(to be updated after review of meeting report)
1. The Bureau of the Conference of the Parties to the Bamako Convention on the Ban of the Import into Africa and the Control of Transboundary Movement and Management of Hazardous Wastes within Africa (Bamako convention) met virtually from 15:00 to 17:00 on Thursday, 10 September 2020.
2. The meeting was attended by the President of the Conference of the Parties, H.E. Ms. Arlette Soudan-Nonault (Congo) and the following Vice-Presidents: H.E. Mr. Almoustapha Garba (Niger), H.E. Dr. Yasmine Fouad (Egypt), Mr. Faustin Munyazikwiye (Rwanda) and Mr. Christopher Mushava (Zimbabwe).
3. Mr. Jefferson Nyandibo, the national focal point for the Bamako and Basel Conventions and representing the Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Liberia, attended the meeting as an observer.
4. The Secretariat of the Bamako Convention was represented by Ms. Juliette Biao-Koudenoukpo, the Director and Regional Representative for Africa at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Prof. Abdouraman Bary, Regional Subprogramme Coordinator (Chemicals, Waste & Air Quality) at UNEP, and other representatives from UNEP.
B. OBJECTIVES OF THE MEETING
The objective of this meeting was to take stock of the third Conference of the Parties to the Bamako Convention and discuss strategic, technical (for instance COVID19 and waste management), institutional and financial matters relating to the implementation of the Convention, and implementation of decisions of the third Conference of the Parties. An Action Programme and Roadmap for the Bureau was discussed and adopted. The Bureau was also updated by Liberia (invited as Observer) on the illegal disposal of 119,000 tons of contaminated plastic waste in Liberia by a company from Athens, Greece, by the name of STAVROPOULOU DIMITRA.
C. KEY MESSAGES
Opening of the meeting
- The Bureau committed to encourage States Parties that are still in arrears to pay their financial contributions to the Convention in order to allow the Secretariat of the Bamako Convention to carry out its functions;
- Bureau to encourage States Parties to submit their offers to host the fourth Conference of the Parties (COP4) in 2022. Rwanda to explore the possibilities of hosting COP4;
- African countries need to seek ways to enhance the implementation of the Bamako Convention for the sake of our future generations, including ways on how the Bamako Convention can address waste from COVID-19-like pandemics;
- African continent needs to be innovative in the way it brings solutions to the challenges that face us;
Update on illegal trafficking of contaminated plastic waste to Liberia
- The illicit contaminated plastic waste was trafficked to Liberia in October 2019 under dubious circumstances with the shipment documents originating from the exporter suggesting that the waste was destined for Morocco;
- To resolve this issue, the first avenue to ensure the repatriation of the contaminated plastic waste out of Liberia is through diplomatic means with the European Union and Greece. If this fails, the second step would be to take the issue to the Implementation and Compliance Committee of the Basel Convention. The third option, at the level of the Bamako Convention, the States Parties should mobilize African countries to take the matter to the African Union Commission;
- The President of the Bureau will send a letter to the AUC on this matter;
Briefing on the Third Conference of the Parties
- Although the decision to transfer the Secretariat to Bamako, Mali, stands, the actual shift will happen when adequate resources from Parties are available;
- For the list of hazardous chemicals and pesticides that should be banned to be adopted, more work still needs to be done including awareness raising, building national and regional consensus on chemicals to be banned, and following the due process for adoption of the list by the Conference of the Parties;
Status of implementation of the Bamako Convention
- The Secretariat has organized and held two webinars on the “Environmentally Sound Management of Waste in the Context of COVID-19”. The Secretariat will organize more future webinars;
- Sierra Leone is the latest African country to submit the instrument of ratification to the depository for the Bamako Convention and membership to the Convention is poised to increase from 29 to 30 Parties;
- There is need to organize an Extraordinary Conference of the Parties to discuss and focus on the decision on the list of hazardous substances. However, lack of funds could mean that States Parties should consider postponing this agenda item to the fourth Conference of the Parties in 2022;
Roles of Members of the Bureau
- Roles of the members of the Bureau are to are to: assist the President in the general conduct of the business of the Conference of the Parties; guide the overall implementation of the convention; provide administrative and general operational directions to the secretariat between the meetings of the Conference of the Parties; provide guidance and advice to the secretariat on the preparation of agendas and other requirements for the organization of meetings and on any other matters brought to it by the Secretariat in the exercise of its functions; perform functions requested by the Conference of the Parties; report to the Conference of the Parties on the activities it has carried out between meetings of the Conference of the Parties;
Action Programme and Roadmap of the Bureau towards next Conference of the Parties
- The Bureau roles are to support the Secretariat in the implementation of the Bamako Convention and drive the moment for the realization of the Convention’s ambitions and objectives;
- The Bureau is called upon to encourage other African countries that are not Parties to the Convention to consider joining;
- The Bureau is also called upon to encourage the submission by Parties of their proposals for the development of the agenda of COP4 which must reflect the concerns and priorities of Parties;
- The Bureau is urged to use the regional economic communities, such as the East African Community, to sensitive and mobilize other countries to join and honour their commitments to the Bamako Convention.