Technical guidelines

In December 2002, in relation to plastics, COP-6 adopted the Technical guidelines for the identification and environmentally sound management (ESM) of plastic wastes and for their disposal, At its fourteenth meeting by decision BC-14/13, the COP decided to update the technical guidelines on plastic wastes.

In accordance with decision BC-14/13, a small intersessional working group (SIWG) co-led by China, Japan and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was established to prepare draft updated technical guidelines on the environmentally sound management of plastic wastes for the consideration of the OEWG-12 and COP-15 meetings. More details about the SIWG composition can be found here.  

After COP-14, the SIWG held various meetings to discuss the update of the guidelines. Information on these meetings can be found here

In the period from 2019 to 2022 the SIWG prepared revised drafts of the guidelines which were presented for the consideration of the OEWG-12 meeting, face-to-face and online segment (see document UNEP/CHW/OEWG.12/INF/14/Rev.2) and COP-15 meeting (see document UNEP/CHW.15/6/Add.7).  

Additionally in 2021, all Parties and observers were invited to comment on a draft prepared by the SIWG, by 15 July 2021. The draft can be found here, and the comments here. The inputs of this process were taken into account by the SIWG and co-leads in the version of the guidelines prepared for COP-15.  

Work following COP-15 in 2022 

At COP-15 the draft was discussed and revised (see document UNEP/CHW.15/6/Add.7/Rev.1), and as per decision BC-15/10 the update of the guidelines shall continue. 

As per the same decision, Parties and observers were invited to: 

- Nominate additional experts to participate in the SIWG, and inform the Secretariat by 31 July 2022 (paragraph 4) 
- Submit to the Secretariat by 16 September 2022 general comments and textual proposals on the draft updated technical guidelines (UNEP/CHW.15/6/Add.7/Rev.1) (paragraph 5). 

As per paragraph 6, the COP invited co-lead countries, in consultation with the SIWG to prepare a further updated version of the technical guidelines, based on the discussion during COP-15 and the comments submitted by 16 September 2022, for consideration by the OEWG-13 meeting, taking place in Geneva from 21 to 23 February 2023.  

Comments and/or queries should be sent to Ms. Carla Valle-Klann, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions (Email: carla.valle at

Other activities related to plastic wastes, marine plastics or microplastic before COP14 

COP-11 adopted the Framework for the ESM of hazardous wastes and other wastes (decision BC-11/1). A number of guidance as well as a collection of practical tools to assist Parties and other stakeholders in ensuring ESM of hazardous and other wastes, known as “ESM Toolkit”, were developed.

COP-13 adopted Draft Guidance to assist Parties in developing efficient strategies for achieving the prevention and minimization of the generation of hazardous and other wastes and their disposal (decision BC-13/3), in which plastic waste was highlighted as a key waste stream; and welcomed Draft practical manuals on extended producer responsibility and financing systems for environmentally sound management (decision BC-13/2).

Additionally, COP-13 adopted Draft Guidance manual on how to improve the sea-land interface (decision BC-13/15) to ensure that wastes falling within the scope of MARPOL, once offloaded from a ship, are managed in an environmentally sound manner.