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News Archive » SCP/RAC at the Basel Convention Open Ended Working Group meeting: marine litter plastics as a top priority topic

SCP/RAC at the Basel Convention Open Ended Working Group meeting: marine litter plastics as a top priority topic

12th September 2018
Pedro Fernandez (1st on the right) at the side event ©BRSmeas

For the 11th edition of its Open-Ended Working Group meeting, the Basel Convention1 organized a side event on marine litter plastics and microplastics, stressing the need to take urgent action against plastics.

 

 

 

 

The meeting, held in Geneva (3rd -6th September) had brought together more than 400 experts from 135 countries and international organizations.

Pedro Fernandez, SCP/RAC’s marine litter expert, participated to the side event: “marine litter plastics and microplastics – Experiences on the ESM of plastic wastes towards a circular economy” to present SCP/RAC’s contribution to tackling plastics marine litter.

 

©BRSmeas

 

The OEWG11 discussed specifically on three topics related to marine litter and microplastics:

1. Possible options available under the Convention to further address marine plastic litter and microplastics

2. Prior to the meeting, Norway tabled the proposal to move plastic waste from the Annex IX list of non-hazardous waste that is not subject to Convention controls to the Annex II list of categories of wastes requiring special consideration, defined as “other wastes” for purposes of the Convention. The proposal would add a new entry to Annex II titled “Plastic Waste: Waste and scrap from plastic and mixed plastic waste materials and mixtures of waste containing plastics, including microplastic beads.” This change means that the transboundary movements of plastic waste would be subject to the Basel prior informed consent procedure in cases where the importing State has not prohibited import. In its decision on the proposal to amend Annex IX (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.11/CRP.16), the OEWG:

  • Takes note of the proposed amendment to Annex IX by Norway for consideration at COP14;
  • Recommends that COP14 consider whether to amend entry B3010 on solid plastic waste in Annex IX and, if so, in what form; and
  • Takes note of the intention of Norway to submit a proposal to amend Annex II, for consideration by COP14.

3. The OEWG supports the establishment of a Basel Convention Partnership on Plastic Wastes. The decision on the ToR for the establishment of the partnership on plastic wastes (UNEP/CHW/OEWG.11/CRP.20) sets out the goal of the partnership to improve and promote the ESM of plastic wastes and minimize their generation so as to reduce significantly and, in the long-term, eliminate the discharge of plastic and microplastics into the environment and in particular the marine environment. The final ToR will be finalized at COP14.  

Pedro Fernandez welcomed the proposition and made a statement on behalf of SCP/RAC:

The Stockholm Convention Regional Centre in Spain welcomes the willingness of the Parties to address marine litter within the Basel Convention, and particularly the proposal led by Norway and co-sponsored by Canada, Switzerland, and Uruguay to establish a Partnership on Plastic Wastes.

Our center, which is also a Regional Center for the Barcelona Convention, has provided solutions for the prevention of ML in the Mediterranean region, where the 21 neighboring countries have adopted a Regional Plan on ML.

In addition, the Regional Centre in Spain coordinated and ad-hoc informal working group with the support of the BRS Secretariat and the active participation of several BRS Centers as the ones of Argentina, Uruguay, and Slovakia. Likewise, experts from several international organizations contributed to this work. The working group prepared a paper on ML and microplastics and proposals for their prevention that was submitted as Information Document to the last BRS COP. The COP encouraged regional centres to work on plastic marine litter and microplastics.

Therefore, the Regional Centre in Spain fully supports the establishment of this partnership and offers to actively participate in its development.

 

The next BRS COP, in April 2019, will adopt final decisions on these issues.

Pedro Fernandez presenting the bags made with re-used flour sacks: the result of a pilot project supporting the Association du Docteur Fatiha, in partnership with women cooperatives located in the Oriental region of Morocco. Photo: ©BRSmeas

 

SCP/RAC’s contribution to Marine litter issue:

SCP/RAC supports southern Mediterranean countries on the development of policy measures to prevent the generation of Marine litter like the phase-out of single-use plastic bags. The center also implements concrete pilot actions and facilitate their scaling-up: through the EU-funded SwitchMed programme, SCP/RAC pilots two entrepreneurial actions to prevent most common plastic marine litter in the Mediterranean Sea in Morocco and in Tunisia.

Art & Public awareness:

Marine litter thematic had also been represented/ illustrated by a sculpture, named M-Cube, made by plastics marine litter.  Raising public awareness is also a key part of SCP/RAC’s work: a publication presenting alternatives to single-use plastics is under preparation and will target the public at large.

Working documents of the meeting:

http://www.basel.int/TheConvention/OpenendedWorkingGroup(OEWG)/Meetings/OEWG11/Overview/tabid/6258/Default.aspx

Pictures (©BRSmeas): 

 
 
 
 




[1]

The Basel  Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal is the most comprehensive international environmental agreement on hazardous and other wastes and is almost universal, with 186 Parties. For more information, see www.basel.int

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