BASEL COP-7 HIGHLIGHTS:
TUESDAY, 26 OCTOBER 2004
On Tuesday, delegates to COP-7 met in Plenary to continue their review of the
compilation of draft decisions forwarded to COP-7 by the Open-ended Working
Group (OEWG). Delegates engaged in discussions on a number of issues, including
framework agreements and business plans of the Basel Convention Regional Centers
(BCRCs), issues relating to the Ban Amendment, and enlarging the scope of the
Working Groups convened to address technical guidelines on persistent organic
pollutants (POPs), ship dismantling, and financial matters. The Contact Group on
Partnerships for the Global Waste Challenge continued its deliberations on a
document to guide interactive discussions at the high-level segment.
Guillermo Valles, Uruguay’s Ambassador to
Switzerland, chaired the meeting throughout the day, as COP-7 President Saul
Irureta, Uruguay’s Minister of the Environment, was unable to attend.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DECISIONS ADOPTED BY
COP-6: Framework agreements and business plans of the BCRCs: Nelson Sabogal,
Secretariat, introduced an item on framework agreements and business plans for
the BCRCs (UNEP/CHW.7/INF/6 and 7). The RUSSIAN FEDERATION proposed a revision
of the business plans included in the document on the framework agreements and
business plans of the Basel Convention (UNEP/CHW.7/5). BURUNDI suggested
conducting inventories of hazardous wastes in countries facing crises and
On funding of the BCRCs, UGANDA, EGYPT, ZAMBIA, BOTSWANA, INDONESIA, SENEGAL and
NIGERIA emphasized the importance of increasing both financial and technical
resources. JAPAN opposed using the Reserve Fund to fund BCRC activities. The EU
proposed the removal of brackets around text on host countries accepting
financial responsibility for the BCRCs in the draft decision on BCRCs (UNEP/CHW/7.2).
Plenary decided to establish a contact group to incorporate countries’ comments
into the report on progress made on BCRCs (UNEP/CHW.7/3).
Implementation of the Environment Initiative of
New Partnership for Africa’s Development as it relates to hazardous wastes and
other wastes: Executive Secretary Kuwabara-Yamamoto introduced a document
and a draft decision on the issue (UNEP/CHW.7/30 and 7.2). The decision was
adopted without amendment.
Implementation of decision III/1 on amendment of the Basel Convention:
Donata Rugarabamu, Secretariat, introduced a draft decision on implementation of
Decision III/1 (UNEP/CHW/7.2), noting that it was intended to expedite the
process of ratification, acceptance, formal confirmation or approval of the Ban
Amendment. ETHIOPIA proposed deleting text requesting the Secretariat to respond
to requests for advice relating to ratification, stating that this goes beyond
the Secretariat's mandate.
Analysis of issues relating to Annex VII: Rugarabamu introduced a
document on the analysis of issues related to Annex VII (UNEP/CHW.7/12) and a
corresponding draft decision (UNEP/CHW/7.2).
The Netherlands, on behalf of the EU, suggested deleting text in the draft
decision calling on Parties to accede to the Ban Amendment and on non-Parties to
accede to the Convention.
The Basel Action Network (BAN) drew attention to confusion concerning the number
of ratifications required for the Ban Amendment to enter into force, following
the Secretariat’s receipt of a letter from the UN Office of Legal Affairs (OLA)
stating that ratification by three-fourths of current Parties is required,
rather than three-fourths of those Parties that accepted the Ban Amendment at
COP-3. He urged Parties to interpret Article 17 as applying to the number of
Parties at the time of the adoption of the Amendment.
CANADA suggested reflecting UN OLA’s opinion in the document on the analysis of
issues related to Annex VII (UNEP/CHW/7/12). GREENPEACE said other legal
opinions should also be reflected. ETHIOPIA stressed that interpretation of the
Convention was primarily the responsibility of Parties.
