In 1999, the Conference of Parties decided on an interim basis to enlarge the scope of the Technical Cooperation Trust Fund of the Basel Convention to assist Contracting Parties that are developing countries or countries with economies in transition in cases of emergency and compensation for damage resulting from incidents arising from transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and other wastes and their disposal, thereby establishing the emergency mechanism (decision V/32). The Draft report on the implementation of Decision V/32 in responding to emergency situations (as per 17 October 2012) is available.
In 2002, the Conference of Parties adopted Interim guidelines for the implementation of decision V/32 on enlargement of the scope of the Trust Fund to Assist Developing and Other Countries in Need of Technical Assistance in the Implementation of the Basel Convention (decision VI/14)
By its decision VIII/10, the Conference of the Parties mandated the OEWG to review the implementation of decision V/32 and provide guidance to the Secretariat on steps to be taken, which may include the development of a strategic plan to strengthen the capacity of countries to respond to emergencies and the transmittal of a questionnaire regarding incidents as defined under paragraph 2 (h) of article 2 of the Protocol on Liability and Compensation for Damage Resulting from Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.
By its decision OEWG-VI/14, the OEWG requested the Secretariat, among other things, to transmit any lessons learned on any case for emergency assistance to assist the consideration of the Conference of the Parties in the context of a review of the implementation of decision V/32. The OEWG also invited Parties to provide comments and suggestions on the draft form for requests for assistance on the basis of comments received from Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago and the United Kingdom.
In its report to COP-9 (document UNEP/CHW.9/27), the Secretariat put forward a revised draft standard form for request for emergency assistance from the Technical Cooperation Trust Fund by developing and other countries in need of assistance. It also transmitted lessons learned on the only case in which the emergency mechanism had been triggered: to provide assistance to Côte d'Ivoire following an incident which involved the dumping of hazardous materials in September 2006.
By decision IX/22, the Conference of the Parties, inter alia, requested the OEWG to develop recommendations addressing the expediency of the procedures under the mechanism for emergency assistance adopted therein, the adequacy of resources available for use under the mechanism and cooperation with other international organizations and agencies in responding to emergency situations and to transmit those recommendations to the Conference of the Parties for consideration at its tenth meeting. The COP also adopted the standard form for request for emergency assistance put forward by the Secretariat in document UNEP/CHW.9/27 and requested the Secretariat to place it in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish on the Basel Convention website.
By decision XI/14, the Conference of the Parties, among others, amended Part 1 of chapter IV of the Interim Guidelines to specify the procedure to be followed by the Executive Secretary of the Basel Convention in case of emergency assistance requests.
By decision XII/11, the Conference of the Parties, among others, amended Part 1, chapter IV, of the Interim Guidelines to further specify the role of the Secretariat in case of requests of emergency assistance. Also, the Conference of the Parties further amended the Interim Guidelines in Part 3, chapter III, to describe in more details the role of the Secretariat and its relationship with the Joint Environment Unit of UN Environment and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (JEU of UNEP/OCHA) in providing assistance on technical cooperation for the prevention of accidents and damage.
To implement this decision the Secretariat signed a new letter of agreement with the JEU of UNEP/OCHA, in October 2016. This agreement extended the cooperation with JEU for the provision of emergency assistance upon request, to cooperation for capacity development of developing countries and countries with economies in transition to prevent accidents and damage from incidents occurring during a transboundary movement of hazardous wastes and other wastes and their disposal, including illegal traffic as defined in the Basel Convention. The agreement also established cooperation in case of emergency assistance requested by Parties to the Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions, as part of the technical assistance programme of the Secretariat.