11 September 2007
Committee for Administering the Mechanism
for Promoting the Implementation and Compliance
of the Basel Convention
Geneva, 8–9 September 2007
Report of the fifth session of the Basel Convention Implementation
and Compliance Committee (Geneva, 8-9 September 2007)
I. Opening of the session (Item 1)
1. The fifth session of the Implementation and Compliance Committee („the Committee‟) was held
at the International Environment House/Maison Internationale de l‟Environnement, Geneva, from 8-9
September 2007. Ms. Katharina Kummer Peiry, the Executive Secretary of the Basel Convention, called
the session to order at 9.50 a.m.
2. Ms. Kummer Peiry welcomed the members and declared the session open.
3. The following members were present:
Ms. Farah BOUQARTACHA (Morocco)
Mr. Larsey MENSAH (Ghana)
Asia Pacific Group
Mr. Suh-Yong CHUNG ((Republic of Korea)
Mr. Rasio Ridho SANI (Indonesia)
Central and Eastern European Group
Ms. Ilze DONINA (Latvia)
Ms. Gordana PETKOVIC (Serbia)
Mr. Marek PORYCKI (Poland)
Latin American and Caribbean States
Mr. Osvaldo ALVAREZ (Chile)
Ms. Yocasta VALENZUELA (Dominican Republic)
Ms. Gillian GUTHRIE (Jamaica)
Western Europe and Others Group
Mr. Jurg BALLY (Switzerland)
Mr. Martin WIDSTAM (Sweden)
Mr. Damien HALL (Australia)
The following members were absent:
Mr. Khizar Hayat KHAN (Pakistan)
Mr. Avignon Muusya MWINZI (Republic of Kenya)
4. Ten new members of the Committee were present: Mr. Damien HALL from Australia; Mr.
Osvaldo ALVAREZ from Chile; Mr. Larsey MENSAH from Ghana; Mr. Rasio Ridho SANI from
Indonesia; Ms. Gillian GUTHRIE from Jamaica; Ms. Farah BOUQARTACHA from Morocco; Mr.
Marek PORYCKI from Poland; Suh-Yong CHUNG from the Republic of Korea; Ms. Gordana
PETKOVIC from Serbia and Mr. Martin WIDSTAM from Sweden.
II. Adoption of the agenda (Item 2)
5. The agenda was adopted without amendment.
III. Election of the bureau (Item 3)
6. The Committee elected Mr. Jurg Bally as Chair by consensus. Mr. Bally thanked the members
and adjourned the meeting to allow for consultations on the nominations for the remaining Bureau
7. The meeting reconvened and the Committee proceeded to nominate the other officers of the
Bureau as required under paragraphs 6 and 7 of the Terms of Reference. The Committee unanimously
approved the nominations and elected the following members to the remaining offices of the Bureau of
Vice-Chair: Mr. Larsey MENSAH (Ghana)
Mr. Suh-Yong CHUNG (Republic of Korea)
Mr. Osvaldo ALVAREZ (Chile)
Rapporteur: Ms. Ilze DONINA (Latvia)
8. Mr. Bally then gave a short overview of the Committee and the agenda items for its fifth
meeting. He recalled the Committee‟s objective and stressed that members needed to serve objectively
and in the best interests of the Basel Convention. He further recalled that, in accordance with paragraph
21 of its Terms of Reference, contained in decision VI/21 of the Conference of the Parties, “the
mechanism shall be non-confrontational, transparent, cost-effective and preventive in nature, simple,
flexible, non-binding and oriented in the direction of helping parties to implement the provision of the
Basel Convention.” Mr. Bally noted that the Committee has two functions, that of general review and
that of receipt of specific submissions, adding that the latter function would always have priority over
IV. Implementation of the work programme for the biennium 2007-2008
(a) Specific submissions
9. The Secretariat reported that no specific submissions had been received under the provisions of
paragraph 9 of the Terms of Reference.
