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(Re)invigorating the health protection objective of the Basel Convention on Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal

  • William Onzivu (a1)

Abstract

The public health challenges of moving dangerous substances across jurisdictions have led to a renewed international focus on the importance of the health perspective in the Basel Convention on Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal. This paper systematically reviews the health dimensions of the Basel Convention and the ways in which the Convention can be strengthened. It analyses the limits of the health objective of the Convention in promoting public health and the environment and the potential for optimising it. The paper argues that an examination of the Convention's substantive, procedural, and institutional and implementation mechanisms highlights its failure to fully achieve its potential for health protection. Parties to the Convention have initiated measures to address this issue, but the design and functioning of the Convention itself constrain the full achievement of health goals, which in turn undermines the protection of human health and the environment. To optimise the health promotion, the author argues for an adaptive governance framework by bolstering the governance mechanisms of the Convention and the Secretariat, strengthening health cooperation between international health agencies and improving domestic implementation of the Convention by its Member States.

Copyright

Corresponding author

William Onzivu, University of Bradford Law, School of Management, Emm Lane, Bradford, BD9 4JL, UK. Email: w.onzivu@bradford.ac.uk

Footnotes

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I am grateful to Professor Gavin Little for his constructive criticisms and enduring support. I would also like to acknowledge the helpful comments of Professor Karen Morrow, Lisa Cherkassky, the Editors of Legal Studies as well as those of the anonymous reviewers.

Footnotes

References

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53. Secretariat of the Basel Convention, above n 13.

54. Ibid.

55. Ibid; United Nations, The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Report (UN, New York, 2009), MDGs 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

56. Basel Convention, above n 1, Art 4.

57. Ibid, Preamble paras 3 and 17, Arts 4, 2(a), 10, 2(c), 14, 1.

58. Ibid, Preamble 8.

59. Ibid, Art 4(1).

60. Ibid, Art 6.

61. Ibid, Art 11(3).

62. Ibid, Arts 4(2)(e) and 8.

63. Ibid, Art 2(8).

64. Ibid, art.1, Annexes I–III, VIII, Arts 1 and 3 or Annex IX.

65. Secretariat of the Basel Convention ‘Origins of the Convention’, available at http://www.basel.int/convention/basics.html, accessed 30 September 2012.

66. Ibid.

67. Secretariat of the Basel Convention ‘Technical matters’, available at http://basel.int/techmatters/index.html, accessed 3 October 2012.

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69. Basel Convention, above n 1, Art 9(1).

70. Ibid, Art 9(2).

71. Ibid, Arts 4, 3(4), 9 and 5.

72. Ibid, Arts 11, 13, 16 and 19.

73. Secretariat of the Basel Convention Compliance Committee ‘Terms of reference’, available at http://basel.int/legalmatters/compcommitee/index.html, accessed 24 June 2010.

74. Cartagena Declaration on the Prevention, Minimization and Recovery of Hazardous Wastes and Other Wastes, paras 5, 9 and 11, available at http://www.basel.int/Portals/4/Basel%20Convention/docs/meetings/cop/cop10/CartagenaDeclaration.pdf.

75. Basel Convention, above n 1, Preamble.

76. Ibid.

77. Ibid, Art 10(1).

78. Ibid, Art 2(8).

79. Ibid, Annexes 1–5, 8, 9.

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82. Ibid.

83. Basel Convention, above n 1, Preamble, Art 14(1).

84. Ibid, Art 14(1).

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98. Ibid, at 16.

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103. Trust Fund to Assist Developing Countries and other Countries in Need of Technical Assistance in the Implementation of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, ‘Statement of income and expenditure as at 31 December 2008’, available at http://www.basel.int/convention/contributions/fsBD2008.pdf, accessed 25 June 2010.

104. Ibid, ‘Status of contributions as at 31 May 2010’, available at http://www.basel.int/convention/contributions/bd31May2010.pdf, accessed 25 June 2010.

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106. Secretariat of the Basel Convention ‘Status of contributions for the year 2006’, at 8, available at http://basel.int/convention/contributions/bc2005%20february%202005.pdf.

107. Ibid, ‘Status of contributions as at 31 August 2006’, at 3, available at http://basel.int/convention/contributions/bc0806.pdf.

108. Ibid.

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111. Basel Convention, above n 1, Art 6.

112. Basel Convention, above n 1, Annex V(A), Art 13.

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114. Ibid.

115. Basel Convention, above n 1, Art 8.

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117. NS Zahedi Note, ‘Implementing the Rotterdam Convention: the challenges of transforming aspirational goals into effective controls on hazardous pesticide exports to developing countries’ (1999) 11 Geo Int'l Envtl L Rev 707, 736–737.

118. Ibid.

119. Applegate, JsThe taming of the precautionary principle’ (2002) 27 Wm & Mary Envtl L & Pol'y Rev 13, 40.

120. Basel Convention, above n 1, Art 13.

121. Secretariat of the Basel Convention Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, ‘National reporting’, available at http://www.basel.int/natreporting/compPI.html, accessed 10 July 2010.

