Activities

According to its work programme for the biennium 2018-2019 (decision BC-13/17), the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) is to consider relevant options available under the Convention to further address marine plastic litter and micro-plastics, taking into account inter alia the assessment requested by UNEA resolution 2/11, any relevant decision by UNEA-3, and existing guidance documents and activities under the Basel Convention that address issues related to marine plastic litter and micro-plastics.

Further, the OEWG is to develop a proposal for possible further actions, within the scope of the Convention and avoiding duplication with activities relating to this matter in other forums, for consideration at COP-14 in 2019.

The conferences of the Parties to the Basel and Stockholm conventions encouraged the regional and coordinating centres of the Basel and Stockholm conventions to work on the impact of plastic waste, marine plastic litter, microplastic, and measures for prevention and environmentally sound management (decisions BC-13/11 and SC-8/15).

Existing guidance documents and activities under the Basel Convention

The following guidance documents addressing issues related to marine plastic litter and microplastics have been developed under the Basel Convention:

  • Technical guidelines for the identification and environmentally sound management (ESM) of plastic wastes and for their disposal (UNEP/CHW.6/21)
  • Framework for the ESM of hazardous wastes and other wastes (decision BC-11/1)
  • Guidance to assist Parties in developing efficient strategies for achieving the prevention and minimization of the generation of hazardous and other wastes and their disposal (UNEP/CHW.13/INF/11)
  • Practical manuals for the promotion of the ESM (UNEP/CHW.13/4/Add.1)
  • Draft practical manuals on extended producer responsibility and financing systems for ESM (UNEP/CHW.13/INF/8)
  • Guidance manual on how to improve the sea-land interface (UNEP/CHW.13/INF/37)

The following activities addressing issues related to marine plastic litter and microplastics have been/are being undertaken:

  • Partnership on Household Waste (decision BC-13/14)
  • According to its workplan for the biennium 2018-2019, the household waste partnership is to develop an overall guidance document on the ESM of household waste.

Activities undertaken by the regional and coordinating centers

In November 2016, the regional centres of the Basel and Stockholm conventions established a small topic group on marine litter, led by the Stockholm Regional Centre in Barcelona. The topic group developed proposals for the Basel and Stockholm conventions to address issues related to marine plastic litter and microplastics. These proposals were included in the report on the activities of the Basel and Stockholm conventions regional centres (UNEP/CHW.13/INF/29/Rev.1 - UNEP/POPS/COP.8/INF/26/Rev.1).

Following decisions BC-13/11 and SC-8/15, the Basel and Stockholm conventions regional centres continue to cooperate among them and with other entities to deliver technical assistance to prevent marine plastic litter and microplastics. During the annual meeting of Basel and Stockholm Regional Centres to be held in November 2017, the directors of the centres will discuss and develop the way forward in their cooperation on this topic.