All activities

Regional Centres aim to score a goal against chemical contamination
At annual joint meeting Regional Centres of the Basel and Stockholm conventions exchange plans for evaluating performance and sustainability

Regional Centres aim to score a goal against chemical contamination

Regional Centres aim to score a goal against chemical contamination
At annual joint meeting Regional Centres of the Basel and Stockholm conventions exchange plans for evaluating performance and sustainability
e-Waste Recycling Technologies Patent Landscape Report
Launch of the WIPO Patent Landscape Report on e-Waste Recycling Technologies, International Environment House II, 12 December 2013

e-Waste Recycling Technologies Patent Landscape Report

e-Waste Recycling Technologies Patent Landscape Report
Launch of the WIPO Patent Landscape Report on e-Waste Recycling Technologies, International Environment House II, 12 December 2013
Final report of the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention released
The final report has been published in the six official languages of the United Nations.

Final report of the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention released

Final report of the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention released
The final report has been published in the six official languages of the United Nations.
Training extends conventions’ corps of highly qualified chairpersons
A pilot training on chairing meetings of the Basel, Rotterdam & Stockholm conventions will be offered in Glion, Switzerland, from 3 to 5 March 2014

Training extends conventions’ corps of highly qualified chairpersons

Training extends conventions’ corps of highly qualified chairpersons

Place and Date: Glion, Switzerland, from 3 to 5 March 2014

Background: In order to strengthen the implementation of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions, and build synergies, there is a need to expand the number and diversity of trained, confident and willing chairs for the various meetings of the conventions.  These may include ordinary and extraordinary meetings of the conferences of the Parties, subsidiary bodies and contact and drafting groups as well as other meetings.

While the three conventions have enjoyed good fortune in the past in finding qualified chairs for their meetings, there are challenges in finding willing and experienced chairs from all regions and in maintaining gender and regional diversity among the chairs.

Electronic Reporting System makes reporting ‘a snap’
To ease the burden of reporting, the Secretariat has launched the new Electronic Reporting System  of the Basel Convention. Beginning 7 November 2013, the new Electronic Reporting System enables Parties to submit their annual national reports online.

Electronic Reporting System makes reporting ‘a snap’

Electronic Reporting System makes reporting ‘a snap’

To ease the burden of reporting, the Secretariat has launched the new Electronic Reporting System of the Basel Convention. Beginning 7 November 2013, the new Electronic Reporting System enables Parties to submit their annual national reports online.

The new system will speed the submissions of national reports. It operates similarly to the Electronic Reporting System of the Stockholm Convention. Parties are invited to complete the online questionnaire using data for the year 2012 and to submit it to the Secretariat through their focal points by 31 December 2013. To learn how the tool works, focal points can attend one of a series of webinars and online meetings. The Electronic Reporting System of the Basel Convention is the latest addition to the family of online information tools offered to support implementation of the Convention.  The Convention’s Data Visualization Tool on the Generation, Export and Import of Hazardous Wastes and Other Wastes was launched in April 2013.

For more information: please contact Ms. Carla Valle-Klann, e-mail: carla.valle@unep.org.

6th Physical Meeting of the PACE Working Group promotes environmentally sound management of end-of-life computing equipment
The 6th physical meeting of the PACE Working Group was held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 23 to 25 September 2013. The meeting was organized by the Basel Convention Regional Centre in South Africa. The Working Group reviewed the status of activities under PACE, obtained reports from co-chairs of the six project groups on their priority activities, reviewed and approved the PACE budget, and discussed which short- and long-term role PACE should play in view of the outcomes of the 11th...

6th Physical Meeting of the PACE Working Group promotes environmentally sound management of end-of-life computing equipment

6th Physical Meeting of the PACE Working Group promotes environmentally sound management of end-of-life computing equipment
The Partnership for Action on Computing Equipment (PACE) is a multi-stakeholder public-private partnership that provides a forum for representatives of personal computer manufacturers, recyclers, international organizations, associations, academia, environmental groups and governments to tackle environmentally sound management of used and end-of-life computing equipment.

