Conventions / Treaties

Basel Convention

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal was adopted in 1989 in response to concerns about toxic wastes from industrialized countries. The concerns were expressed for the developing countries and countries with economies in transition, as the toxic wastes from the developed countries were being dumped in those countries. During its first decade, the Convention's principal focus was the elaboration of controls on the "transboundary" movement of hazardous wastes, that is the movement of such wastes across international frontiers, and the development of criteria for environmentally sound management of the wastes. More recently, the work of the Convention has emphasized full implementation of treaty commitments and minimization of hazardous waste generation. As on , there were 151 Parties to the Basel Convention.

The Basel Convention covers hazardous wastes that are explosive, flammable, poisonous, infectious, corrosive, toxic or eco-toxic. The categories of wastes and the hazardous characteristics are set out in Annexes I to III of the Convention. Lists of specific wastes characterized as hazardous or non-hazardous are in Annexes VIII and IX


Rotterdam Convention

The Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade was adopted in 1998. Dramatic growth in chemicals production and trade during the past three decades had highlighted the potential risks posed by hazardous chemicals and pesticides. Countries lacking adequate infrastructure to monitor the import and use of such substances were particularly vulnerable. In the 1980s, UNEP and FAO developed voluntary codes of conduct and information exchange systems, culminating in the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure introduced in 1989. The new Convention will replace this arrangement with a mandatory PIC procedure. As on 15 July 2002, the Rotterdam Convention had 73 signatories and 22 Parties. It will enter into force after the 50 th ratification.

2,4,5-T,aldrin, captafol, chlordane, chlordimeform, chlorobenzilate, DDT, 1,2-dibromoethane (EBD), dieldrin, fluoroacetamide, HCH, heptachlor, hexachlorobenzene, lindane, mercury compounds, and pentachlorophenol, plus certain formulations of methamidophos, methyl-parathion, parathion, and phosphamidon. It also covers five industrial chemicals: crocidolite, polybrominated biphenyls (), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polychlorinated terphenyls (), and tris (2,3dibromopropyl) phosphate.

Stockholm Convention

The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants was adopted in 2001 in response to the urgent need for global action to protect human health and the environment from POPs. These are chemicals that are highly toxic, persistent, bioaccumulate and move long distance in the environment. The Convention seeks the elimination or restriction of production and use of all intentionally produced (i.e. industrial chemicals and pesticides). It also seeks the continuing minimization and where feasible, ultimate elimination of the releases of unintentionally produced POPs, such as dioxins and furans. Stockpiles must be managed and disposed of in a safe, efficient and environmentally sound manner. The Convention imposes certain trade restrictions. As on15 July 2002, the Stockholm Convention had 151 signatories and 12 Parties. It will enter into force after the 50th ratification.

The chemicals slated for elimination under the Stockholm Convention cover the pesticides, such as aldrin, chlordane, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, hexachlorobenzene (HCB), mirex and toxaphene , as well as the industrial chemical-polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Continued use of the pesticide DDT is allowed for disease vector control until safe, affordable and effective alternatives are in place. Countries must take determined efforts to identify label and remove PCB-containing equipment from use by 2025. The Convention also seeks the continuing minimization and, where feasible, elimination of the releases of unintentionally produced POPs, such as the industrial by-products dioxins and furans.