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Thirteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention (COP13) Held

From April 24 to May 5, 2017, the 13th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention* (COP13) was held in Geneva, Switzerland, bringing together government representatives of member countries, officials from international organizations and NPOs, and other stakeholders. As representatives of Japan, officials in charge from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and the Ministry of the Environment attended the meeting.

At the meeting, Conference of Parties decided on the establishment of an expert working group to look further into the Technical Guidelines on Transboundary Movements of Electrical and Electronic Waste and Used Electrical and Electronic Equipment, in Particular Regarding the Distinction between Waste and Non-Waste under the Basel Convention. The expert working group will discuss challenges described in the guidelines as “issues for future work” and report the result of  the discussions to the 11th meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG 11) concerning the Basel Convention in 2018.

*Note: Outline of the Basel Convention (Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal)
The convention stipulates provisions requiring: the State of export to notify the competent authority of the State of import (and the State(s) of transit) and receive consent for the  transboundary movement of hazardous wastes or other wastes for disposal or recycling in advance; businesses to carry necessary documents during the transboundary movement; State of export or exporters to accord the duty of re-import where exporters have conducted improper exports or violated sanctions, etc. COP13 was held as part of the simultaneous extraordinary meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, which was the third meeting following on from the first meeting in 2013 and the second meeting in 2015.

Major results of COP13

Technical Guidelines on Transboundary Movements of E-Waste and Used Electrical and Electronic Equipment

Conference of Parties decided on the establishment of an expert working group (lead country: China) to look further into the Technical Guidelines on Transboundary Movements of Electrical and Electronic Waste and Used Electrical and Electronic Equipment, in Particular Regarding the Distinction between Waste and Non-Waste under the Basel Convention (E-waste Technical Guidelines), which was adopted, on an interim basis, at COP12 in 2015 with a view of future revision. The expert working group consists of 25 experts in total from the five United Nations Regional Groups of Member States.* Moreover, the meetings of the expert working group will be open to Parties of the Basel Convention and observers.

At COP13, Japan stated that it will contribute to the expert working group in terms of technical and financial support.

*Note: The five UN regional groups consist of: the Asia-Pacific, Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin American and Caribbean, and Western European and Others groups. Japan belongs to the Asia-Pacific group.

The guidelines provide a list of criteria for member countries in objectively distinguishing between waste and non-waste under the convention when businesses intend to import or export used electrical and electronic equipment for reuse, aiming to help these countries appropriately determine which authorities, customs and other related organizations of originating and destination countries must apply which specific laws and regulations to the respective imports and exports.

The Secretariat of the convention will collect experience and comments concerning the guidelines from each country. Following this, the expert working group, newly established at COP13, will hold discussions based on the collected information and report on the discussions at the OEWG11 to be held in 2018.

Note: Since April 2014, Japan has been imposing a domestic rule concerning exports of used electrical and electronic equipment for reuse, titled “Criteria for Categorizing Used Electrical and Electronic Equipment in Exports.” In line with discussions concerning the E-waste Technical Guidelines under the Basel Convention mentioned above, METI and the Ministry of the Environment will jointly revise the domestic rule if necessary.

Other issues

  • Revising the Annexes to the Basel Convention
    Conference of Parties held discussions on the revision of Annexes I, III, IV and IX, which describe criteria for categorizing hazardous waste under the Basel Convention, and decided to establish a new expert working group and start discussion concerning these Annexes.
  • Technical guidelines on the management of waste containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), newly regulated persistent organic pollutants (POPs), and mercury
    COP13 adopted the draft revision of the technical guidelines on the management of waste containing PCBs, in which Japan has been involved as a lead country. Concerning POPs, as controlled substances newly listed at the previous meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention, the Conference of Parties decided, in its previous meetings, to formulate and update a variety of guidelines for the environmentally sound management of wastes consisting of, containing or contaminated with POPs. In accordance with the decision, COP13 adopted these draft guidelines.

    COP13 also decided to continue to invite member countries to submit opinions on the technical guidelines for the environmentally sound management of wastes consisting of elemental mercury and wastes containing or contaminated with mercury, which were adopted at COP12.

Release date

May 9, 2017

Division in Charge

Environmental Protection Guidance Office, Industrial Science and Technology Policy and Environment Bureau

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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