The 6th physical meeting of the PACE Working Group was held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 23 to 25 September 2013. The meeting was organized by the Africa Institute for Environmentally Sound Management of Hazardous and Other Wastes, which serves as the Basel Convention Regional Centre for English-speaking African countries in South Africa.

The Working Group reviewed the status of activities under PACE, obtained reports from co-chairs of the six project groups on their priority activities, reviewed and approved the PACE budget, and discussed which short- and long-term role PACE should play in view of the outcomes of the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention in matters related to e-waste.

PACE’s six project groups address, respectively:
  • Environmentally Sound Refurbishment/Repair of Used Computing Equipment 
  • Environmentally Sound Material Recovery/Recycling of End-of-Life Computing Equipment
  • Collection and Management of End of Life Computing Equipment from Informal Sectors 
  • Awareness Raising and Training 
  • Strategies, Actions and Incentives to promote Environmentally Sound Management 
  • Transboundary Movement of Used and End-of-Life Computing Equipment
The PACE Working Group operates under the guidance of the Basel Convention Open-ended Working Group (OEWG). The OEWG will consider the report of the PACE, including its recommendations, and based on these and the outcome of discussions submit recommendations to the Conference of the Parties at its twelfth meeting, which will be held in May 2015, for its consideration and possible adoption.
Workshop on the prosecution of illegal traffic helps assess challenges in enforcing the Basel Convention
Legal responses to illegal traffic found to have merit, but opinions diverge on their effectiveness.  

Workshop on the prosecution of illegal traffic helps assess challenges in enforcing the Basel Convention

Workshop on the prosecution of illegal traffic helps assess challenges in enforcing the Basel Convention

The workshop for Central and South America on the prosecution of illegal traffic of hazardous wastes under the Basel Convention was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 28 to 29 August 2013.

The workshop provided training for prosecutors, law enforcement experts and lawyers, based on the Basel Convention's instruction manual on the prosecution of illegal traffic in hazardous wastes.  Prosecutors and legal officers from 13 countries attended the event, including officers from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

They were joined by Experts from the European Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of environmental Law (IMPEL) Cluster Transfrontier shipment of waste (TFS) Environmental Prosecutors Network, Latin American Environmental Prosecutors Network (LAEPN), UNEP Regional Office for Latin American Countries (ROLAC), Interpol and the CITES Secretariat. 

The workshop was organized by the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions and the Basel Convention Regional Center – Argentina.

Among the challenges identified were weaknesses in the national legal and institutional frameworks, such as incomplete implementing legislation  – lack of a clear definition of the crime, of adequate penalties and of clear procedures. Participants felt that the various legal responses to illegal traffic  – administrative, civil, criminal, alternative dispute resolution, each have their own merit, however opinions diverged with respect to their respective effectiveness.  The need for clarity as to when a specific procedure may be initiated and on the relationship between the various procedures (parallel, successive, alternative) was also highlighted.

Participants underscored that cases of illegal traffic are complex and require substantial capacity: an improper investigation can mean that a case cannot ultimately be brought forward. Therefore, besides training, participants called for access to adequate resources, for instance laboratories to identify wastes, and access to technical knowledge.

Finally, cooperation at the national level was identified as a challenge and the establishment of interagency teams involving all relevant agencies was suggested.

Based on real cases, participants also explored the practical and legal challenges in preparing a case for prosecution in particular with respect to the distinction between waste and non-waste, and the need for developing a common understanding of this distinction. Issues of jurisdiction (which State prosecutes and for which offense?) were also discussed, as well as the challenges associated with the take back of illegal shipments.

A first workshop had been held in Bratislava in June 2012 for prosecutors from Central and Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia countries.

The series of workshops are funded through the European Union under the Thematic Programme for Environment and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources including Energy (ENRTP).

 

E-waste at the ITU Green Standards Week
A Forum on Environmentally Sound Management of E-waste examines best practice for designing e-waste management systems, Madrid, Spain, 16 September 2013.  

E-waste at the ITU Green Standards Week

E-waste at the ITU Green Standards Week

In the context of the ITU Green Standards Week, the UNEP Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions together with ITU, UNU, and CEDARE is organizing on 16 September 2013 a one-day Forum on Environmentally Sound Management of E-waste.

