Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 20 No. 10
Thursday, 12 December 2002
BASEL COP-6 HIGHLIGHTS
WEDNESDAY, 11 DECEMBER 2002
Delegates met throughout the day in Plenary,
Working Groups and Contact Groups to consider outstanding items on
the agenda of the COP-6 preparatory segment, including
implementation issues such as compliance, the Strategic Plan and the
Basel Convention Regional Centers (BCRCs), and institutional and
financial arrangements. Parties concluded their consideration of
most agenda items, although decisions on the Strategic Plan, the
budget and institutional arrangements have yet to be finalized.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE BASEL CONVENTION:
Protocol on Liability and Compensation: Executive Secretary
Kuwabara-Yamamoto introduced a Secretariatís Note and draft decision
on the Protocol on Liability and Compensation (UNEP/ CHW.6/12), with
Annexes containing a questionnaire for Parties on ratification of
and accession to the Protocol, and a work plan for the facilitation
of the Protocolís ratification, accession and implementation. The EU
proposed several amendments, while AUSTRALIA expressed concerns at
introducing changes at this late stage. The EU withdrew its
proposals and the decision was adopted without amendment.
Bilateral, multilateral or regional agreements or
arrangements: On the draft guidance elements for the preparation
of bilateral, multilateral or regional agreements or arrangements (UNEP/
CHW.6/15), delegates concluded that the issue could not be resolved
at COP-6, and agreed to ask the Subsidiary Bodies to further
consider the issue and report to COP-7. Delegates agreed to a
proposal by JAPAN that Parties will be requested to submit comments
to the Secretariat, for presentation to the Subsidiary Bodies.
Cooperation and partnerships: Executive
Secretary Kuwabara-Yamamoto introduced a draft decision on
international cooperation (UNEP/CHW.6/31 and Corr.1) and amendments
proposed by the Strategic Plan and BCRC Working Group (UNEP/CHW.6/
CRP.8). The EU drew attention to its proposed amendment (UNEP/CHW.6/CRP.1),
which welcomes the work of the International Maritime Organization
(IMO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) in connection
with the environmentally sound management of ship dismantling, and
requests the Basel Secretariat to create a joint working group with
the ILO and IMO. MEXICO and BRAZIL expressed concerns about the EU
proposal, including potential budgetary implications. Following
informal consultations, delegates approved the decision and the EU
amendment, but with additional amendments to already approved draft
decisions on legal aspects of ship dismantling (UNEP/CHW.6/17) and
on technical guidelines for the environmentally sound management of
ship dismantling (UNEP/CHW.6/ 23). The amendments recognize the
ILOís specialization in formulating a stepwise approach to safe ship
breaking from a labor perspective.
Executive Secretary Kuwabara-Yamamoto introduced
a decision on cooperation with the World Trade Organization (WTO) (UNEP/CHW.6/31/Add.1
and Corr.1). CANADA presented an alternative draft decision (UNEP/CHW.6/CRP.7).
He explained that the decision requests the Basel Secretariat to,
inter alia: seek observer status in the WTO Committee on Trade
and Environment special session meetings; report to the Parties on
any WTO meetings it attends; and provide general information to the
WTO on trade provisions of the Basel Convention. Delegates approved
Canadaís draft decision.
Executive Secretary Kuwabara-Yamamoto also
introduced draft decisions on partnerships with environmental NGOs,
industry and business (UNEP/CHW.6/32) and on elements for a
framework for cooperation with industry (UNEP/CHW.6/32/ Add.1). The
EU, supported by CANADA, proposed merging the two draft decisions,
and delegates agreed to postpone discussion on this issue, pending
the development of new text. The EU subsequently introduced draft
text in Plenary merging the draft decisions (UNEP/CHW.6/CRP.16), and
President Jelev said it would be discussed further on Thursday.
Capacity building activities: Executive
Secretary Kuwabara-Yamamoto introduced a progress report on
activities of the BCRCs (UNEP/CHW.6/5) and a report and draft
decision on capacity-building activities within the Convention (UNEP/CHW.6/8).
ARGENTINA, supported by BOLIVIA and PERU, suggested inserting a
reference to the Information Exchange Network on Capacity Building
for the Sound Management of Chemicals (INFOCAP), and the decision
was adopted, as amended.
BCRCs: Several Parties, including NEW
ZEALAND, IRAN, the RUSSIAN FEDERATION and EL SALVADOR, presented
proposals and reports on BCRCs. INDIA said it may submit a draft
decision for a BCRC for South Asia, while PAKISTAN expressed
reservations about basing a center in India. The Plenary adopted
decisions on BCRCs in Senegal (UNEP/CHW.6/6) and Iran (UNEP/CHW.6/CRP.5).
Parties also adopted a decision on a Pacific Regional Center for the
Basel and Waigani Conventions (UNEP/CHW.6/CRP.6) and on a Center for
Arab States (UNEP/ CHW.6/CRP.11).
The Plenary adopted without amendment a draft
decision proposed by the African Group (UNEP/CHW.6/CRP.13) linking
the work of the Basel Convention and its BCRCs with the New
Partnership for Africaís Development (NEPAD).
Compliance: President Jelev reported that the
Compliance Working Group and informal sub-group negotiations had
been successfully concluded and indicated that a revised text would
be considered in Plenary on Thursday.
