- November 27, 2019
The Basel Convention Ban Amendment included in New Annex VII
The “Ban Amendment” provides for the prohibition by each Party included in the proposed new Annex VII (Parties and other States which are members of the OECD, EC, Liechtenstein) of all transboundary movements to States not included in Annex VII of hazardous wastes covered by the Convention that are intended for final disposal, and of all transboundary movements to States not included in Annex VII of hazardous wastes covered by paragraph 1 (a) of Article 1 of the Convention that are destined for reuse, recycling or recovery operations.
The Ban Amendment was originally adopted as a decision of the second meeting of the Conference of the Parties in March 1994. At that time, some felt that the Ban Amendment was a way to address challenges faced by developing countries and countries with economies in transition in controlling imports of hazardous and other wastes they were unable to manage in an environmentally sound manner but continued to receive.
Parties agreed that Parties listed in Annex VII (members of OECD, EU, Liechtenstein) prohibit immediately all transboundary movements of hazardous wastes which are destined for final disposal operations from OECD to non-OECD States. In the same decision, it was agreed that such “Annex VII Parties” phase out by 31 December 1997, and prohibit as of that date, all transboundary movements of hazardous wastes destined for recovery or recycling operations from OECD to non-OECD States (Decision II/12). At the next meeting (COP-3) in 1995, Parties adopted a further decision III/1 as an amendment to the Convention (the “Ban Amendment”).
For some years after, there were differing views among Parties about the interpretation of the provision on amendments to the Convention, with many considering it to be ambiguous. After several meetings without agreement in this regard, the President of the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties issued a Statement on the possible way forward on the Ban Amendment. In this statement, the President called on Parties to create enabling conditions, through among other measures, country-led initiatives conducive to the attainment of the objectives of the Amendment. Based on the statement of the President of COP 9, Indonesia and Switzerland announced their readiness to organize a “Country-led Initiative” (CLI).
At its tenth meeting, the Conference of the Parties adopted decision BC-10/3 on the Indonesian-Swiss country-led initiative to improve the effectiveness of the Basel Convention. Section A of this decision addresses the entry into force of the Ban Amendment and agreed an interpretation of Article 17(5) of the Basel Convention on amendments to the Convention. This was an important step in the development of the Convention that then led to follow up to the Country-led initiative being adopted at the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties.
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