The Green Standards Week is organized by ITU from 16 to 20 September 2013 in Madrid, Spain.  Hosted by Telefónica, it will bring together leading specialists in the field, from top policy-makers to engineers, designers, planners, government officials, regulators, standards experts and others.

The main purpose of the E-waste Forum is to discuss the quantification and qualification of the e-waste challenge, the role of policies, standards and regulations and best practices for designing e-waste management systems.

Download the Green Standards Week brochure.

For further information, see: http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/Workshops-and-Seminars/gsw/201309/Pages/programme-16-Sep.aspx

 

Report of the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention released
An advance copy of the Basel Convention COP-11 report is available in English.  

Report of the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention released

Report of the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention released

An advance copy of the Basel Convention COP-11 report is available in English.

 

Extraordinary UN Conference Takes Historic Strides to Strengthen Chemical Safety Globally
UNEP and FAO team up to promote synergies between the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions in two-week chemicals and waste meeting.  

Extraordinary UN Conference Takes Historic Strides to Strengthen Chemical Safety Globally

Extraordinary UN Conference Takes Historic Strides to Strengthen Chemical Safety Globally

UNEP and FAO team up to promote synergies between the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions in two-week chemicals and waste meeting.

Geneva, Switzerland, 11 May 2013 – The three conventions that govern chemicals and hazardous waste safety at the global level concluded their first ever jointly held meetings of the parties late Friday night in Geneva. The historic meeting, attended by nearly two thousand participants from 170 countries, as well as 80 Ministers, adopted 50 separate decisions aimed at strengthening protection against hazardous chemicals and waste.

The three legally autonomous conventions had convened the joint meeting of the conferences of the parties to strengthen cooperation and collaboration between the conventions, with a view to enhancing the effectiveness of their activities on the ground. Each convention then continued individually over the two-week period to deal with its own specific topics of the global chemicals and waste agenda before returning in a joint session at the end of the week to finalize their outcomes.

The meeting culminated in a ministerial segment on 9 and 10 May 2013 dedicated to the theme of strengthening synergies between the conventions at national, regional and global level. The ministerial segment was joined by Swiss Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva, and Global Environment Facility (GEF) CEO and Chairperson Naoko Ishii.  The global agency leaders pledged to deepen cooperation and collaboration as part of a broader effort to raise the profile of chemicals and waste issues, promote green growth and alleviate poverty.

At its conclusion, the joint meeting acclaimed the “Geneva Statement on the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste”. The Geneva Statement welcomed the UNEP-led consultative process on financing options for chemicals and waste that has considered the need for heightened efforts to increase the political priority accorded to sound management of chemicals and waste.

In a press conference following the ministerial segment, Mr. Steiner called the conferences of the parties “a unique historic event coming at a time of unprecedented change and progress in the arena of global environmental governance. The strengthening of UNEP and the synergies process of chemicals and waste multilateral environmental agreements are complementary parts of the ongoing reform to fortify the environmental dimension of sustainable development.”

Ms. Ishii spoke of the challenges countries face protecting the planet's critical ecosystems from contamination by hazardous chemicals and waste and of GEF support for strategies to overcome them. “At this critical juncture, the Global Environment Facility is committed to its financial support to help countries address these important challenges in three ways,” said Ms. Ishii. “Assisting them in their efforts to mainstream sound chemicals management in national agendas, creating an integrated GEF chemicals and wastes focal area, and expanding engagement with the private sector.”

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said that in many countries intensive crop production has depleted agriculture’s natural resource base, jeopardizing future productivity. “To fight hunger and eradicate poverty, we will need to find more sustainable ways to produce 60 percent more food by 2050,” he said. However, he recognized that chemical pesticides would continue to be part of farming in many parts of the world in future.

“The challenge is to enable countries to manage pesticides safely, to use the right quantity, at the right time and in the right way and also to apply alternatives to hazardous pesticides. Because when we don’t, pesticides continue to pose a serious risk to human health and the environment and will eventually end up as waste. Today, half a million tons of obsolete pesticides are scattered around the developing world,” he said.

