News Features

Expanded Bureau agrees to COP-11 provisional agenda
Expanded Bureau makes preparations for upcoming ordinary and extraordinary meetings of the Conference of the Parties.  

Expanded Bureau agrees to COP-11 provisional agenda

Expanded Bureau agrees to COP-11 provisional agenda

Expanded Bureau makes preparations for upcoming ordinary and extraordinary meetings of the Conference of the Parties.

 

Technical guidelines for the environmentally sound management of wastes with mercury
The technical guidelines to properly manage wastes consisting of elemental mercury and wastes containing or contaminated with mercury aim to protect human health and the environment.  

Technical guidelines for the environmentally sound management of wastes with mercury

Technical guidelines for the environmentally sound management of wastes with mercury

The technical guidelines to properly manage wastes consisting of elemental mercury and wastes containing or contaminated with mercury aim to protect human health and the environment.

 

The Working Group will consider several scientific and technical, legal and strategic matters, including the development of the technical guidelines on transboundary movement of e-waste, in particular regarding the distinction between waste and non-waste; development of the technical guidelines on persistent organic pollutants; and the proposals for new entries to the list of wastes contained in Annex IX to the Basel Convention submitted by Finland, Ireland, and the Netherlands.  

Basel Convention Open-ended Working Group to review framework for environmental sound management of wastes

The eighth meeting of the Open-ended Working Group of the Basel Convention is being held from 25 to 28 September 2012 at the Geneva International Conference Centre (CICG), in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Open-ended Working Group keeps under continuous review the implementation of the Convention’s work plan, specific operational policies and decisions taken by the Conference of the Parties for the implementation of the Convention. It meets once every two years.

The Working Group will consider several scientific and technical, legal and strategic matters, including the development of the technical guidelines on transboundary movement of e-waste, in particular regarding the distinction between waste and non-waste; development of the technical guidelines on persistent organic pollutants; and the proposals for new entries to the list of wastes contained in Annex IX to the Basel Convention submitted by Finland, Ireland, and the Netherlands.

As a follow-up to the Indonesian-Swiss country-led initiative to improve the effectiveness of the Basel Convention adopted at COP10 of the Convention, a progress report on the development of guidelines for environmentally sound management of waste will be provided, and the report on the interpretation of certain terminology to provide further legal clarity will be considered.

The outcomes of the meeting will help set the stage for the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention, which will be held back-to-back with the conferences of the parties to the Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions during a two-week period from 28 April to 10 May 2013 in Geneva. These back-to-back conferences will be held for the first time in tandem with an extra-ordinary meeting of the conferences of the parties charged with solidifying synergies among the three conventions.

Concern over ship dismantling practices prompts capacity building initiatives
The benefits of ship dismantling, or recycling, derive from the materials and equipment comprising end-of-life ships, whose scrap steel, mechanical parts and other valuable equipment are recycled or refurbished for use in other industries. End-of-life ships also comprise of an array of hazardous materials – such as asbestos, PCB and waste oils – which can have serious implications for the environment and human health if not managed properly.   

Concern over ship dismantling practices prompts capacity building initiatives

Concern over ship dismantling practices prompts capacity building initiatives

The benefits of ship dismantling, or recycling, derive from the materials and equipment comprising end-of-life ships, whose scrap steel, mechanical parts and other valuable equipment are recycled or refurbished for use in other industries. End-of-life ships also comprise of an array of hazardous materials – such as asbestos, PCB and waste oils – which can have serious implications for the environment and human health if not managed properly. 

Concern has been expressed at the international level over the environmental, health and safety standards in this industry, particularly in those countries employing the beaching method of ship recycling.  Ship recycling commonly takes place in developing countries which tend to have a competitive advantage as they provide a pool of low cost labour, may have weaker environmental protection / worker health and safety regulations, and have national demand for the outputs of the activity (predominantly scrap steel). Poor enforcement of regulations relating to this activity means that problems with local environmental pollution are commonplace and incidents of worker injury and fatality are high. These concerns are compounded given the upward trend in recycling activity experienced in the past few years. 

The Basel Convention has been involved in the issue of ship dismantling for over a decade and works at the policy and technical levels and through its capacity building programme toward improving environmental, health and safety standards in this important industry.

UN report graphs global waste challenges
Vital Waste Graphics 3 charts global trends and sheds light on the obstacles that prevent the practical implementation of waste minimization, recycling and resource recovery.  

UN report graphs global waste challenges

UN report graphs global waste challenges

A new report, Vital Waste Graphics 3, charts global trends and sheds light on the obstacles that prevent the practical implementation of policies to promote waste minimization, recycling and resource recovery. 

