MONDAY, 23 JUNE 2008

The ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP9) to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal convened on Monday 23 June, 2008. In the morning delegates enjoyed a welcoming ceremony and heard opening speeches. During the afternoon, delegates addressed organizational matters and established a Committee of the Whole (COW) to discuss substantive agenda items. In the evening, contact groups met on the Basel Convention Regional Centres (BCRCs), and on technical matters and dismantling of ships.


Hyoman Yasa, Executive Secretary, Province of Bali, delivered a welcoming speech on behalf of the Governor of Bali, highlighting the Province’s efforts to protect the environment, and underscoring the links between a healthy environment and a sound economy.

COP8 President John Njoroge Michuki, Minister of Environment (Kenya), noted that several COP8 decisions had not been implemented due to a lack of funds. He expressed hope that COP9 would address pending issues, including the establishment of a financial mechanism and the interpretation of paragraph 5 of Article 17 (entry into force of amendments).

Delegates elected Rachmat Nadi Witoelar Kartaadipoetra, State Minister for the Environment (Indonesia), as COP9 President by acclamation. He underscored the theme of the conference “Waste Management for Human Health and Livelihood,” noting the impacts of hazardous waste on people and nature. He said the illegal traffic of hazardous waste showed no sign of decreasing and the generation of such waste was increasing.

Katharina Kummer Peiry, Executive Secretary of the Basel Convention, reminded delegates of the Convention’s achievements, including: tackling the problem of e-waste; engaging in international efforts on ship dismantling; collaborating with UNEP to strengthen Côte d’Ivoire’s hazardous waste handling capacity; increasing stakeholder involvement; strengthening the capacities of developing countries through the BCRCs; and formulating draft technical guidelines for used tyres and mercury waste. She pointed to challenges facing the Convention, including considering the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Joint Working Group on Enhancing Cooperation and Coordination among the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions and the creation of a solid financial basis for the Basel Convention. She hoped that COP9 would place the Basel Convention firmly on the international agenda and reaffirm its implementation as a prerequisite to sustainable development.

Chile, on behalf of the GROUP OF LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN COUNTRIES (GRULAC), lamented the strategic plan’s slow implementation and expressed concern about the English-only availability of some official documentation at this meeting. Nigeria, on behalf of the AFRICAN GROUP, highlighted toxic waste dumping incidents in Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire and encouraged: a “more pragmatic approach” to financing; resolution of the debate over the Ban Amendment’s entry into force; and further capacity building efforts for the Convention’s enforcement. CÔTE D’IVOIRE expressed appreciation to the international community for its support in dealing with hazardous waste in Abdijan and offered to host COP10. Egypt, on behalf of the ARAB GROUP, raised concern about the increase in illegal global trade of hazardous waste, particularly in areas of armed conflict. The United Kingdom, on behalf of the WESTERN EUROPEAN AND OTHERS GROUP (WEOG), emphasized the challenges facing the Convention.


Delegates elected Mary Harwood (Australia), Magda Gosk (Poland), Osvaldo