All activities

International conference promotes hazardous waste prevention, minimization and recovery
Government representatives in Cartagena will investigate ways in which the Convention could help turn wastes into valuable resources...

International conference promotes hazardous waste prevention, minimization and recovery

International conference promotes hazardous waste prevention, minimization and recovery

Geneva (5 October 2011) – The member-Governments of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal will meet at the Cartagena de Indias Convention Centre, Cartagena, Colombia, from 17 to 21 October 2011 for the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention, hosted by the Government of Colombia.

The Conference is dedicated to the theme “Prevention, minimization and recovery of wastes”.

The Basel Convention is the most comprehensive global environmental treaty dealing with hazardous and other wastes. It has 178 members (Parties) and aims to protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects of the generation, management, transboundary movements and disposal of hazardous and other wastes.

Government representatives in Cartagena will investigate ways in which the Convention could help turn wastes into valuable resources, so as to create business and job opportunities, while protecting human health, livelihood and the environment.

Turning wastes into valuable resources is currently one of the largest unaddressed challenges facing the international waste agenda.

Electronic wastes offer a particularly striking example, as they often contain valuable metals which are currently neither collected for recycling nor entering those recycling streams that are capable of recycling them efficiently. End-of-life recycling rates for precious metals from electronics are estimated to be at or below 15% (UNEP, 2011). Yet 30 obsolete mobile phones contain the same amount of gold as one ton of mined ore, in addition to other valuable metals, including cobalt (in Li-Ion batteries), copper, palladium and silver.

Smelting processes, which separate metals from other materials, may release metal fume and metal oxide particulate, dioxins and furans, exposing workers and downwind communities unless the emissions are controlled. These releases can be controlled through properly engineered processes and emission control systems, but require environmentally sound management, a key pillar of the Basel Convention.

Uncontrolled incineration or land filling of end-of life mobile phones therefore makes neither environmental nor economic sense. Properly managed recovery can extract these metals in ways that protect the environment and human health, while promoting sustainable livelihoods for workers engaged in recovery operations.

The Conference will also look at ways to prevent and minimize wastes, considering it as part of the life cycle of materials, as an essential component of the concept of sustainable production and consumption.

The Conference in Cartagena will consider a new strategic framework to steer development of the Convention during the next decade.

Parties will examine proposals tabled by the Governments of Indonesia and Switzerland for a way forward on the Ban Amendment, which would ban trade in hazardous wastes between Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries and developing countries which are party to the Amendment. The proposals are the product of a country-led process that was transparent and invited input from all interested parties and stakeholders.

Trade in hazardous wastes has grown significantly between developing countries, a trend unforeseen when the Convention was adopted more than two decades ago. Such trade is not addressed by the Ban Amendment, which was adopted in 1995 and has 70 Parties. Due to a long-standing dispute over how to calculate the requisite number of ratifications needed which has defied resolution by consensus, the Amendment has yet to enter into force.

In the intervening decades, the quantity of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes has increased. Experts estimate that by 2018 the quantity of e-waste generated in developing countries will exceed the amount generated in OECD countries. A growing share of the international trade in hazardous waste is believed to lie outside of the framework of environmentally sound management.

“Today, the protection of vulnerable countries remains as important as ever. Yet, the picture of trade in wastes has moved on, with transboundary movements of waste between developing countries having become a major factor,” said Jim Willis, Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

Mr. Willis continued, “This conference presents a unique opportunity to position waste management in all countries, and especially in developing ones, as a model area for achieving an environmentally and socially sound economy.”

Note to editors:

The 1989 Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal has two pillars. First, it regulates the transboundary movements of hazardous and other wastes. Second, the Convention obliges its Parties to ensure that such wastes are managed and disposed of in an environmentally sound manner. To this end, Parties are required to prevent or minimize the generation of wastes at source, to treat and dispose of wastes as close as possible to their place of generation and to minimize the quantities that are moved across borders. Strong controls have to be applied from the generation of a hazardous waste to its storage, transport, treatment, reuse, recycling, recovery and final disposal.