“Around 70 percent of the chemicals addressed by the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions are pesticides, and many are used in agriculture. It is in the best interest of all countries to ensure that the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions can work together, effectively and efficiently, to address various aspects of the chemical life cycle.”

The joint meetings of the conferences of the parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions also reviewed the impact of the arrangements put in place by governments in 2011 to strengthen synergies among the treaties.

The parties endorsed the organization of the Secretariat, and adopted a programme of work and budget individual and for joint activities of three conventions in 2014-2015. ”The parties have agreed to strengthen capacity building and technical assistance for countries by investing the savings realized over the past two years into an enhanced technical assistance programme that better meets the needs of developing countries and countries with economies in transition” said Jim Willis, Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions. “In an era of financial austerity, we have learned through synergies how to deliver more to parties while living within the economic limits faced by Governments today.”

“Much of the success of this synergies meeting is owed to the outstanding cooperation and inspired leadership of the three presidents of the conferences, Franz Perrez of Switzerland, Magdalena Balicka of Poland and Osvaldo Álvarez-Pérez of Chile,” added Mr. Willis.

The 6th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention agreed to list hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) to Annex A to the Convention with specific exemptions for expanded polystyrene and extruded polystyrene in buildings. Efforts to adopt a non-compliance mechanism, however, did not succeed in the face of continuing disagreement on how such a mechanism might function.

Basel Convention's parties, at their 11th Conference of the Parties, took decisions to strengthen compliance with the Convention. The Parties adopted a framework for the environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes and other wastes, and agreed, over the next two years, to develop technical guidelines on transboundary movements of electronic and electrical wastes (e-waste).

The meeting also decided terms of reference for the newly established Environmental Network for Optimizing Regulatory Compliance on Illegal Traffic (ENFORCE), which aims to prevent and combat illegal traffic in hazardous and other wastes through the better implementation and enforcement of national law.

The 6th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention had considered the possible addition of five chemicals and one severely hazardous pesticide formulation to Annex III of the Convention. It agreed by consensus to add the pesticide azinphos-methyl and the industrial chemicals PentaBDE, OctaBDE and PFOS to Annex III of the Convention.[1] Listing in Annex III triggers an exchange of information between Parties and helps countries make informed decisions about future import and use of the chemicals. The addition of four substances is the highest number to be added to the Convention's prior informed consent procedure by any conference of the parties since the adoption of the Convention in 1998.

In contrast, the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention did not succeed in reaching agreement on the addition of chrysotile asbestos and a severely hazardous pesticide formulation containing paraquat to the Convention. The proposal to list chrysotile asbestos and the paraquat formulation will be considered at the next Conference of the Parties in 2015.

The joint meeting hosted a three-day Regional Fair from 1 to 3 May 2013 dedicated to the theme 'Synergies through regional delivery' and attended by 20 Stockholm Convention or Basel Convention Regional Centres and two Regional Offices of UNEP. The Fair provided the venue for the signing of bi-regional and intra-regional cooperation agreements between centres in Latin America and Caribbean, and Central and Eastern European regions in the areas of technical assistance and awareness-raising and outreach.

Note to editors:

Chemicals contribute many advantages to today's world; however their use can also pose risks to human health and the environment. To reduce this harmful global impact, three conventions have been established that regulate chemicals and hazardous waste at global level:

Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal regulates the export/import of hazardous waste and waste containing hazardous chemicals. The Convention was adopted in 1989 and entered into force in 1992. It currently has 180 Parties.

Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade currently regulates information about the export/import of 47 hazardous chemicals listed in the Convention’s Annex III, 33 of which are pesticides (including 4 severely hazardous pesticide formulations) and 14 of which are industrial chemicals. The Convention was adopted in 1998 and entered into force in 2004. It currently has 152 Parties.

Unlike the Stockholm Convention, the Rotterdam Convention does not ban or restrict trade in chemicals or pesticide formulations, but serves to strengthen protection of human health and the environment by expanding the exchange of critical safety information between exporting and importing States.

Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants currently regulates 23 toxic substances that are persistent, travel long distances, bioaccumulate in organisms and are toxic. The Convention was adopted in 2001 and entered into force in 2004. It currently has 179 Parties.