CANADA, supported by the US, said a number of
developing countries have developed the capacity to ensure the environmentally
sound management (ESM) of hazardous wastes since the adoption of the Ban
Amendment. NEW ZEALAND suggested that the amendment might restrain the
development of ESM. Noting that developing countries have to manage domestically
generated wastes, MALAYSIA said the global effort to stop the flow of wastes to
developing countries should be supported. GREENPEACE and BAN emphasized the need
for Parties to implement their obligations under the Convention, including
minimization of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes, minimization of
waste generation, and domestic self-sufficiency in waste management.
AUSTRALIA, with NEW ZEALAND and INDIA, said the
current membership criteria for Annex VII, which depend on membership of the EU
or the OECD, are arbitrary and discriminatory. NORWAY, with the EU and EGYPT,
said discussions on Annex VII should not be re-opened until the Ban amendment
comes into effect.
Designation of competent authorities and focal
points: Rugaramabu introduced a List of Competent Authorities and Focal
Points (UNEP/CHW.7/INF/3), and a draft decision on their designation (UNEP/CHW.7/2).
The draft decision was adopted without amendment.
Guidance elements for bilateral, multilateral or regional agreements:
Requesting Parties to report under Article 11 of the Convention on agreements to
which they are parties, Rugarabamu introduced three documents on this item (UNEP/CHW.7/INF/13,
/Corr.1 and /Corr.2), and a draft decision on agreements under Article 11 (UNEP/CHW.7/2).
The decision was adopted without amendment.
Amendment to rule 29 of the rules of procedure: Rugaramabu introduced a
draft decision on an Amendment to Rule 29 of the Rules of Procedure (UNEP/CHW.7/2),
which would open meetings of the COP and the working groups to the public,
unless otherwise stipulated by those bodies, as well as a document summarizing
relevant rules from other multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) (UNEP/CHW.7/INF/15).
CANADA opposed this amendment, saying practice would not be consistent with that
of other MEAs. The NETHERLANDS and MALAYSIA supported the draft decision. On
text referring to meetings to which the public would have access, ETHIOPIA
proposed adding committee meetings. The draft decision was adopted as amended by
Interim guidelines for the implementation of decision V/32: Rugarabamu
introduced a draft decision on the enlargement of the scope of the Trust Fund to
provide an emergency fund (UNEP/CHW/7/2). The EU, supported by NEW ZEALAND,
proposed the deletion of text referring to the establishment of a new mechanism.
CUBA, CHILE, ARGENTINA, UGANDA, SENEGAL, BOTSWANA and SOUTH AFRICA opposed the
deletion. Chair Vallas requested interested countries to hold informal
consultations on the matter.
Illegal Traffic: Rugarabamu introduced guidance elements for a draft
manual on illegal traffic (UNEP/CHW.7/24), and a draft decision on illegal
traffic (UNEP/CHW.7/2). ARGENTINA and CHILE called for the manual to reflect
regional circumstances. MALAYSIA proposed text on cooperation between Parties in
the verification of customs documentation. Delegates agreed on an EU proposal to
forward the manual to the OEWG for improvement.
Transmission of information, including implementation of decision II/12:
Rugarabamu introduced a draft decision on the issue (UNEP/CHW/7.2). The decision
was adopted with a minor amendment proposed by CUBA.
National definitions of hazardous wastes: Rugarabamu introduced a draft
decision on national definitions of hazardous wastes (UNEP/CHW.7/2). The
decision was adopted without amendment.
Work on hazardous characteristics: Ibrahim Shafi, Secretariat, presented
work on hazard characteristics (UNEP/CHW.7/11 and Add.1, 2 and 3). Delegates
agreed to hold further consultations in a Working Group chaired by the UK and
the US on Wednesday.
Application for plastic coated cable scrap: Chair Valles introduced a
document presented by India on the application for plastic coasted cable scrap (UNEP/CHW.7/15),
and a corresponding draft decision (UNEP/CHW.7/2). A contact group will meet on
Wednesday to discuss the issue.
