BRS COP, Highlights of 3 May 2023

There are several initiatives to improve the Basel Convention, the oldest of the three Conventions, so that it more accurately reflects modern waste sources and management. In this attempt, discussions of Annex IV (disposal activities) are included. Countries debated how to handle waste that is exported for repair or refurbishment. According to others, adding this category might narrow a gap that dishonest sellers can use to get around the Convention by passing off garbage as reusable or repairable. E-waste is a dark presence in the distance. It is up to the importing nation to dispose of a computer if it is repairable when it is exported but quickly turns into garbage.

Stockholm Convention parties continued to hear calls for enhancing support, especially in light of a review of the needs of developing countries. This is especially important, as two deadlines are rapidly approaching: to eliminate the use of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) in equipment by 2025, and to ensure environmentally sound management of PCBs in equipment and in liquids by 2028.

Two proposals emerged to enhance the effectiveness of the Rotterdam Convention, which has been stymied by its repeated inability to list new chemicals, thus making them subject to the prior informed consent (PIC) procedure.

One proposal aims to create a new Annex, a new home for chemicals recommended by the Chemical Review Committee for inclusion in the Convention, but to which parties cannot agree.

The other proposal is for an intersessional working group to address the “undesirable indirect economic and trade effects arising from the inclusion of new substances” in the Convention.

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