As stated in the Preambular paragraph of the Basel Convention, Parties to the Basel Convention are convinced that States should take the necessary measures to ensure that the management of hazardous wastes, including their transboundary movement and disposal is consistent with the protection of human health and environment and its environmentally sound management from generation, treatment, storage, recovery or final disposal. The Convention defines "environmentally sound management" of wastes subject to its control as taking all practicable steps to ensure that these wastes are managed in a manner which will protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects which may result from such wastes. In this regard, the Convention stipulates that technical guidelines for the environmentally sound management of the waste falling under its scope should be developed and adopted by the Conference of the Parties.
Technical guidelines conform to the provisions of the Basel Convention. In particular, they respond to the obligations to Parties to ensure and achieve environmentally sound management of wastes, as obligated under Article 4 (2) (a) to (d) of the Basel Convention. The Technical Working Group of the Basel Convention, a subsidiary body to the Conference of the Parties, was established to prepare, as its main task, the technical guidelines referred to above. Since COP6, however, the work of the Technical Working Group was replaced by the Open-ended Working Group.
Although not legally-binding, technical guidelines provide for the foundation upon which countries can operate at a standard that is not less environmentally sound than that required by the Basel Convention. These guidelines are aimed at assisting developing countries, in particular, in ensuring the environmentally sound management of hazardous and other wastes.