Contact:

Christine Fuell, Technical Senior Officer and Coordinator, Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention (FAO), Tel. +39 06 5705 3765, christine.fuell@fao.org

Michael S. Jones, Public Information Officer, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Cell +41 (0) 79 730 44 95, msjones@brsmeas.org

Nick Nuttall, Director, Division of Communication and Public Information, and UNEP Spokesperson, +254 20 7623084, nick.nuttall@unep.org

For more information, visit the 2013 COPs website: synergies.pops.int or follow the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions on Twitter @brsmeas #brscops.

 


 

[1]PentaBDE: Pentabromodiphenyl ether (CAS No. 32534-81-9) and pentabromodiphenyl ether commercial mixtures; OctaBDE: Octabromodiphenyl ether commercial mixtures; PFOS: Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, perfluorooctanesulfonates, perfluorooctanesulfonamides and perfluorooctanesulfonyls.

 

Regional Fair accents "Synergies through regional delivery"
The Regional Fair Roundtable ‘Synergies through regional delivery’ examines barrier and opportunities to enhance delivery of services to parties at regional and national level.

Regional Fair accents "Synergies through regional delivery"

Regional Fair accents "Synergies through regional delivery"

Conferences' presidents Franz Perrez, Magdalena Balicka and Osvaldo Álvarez-Pérez will inaugurate the Regional Fair dedicated to ‘Synergies through regional delivery’ on Wednesday evening, 1 May, kicking off three days of activities of the theme at the 2013 COPs.

The Fair's inaugural ceremony will take place on 1 May at 6:15 p.m. in the CICG exhibition area.

The main aim of the Regional Fair is to enhance the relation between the regional centres, donors and countries served by the centres, highlight the capacity building activities and projects of the regional centres and demonstrate what expertise, capacities the regional centres have which could be mobilized to assist Parties in the implementation of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

Immediately after the opening ceremony, the Regional Fair Roundtable will be held to explore synergies through regional delivery. Panelists will be invited to discuss any barriers to permitting regional centres to serve parties in implementing all three convention; opportunities for enhancing cooperation between centres and with regional offices of UNEP and FAO; and how to secure long-term financing and support for achieving the 2020 goal of sound management of chemicals and wastes.

The Panelists for the Roundtable are:

  • Ms. Jill Hanna, European Commission;
  • Ms. Fiorella Leon, Peru;
  • Prof. Oladele Osibanjo, Director, Basel Convention Regional Centre for the African Region;
  • Dr. Jinhui Li, Executive Director, Basel Convention Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific/Stockholm Regional Centre in China;
  • Mr. Ibahim Sow, Secretariat of the Global Environment Facility.

Ms. Maria Cristina Cardenas, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, will introduce the topic for discussion; and Mr. Michael Jones, Secretariat, will moderate the panel.

The Regional Fair will conclude with an awards ceremony at 6:15 p.m. on 3 May.

The tentative schedule of side events includes further information on Regional Fair side events.

Download the Basel and Stockholm conventions Regional Centres and FAO, UNEP regional offices brochure.

Download the Regional Fair Programme

New study investigates cost effective, environmentally sound alternatives to beaching method of ship recycling
A feasibility study identifies cost effective, environmentally sound alternatives to the beaching method of ship recycling.  

New study investigates cost effective, environmentally sound alternatives to beaching method of ship recycling

New study investigates cost effective, environmentally sound alternatives to beaching method of ship recycling

A feasibility study, commissioned by the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions and funded by the European Commission, identifies cost effective, environmentally sound alternatives to the beaching method of ship recycling.

The study builds on the findings of a case study, also commissioned by the Secretariat in 2012, which identified the operational, procedural and infrastructural requirements for existing facilities to work towards compliance with the Basel Convention and the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships.

Taken together, these studies aim to assist stakeholders involved in the industry to ensure the principles of environmentally sound management are upheld in the context of ship recycling.

Data visualization tool puts hazardous waste data at your fingertips
The Basel Convention data visualization tool shows interactively data provided by the Parties on generation and transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and other wastes.  

