The role of competent authorities and focal points under the Basel Convention

The role of competent authorities and focal points under the Basel Convention

The role of competent authorities and focal points under the Basel Convention

The Basel Convention on the Control of Tranboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal establishes a system of information exchange within, and between Parties through the Secretariat. The exchange of information is crucial to ensuring that Parties are equipped with the necessary information to allow them to make informed decisions on the transboundary movements and management of hazardous wastes.

To make this system work, the Convention requires Parties to designate official points of contact to ensure that information is communicated to the appropriate persons/officials. These official points of contact are referred to as “Competent Authority” and “Focal Point” depending on their functions. Both contact points play key roles to the effective implementation of the Basel Convention.

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Focal Point


Pursuant to article 5 of the Basel Convention, Parties are required to designate or establish one focal point to facilitate the implementation of the Convention.

A focal point means the entity of a Party responsible for receiving and submitting information to other Parties as provided for in articles 13 and 16 of the Convention (article 2).


Parties are required to inform the Secretariat:

  • within 3 months of becoming a Party, which agency they have designated as their focal point; and
  • within 1 month of taking such a decision, of any changes regarding the designation of this entity.

Rapid transmission of these designations supports the effective transmission of information to, from and between Parties, as well as other stakeholders (as appropriate).


The eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention (May 2013) adopted a revised harmonized form for notifications of contacts to the Secretariat, including any modifications or additions as they occur. A standard form for submitting formal designations of competent authorities and focal points to the Secretariat was first adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention at its ninth meeting (June 2008).

The revised harmonized form was also adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention at its sixth meeting and the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention at its sixth meeting. The form has been harmonized and may be used to transmit information on designated contacts in accordance with the provisions of the Basel, Rotterdam and/or Stockholm conventions. This is intended to facilitate transmission of information to the Secretariat while respecting the legal autonomy of each Convention.

This form is available in all six official United Nations languages and can be downloaded in English, French or Spanish.

Procedures and processes of the Secretariat:

Parties are requested to send the form duly completed to the Secretariat by fax (+41 (0)22 917 8098) or e-mail ( It is important to note that self-nominations will not be considered. 

The form must be completed by an entity duly authorized by the Government to communicate such information to the Secretariat, such as the permanent mission to the United Nations or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The information transmitted will be included in the official records of the Secretariat as well as on the website of the Basel Convention (, as the officially designated focal point for the purposes of Article 5 of the Convention.

List of Focal points:

Please click here to access the list of designated focal points.