FINANCIAL MATTERS: The Working Group on
financial matters met Tuesday afternoon and was jointly chaired by Jean-Louis
Wallace (Canada) and Oludayo Dada (Tanzania). The RUSSIAN FEDERATION, TANZANIA
and SENEGAL highlighted the need for additional resources and, with the EU,
supported the strategy outlined in the document on mobilizing resources for a
cleaner future (UNEP/CHW.7/INF/8). Regarding the suggestion to seek funding from
the Global Environment Facility (GEF), CHINA, BRAZIL and INDIA highlighted GEFï¿½s
limited resources. The US suggested integrating wastes in projects eligible for
GEF funding such as POPs or Climate Change.
On the budget for the biennium 2005-2006 (UNEP/CHW/OEWG/3/23), Executive
Secretary Kuwabara-Yamamoto explained that the over-expenditure had been caused
by exchange rate fluctuations and translation costs.
The RUSSIAN FEDERATION, with the Group of Latin America and Caribbean, said use
of the UN scale of assessment to determine countriesï¿½ contributions should not
increase developing countriesï¿½ burden. The US, INDIA, the RUSSIAN FEDERATION and
AUSTRALIA expressed concern about the budget increase for 2005-2006. The Working
Group will meet on Wednesday to continue its deliberations.
TECHNICAL GUIDELINES ON POPs: The Working Group on Technical Guidelines
for waste POPs, chaired by Michael Ernst (Germany), met in the morning. The
group made good progress in revising the technical guidelines for the
environmentally sound management of POP wastes (UNEP/CHW.7/8/Add.1 and /Add.2),
and the draft decision on Preparation of Technical Guidelines on POPs (UNEP/CHW.7/2).
Outstanding substantive issues include the level of ï¿½low POP content wastesï¿½ for
dioxins and furans, and levels of atmospheric emissions from destruction
technologies for POP wastes.
DISMANTLING OF SHIPS: The Working Group on the dismantling of ships met
on Tuesday afternoon and based its discussions on a proposal submitted by the EU
on elements for a decision on the environmentally sound management of ship
dismantling. The Group will continue its deliberations on Wednesday.
PARTNERSHIPS FOR THE GLOBAL WASTE CHALLENGE:
The contact group on partnerships for meeting the global waste challenge,
chaired by Andrï¿½ Corrï¿½a Do Lago (Brazil), met throughout the day to discuss a
note by the Secretariat on Partnership for Meeting the Global Waste Challenge (UNEP/CHW.7/27),
and a Proposed Ministerial Statement or Possible Elements for A Decision (UNEP/CHW.7/27Add.1).
Delegates agreed on the need for a ministerial declaration to send a strong
political message to: attract possible donors; emphasize the positive role of
the BCRCs; stress the goal of waste minimization within the Basel Convention;
and highlight linkages with other chemicals-related conventions to ensure that
GEF funding can be accessed. Agreement could not be reached on whether the COP
should take a decision on this matter. Some participants supported working on
both a ministerial declaration and a decision, noting that a decision by the COP
would send a stronger message. Others opposed adopting a new decision, arguing
that many draft decisions already refer to partnerships. On Tuesday afternoon,
the Secretariat submitted a working paper on draft elements for a COP decision
on partnerships for meeting the global waste challenge. Discussions will resume
IN THE CORRIDORS
During the second day of COP-7, an old
disagreement between a number of developed country delegates and others
regarding the Ban Amendment re-emerged. Some delegates felt that the entry into
force of the Ban Amendment could inhibit the development of economically
beneficial recycling industries, particularly in developing countries which,
they argue, have recently acquired the capacity to manage hazardous wastes in an
environmentally sound manner. Meanwhile, some developing country participants
and NGOs expressed the opinion that countries with the capacity to manage
hazardous wastes in a manner that protects human health and the environment
should employ this capacity to manage their own wastes rather than importing
wastes from other countries.