Notifications under the Basel Convention: national definitions of hazardous wastes and restrictions on movements of wastes

Notifications under the Basel Convention: national definitions of hazardous wastes and restrictions on movements of wastes

Notifications under the Basel Convention: national definitions of hazardous wastes and restrictions on movements of wastes

The overarching objective of the Basel Convention is to protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects of hazardous wastes. Under the Basel Convention, Parties have specific obligations to transmit certain information to each other. This includes notifications of national definitions of hazardous wastes in addition to those listed in the annexes of the Convention; and decisions to restrict or prohibit imports and/or exports of hazardous or other wastes. The current leaflet provides information about these notifications in a concise manner.

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Guidance

Format and manual for national reporting for the year 2018 and onwards

The format to be used for national reporting for the year 2018 and onwards incorporates revisions to the previous format, adopted by the Conference of the Parties in decision BC-14/10. The revised format is available for download here.

The Manual for completing the format for national reporting aims to assist countries in understanding the type of information to be provided in national reports. It also includes the questions of the reporting format and is available in all United Nation languages.

The Manual is available in  English

Format and manual for national reporting for the year 2016 and 2017

The format to be used for national reporting for the year 2016 and onwards incorporates a number of revisions to the previous format. These revisions were adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention by decisions BC-12/6 and BC-13/9. The revised format is available for download here.

The Manual for completing the format for national reporting aims to assist countries in understanding the type of information to be provided in national reports. It also includes the questions of the reporting format and is available in all United Nation languages.

The Manual is available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

Format and manual for national reporting for the year 2015 and prior years

The format to be used for national reporting for the year 2002 to 2015, together with a manual intended to assist Parties in completing that format, were adopted by the Conference of the Parties by decision VI/27. The format is available for download here.

The manual is available in ArabicChineseEnglishFrenchRussian and Spanish

User manual for the electronic reporting system of the Basel Convention

The user manual for the electronic system (ERS) of the Basel Convention provides an overview of the key features of the ERS and explains the various ways in which users can submit information through the system. The manual is available here.

Guidance on national reporting

The Guidance Document on Improving National Reporting was developed by the Implementation and Compliance Committee to assist national technical officials with the preparation of the national reports. The Guidance pertains to the format for reporting 2015 and prior years. It will be updated to address revisions to the reporting format adopted by decisions BC-12/6 and BC-13/9.

This document is available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

Benchmark report aimed at facilitating reporting under paragraph 3 of Article 13 of the Basel Convention

The Benchmark report was developed by the Implementation and Compliance Committee of the Basel Convention. The report is intended to demonstrate what a national report might ideally look like, and to give some advice on what to avoid when preparing the national report. The Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention during its tenth meeting took note of the report and encouraged Parties to use it. The Guidance pertains to the format for reporting 2015 and prior years. It will be updated to address revisions to the reporting format adopted by decisions BC-12/6 and BC-13/9. The report is available here.

Guidance on developing inventories of hazardous wastes

The Methodological guide for the development of inventories of hazardous wastes and other wastes under the Basel Convention aims to provide guidance to the Basel Convention competent authorities and other stakeholders on the methods of developing national inventories for the preparation of the annual national reports. The guidance is available for download here.

Practical guidance for the development of inventories of priority waste streams

The draft Practical guidance for the development of inventories of used lead-acid batteries, waste electrical and electronic equipment and waste oils aims to provide practical instructions to assist Parties and others in developing inventories of specific wastes. It is meant to be used in conjunction with the Methodological guide for the development of inventories of hazardous wastes under the Basel Convention. The draft Practical guidance is available for download here (complete English version). 

French and Spanish versions are also available:

E-waste: French, Spanish
ULAB: French, Spanish
Waste Oils: French, Spanish

Please click here to see comments received on the draft Practical guidance documens.

