make amends accordingly, there were others who expressed concerns about overloading the secretariat and suggested that a review should be done as efficiently as possible, taking into account the indicators in the programme.

Day four saw some clarity in the direction in which the Hong Kong Convention, which deals with recycling of ships, was moving. Considering that the house was divided on the efficacy of the Convention, it was decided that the secretariat would continue to work on developing the guidelines of the Hong Kong Convention and send the present decision to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for consideration of the Marine Environmental Protection Committee.

 

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