Twelfth meeting of the Open-ended Working Group of the Basel Convention (OEWG-12)

Online from 22 to 25 June 2020

Venue: Online.

Highlights: The twelfth meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG-12) will be held by electronic means from 22 to 25 June 2020. Owing to the electronic correspondence procedure described below applied during OEWG-12, the meeting may run beyond 25 June (but no later than 5 July 2020).

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation in Switzerland as well as globally, it is not feasible to organize OEWG-12 as initially planned as a face-to-face meeting in Geneva, from 22 to 25 June 2020.

It is furthermore not possible to postpone the meeting, due to the fact that many intergovernmental meetings have been postponed to the Fall and early 2021 which raises conflicts in schedules towards the end of the year, and that the intersessional work under the Basel Convention needs to continue and many meetings of the intersessional groups are already scheduled towards the end of the year. It is seen as most important for the Basel Convention that progress be achieved in the intersessional period ahead of the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention (COP-15). It is also unclear at this time whether and to what extent it will be possible to convene physical meetings the next few months in an inclusive manner.

As an exceptional measure in the current situation, a new format to conduct OEWG-12 by electronic means has been agreed to by the OEWG Bureau, as described below.

The working modalities of the electronic OEWG-12

  • An online session will be held at 2 pm (Geneva time) on 22 June 2020 to open the OEWG-12 meeting and to consider procedural matters: adoption of the agenda and agreement on organization of work. Substantive agenda items will subsequently be introduced during the online session.During the opening of the meeting, there will be an opportunity for representatives speaking on behalf of groups of countries to deliver statements. As agreed by the Bureau, the duration of each statement will be limited to five minutes.
  • Following the introduction of each item, the co-chairs will invite Parties and observers to make use of the email correspondence procedure, as follows: (a) Parties and observers wishing to make interventions on the item will be invited to send their statements to the Secretariat; (b) Parties will be invited to adopt the draft decision relevant to the item.
  • Parties will consider simple draft decisions (all compiled into one document available in the six UN languages) aimed at allowing the continuation of intersessional work until the COP-15. Under most of the agenda items, the proposed decisions will include a call to Parties and observers to provide comments on the various documents/guidelines, etc., and a request for the intersessional working groups/Secretariat to take these comments into account in further revising the document/guidelines, etc. for consideration by COP-15. OEWG-12 will not work on revising the documents/guidelines, etc. in substance.
  • During the correspondence procedure, Parties will have 48 hours to provide by email statements, proposals on and/or objections to the proposed draft decisions.Parties and Observers will have the opportunity to provide statements on agenda items throughout the process.
  • All decisions on which no proposals are made and no objections are raised within 48 hours will be considered adopted.
  • If Parties make proposals or raise objections, the Secretariat will revise the draft decision/s, in consultation with the co-chairs. All comments/proposals made by Parties will be made available to all participants via a password protected internet site.
  • The revised versions of the decisions will then be circulated by email again (and made available on the password protected internet site) with an invitation to adopt them within 48 hours. These steps would be repeated until agreement is reached or, if it is not possible to reach agreement, the issue would be postponed to COP-15. It should be noted that the maximum duration of the meeting will be 2 weeks, i.e. from 22 June to up to 5 July 2020, including weekends.
  • The meeting will be closed by the co-chairs by email.

Registration for the electronic OEWG-12

Parties and observers are required to register to participate in the electronic OEWG-12 process. The deadline for new registrations or updates to existing registrations was Friday, 22 May 2020.

For Parties, registration forms should be accompanied by an official nomination letter emanating from the Government or a note verbale from the Permanent Mission of the country to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva. This constitutes the same formal requirement as for a face-to-face meeting.

Parties may wish to consider registering additionally their Permanent Missions in Geneva so as to prevent any possible participating issues that they may anticipate facing during the online session, e.g. linked to connectivity issue or time zone difference.

A valid and unique e-mail address is required to participate in the OEWG-12.

The Secretariat’s contact point for registrations is:

Ms. Stéphanie Cadet
Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Technical and other information

Please note that further information will be provided on the working modalities of the electronic OEWG-12, including information about the connection details for the online session, and the technical trials that will be arranged ahead of the online session. A number of webinars will also be organized to support all participants in understanding how the electronic OEWG-12 will operate.

Working languages of the electronic OEWG-12: Under these special circumstances, it is not possible to fully conduct OEWG-12 in all six UN languages. While all meeting documents are available in the six UN languages (including the document containing all draft decisions), the online meeting (online session and correspondence procedure) will be held in English only.The Secretariat is actively looking for a feasible simultaneous interpretation system  for the online session. Parties and observers will be invited to submit comments on the draft decisions, if any, in English only. Revised draft decisions will be circulated in English only and translated after the meeting as part of the meeting report.

If you have any questions, please contact Ms. Andrea Lechner, Secretariat of the Basel Convention (e-mail:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding the convening of the OEWG-12 by electronic means are available here.

Meeting documents

Documents uploaded within the last five days have been highlighted in pale orange in the lists below.

  • Working documents
  • Information documents