Vol. 20 No. 17
BASEL COP-7 HIGHLIGHTS:
The high-level segment of COP-7 began on Thursday
with opening addresses, followed by an introduction to the theme of COP-7,
partnerships for meeting the global waste challenge. Delegates then heard
presentations on hazardous waste minimization and the life-cycle approach, and
on integrated waste management and the regional approach, and engaged in
interactive discussions on these issues. The Working Groups on financial matters
and on ships dismantling continued their deliberations.
OPENING ADDRESSES: On behalf of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director General of the UN Office in Geneva, urged Parties to: minimize hazardous waste generation at source; adopt the life-cycle approach; provide resources for capacity building; strengthen the Basel Convention Regional Centers (BCRCs); and enhance cooperation at all levels. President Saul Irureta, Uruguay’s Minister of the Environment, called for strengthening BCRCs, coordinating implementation of the Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions at all levels, increasing available resources, and minimizing hazardous waste generation at source.
Sachiko Kuwabara-Yamamoto, Executive Secretary,
urged delegates to work with existing and new partners, including the
Secretariats of the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.
BURUNDI called for a financial mechanism to assist
developing countries in implementing waste management projects. SOUTH AFRICA and
KENYA stressed the need for sustainable financing, and urged the Secretariat to
initiate consultations with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) on this issue.
ALBANIA stressed the need for resources to facilitate the growth in domestic
administrative capacity to manage hazardous wastes. MEXICO called for increased
capacity building for developing countries.
PAKISTAN, with BANGLADESH and MAURITIUS, stressed
the need to address the problem of waste generation at source in developed
countries. MAURITIUS called on developed countries to lead by example on this
issue, through the adoption of legally binging targets. BELARUS called for
minimization of waste generation, both through reducing the total waste volume
generated and by increasing its reuse, and called for the transfer of low-waste
and clean technologies to developing countries and countries with economies in
transition. SWEDEN stressed industry’s responsibility to minimize both waste
generation and the hazardous substances content in the products they
manufacture, and called for environmentally sound ship dismantling, including
BURKINA FASO, UGANDA, SWEDEN, and EGYPT called for
strengthening BCRCs. SWITZERLAND suggested using BCRCs in the implementation of
the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.
EL SALVADOR emphasized the need to decouple
economic growth from waste generation, and highlighted the role of governments
as facilitators of partnerships. SWITZERLAND called for more public-private
partnerships, such as the Mobile Phones Partnership Initiative, and BANGALDESH
called for partnerships on ship dismantling. UGANDA and EGYPT called for
responsibility, transparency, and accountability in partnerships. EGYPT said
partnerships should entail technology transfer and capacity building. INDIA
stressed that partnerships should be based on differentiated responsibilities.
PAKISTAN called for entry into force of the Ban
Amendment. JAPAN said governments should create incentives for industry to
manage wastes in an environmentally sound manner. BURKINA FASO called for
solutions to stockpiles of obsolete chemicals in Africa.
Integrated waste management and regional approach: Ashok Khosla (India) presented on experiences and lessons learned in implementing the chemicals-related multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). He urged focusing on cleaner production and consumption patterns, and noted the importance of implementation at the local level. Tom Conway, Resources Future International, presented the Basel Convention Resource Mobilization Strategy’s objectives and components, namely capacity building, synergies with other MEAs, and cooperation with major funding agencies.
AUSTRALIA and THAILAND emphasized the importance
of managing e-wastes, with THAILAND proposing that BCRCs organize training
programmes on this issue. BENIN requested information on managing e-wastes, and
CAMBODIA outlined domestic actions on the environmentally sound management (ESM)
of e-wastes. INDONESIA said work on ESM should seek to promote economic and
SYRIA called for technical support for an assessment of hazardous chemicals and the development of an overall strategy for their disposal.
BULGARIA supported the development of regional and
global partnerships to manage hazardous wastes. ECUADOR and POLAND urged the
active participation of industry in waste management. The MALDIVES called for
the diffusion of cleaner technologies, and MALAYSIA urged the development of
partnerships to assist small and medium enterprises in developing countries in
gaining access to affordable environmentally sound technologies.
GUATEMALA highlighted the problem of waste synthetic clothing and packaging imported from developing countries. SRI LANKA urged countries to ratify the Ban Amendment.
The RUSSIAN FEDERATION called for the development of models for integrated chemicals management. ALGERIA highlighted the potential for developing synergies in national strategies for implementation of the three chemicals-related MEAs. ARGENTINA called for waste minimization at source. BOTSWANA urged the application of the polluter pays principle and the life-cycle approach, and called on countries to fulfil their obligations under the Basel Convention.
FINANCIAL MATTERS: The Working Group on financial matters, chaired by Jean-Louis Wallace (Canada), met throughout the day on Thursday to continue deliberations on the revised draft 2005-6 budget for the Basel Convention Trust Fund (BCTF) and the TCTF. On the personnel component, JAPAN, supported by the RUSSIAN FEDERATION, suggested transferring the existing technological and training post from the BCTF to the TCTF. COLOMBIA, the European Commission (EC), ROMANIA and INDIA disagreed, expressing concern that this would make UNEP liable for compensation in case the post was terminated, since TCTF is not secured funding.
On the component on travel and daily subsistence
allowance costs of participants, the EC, JAPAN, ROMANIA and the RUSSIAN
FEDERATION supported moving the item to the TCTF, while GRULAC opposed this,
stressing the importance of developing countriesï¿½ participation in meetings. On
the number of meetings of the Open-ended Working Group in the biennium, JAPAN,
the RUSSIAN FEDERATION, ROMANIA and GRULAC supported reducing the number of
meetings to two, while the EC opposed it.
Noting that, at this late stage in the budgetary
process, many countries have already fixed their contributions, the EC,
supported by ROMANIA, suggested moving the COP-8 costs to the 2006 budget of the
BCTF. On the partnership work programme, delegates agreed to prioritize
activities that have already commenced. The Working Group met Thursday evening
to discuss the UN scale of assessments, and will reconvene on Friday to conclude
DISMANTLING OF SHIPS: Participants of the
Working Group on ship dismantling agreed on two draft decisions and addressed
the issue of the abandonment of ships. Discussions focused on flag State
responsibilities and the principles of PIC and ESM of hazardous wastes.
IN THE CORRIDORS
As the Working Group on financial matters entered
into its third day of discussions, a few participants felt that the reason for
the proposed rise in contributions had been misunderstood by many delegations.
They indicated that although the total budget is anticipated to remain fairly
stable, the increase in contributions is necessary as the reserve fund has been
significantly depleted. Some noted that if there is no retreat by participants
with the most entrenched positions on a ï¿½zero budget increase,ï¿½ Parties will
have to bear an even bigger hit at COP-8. Some delegates found it ironic that,
while the theme for the COP is partnerships and resource mobilization, most
developed countries are reluctant to contribute any additional financial
resources to the Basel Convention.
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