AMENDMENT OF THE BASEL CONVENTION AND ITS
ANNEXES: Implementation of Decision III/1 (amendment of the
Convention): Delegates discussed a report on the implementation
of Decision III/1 (UNEP/CHW.6/33) and amendments proposed by the EU
(UNEP/CHW.6/CRP.2). AUSTRALIA supported the original report without
the EUís amendments and CANADA expressed concerns about the EUís
proposed time limit for ratifying the ban amendment. ETHIOPIA
supported the EUís text. Following further consultations, the EU
revised its proposals (UNEP/CHW.6/CRP.14), and the decision was
adopted, as amended.
Analysis of issues related to Convention Annex
VII: SWITZERLAND reported that a small drafting group had met on
this issue and had agreed on text that would be submitted to the
Annex VII Working Group for its consideration on Thursday morning.
Proposed amendments to Convention Annexes VIII
and IX: Executive Secretary Kuwabara-Yamamoto introduced a
document describing Partiesí submissions on adjusting the lists of
wastes contained in Annex VIII or IX and containing a draft decision
on this matter (UNEP/CHW.6/18). She noted that the Technical Working
Group had approved seven proposals to amend Annexes VIII and IX, and
drew attention to amendments proposed by the EU (UNEP/CHW.6/CRP.9).
The RUSSIAN FEDERATION questioned some of the proposals to amend
Annex IX, including those on end-of-life motor vehicles and on waste
textile floor coverings and carpets. Following informal
consultations, the Plenary adopted the decision, including the EUís
proposals, which had been altered to reflect the RUSSIAN
Issues related to Annex IX: President Jelev
introduced a document containing information and a questionnaire
designed to assist Parties in the use of Annex IX (UNEP/CHW.6/19),
noting that the Technical Working Group had been considering this
issue. Parties agreed to a proposal by CHILE to insert a note in the
text clarifying that this is a voluntary questionnaire, and the
document was adopted, as amended.
OTHER MATTERS: The Plenary approved a logo
for the Basel Convention (UNEP/CHW.6/38 and Corr.1).
BUDGET AND INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS: The
Working Group attempted to finalize the draft decision on financial
matters, the terms of reference for the administration of the trust
funds, and the budget (UNEP/CHW.6/36). Some issues in the draft
decision remained unresolved by late evening, including specific
budgetary amounts and the Secretariatís use of anticipated savings
from the Basel Convention Trust Fund. Regarding the terms of
reference, delegates were unable to agree on the contribution levels
to this Trust Fund and the possible role of the Expanded Bureau in
approving unbudgeted expenditures.
Many Parties expressed concerns regarding the
Conventionís current budget surplus and the Secretariatís reliance
on the surplus to "balance" the budget. The US, supported by several
other developed countries, suggested that the surplus should be paid
back to donors. CANADA argued it should be spent on certain priority
issues in the Strategic Plan, while MEXICO and FRANCE said it should
be used for interpretation, translation, and developing country
participation expenses. In reviewing the budget, several delegates
expressed concerns about the cost consequences of reclassification
of posts within the Secretariat and specific increased costs since
STRATEGIC PLAN AND REGIONAL CENTERS: This
Working Group completed its work on the draft decisions relating to
the legal establishment of BCRCs (UNEP/CHW.6/4) and BCRC business
plans (UNEP/CHW.6/4/Add.1). It did not complete negotiations on the
draft Strategic Plan and a related draft decision, however (UNEP/CHW.6/3
On BCRC funding-related matters, delegates
approved a package solution submitted by a drafting group, with
minor amendments. On the Secretariatís mandate to negotiate and sign
the Framework Agreement, delegates adopted compromise language. On
the Secretariatís assistance in finalizing BCRCís business plans,
delegates agreed to replace "member states" with "countries" in
order to cover non-member countries to be served by the Center. On
authorizing the Secretariat to negotiate financial arrangements with
the BCRCs, GERMANY opposed a reference to the Basel Convention Trust
Fund, noting that this Fund cannot be directly used for BCRCs.
Delegates agreed to use language referring to "contributions from
the Basel Convention Trust Fund, as agreed periodically by the COP."
On the draft Strategic Plan, GERMANY, CANADA and
BRAZIL suggested, while EGYPT and the EU opposed, considering and
adopting the text of the Plan separately from the Action Table.
COMPLIANCE WORKING GROUP: Following extensive
negotiations, the Compliance Working Group, chaired by Alistair
McGlone (UK), agreed to a compromise text on the compliance
mechanism that was drafted by an informal sub-group, thus completing
its work. The draft decision will be taken up in Plenary on
IN THE CORRIDORS
COP-6ÔŅĹs preparatory segment ended late on
Wednesday, with delegates finishing only part of their workload.
While some were upbeat about the successful completion of talks on
compliance and the adoption in Plenary of many of the more technical
decisions, others noted that much work remained in negotiations on
the Strategic Plan and budget.
Several delegates also said they would have
preferred a stronger compliance mechanism, although a number of
participants argued that compromises had been made on both sides,
and that any result was better than none.
Meanwhile, some environmental NGOs were
expressing their frustrations with what they believe is a lack of
focus on hazardous waste minimization, which, they stress, is
fundamental for achieving the objectives of the Basel Convention.
They note that although many Parties agree on the need for pollution
prevention rather than end-of-pipe measures, there appears to be a
lack of political will to take progressive measures in this
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT: The high-level segment of
COP-6 will start at 10:00 am in Room XVII with opening
presentations. Statements from ministers and heads of delegations
are expected to begin at 11:00 am and to continue throughout the
day. A ceremony to witness the signing of the declaration on the
partnership for the environmentally sound management of end-of-life
mobile phones will take place at 12:00 pm.
WORKING GROUPS: Meetings of Working Groups
and sub-groups will be held to complete work on Convention Annex
VII, the draft Strategic Plan, and the budget and institutional
arrangements. Check the notice board for details.