Second Workshop of the Asian Network for Prevention of Illegal Transboundary Movement of Wastes
November 23, 2005, Tokyo, Japan

Chair's Summary

Chair: Mr. Kazuhiro Okuma

1. The Second Workshop of the Asian Network for Prevention of Illegal Transboundary Movement of Wastes was held in Tokyo on November 23, 2005. Present were 22 participants from competent authorities or focal points to the Basel Convention from 12 countries or administrative regions and Basel Convention Regional Centers (BCRCs), and 7 observers from 6 other countries or organizations and the Secretariat of the Basel Convention (SBC). The workshop was chaired by Kazuhiro Okuma, Deputy Director, Policy Planning Division, Waste Management and Recycling Department, of the Japanese Ministry of the Environment.

2. At the Opening Ceremony, Mr. Tsutomu Sakagawa, Director, Office of Waste Disposal Management, Japanese Ministry of the Environment delivered the opening address. He pointed out that for the purpose of preventing adverse effects on the environment and assuring proper international trade in recyclable materials, it is important to strengthen collaboration among participating countries by sharing relevant information and exchanging views. He also expressed his expectation that participating countries would exchange information about transboundary movement of recyclable materials - especially E-waste, which has increasingly become a major concern in the region - by making good use of the Asian Network for Prevention of Illegal Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes.

3. The Chair stated that we would share information and discuss future collaboration paying special attention to the issue of E-waste as the workshop was held in conjunction with the E-waste workshop (Asia-Pacific Regional Inception Workshop on the Environmentally Sound Management of Electronic and Electrical Wastes).

4. In Session 1, the participants shared their experiences and difficulties of implementing the Basel Convention. Participants from Cambodia, China-Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam presented updates on their activities. These included information about major legislative measures, institutional arrangements, trends in exports and imports of hazardous wastes and second-hand commodities, specific actions for hazardous waste management, and items which are subject to regulation. The participants also shared their views on challenges they faced, including clarifying the definition of hazardous wastes and strengthening enforcement. The Executive Secretary of the Basel Convention, Ms. Sachiko Kuwabara-Yamamoto, noted that SBC is in the process of renewing the notification system by Article 3 of the Basel Convention. It was a great opportunity for the participants to present the current situation of their countries and share information since they rarely had face-to-face contact with each other. The Chair expressed his deep appreciation to the participating countries for preparing their presentations in view of their busy schedules.

5. The Japanese Ministry of the Environment, which is the interim Secretariat of the Asian Network, summarized the achievements of the Network; the website of which was officially opened in June this year, and which has promoted communication by various means among officials responsible for implementing the Basel Convention. The Ministry proposed to upload information on legal and policy frameworks for the management of hazardous wastes on the website, and requested the participating countries to update their information in a timely manner.

6. In Session 2, representatives from BCRCs reported their recent activities. With regard to the BCRC China's initiative, surveys on importation and environmentally sound management of E-waste and new partnership projects with local authorities for environmentally sound management of hazardous and other wastes have been carried out. BCRC-Indonesia gave a presentation on its role and responsibilities, activities, challenges and business plan based on the results of the needs assessment (ASEAN countries) and the E-waste workshop (ESM for e-waste).

7. In Session 3, the participants discussed transboundary movement of hazardous wastes disguised as second-hand commodities, with the focus on Electronic and Electrical Equipment (EEE). The Japanese Ministry of the Environment summarized the current status and issues related to importing and exporting used CRT monitors and TVs, printed circuit boards, and lead-acid batteries in the participating countries based on a questionnaire survey conducted prior to the workshop. Thailand and China-Hong Kong explained their practices which included guidelines for controlling imports of second-hand EEE. The discussion focused on the issue of definition and possible development of guidelines. Participants shared common interests in developing tools to help parties in controlling second-hand EEE while wide range of views were expressed on their nature. The participants agreed to start gathering information on criteria and operations in classifying second-hand EEE with a view to developing common guidelines or tools that are not legally binding, but flexible. The Japanese Ministry of the Environment proposed to prepare the first draft in close cooperation with Environmental Protection Department (EPD) China-Hong Kong for the discussion at the next workshop. This was accepted by the participants. In this connection, the participants reconfirmed the importance of transmitting the notification to the Secretariat about national definitions of hazardous wastes pursuant to Article 3 of the Basel Convention. In addition, the importance of information-sharing and capacity building for enforcement was endorsed.

8. During the one-day workshop, therefore, participants shared information on current activities regarding the implementation of the Basel Convention, and discussed future activities to tackle transboundary movement of hazardous wastes disguised as second-hand commodities, with special attention to EEE. The workshop facilitated information-sharing among the participants and enhancement of the Asian Network. The participants welcomed and supported the proposal from the Japanese Ministry of the Environment that the next workshop would be held outside of Japan. The workshop was a precious and meaningful opportunity for those in charge of implementation of the Basel Convention to gather to discuss their concerns. The Chair asked for continuous support and cooperation from the participating countries and BCRCs in strengthening the Network.
Ministry of the Environment, Government of Japan