Vital Waste Graphics 3 covers a wide-range of waste-related topics, including preventive tools for wastes; the market for clean-up and treatment of hazardous waste and recycling of scrap metals; biogas and compost; solid waste management; waste external costs to health, biodiversity, climate change, and land use; producer and consumer responsibility; food waste; green procurement; disasters and waste; waste crime and illegal traffic. 

The report’s message is presented through more than 70 charts and graphs that reveal, explain and communicate connections between the environment and society.  

Vital Waste Graphics 3 draws and maps a broader vision of the present and for the future, in order to raise awareness of the costs and consequences of generating waste, and the opportunities of minimizing and managing it in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.

Already, the livelihoods of 15 million people worldwide – and one to two percent of the urban population in some developing countries – depend on waste picking or the scavenging of waste.  Protective measures for waste workers and nearby inhabitants, pollution control systems and risk mitigation measures are often insufficient in low-income countries.

Manufacturing products according to “green design” principles which integrate environmental and health considerations into their design, improved product labeling and certification of waste are among the measures that could protect health and environment, boost recycling rates, and contribute to turning waste into revenue and resources for other economic activities.

Vital Waste Graphics 3 is available here.

 

Basel joins the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development
The UNEP Secretariat of the Basel Convention is pleased to announce that it is joining the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development.

Basel joins the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development

Basel joins the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development

Port Louis, Mauritius (7 December 2011) – The UNEP Secretariat of the Basel Convention is pleased to announce that it is joining the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development.  

In a statement issued on the opening day of  the International Telecommunication Union’s World Telecommunications/ICT Indicators Meeting  on 7 December 2011, Mr Torbjorn Fredriksson, Chief of the ICT Analysis Section of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said,

“The inclusion of the Basel Convention Secretariat is particularly valuable at a time when growing attention is being paid to the measurement of the environmental implications for ICT, such as the growth of electronic waste “ said the current chair of the Partnership Steering Committee.

“The Secretariat of the Basel Convention will bring to the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development its expertise and experience with e-waste issues on global level, its network of national and international institutions, academics, industry and civil society,” commented Mr Matthias Kern, who will be representing the Basel Convention Secretariat in the Partnership.

“Measuring e-waste is one of the emerging topics we are exploring at this year’s World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Meeting. I am extremely pleased to announce the new membership of the UNEP Secretariat of the Basel Convention at this occasion,” said Ms Susan Teltscher, Head of ITU’s ICT Data and Statistics Division.

ITU, the Basel Convention  Secretariat and the United Nations University are conducting a joint online survey on e-waste – http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ewastesurvey2011 – through 31 January 2012.

 

Launch of new publication (executive summary) "Where are WEEE in Africa"
This publication is an element of the E-waste Africa programme, which aims at enhancing the environmental governance of e-wastes and creating favourable social and economic conditions in the recycling sector in Africa.

Launch of new publication (executive summary) "Where are WEEE in Africa"

Launch of new publication (executive summary) "Where are WEEE in Africa"

A new publication related to e-waste has been launched at the side-event “Experiences in environmentally sound management of e-waste in Africa and Asia-Pacific” which take place on 20 October 2011 during the Tenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention, 17 - 21 October 2011 in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia.

The results and findings presented in this publication have been generated in the framework of the Basel Convention E-waste Africa programme, which aims at enhancing the environmental governance of e-wastes and creating favourable social and economic conditions for partnerships and small businesses in the recycling sector in Africa. The initial phase of the programme consists of the E-waste Africa project and complementary activities triggered by the project and implemented by partner organizations. Following completion of the E-waste Africa project, follow-up activities are expected to be carried out supporting countries in the region to tackle e-waste issues.

The overarching goal of the E-waste Africa project is to enhance the capacity of West Africa and other African countries to tackle the growing problem of e-waste and thereby protect the health of citizens, particularly children, while providing economic opportunities. Specifically, the project aims to improve the level of information available on flows of EEE and e-waste imported into West African countries; assess the baseline situation in terms of amounts of EEE imports, EEE in use and e-waste in partner countries, as well as environmental impacts of the e-waste sector; study the social-economic aspects of the increasing volumes of used EEE and e-waste; and strengthen national capacities to monitor and control transboundary movements of e-waste and to prevent illegal traffic.

The publication serves to share knowledge generated through the several studies and activities of the E-waste Africa project primarily with stakeholders in the project partner countries, but also with stakeholders in other African countries and those who are concerned with the e-waste issue and are interested in seeking sustainable solutions: imports, collection and recycling, policy and legislation, and enforcement.

You can download the executive summary of the publication

For more information, you can visit the E-waste Africa Project page.

 

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.

 

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.

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