122. Ibid, Questio 7 of the National Reporting Questionnaire.

123. Secretariat of the Basel Convention ‘Guidance document on improving national reporting by parties to the Basel Convention’, available at http://www.basel.int/natreporting/index.html, accessed 10 July 2010.

124. Interview with a Legal Officer, Basel Convention Secretariat, 26 June 2010.

125. Rushton, above n 40; Onzivu, above n 12, at 637–676.

126. Onzivu, above n 12, at 659; Black H ‘Environmental and public health: pulling the pieces together’ (November 2000) Envtl Hlth Perspect A512, A513.

127. Sixth Meeting of the Cop to the Basel Convention, Geneva, Switzerland, 9–13 December 2002, ‘Report of the Cop to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal’, at 46–51, UNEP/CHW.6/40 (10 February 2003), available at http://www.basel.int/meetings/cop/cop6/english/Report40e.doc.

128. Secretariat of the Basel Convention Compliance Committee, available at http://www.basel.int/legalmatters/compcommite/termsref.doc, accessed 20 March 2011.

129. Ibid, at 48.

130. Ibid, at 49.

131. Sixth Meeting of the Cop to the Basel Convention, above n 127, at 46.

132. Sixth Meeting of the Cop to the Basel Convention, above n 127.

133. Decision VIII/1 on Côte d'Ivoire incident, The Eighth Meeting of the COP to the Basel Convention, in December 2006; Basel Convention Secretariat and UNEP, Implementation of Decision VIII/1 on Côte d'Ivoire, available at http://www.basel.int/pub/leaflets/270508.pdf, accessed 4 August 2010.

134. UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) ‘Cote d'Ivoire: urban hazardous waste dumping’, paras 10–16, available at http://www.loe.org/images/content/070223/undac_civ_11sep.pdf.

135. Eighth Meeting of the Cop to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, Nairobi, Kenya, 27 November – 1 December 2006, Compliance Committee, Item 8 of the Provisional Agenda, at 3, Unep/Chw.8/12 (21 June 2006), available at http://www.unon.org/confss/doc/unep/chw/chw_08/chw_8_12/K0651786.pdf.

136. UNEP, Committee for Administering the Mechanism for Promoting the Implementation and Compliance of the Basel Convention, Geneva, Switzerland., 8–9 April 2006, ‘Report of the Fourth Session of the Basel Convention Implementation and Compliance Committee’, at 3, UNEP/CHW/CC/4/6 (11 April 2006), available at http://www.basel.int/legalmatters/compcommittee/reports/cc4_06.doc.

137. Ibid.

138. UNEP Global Trends in Generation and Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and Other Wastes, No. 14, at 12, SBC No. 02/14 (November 2002) (prepared by K Wielenga), available at http://basel.int/natreporting/trends2.pdf.

139. Ibid.

140. The Basel Protocol on Liability and Compensation for Damage Resulting from Transboundary Movements of Wastes and their Disposal, available at http://www.basel.int/meetings/cop/cop5/docs/prot-e.pdf, accessed 24 June 2010.

141. Choski, SThe Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, 1999 Protocol on Liability and Compensation’ (2001) 28(2) Ecology LQ 509539.

142. Secretariat of the Basel Convention, ‘Protocol on Liability and Compensation, ratifications’, available at http://basel.int/ratif/protocol.htm, accessed 2 October 2012.

143. Webster-Main, above n 116.

144. Long, JaProtocol on Liability and Compensation for Damage Resulting from the Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal’ (1999) Colo J Int'l Envtl L & Pol'y 253, 254255.

145. Louka, E International Environmental Law: Fairness, Effectiveness, and World Order (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006) p 450.

146. Decision VIII/1 on Côte d'Ivoire incident, above n 133.

147. Hicks, BlTreaty congestion in international environmental law; the need for greater international coordination’ (1999) 32 U Rich L Rev 1643.

148. MarEx Newsletter ‘Trafigura employees released by Ivory Coast authorities after settlement of Probo Koala incident’ (February 2007), reporting that the company paid US$240 million to the Ivorian authorities, available at http://media.tmmarket.com:81/marex/media/newsletter/archives/old/readmore7401.html?issue_id=207%26article_id=1963%26l=%3C, accessed 4 March 2011.

149. [2009] EWHC 1246 [QBD].

150. Lord Carmyllie PC, QC ‘The Probo Koala Inquiry, second interim report’, available at http://www.probokoalainquiry.com/pdf/PROBO%20KOALA%20REPORT%2002.pdf, accessed 4 March 2011.

151. Amnesty International and Greenpeace, above n 4.

152. Report of the Second Meeting of the COP to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, at 19–20, UN Doc. UNEP/CHW.2/30 (25 March 1994) (COP-2 Report, Decision II/12), available at http://www.basel.int/meetings/cop/cop1-4/cop2repE.pdf, accessed 20 March 2011.

153. Secretariat of the Basel Convention ‘Ratifications of the Ban Amendment’, available at http://www.basel.int/ratif/ban-alpha.htm, accessed 17 May 2011.

154. Waugh, TWhere do we go from here: legal controls and future strategies for addressing the transportation of hazardous wastes across international borders’ (2000) 11 Fordham Envtl L Rev 477, 507.

