29 April 2019: A proposal to form a Partnership on Plastic Wastes is being considered at the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 14) to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.

In preparation for the meeting, the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions issued an note outlining draft terms of reference for the ‘Basel Convention Partnership on Plastic Wastes’ and a draft workplan for the working group of the Partnership on Plastic Wastes for the biennium 2020-2021 (UNEP/CHW.14/INF/16). The note explains that the Partnership covers all plastic wastes, including wastes containing plastics generated nationally and disposed of at the national level as well as those imported as a result of transboundary movement from a State of export that does not have the technical capacity and necessary facilities, capacity or a suitable disposal site to dispose of the waste in an environmentally sound and efficient manner, taking into account the entire life cycle of plastics.

The proposed Partnership is designed as an international vehicle for public-private cooperation to minimize and more effectively manage plastic waste.

The tasks of the Partnership include: to collect information and undertake analysis on environmental, economic and social impacts of national and regional policy frameworks and strategies relevant to plastic waste prevention and management; to inform stakeholders about the development of policy, regulation and strategies on the prevention and minimization of plastic wastes; and to transfer knowledge, experiences and information. According to a BRS Secretariat press release, the proposed Partnership is designed as “an international vehicle for public-private cooperation, sharing of best practices, and technical assistance in the area of at-source measures to minimize and more effectively manage plastic waste,” to help address the global environmental problem of marine plastic litter.

Additional plastic waste issues being considered by the COP include the Technical Guidelines on Electronic Waste, Household Waste Partnership under the Basel Convention, enhanced cooperation with the World Customs Organization (WCO) and finalization of the draft Manuals on Extended Producer Responsibility.

According to the BRS Secretariat, legally-binding amendments to the Convention considered at the Basel COP “will enable the 187 Parties to better regulate movements of plastic waste, add transparency, bring exports of plastic waste under the rule of law, oblige governments to minimize waste generation, and oblige them to manage plastic waste in an environmentally sound manner.”

The COP is meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, from 29 April to 10 May 2019, jointly and back-to-back with Rotterdam Convention COP 9 and Stockholm Convention COP 9. The “Triple COPs” convene under the theme, ‘Clean Planet, Healthy People: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste.’ [Draft Terms of Reference for the Basel Convention Partnership on Plastic Wastes and Draft Workplan for the Working Group of the Partnership on Plastic Wastes for the Biennium 2020-2021] [Basel Convention Website] [BRS Conventions Website] [BRS Press Release on Efforts to Address Plastic Waste] [BRS Press Release on Negotiations of Decisions on Plastic Waste Impacts] [BRS Press Release on Proposed Actions to Address Marine Litter and Other Wastes] [IISD RS Coverage of 2019 Triple COPs]