India sets the tone at COP meetings of Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions held in Geneva.


  • The joint meetings of the following three conventions was held in Geneva, Switzerland:
  1. Basel Conventionon the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal  (COP 14).
  2. Ninth meeting of the COP to Rotterdam Conventionon the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade.
  3. Ninth meeting of the COP to Stockholm Conventionon Persistent Organic Pollutants.
  • The theme of the meetings this year was Clean Planet, Healthy People: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste.
  • In Basel Convention, two important issues were discussed and decided, i.e. technical guidelines on e-waste and inclusion of plastic waste in the PIC procedure.
  • However, the draft technical guidelines stipulated the conditions when used electrical and the electronic equipment destined for the direct reuse, repair, refurbishment or failure analysis should be considered as non-waste.
  • India had major reservations regarding these provisions as in the name of re-use, repair, refurbishment and failure analysis there was a possibility of dumping from the developed world to the developing countries including India.
  • In fact, the Indian delegation strongly objected the proposed decision on these guidelines during the plenary and also did not allow it to be passed by the conference of the parties (COP).
  • But, on the final day of the COP, a modified decision was adopted in which all the concerns raised by the India were incorporated.
Concerns were:
  • The dumping of e-waste in developing countries;
  • The recognition that the interim guideline has issues and further work is required specially on the provision on distinguishing waste from non-waste;
  • In fact, the guidelines were adopted on an interim basis only;
  • The tenure of the expert working group was extended to address the concerns raised by India;
  • And the usage of an interim guidelines to be done only on a pilot basis.
  • Under the Basel Convention, another major achievement of COP 14 was the decision to amend the convention to include unsorted, mixed and contaminated plastic waste under PIC (Prior Informed Consent) procedure and improve the regulation of its transboundary movement.
  • This is a significant step taken towards addressing plastic pollution which has become a major environmental concern across the globe.
  • Basel Convention has also adopted partnership on plastic which was welcomed by the Indian delegation. These steps will help prevent the illegal dumping of plastic wastes in developing countries.
  • In fact, the India has imposed a complete prohibition of an import of the solid plastic waste into the country.  India has also made an international commitment to phase-out single-use plastic.
  • Under the Stockholm Convention the COP decided to list Dicofol in Annex A without any exemption. The PFOA was also listed with some exemptions in the Annex A of the Stockholm Convention.
  • Under the Rotterdam Convention, two new chemicals (Phorate and HBCD) were added in the list for mandatory PIC procedure in international trade.

Background Check:

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal:
  • It is an international treaty.
  • It is a UN Treaty.
  • Effective from 1992.
  • Well, it aims to reduce the movements of the hazardous waste between the nations, and also specifically to prevent the transfer of the hazardous waste from the developed to less developed countries
  • However, it does not address the movement of the radioactive waste.
  • The Convention is also intended to :
  • minimize the amount and toxicity of wastes generated,
  • to ensure their environmentally sound management as closely as possible to the source of the generation, and
  • to assist the LDCs in an environmentally sound management of the hazardous and the other wastes they generate
Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants:
  • It is an International Environmental Treaty.
  • It is a UN Treaty.
  • Open for signature in 2001 in Stockholm.
  • Became effective in 2004.
  • In fact, it aims to eliminate or to restrict the production and the use of persistent organic pollutants.
  • India is a party to this treaty.
  • US is not a party to this treaty.
Why regulate POPs? POPs are chemical substances that:
  • Persist in the environment
  • Bio-accumulate through the food web
  • Pose a risk of causing the adverse effects to the human health and also the environment
  • Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS) and the International Programme for Chemical Safety (IPCS) prepared a list, known as the Dirty Dozen :
  • Eight organochlorine pesticides: aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, mirex and toxaphene;
  • The two industrial chemicals: The hexachlorobenzene (HCB) and also the polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) group; and
  • Two groups of industrial by-products: dioxins and furans.
  • POPs can be reviewed and added to the convention, if they meet certain criteria for persistence and transboundary threat i.e. list of POPs can change and evolve over time.
  • There is provision that developed countries provide new and additional financial resources and measures to minimise/regulate POPs to developing nations.
The rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed the Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and the Pesticides in International Trade:
  • It is a multilateral Treaty.
  • It is a UN Treaty.
  • Opened for signature in 1998.
  • Became effective in 2004.
  • It aims to promote shared responsibilities in relation to importation of hazardous chemicals.
  • Convention has a list of substances which can change and evolve over time.
  • The convention promotes open exchange of information between importers-exporters of hazardous chemicals.
  • The calls on exporters of the hazardous chemicals to use proper labelling, which include the directions on safe handling, and inform purchasers of any known restrictions or bans.
  • The signatory nations can decide whether to allow or ban the importation of the chemicals listed in the treaty
  • Exporting countries are obliged to make sure that producers within their jurisdiction comply.
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