10. The Committee was concerned that no submissions had yet been received, in spite of the length
of time that had passed since its establishment. Members felt that there appeared to be a perception
amongst Parties that resort to the Committee could be a strong diplomatic act and that there may be
doubts about what the mechanism could do in practical terms to resolve problems of non-compliance.
Views were exchanged as to how Parties could be encouraged to make submissions to the Committee.
11. One member noted that the Committee deals with implementation in addition to compliance and
suggested that the Committee should focus on implementation as well as compliance, which could assist
in reducing the political sensitivity and negative perceptions about recourse to the Committee. Some
other members also suggested organising a side event to raise awareness at the ninth meeting of the
Conference of the Parties. The Secretariat noted, at this point, that awareness raising activities had been
undertaken in the past, including the production of the information brochure on the Committee, which
was available in all official United Nations languages and had been circulated to Focal Points.
12. One member noted that in addition to capacity building, compliance performance of Parties
could be improved by providing incentives to best performers and providing disincentives to bad
performers. However, in accordance to compliance improvement of Basel Convention Parties, he
suggested the use of incentives tools to support Parties to comply with the provisions of the Basel
Convention, in addition to capacity building.
13. Following a request from one member, the Secretariat explained that it had not yet made any
specific submissions of non-compliance to the Committee as the criteria for submissions to be made by
the Secretariat required the Secretariat to assess a Party‟s performance. Due to the Secretariat‟s position,
this was a difficult thing to do. Furthermore, the Secretariat felt that it might not be appropriate for the
Secretariat to make the first submission to the Committee.
14. The Committee also briefly discussed the possibility of assessing the effectiveness of its Terms
of Reference in order to avoid a situation where the Committee continued to meet for a substantial
period of time without receiving any submissions.
15. Recognising that the Committee cannot act until it receives a submission, it was agreed that
further discussion and actions in relation to this topic could be considered under Agenda Item 5, in
relation to potential activities for the future work programme of the Committee.
(b) General review
16. The Chair recalled the mandate of the Committee provided within the annex to decision VIII/32
of the eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties. He noted that the Committee had been requested
(a) further develop its understanding of national reporting issues by building on the work
undertaken pursuant to its work programme for 2005-2006, with a view to providing guidance on how
national reporting could be improved, given that it underpins the operation of the Convention;
(b) undertake work on the issue of illegal traffic, which could include identifying the
available existing resources from a number of institutions in collaboration with such institutions and the
Basel Convention regional centres, and assisting Parties through training, taking into account that such
work would assist in ensuring the environmentally sound management of wastes.
(i) National reporting issues
17. The Secretariat, referring to document UNEP/CHW/CC/5/2, provided a brief report on the
progress made in relation to this issue. Members were provided with copies of Curriculum Vitae for
four Consultants who had been proposed to develop a best practice guide on national reporting.
18. The Secretariat explained that it had encountered the following problems in carrying out its
(a) It was difficult to find independent consultants with appropriate qualifications, as most
consultants with appropriate qualifications and experience in this field worked in government. An
advertisement on the Basel Convention website had not yielded any responses, and therefore the Basel
Convention Regional Centres were asked if they knew of suitably qualified consultants. Of the four CVs
provided, it was felt only one candidate had the appropriate experience to undertake the task and an
offer had been made. However, this consultant was unwilling to undertake work at United Nations rates
(b) The Republic of South Africa had been identified as the country demonstrating best
practice in the Africa region with regard to national reporting, however, due to heavy international
commitments at this time, the Republic of South Africa was unable to confirm whether it would be
ready to take steps to start the project.
19. One member of the Committee recommended Botswana as another Party State demonstrating
best practice of national reporting in the Africa region. The Committee therefore advised the Secretariat
to approach Botswana in order to assess if Botswana could be ready, together with the consultant, to
undertake work on development of a best practice guide on national reporting.