Additional publications

Waste without frontiers
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Waste without frontiers

Waste without frontiers

The reported data on transboundary movements provide a rather good picture of the amounts of hazardous and other wastes generated and subject to transboundary movements globally. The following analysis shows that there has been progress on a number of issues addressed by the Convention, in particular in relation to the following points:

  • Transboundary movements are increasing, but the vast majority of hazardous and other wastes is still treated within the country of origin and if waste is exported it stays, in most cases, within the same geographical region - in line with the principle of reducing to a minimum transboundary movements;
  • Most of the waste that is moved across borders is moved for operations to recover, recycle, reclaim, make direct re-use or alternative use of the wastes concerned. From the information available, it appears that presently only high income member states of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (hereafter ‘OECD countries’) allow significant amounts of hazardous and other wastes to be imported for final disposal. It therefore may be assumed that these Parties would only accept such imports if they could treat these wastes in an environmentally sound manner;
  • Imports of hazardous wastes by developing countries and countries with economies in transition are decreasing and exports from those countries to developed countries, where it is assumed these wastes can be treated in an environmentally sound manner, are increasing. Even though the ban on export of hazardous wastes from developed countries to developing countries adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention has not yet entered into force, such transboundary movements are already decreasing. The trends observed may, at least partly, be caused by underreporting by Parties.
  • There is no evidence that significant amounts of hazardous wastes are being transferred from richer countries to poorer countries.

There are also areas where further progress may be needed:

  • Continuous efforts should be made to encourage Parties to transmit their national reports to the Secretariat and to improve the quality and comparability of data in such reports;
  • The quantitative information presently received about transboundary movements is satisfactory, but more information is needed about the generation of hazardous wastes and the quality of treatment in the states of import, to be able to assess if the goal of environmentally sound management of wastes is being achieved.
  • More information on illegal movements should be made available and analyzed more systematically to detect areas of implementation of the Convention where further improvement could be made.
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Waste without frontiers II
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Waste without frontiers II

Waste without frontiers II

This document is the second analysis of the data transmitted under Article 13 and covers the period between 2007 and 2015. The national reports submitted by Parties are available on the web site of the Convention. The previous analysis covered the period from 2004 to 2006.

The reports submitted by Parties to the Basel Convention, which are the basis of the analysis, show large gaps in the data on generation of hazardous and other wastes. In addition to the lack of data provided by about half of the Parties, the data between Parties are very difficult to compare, due to differences in national definition of hazardous waste and differences in measuring and reporting systems. Even the time series of the same Party can show extremely large differences over the years. In most cases Parties do not provide information about the background of such marked differences and these are therefore unexplained. To prepare the analysis of the data on generation, the information provided under the Basel Convention was complemented with data from the UN Statistics Division, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Eurostat. By complementing the data in this manner, it was possible to develop an estimate of the amount of hazardous waste and other waste generated globally.

The dataset on transboundary movement is expected to cover the vast majority of the transboundary movements. However, in addition to the lack of data provided by about half of the Parties, the data between Parties are sometimes not comparable for instance because some include information on movements outside the scope of the Convention. An attempt has been made to exclude such data from the analysis, but this is not always possible because Parties do not indicate the status of the information very clearly.

Nevertheless, there are some interesting conclusions that can be drawn from the analysis. 

  • Only 50% of the Parties fulfill their obligation and transmit their reports in a given year. Quantitative information on the generation of hazardous wastes and other wastes is provided in only 25-30% of these reports. These percentages have not increased significantly despite the calls of the subsequent meetings of the Conference of the Parties (COP), the efforts of the  Committee administering the mechanism for promoting the implementation and compliance of the Basel Convention (hereafter the ‘Implementation and Compliance Committee’) and the Secretariat. The revised reporting format to be used as for the year 2016 provides that the submission of such information has become optional.
  • The generation of hazardous waste is estimated to have increased from 256 – 259 metric ton (MT) in 2007 to 390 – 394 MT in 2015. The most significant increases were seen in lower middle income and higher middle income countries.
  • The amount of household waste that is generated worldwide in 2015is estimated to be around 1,6 billion MT. The amount has increased around 12% in the period 2007 – 2015. In particular in upper-middle income countries the increase was large and these countries generated in 2015 nearly the same amount of household waste as the high income countries.
  • Between 2007 and 2015 the volume of transboundary movements increased from 9,3 to 14,4 million MT. This growth is mainly driven by an increased transboundary movements of household waste. The flow of hazardous wastes is more or less stable over the period. The amount is also more or less the same as in 2004 – 2006, even though the data for that period are not totally comparable with the current data.
  • Based on the comparison of data on generation and on transboundary movement per country is can be estimated that overall, 97% of all hazardous waste that is generated stays within the country where it is generated and this percentage remains stable over the years. The high income countries export a higher percentage of the hazardous waste generated as they export nearly 6 percent of it. In the lower-income countries, export represents less than 0,5% of the hazardous waste generated. The situation however differs considerably per country, with some countries exporting the majority of their hazardous waste. These are often small countries which may have more difficulties setting up infrastructure to treat their own hazardous waste.
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