Data visualization tool puts hazardous waste data at your fingertips

Data visualization tool puts hazardous waste data at your fingertips

This data visualization tool was created to show, in an interactive way, data provided by the Parties to the Basel Convention on generation and transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and other wastes. It contains data for the years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

The tool is fully compatible with Internet Explorer and Google Chrome. The Secretariat is working to make it also compatible with other browsers.
There is a video tutorial available in case you need help to understand how the tool works.

View interactive tool

Should you come across any issue or erroneous data while using this site, please report it to: sbc_natrep@unep.org

Disclaimer: This tool and data is based on information transmitted in reports transmitted by Parties to the Basel Convention. The data provides an indication of trends and activities but must be carefully interpreted.

Acknowledgement: we would like to thank the United Nations Office at Geneva – Information and Communication Technology Service (UNOG-ICTS) for their collaboration in the development of this tool.

Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions adopts standardized e-mail addresses
Staff members of the Secretariat have new standardized e-mail addresses.  

Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions adopts standardized e-mail addresses

Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions adopts standardized e-mail addresses

As of 15 April 2013, each of our staff members have been assigned a new e-mail address in the standard format firstname.lastname@brsmeas.org. This new format applies to all members of the Secretariat, independently of whether staff are hosted by UNEP or FAO.

In addition to this standardized address, the UNEP staff will continue using e-mail addresses in the format firstname.lastname@unep.org and the FAO staff will continue using e-mail address in the FAO format firstname.lastname@fao.org.

The e-mail addresses in the pic.int and pops.int formats will continue to be functional for six months, to facilitate the transition to the new addresses. Rest assured that messages sent to our former addresses will still be delivered.

Afghanistan ratifies the Basel Convention
The number of Parties to the Convention rises to 180.  

Afghanistan ratifies the Basel Convention

Afghanistan ratifies the Basel Convention

Afghanistan has ratified the Basel Convention, depositing its instrument of ratification with the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 25 March 2013. The Convention will enter into force for Afghanistan on 23 June 2013 in accordance with article 25 (2) of the Convention.

Afghanistan’s action raises the number of Parties to the Basel Convention to 180.

More information is available from Status of Ratifications.

New agenda seeks to transform e-waste into opportunity
Sustainable business models key to waste reduction.  

New agenda seeks to transform e-waste into opportunity

New agenda seeks to transform e-waste into opportunity

Sustainable business models key to waste reduction.

Geneva, 2 April 2013 – Representatives of Central American governments, private companies, universities and non-governmental organizations  have agreed on a 20-point Agenda aiming to promote advances in the handling of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE or ”e-waste”) in the region. Key will be the application and identification of business models that leverage recycling opportunities and create new employment.

The new Agenda was agreed by the 86 participants in the ITU/UNEP Workshop for Capacity Building on Environmentally Responsible Management of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), organized in San Salvador, March 19-21 with the support of ITU Sector Member Telefónica.

The Agenda emphasizes increased collaboration between all parties, as well as the development of online learning programmes and workshops aimed at policy-makers. It calls on ITU and UNEP/PACE to assist Central America and the Caribbean in the development of regulations, legislation and international standards to mitigate e-waste’s potentially damaging effects on the environment and the health of local populations.

Electronic devices can contain up to 60 different chemical elements. But deficiencies in collection methods, recycling technologies and illegal dumping mean the majority of these valuable resources are lost when equipment reaches end-of-life.

The failure to close the loop on e-waste leads not only to adverse environmental impacts, but also to the depletion of a potentially valuable resource base of ‘secondary equipment’.

Dr. Hamadoun I. Touré, Secretary-General of ITU, explains that “The e-waste challenge will be met by combining effective legislation with incentives to develop business and employment opportunities to maximize the lifespan of these valuable finite natural resources. Capacity building and technology transfer to developing countries, along with the implementation of international standards, will be key to reducing waste and pollution, in parallel with the creation of sustainable business models.”

Workshop participants reaffirmed their commitment to the implementation of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions, while also recognizing the importance of ITU Resolution 79 on “The role of telecommunications / information and communication technology in handling and controlling e-waste from telecommunication and information technology equipment and methods of treating it” adopted by the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (Dubai, 2012). This resolution urges ITU to develop activities related to capacity building and the implementation of recommendations, methodologies and other publications on the responsible management of e-waste.