20. Extensive discussion ensued in relation to this issue. Some members recommended that the
guide should be as universal as possible, so that it could assist as many Parties as possible in other
regions. As a result of these discussions, the Committee agreed to make the following
(a) The Committee recommended that members would use their national knowledge and
networks to provide the Secretariat with information on and Curriculum Vitae of suitably qualified
consultants to the Secretariat by 24 September 2007, which the Secretariat would then transmit to the
Committee as a whole for consideration and possible retention of the consultant;
(b) The Committee recommended that the Secretariat use its best endeavours to ensure that:
(i) Preparations are made to carry out the consultancy in South Africa and
Botswana in parallel, with the mission taking place in the first country that is ready to
(ii) Members of the Committee are regularly informed of the steps taken by the
Secretariat and any developments;
(iii) The preferred consultant is approached, with a view to determining the
possibility of the consultant working at the agreed UN pay rate;
(iv) If it is not possible to find a suitable independent consultant, the Secretariat shall
transmit to the members of the Committee proposals for government officials who would be
suitably qualified to undertake the mission;
(v) The Consultant would be provided with document UNEP/CHW/CC/4/2, and that
this and best practice should be taken into account in the development of the guide.
(ii) Illegal traffic
21. The Secretariat further reported that, pursuant to paragraph 1 (b) of the annex to decision
VIII/32 of the Conference of the Parties work had commenced on the development of a directory of
institutions offering training activities at the national, regional and international level, including
universities, colleges, research centres and other entities teaching environmental law, international law
or criminal law which could cover some aspects of the Basel Convention, as well as training institutions
for customs officers, environmental inspectors or border guards, which include training elements on
how to detect, prevent and prosecute illegal transboundary movements of hazardous wastes.
22. The questionnaire developed by the Committee had been transmitted by the Secretariat, on
behalf of the Committee, to over 100 training institutions, and to the Basel Convention regional centres
and the members of the Committee, and to all Focal Points. The questionnaire was circulated in English,
French and Spanish only, due to limited resources.
23. Unfortunately, only a few responses to the questionnaires were received. The Committee was
also provided with copies of sections of the UNESCO World Directory of Human Rights Research and
Training Institutions, which had served as a model for the development of the directory of institutions
by the Committee.
24. Members expressed concern that the fifth session of the Committee had not been held prior to
the sixth session of the Open-ended Working Group in order that they might channel concerns about the
lack of responses to the questionnaires to their regional group meetings. Members also requested that
the next meeting of the Committee be held before the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties so
that if any such issues arose, they could be addressed during the meeting.
25. The Committee agreed that Members would assist the Secretariat by providing addresses for
relevant institutions that may be able to respond to the questionnaire.
26. The Committee agreed to make the following recommendations:
(a) The Committee agreed to assist the Secretariat by providing it with any available
information Committee members may have in relation to training institutions who may be able to
provide responses to the questionnaire;
(b) The Committee requested the Secretariat to transmit a reminder and further request for
responses to the questionnaire to the relevant institutions offering training activities at the national,
regional and international level that have not responded to its first request for responses to the
questionnaire on resources relating to illegal traffic;
(c) The Committee requested the Secretariat to review the national reports provided by
Parties to obtain information therein on institutions offering training activities at the national regional
and international level on the issue of illegal traffic.
V. Preparation of the Committee’s report to the ninth meeting of the
Conference of the Parties under paragraph 23 and 24 of the Terms of
Reference and proposed work programme for the biennium 2009-
2010 (Item 5)
27. The Chair invited a preliminary exchange of views on the activities that might be proposed to
the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties for the Committee‟s 2009-2010 work programme.
The Chair advised that since there would be a further meeting of the Committee back to back with the
meeting of the Expanded Bureau of the Basel Convention, the Committee would have further
opportunities to review its recommendations and report to the Conference of the Parties.
28. The Committee explored means by which it might be able to encourage Parties to make better of
use of the Committee‟s expertise, with particular regard to its capacity to examine submissions. The
Committee agreed that this issue would require further consideration, including during the work of the
Committee in the biennium 2009-2010. The Committee members examined possible ways of increasing
awareness of the Committee‟s facilitative nature, and means by which it might provide incentives for
best-practice examples of compliance with the Convention.
