Overview

Additional legal clarity with respect to the meaning of certain terms set out in the Basel Convention will benefit the implementation of the Convention by all Parties.

A number of the provisions of the Convention are interpreted differently by Parties. The need for a common understanding of the substances and objects as well as of the activities falling under the scope of the Basel Convention led the Conference of the Parties, at its tenth meeting, to initiate some work towards providing additional legal clarity with respect to certain terms used in the Convention. This work focused on the development of glossary of terms and was completed during the thirteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties. Additional work towards greater legal clarity was initiated by the Conference of the Parties at its twelfth meeting with consideration of a possible review of the Annexes I, III, IV and related aspects of Annex IX to the Convention.

Glossary of terms:

Greater legal clarity aims at clarifying for instance how to differentiate waste from non-waste, and how to define and classify wastes as hazardous or non-hazardous. Greater legal clarity may also help in clarifying the meaning of terms such as reuse or direct re-use, repair, refurbishment, upgrading or major reassembly, and, in doing so, clarifying whether activities fall within the scope of the Convention’s “disposal operations” or not.

Based on the mandate adopted by the Conference of the Parties in its decision BC-10/3 as well as the Open-ended Working group’s decision OEWG-8/7, three documents were prepared for the consideration of the Conference of the Parties during its elevent meeting: a study on the implementation of the Convention as it relates to the interpretation of certain terminology used in the Convention, a study to identify options for dealing with the problem posed by used and end-of-life goods, and a draft glossary of terms. Following its consideration of these documents, the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties, by its decision BC-11/1 mandated further work to be undertaken on the matter through the establishment of the Small Intersessional Working Group on Legal Clarity (SIWG).

More information on activities undertaken prior to the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties on the issue of legal clarity is available here.

Review of Annexes I, III, IV and related aspects of Annex IX to the Convention:

The review of Annexes I, III, IV and related aspects of Annex IX to the Convention was initiated by the Conference of the Parties at its twelfth meeting, by its decision BC-12/1,on the basis of a recommendation from the SIWG on legal clarity that had developed the glossary of terms. Information on the issue  is available here.