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Basel Convention

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The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal was adopted in Basel, Switzerland on 22 March 1989. The Convention was initiated in response to numerous international scandals regarding hazardous waste trafficking that began to occur in the late 1980s. The Convention entered into force on 5 May 1992 and today has its Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland.

Quick Facts on the Basel Convention and Basel Ban

  • The Basel Convention was adopted in 1989 and requires Parties (countries that ratified the Convention) to receive formal, written consent from an importing country government prior to the shipping of hazardous wastes (as defined by Convention).
  • In 1994, at the second Conference of Parties to the Basel Convention, the G-77 group (representing developing nations) and the EU adopted by consensus a full, no-exceptions ban on the export of hazardous wastes from OECD (developed) to non-OECD (developing) countries.
  • In 1995, an amendment to the Convention, reflecting the above decision, was adopted by consensus decision and became known as the Basel Ban.
  • In order for the Basel Ban to enter into legal force, three-fourths of the Basel Parties would need to ratify the Amendment. Because there is some ambiguity ("three-fourths" of which Basel Parties), there is disagreement over when the ban should be implemented and how many ratifications are required. As of September 2009, 71 countries have ratified or implemented the Ban.

Read more information from the Basel Action Network.

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