29. The Committee considered that it was important to inform the Conference of the Parties of the
work it had done over the six years following its inception, and that Parties be encouraged to make use
of the products of its work. In light of the considerable work that had been done by the Committee, it
was considered that it was well placed to identify the specific compliance needs of the Parties, and that
these needs should be brought to the attention of the Conference of the Parties so it might guide its
prioritization of activities. It was noted that these priorities should be aligned to the priorities set down
by the Conference of the Parties.
30. The Committee also considered that, in providing the Conference of the Parties with an
overview of its activities, it would highlight its achievements, and any limitations it has since identified,
of the compliance mechanism, so it might make longer-term recommendations to the Conference of the
Parties aimed at strengthening the Committee‟s capacity to address compliance under the Convention.
The Committee would report to the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties, and would identify
the limitations or shortcomings experienced by the Committee since its establishment. The Committee
would recommend that it be requested in the work programme for the biennium 2009-2010 to consider
how to address these limitations or shortcomings, with a view to developing proposed recommendations
to the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties.
31. One member also drew the meeting‟s attention to on-going discussions on compliance and non-
compliance mechanisms under the Ad Hoc Joint Working Group on Cooperation and Coordination
under the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions. The Committee took note of this information.
32. Members agreed to continue to consider this matter, and to provide further ideas of activities
under the Committee‟s 2009-2010 work programme to the Bureau, through the Secretariat, by end of
December 2007. It was agreed that the Bureau would compile these further submissions and the
Committee‟s discussions on this matter at the present meeting, with a view to developing a draft report
to the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties, including a proposed work programme for the
2009-2010 biennium, for further consideration by the Committee at its next meeting.
VI. Report on the implementation by the Secretariat of the Committee’s
recommendations arising from its work programme for the 2005-2006
biennium (Item 6)
33. The Chair invited the Secretariat to report on the steps it had taken further to the
recommendations made by the Committee following its 2005-2006 work programme.
34. The Secretariat informed the meeting that, pursuant to the Committee‟s recommendation that it
follow up with Parties that had yet to designate a Focal Point and/or Competent Authorities, the
Secretariat had written to 27 Parties to encourage such designation. As a result of these efforts,
additional Parties designated their Focal Point and their Competent Authority. The Secretariat recalled
that, in addition to encouraging Parties to designate the relevant authorities, it was continuing to take
steps to ensure that the contact details on the Focal Points and Competent Authorities are kept up to
35. The Committee noted the Secretariat‟s efforts in this regard, and encouraged the Secretariat to
continue to pursue those Parties that had yet to designate their Focal Points and/or Competent
Authorities under the Basel Convention, with a view to achieving designation of Focal Points and
Competent Authorities by all Parties. The Committee also considered that members might follow up
with the relevant Parties in their regions to encourage designation of Focal Points and/or Competent
Authorities, as appropriate.
36. In order to assist Parties in understanding the differing roles and competences of Focal Points
and Competent Authorities, the Committee agreed that it would produce a brief leaflet setting out the
roles and responsibilities of each of these entities, and highlighting the importance of designation and
keeping information on these authorities up to date. It was agreed that the Secretariat would prepare a
draft of this leaflet for the Committee‟s consideration and approval.
37. The Secretariat also informed the meeting of the steps it had taken to engage with research and
training institutions so as to reinforce efforts to assist Parties in developing their national legislation. In
this regard, the Secretariat advised that it is presently in consultations with a number of regional
organizations and institutions with a view to identifying areas for cooperation, and possible joint
initiatives, in this regard. Furthermore, the Secretariat advised that it is in the process of exploring the
preparatory phases for the development of a training module for the Basel Convention, as part of
UNITAR e-learning platform on Environmental Law. In addition, the Secretariat advised the meeting
that, following the recommendations borne out of the Committee‟s 2005-2006 work programme,
extensive discussions were held between the Secretariat and the UNEP Division of Environmental Law
and Conventions, with a view to identifying how UNEP might assist Parties to the Convention in the
development of implementing legislation. As a result of such efforts, an African Regional Workshop on
Chemicals and Waste Law and Conventions in Nairobi was due to be held by UNEP from 24 to 26
38. The Secretariat advised that, as suggested by the Committee, the national legislation placed on
the Basel Convention website was now grouped by languages, as well as by country. The Secretariat
noted that it was continuing to explore grouping such legislation according to legal systems.
