Cooperation plays an essential role in the successful implementation of the Basel Convention, as recalled by the Conference of the Parties at each meeting and in the specific decisions adopted with respect to international cooperation and coordination. The Basel Declaration on Environmentally Sound Management, for example, emphasizes the value of cooperation and partnership at all levels among countries, public authorities, international organizations, the industry sector, non-governmental organizations and academic institutions, including the World Trade Organization (WTO). In their relevant decisions, the Basel Convention Conference of Parties and the Open-Ended Working Group, stress the need for cooperation and coordination with international organizations, notably the World Trade Organization. It therefore requests the Secretariat to continue to enhance and further strengthen its cooperation with the WTO and to undertake a range of actions in that regard.

The value of strengthening cooperation and information exchange between the WTO and MEAs has also been underscored by trade Ministers at the 2001 WTO’s Doha Ministerial Conference, reflecting the need for concrete efforts to realize the promise of mutual supportiveness between the trade and environment regimes, i.e. between the WTO Agreements and Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), among them the Basel Convention.
In support of such goals, this web section is designed to provide a summary of relevant WTO negotiations and other ongoing work on relevant legal and policy issues in the field of trade and environment. This section also aims at highlighting their potential relevance to the work of the Basel Convention focusing, as per the respective mandates, on the following three areas:

  • Clarifying the relationship between WTO rules and trade measures in MEAs, how WTO rules apply to WTO members that are also Parties to MEAs; 
  • Developing procedures for information exchange between MEA Secretariats and relevant WTO Committees as well as criteria for granting observer status; 
  • Trade in environmental goods and services, in particular the extent of which it may be liberalized taking into account the protection of environment against the adverse effects that may result from the generation and management of hazardous wastes and other wastes.

In addition, this web section acquaints with the ongoing work in the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment on a range of selected policy and legal issues pertaining thereto, giving particular attention to:

  • Market access, e.g. exploring the effect of environmental measures on market access, especially in relation to developing countries, looking at the need to balance safeguarding market access and protecting the environment;
  • Intellectual property – including transfer of technology;
  • Environmental labeling requirements; 
  • Other environment and trade issues, including in connection with technical assistance and capacity building.