The Conference of the Parties is the supreme decision-making organ of the Basel Convention. It meets every other year to discuss programmatic and budgetary issues for the next biennium.

The Basel Convention has 14 Regional and Coordinating Centres, with one or more operating on every continent. The Centres develop and undertake regional projects, and deliver training and technology transfer for the implementation of the Convention under the direction of the Conference of the Parties and of the Secretariat of the Convention.

Recent years have seen efforts under the Basel Convention to develop a global strategy for environmentally sound waste management. This included support to the launch of the Partnership for Action on Computing Equipment (PACE), the first of several strategic partnerships in different areas of waste management.

For further information on the recovery of valuable metals from end-of-live electronic products, see Recycling Rates of Metals – A Status Report, Appendix E. Review of Precious Metals Recycling Statistics (UNEP, International Resource Panel, 2011).

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Katharina Kummer Peiry, Executive Secretary, Secretariat of the Basel Convention, +41-22-917 5488, e-mail: Katharina.Kummer@unep.org

Mr. Michael Stanley-Jones, Press Officer, Joint Services of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, UNEP, +41 (0)79 730 4495, e-mail: SafePlanet@unep.org

Please also consult the web site of the Basel Convention: http://www.basel.int/

Download this press advisory in English

Download this press advisory in Spanish.

 

The new Strategic Framework for 2012-2021 should enable the Basel Convention to highlight the links between waste management and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The draft strategy sets out a vision, guiding principles, strategic goals and objectives, as well as means of implementation and indicators of achievement.  

New Strategic Framework and Indonesian-Swiss Country Led Initiative aim to improve the effectiveness of the Convention

The new Strategic Framework for 2012-2021 should enable the Basel Convention to highlight the links between waste management and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The draft strategy sets out a vision, guiding principles, strategic goals and objectives, as well as means of implementation and indicators of achievement.

Linked in substance with the Strategic Framework is the outcome of the Country-Led Initiative (CLI) by Indonesia and Switzerland. Launched in response to the call of the President of COP9 to find a way out of the controversy surrounding the Ban Amendment, the CLI proposes a set of measures to break through the deadlock holding up entry into force of the Amendment. Their adoption could constitute a historic step towards a solution after over 15 years of blockage.

The New Strategic Framework will be considered for adoption at COP10 in Cartagena, Colombia on 17–21 October 2011.

 

Basel Convention website advances synergies
The promise of “synergies” between the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions took another supple step forward this month with the opening of the new Basel Convention website.

Basel Convention website advances synergies

Basel Convention website advances synergies

The promise of “synergies” between the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions took another supple step forward this month with the opening of the new Basel Convention website, the third “leg” of the conventions’ joint clearing-house family of websites. 

The Basel website will be officially launched during COP10 in Cartagena, Colombia, 17–21 October 2011. The new Stockholm and Rotterdam websites were launched at their respective COPs held earlier this year.

The launch of the new Basel website completes the integration of the Basel Convention’s web information into the joint clearing house.  The entrance to each of the conventions’ websites is through a common gateway page, expressing a harmonized design while sporting an individual ‘look and feel’.

The Basel website is framed in a shamrock green, setting it off from Rotterdam’s navy blue and Stockholm’s striking orange pages.  The Basel web address familiar to long-time users of the website –www.basel.int –has been kept.

Basel now shares a common architecture with its sister sites, starting with quick links to frequently requested ‘Meetings’, ‘Documents’, ‘Networks’, ‘Projects’ and ‘Publications’ which are found at the top of the page of each home page. 

A comprehensive drop down menu guides users to implementation and country-specific chapters organized by activity or topic.  

Information about the ‘Convention’, the ‘COP’ and subsidiary bodies, ‘Compliance’ and ‘Media’ are also collected under a single heading, with additional chapters introducing the ‘Secretariat’ and major ‘Partners’.

