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.

At its twelfth meeting in 2015, the Conference of the Parties decided to amend Chapter IV of part 1 and Chapter III of Part 3 of the Interim Guidelines for the implementation of decision V/32 (decision XII/11).