Speaking at the opening of the Workshop, Vice-Minister of Environment and Natural Resources of El Salvador, Ms Lina Pohl, said: “WEEE is a topic of high relevance to this region and the world. We need to act now, before it becomes an ‘unstoppable waste tsunami’ that causes irreversible damage to our health and environment.”

“The Central American Commission on Environment and Development (CCAD) is very thankful for this important contribution and happily offers to promote this Agenda and its model of cross-cutting integration of efforts amongst environment, health and telecommunication authorities, private sector and civil society,” said Mr. Nelson Trejo, Executive Secretary of CCAD, at the inauguration of the workshop.

“If we tap into the potential of wide public-private sector partnerships to promote environmentally sound management of WEEE, we will be able to create a vibrant green economy, while reducing poverty, health hazards and risks, climate change and the pressure on our non-renewable resource base,” said Mr. Miguel Araujo, Director of the Basel Convention Regional Center for Central America and Mexico (BCRC-CAM).

Note to media

The Workshop for Capacity Building on Environmentally Responsible Management of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment was jointly organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU); the Secretariat of the Basel Convention administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), through the Basel Convention Regional Center for Central America and Mexico (BCRC-CAM); in cooperation with the Partnership for Action on Computing Equipment (PACE) established under the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal; the Central American Commission for Environment and Development (CCAD); and the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of El Salvador (MARN).

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Sarah Parkes
Chief, Media Relations & Public Information ITU
Tel: +41 22 730 6039
E-mail: pressinfo@itu.int  

Mr. Toby Johnson
Senior Communications Officer
Tel: +41 22 730 5877
Mobile: +41 79 249 4868
E-mail: toby.johnson@itu.int

 

Avoiding e-waste: Sustainable life-cycle management of ICT equipment
Join the session on best practices and policies on environmentally sound management of used and end-of-life ICT equipment, World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) 10-year Review, 26 February 2013, 16:05-17:30 Register  

Avoiding e-waste: Sustainable life-cycle management of ICT equipment

Avoiding e-waste: Sustainable life-cycle management of ICT equipment

Join the session on best practices and policies on environmentally sound management of used and end-of-life ICT equipment, World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) 10-year Review, 26 February 2013, 16:05-17:30 Register

 

Basel Convention Technical Expert Group develops framework for environmentally sound management of wastes
The Technical Expert Group of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal completed a framework for the environmentally sound management (ESM) of hazardous wastes and other wastes at its third meeting, held from 21 to 23 January 2013, in Glion, Switzerland. The framework establishes a common understanding of what ESM encompasses and identifies tools and strategies to support and promote the implementation of ESM. It is intended as a prac...

Basel Convention Technical Expert Group develops framework for environmentally sound management of wastes

Basel Convention Technical Expert Group develops framework for environmentally sound management of wastes

The Technical Expert Group of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal completed a framework for the environmentally sound management (ESM) of hazardous wastes and other wastes at its third meeting, held from 21 to 23 January 2013, in Glion, Switzerland.

The framework establishes a common understanding of what ESM encompasses and identifies tools and strategies to support and promote the implementation of ESM. It is intended as a practical guide for all stakeholders participating in the management of hazardous wastes and other wastes.

The framework will be considered and possibly adopted at the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention (COP 11) in April 2013, in Geneva, Switzerland.

"The politics of e-waste:  A cadmium lining", from The Economist (26 January 2013)
International efforts to regulate the trade in waste revolve around the Basel Convention. (Photo: Kai Loeffelbein)  

"The politics of e-waste: A cadmium lining", from The Economist (26 January 2013)

"The politics of e-waste:  A cadmium lining", from The Economist (26 January 2013)

International efforts to regulate the trade in waste revolve around the Basel Convention. (Photo: Kai Loeffelbein)

 

Season’s Greetings and Best Wishes for the New Year 2013
From the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions  

Season’s Greetings and Best Wishes for the New Year 2013

Season’s Greetings and Best Wishes for the New Year 2013

From the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions

Season’s Greetings and Best Wishes for the New Year 2013
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