As the centrepiece, the website presents four featured articles. Further sections offer ‘ In the spotlight’ , ‘Announcements’, ‘Activities’, ‘Upcoming Meetings’ and ‘Webinars’.

One test of synergies is how the newly designed communication tools impact work on the ground. The goal is to support implementation of the conventions at the national level by bringing improved coherence in information exchange and to the organization of information resources that ease the burden on Parties and the public to find what they need. 

With the opening of the Basel clearing-house website, we hope to bring the Basel community a step closer to realizing this goal.

 

Launch of InforMEA - the United Nations Information Portal on Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs)
The Multilateral Environmental Agreements Information and Knowledge Management Initiative (MEA IKM), launched today develops harmonized MEA information systems to assist Parties and the environment community at large access information from multiple agreements from one location. Supported by UNEP the initiative currently includes 17 MEAs from 12 Secretariats hosted by three UN organizations and IUCN.

Launch of InforMEA - the United Nations Information Portal on Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs)

Launch of InforMEA - the United Nations Information Portal on Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs)

Geneva, 14 June 2011 - The Multilateral Environmental Agreements Information and Knowledge Management Initiative (MEA IKM), launched today develops harmonized MEA information systems to assist Parties and the environment community at large access information from multiple agreements from one location. Supported by UNEP the initiative currently includes 17 MEAs from 12 Secretariats hosted by three UN organizations and IUCN. It is open to observers involved in MEA information and data management.

The first project – InforMEA, the United Nations Information Portal on Multilateral Environmental Agreements – is/was launched on 14 June at the occasion of the initiative’s 2nd Steering Committee Meeting, attended by Ms. Maria Louisa Silva, Executive Secretary of the Barcelona Convention, Mr. John Scanlon, Secretary General of Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and Mr. Jim Willis, Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

“With the launch of InforMEA the global environmental community has taken a major stride forward in making access to information more transparent and easier to apply in solving the complex challenges we face in the Information Age”, Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

The InforMEA Portal presents Conference of the Parties decisions and resolutions, news, calendars, events, country specific MEA Membership, national focal points, as well as in the near future national reports and implementation plans organized against a set of 200 hierarchical terms taken from MEA Conference of the Parties (COP) Agendas.

In contrast to similar endeavors this project harvests and displays information directly from MEA Secretariats websites and data bases, who remain the custodians of their data. This allows for accurate and timely data availability in a cost effective manner. MEA secretariats individually implement the technical solution identified.

Harmonization of information standards and formats will facilitate the development of many other knowledge tools among conventions. For example, the Convention on Migratory Species and CITES could display the species listed on their respective appendices or the Stockholm Convention may feature decisions related to endangered migratory species threatened by POPs. Once such an application is developed, the tool is maintained at minimal cost.

www.informea.org - Making key MEA information “speak to one another”

For further information please contact: Marcos Silva (CITES) [marcos.silva@cites.org] and Eva Duer (UNEP) [eva.duer@unep.org], (respective MEA representative)

Appointment of the new Executive Secretary
Mr. Jim Willis, a US national, took up his position as Executive Secretary of the Secretariat of the Basel Convention, Stockholm Convention Secretariat and UNEP-part of the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat on 18 April 2011.

Appointment of the new Executive Secretary

Appointment of the new Executive Secretary

Mr. Jim Willis, a US national, took up his position as Executive Secretary of the Secretariat of the Basel Convention, Stockholm Convention Secretariat and UNEP-part of the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat on 18 April 2011.

Mr. Willis has throughout his distinguished career worked in the field of environment with particular focus on policy issues related to chemicals and wastes. Mr. Willis worked as the Director of the Chemical Control Division with the US Environmental Protection Agency (2004-2011) and previously as the Director of the UNEP Chemicals Branch (1995-2004), which included serving as Executive Secretary of the Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions' secretariats.

Page 17 of 17First   Previous   8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  [17]  Next   Last