KEMENTERIAN LINGKUNGAN HIDUP

REPUBLIK INDONESIA

OPENING REMARK BY H.E. PROF (HON) RACHMAT WITOELAR,
MINISTER FOR ENVIRONMENT, REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA
AT THE 9TH CONFERENCE OF PARTIES TO THE BASEL CONVENTION
NUSA DUA, BALI, INDONESIA, 23RD JUNE 2008

Distinguished Ministers and Heads of Delegations,
The Executive Secretary of the Basel Convention Secretariat,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Indonesia, I would like to warmly welcome you to the Ninth Basel Convention Conference of Parties and to the island of Bali, the island of Gods. After the succesful conclusion of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change – in this very room – six monts ago, it is indeed a great pleasure for Indonesia to once again host a very important international conference aiming at addressing serious challenges of hazardous waste management and its adverse impacts to human health and the environment.

In this special occasion, I would like to extend my highest appreciation to the Government and people of Bali, for the warm welcoma and hospitability we have received. The Balinese Trihita Karana concept, guarding the environment while pursuing economic development, suits the Conference theme we are discussing today, tha “Waste Management for Human Health and Livelihood”.

Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
After sixteen years since its coming into force, the Basel Convention today is a mature environmental Convention with full operational mechanism in place – catering for the needs of its one hundred and seventy Parties. However, the problem of illegal traffic of hazardous waste – which was the reason for adoption of the Conventikon in 1989 – does not show any sign of lessening. Indeed the problem today is much more difficult to untangle due to the globalization in trade and the significant increase of hazardous wastes from the advancement of industrialization and economic development.

It is a matter of fact that the management of hazardous waste still proses a serious and daunting challenge to most developing countries and therefore calls for strengthened collaboration amongst countries, especially in resource mobilization, technology transfer and capacity building to better handle those challenges.

Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
My Government wishes that Prties to this Conference would be able to reaffirm serious commitment and achievint the objective of the Basel Convention – that is to protect, by strict control, human health and the environmetn against the potential adverse effects of waste generation, the subsequent trans-boundary movements and the obligation of hazardous waste mangement. Indonesia stands ready to fully contribute to the achievemetn of thei sendeavor.

The theme of this year Conference is “Waste Management for Human Health and Livelihood”. The fact that there are cases whereby hazardous waste and its transboundary movemetns brings serious risks toward human health and the tnvironment will emphasize the strong mutually dependent relationship between environmentally sound waste management and sustainable development. It is expected that is Conference will be able to reinforce the efforts to mainstream environmentally sound waste management in every contry. Basel Convention meant to arrest the risks of environmental degradation caused by transoundary movement of hazardous waste. Basel Convention is not only a matter of controlling transboundary hazardous waste but it is a part of larger framework for ensuring environmental sustainability.

Beside the issue of waste management for human health and livehood, we are expecting that this Conference will take the necessary and significant steps to moving forward various aspects of the Basel Convention such as ship dismantling, ban amendment, illegal trafficking, enhancement of coordination and synergy with other chemical convention and strengthening the role of the Basel Convention Regional Centres.

Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Indonesia gives global environmental issues a high priority in its agenda and supports international cooperation to solve these problems. Furthermore, we have actively participated in global efforts to protect the environment, being Party to many international agreements and other instrument. At the sama time, Indonesia has taken steps to transform international obligations into actions at the national level.

Dua to its archipelagic stated with the second longest coastal line in the world, Indonesia is vulnerable to illegal traffic of transboundary waste. It is even more at risk since Indonesia has about two thousan seaport and several international sea lines. It was only last year, that Indonesia received illegally importation of used condoms (25 tons) and virus contaminated soybean meal packages (6000 tons). In fact the Government of Indonesia has struggled to re-export those wastes. The expired and contaminated soybean meal was finally re-exported to the original country while the containers of used condoms are still waiting in our Tanjung Priok harbor for re-exportation process to complete.

Securing the coastal line from illegal waste transporters is a formidable challenge for usa and for this, the implementation of the Basel Convention should be treated as a matter of priority to protect the society and the environmetn in Indonesia from the adverse risks of the transboundary movement of hazardous waste.

Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlement,
The problem of hazardous wastes is not only coming from abroad. Today, the high growth of national and local economies has significantly increased the generation of hazardous wastew. In 2007, waste generation in my country is more than ten millions tons. To properly managem those hazardous wastes, Indonesia is also exporting such wastes to countries with in-house capacities to process and dispose them, in accordance to the international transportation regulation and of course in compliance to the Basel Convention. The ammount of hazardous waste exportation was about 1.872 tons in 2007. However, due to Indonesia’s limited capacity, we do strictly ban the important of hazardous waste into country.

Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlement,
Although we have come far from where we were when the Basel Convention was adopted 19 year ago, the road ahaead is still long and challenging. Our critical goal, when dealing with global environmental issues, is to show that national boundaries do not obscure the reality that we are living in the same earth, and sharing the air, water and ecosystems to sustain our live. As custodians of the earth, we have the obligation to ensure that the future generations will continue to have access to tha same quality of environment that we have enjoyed today. I sincerely hope that this week Conference will be able to accelerate the journey to an effective control of hazardous wastes fo the livelihood of all humankind and for prosperity of the present and future generations.

I thank you.

Nusa Dua, Bali-Indonesia, June 23rd, 2008.