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Officials meet to prepare Basel Convention conference

Geneva/Nairobi, 21 June 1999 - Diplomats from up to 100 countries are meeting in Geneva from 21 - 25 June to set the stage for the Fifth Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-5) to the Basel Convention on the Control of the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal.

COP5 will take place in Basel, Switzerland from 6-10 December 1999 and will mark the Convention's tenth anniversary. Ministers and other high-level officials will attend during a special segment.

This week's meeting of the Implementation Committee will review the COP-5 agenda. It will also review the draft decisions that will be forwarded to the Basel conference where they will be finalized and adopted.

One of the key agenda items for the COP will be the conclusion of a protocol on liability and compensation for damage resulting from transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal. An additional and final session of the Ad Hoc Working Group that is negotiating this protocol has been scheduled for the week of 30 August in Geneva. UNEP officials are optimistic that the protocol will be ready for formal adoption in December.

The COP will also address issues related to the 1995 Ban Amendment prohibiting the export of hazardous wastes from developed to developing countries; the problem of illegal trade in hazardous wastes; the listing and classification of various types of wastes; technical guidelines for the sound management of plastics, tyres, and biomedical and health care wastes; and international cooperation and information exchange.

The Basel Convention was adopted in March 1989 after a series of notorious "toxic cargoes" from industrialized countries galvanized world outrage over the dumping of hazardous wastes in developing and East European countries. It entered into force in May 1992 and now has 123 Parties. The 1995 Ban Amendment has thus far been ratified by 13 Parties. The last COP was held in Kuala Lumpur in February 1998.

Note to journalists: For more information please contact Iwona RummelBulska on tel: (+4122) 917 8213, fax: 797 3454, or Michael Williams on (+4122) 917 8242/44, fax: 797 3464, email: Official documents and other materials are available in English on the Internet at

UNEP Information Note 1999/20

Tuesday 22 Jun 1999
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