The Conventions provides for specific obligations that Parties are to implement and comply with in order to prevent and combat illegal traffic. The Convention also specifies the consequences of illegal traffic and provides for a specific role for the Secretariat.

In accordance with the Convention, Parties consider that illegal traffic in hazardous wastes or other wastes is criminal (Article 4 paragraph 3). Each Party is to take appropriate legal, administrative and other measures to implement and enforce the provisions of this Convention, including measures to prevent and punish conduct in contravention of the Convention (Article 4 paragraph 4). More specifically when it comes to the matter at hand, the Convention requires that each Party introduce appropriate national/domestic legislation to prevent and punish illegal traffic and co-operate with a view to achieving the objects of the Convention’s provision pertaing to illegal traffic (Article 9 paragraph 5). Part VII of the Model National Legislation contains model provisions on illegal traffic.

With respect to the consequences of illegal traffic, generally stated, responsibility for the wastes rests with the entity whose conduct resulted in the illegal traffic.

  • If the illegal traffic arises as a result of conduct on the part of the importer or disposer , the State of import shall be responsible for ensuring that the wastes are disposed1 of in an environmentally sound manner by the importer or disposer, or if necessary by itself.
  • Likewise, if the illegal traffic is deemed to result from the conduct on the part of the exporter or generator , the State of export shall ensure that the wastes are taken back or, if impracticable, disposed of in accordance with the provisions of the Convention. 
  • However, where responsibility for illegal traffic cannot be assigned to the generator, exporter, importer or disposer, the Parties concerned or other Parties are to ensure that disposal is effected in an environmentally sound manner. 

Confirmed cases of illegal traffic should be reported to the Secretariat using the “Form for Confirmed Cases of Illegal Traffic

The Secretariat is not mandated to take a unilateral decision to intervene when a case of alleged illegal traffic is brought to its attention. Under Article 16 (1) (i) of the Convention, the Secretariat's functions include assisting Parties, upon request, in the identification of cases of illegal traffic and to circulate immediately to the Parties concerned any information it has received regarding illegal traffic. The Secretariat may also facilitate dialogue between Parties, if they so request.

During its thirteenth meeting, the Conference of the Parties adopted for the first time a decision on Synergies in preventing and combating illegal traffic and trade in hazardous chemicals and wastes (decision BC-13/21), that is substantively identical to the decisions on the matter adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention (decision RC-8/14) and the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention (decision SC-8/24).