39. The Committee took note of this information. The Committee considered that while the
promulgation of implementing national legislation was important, additional steps would need to be
taken to ensure proper implementation and enforcement of such laws. Accordingly, it was suggested
that the legislation kept by the Secretariat might be usefully supplemented by instruction manuals and
user guides developed by Parties, if any, to accompany their legislation.
40. In this connection, the Committee invited the Secretariat to provide information on the on-going
activities under the Convention aimed at promoting enforcement and preventing illegal traffic. The
Secretariat reported that it had developed, and continues to develop, a number of training manuals and
guidance documents for different authorities involved in the enforcement of the Basel Convention and
the prevention, punishment and control of illegal traffic. The Secretariat also noted that it was
continuing to raise funds to carry out regional workshops on illegal traffic for customs and enforcement
agents. In addition, the Secretariat advised that, upon request, it had been assisting Parties in
developing, and implementing, country-specific projects aimed at strengthening their capacity to
enforce the Basel Convention.
41. Taking note of such information, the Committee stressed the importance of activities to
strengthen implementation of national legislation, and considered that this might be an area of work that
could be proposed for inclusion under its future work programmes.
VII. Consideration of the procedures of the Committee and possible
lacunae (Item 7)
42. The Chair drew the meetings attention to document UNEP/CHW/CC/5/5, and noted that this
was a living document which sought to guide the Committee‟s procedures upon receipt of a specific
submission. Noting the complex nature of the document, Mr. Widstam agreed to take the lead in
coordinating considerations of this matter.
43. Mr. Widstam noted that the purpose of the aforementioned document was to provide non-
binding guidance in instances where the Terms of Reference of the Committee and the Rules of
Procedure of the Conference of the Parties do not provide adequate guidance. The document would not,
in any way, seek to contradict the Committee‟s Terms of Reference, as was adopted by the Conference
of the Parties, or the Rules of Procedure of the Conference of the Parties. Mr. Widstam noted that the
guidance provided by the document should be developed on the basis of the Committee‟s experience in
handling specific submissions and that such experience was currently lacking.
44. On the basis of these comments, Mr. Widstam proposed that it could be worth considering
specific issues in the document in more depth at the next meeting of the Committee, and mentioned as
examples (a) absence of reply from a Party whose compliance is in question; (b) membership: conflicts
of interests; and (c) frequency of meetings. Mr. Widstam, agreed to circulate comments regarding
these particular issues to the Committee, during the intersessional period, so that this might further the
Committee‟s consideration of this document at its next meeting.
45. The Committee agreed to consider this document, together with Mr. Widstam‟s proposals, at its
VIII. Other matters (Item 8)
(a) Financial matters: report from the Secretariat
46. The Secretariat gave a brief introduction on the sources of funding for the Committee, recalling
that the costs of holding meetings of the Committee were met from the assessed contributions of Parties
to the Convention, whilst activities under the work programme of the Committee were funded by
voluntary contributions from Parties. The Secretariat reported on the current funds available to support
the Committee‟s work and noted the voluntary contributions received from the United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Sweden in support of the Committee‟s work programme for the
47. The Committee took note of this report, and expressed its gratitude to the two donor countries
for their generous financial contributions to the work of the Committee in the current biennium.
(b) Any other business
IX. Adoption of the report of the fifth session (Item 9)
48. The Rapporteur read the report to the Committee for its approval. After discussion, the
Committee adopted this report.
X. Closure of the session (Item 10)
49. The Chair thanked the members for their constructive discussions during the meeting and the
Secretariat for their support during the meeting.
50. The Chair closed the meeting at 13.30 p.m. on Sunday 9 September 2007.