155. Secretariat of the Basel Convention Ban Amendment, available at http://basel.int/pub/baselban.html, accessed 25 June 2010.

156. Ibid.

157. Waugh, above n 154.

158. Basel Action Network ‘Annex Vii expansion? – an ignoble attempt to undo the Basel Ban’, available at http://www.ban.org/Library/briefing3.html, accessed 7 January 2010.

159. ‘Oecd Hazwaste Export Ban by 1998’ (May 1994) HAZNEWS, at 74.

160. Puckett J and Fogel C ‘Greenpeace International, a victory for environment and justice: the Basel Ban and how it happened’ (1994) available at http://www.ban.org/about_basel_ban/a_victory.html, accessed 11 October 2010; Secretariat of the Basel Convention, ‘Basel Convention's ratifications’, available at http://basel.int/ratif/convention.htm.

161. Webster-Main, above n 116.

162. Yi-Kuen, L et al ‘Mortality among former shipbreaking workers – a 13 year retrospective follow-up study in Taiwan’ (2003) 45 J Occup Hlth 3642; Nosal, Rm and Wilhelm, WjLead toxicity in the shipbreaking industry, the Ontario experience’ (1990) 81(4) Can J Pub Hlth 259262.

163. Mouen, AeBreaking the Basel: the elements of the Basel Convention and its application to toxic ships’ (2008) 32(6) Mar Pol'y 10531062; Basel Convention/UNEP, ‘Basel and Hong Kong: an equivalent level of control?’ (2010) Basel Convention Bull 7–8, available at http://www.basel.int/press/bulletin01Sep2010.pdf, accessed 22 July 2011.

164. Secretariat to the Basel Convention ‘Country Led Initiative’, available at http://www.basel.int/convention/cli/index.html, accessed 11 July 2010.

165. Ibid.

166. Basel Action Network ‘Ban comments on three Swiss–Indonesian Country Led Initiative (Cli) Documents’ (7 May 2010), Seattle, WA, available at http://www.basel.int/convention/cli/wildhaus-meeting/Comments-BAN-17-5-2010_Part1.pdf.

167. Ibid.

168. Refer to section 1; Hill, PUnderstanding global health governance as a complex adaptive system’ (2011) 6(6) Global Pub Hlth 593605.

169. Soskolne, Cl et al ‘Toward a global agenda for research in environmental epidemiology’ (2007) 18(1) Epidemiology 162166.

170. Onzivu, above n 12, at 643–644.

171. Ibid.

172. Ibid, at 637–665.

173. Onzivu, WTackling the public health impact of climate change: the role of domestic environmental health governance mechanisms in developing countries’, 2009 43(3) Int'l Law 13231325.

174. Secretariat of the Basel Convention, above n 13.

175. Ibid, Preambular para 2.

176. Ibid, para 1.

177. Ibid, paras 2 and 3. These instruments highlight the importance of health in sustainable development.

178. Ibid, para 4.

179. Ibid, para 5.

180. Ibid, para 6.

181. Ibid, para 7.

182. Ibid, para 9.

183. Ibid.

184. Ibid, para 10.

185. Ibid, para 11.

186. UNEP, The Governing Council Decision 25/8 in ‘Decisions adopted by the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum at its 2th session’, pp 15–17, available at http://www.unep.org/GC/GC25/Docs/GC25-DRAFTDECISION.pdf, accessed 11 July 2010.

187. Ibid, para 2.

188. Ibid, para 2.

189. UN, UNEP, FAO, Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, ‘Report of the simultaneous extraordinary meetings of the Cop to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions, the 3 Omnibus decision adopted by the Cop to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions’, Document UNEP/FAO/CHW/RC/POPS/EXCOPS.1/8, available at http://excops.unep.ch/documents/meetingdocs/08e.pdf.

190. WHO, Sixty-Third World Health Assembly, ‘Resolution Wha 63.25, Improvement of health through safe and environmentally sound waste management’ (21 May 2010), available at http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/WHA63/A63_R25-en.pdf, accessed 12 July 2010.

191. Ibid, Preamble, para 8.

192. Ibid, Preamble, para 9.

193. Ibid, Preamble, para 11

194. Ibid, para 1.

195. Ibid, para 2(a).

196. Ibid, para 2(b).

197. UNEP Health and Environment Linkage Initiative (HELI), available at http://www.who.int/heli/en, accessed 16 September 2010.

198. Onzivu, above n 12, at 634–638.

199. UN, UNEP, FAO, above n 189.

200. Cooney and Lang, above n 32, at 523−551.

201. Scholz and Stiftel, above n 19.

202. Ibid, p 2.

203. García-Salmones, above n 38.

204. Onzivu, above n 17, pp 301–314, at 309.

205. Ibid.

206. Ebbesson, JThe notion of public participation in international environmental law’, in Yearbook of International Environmental Law 8 (1997), 51; Anderson, M and Galizzi, P (eds) International Environmental Law in National Courts (London: BIICL, 2003).

207. Scott, CAccountability in the regulatory state’ (2000) 27(1) J Law & Soc'y 3860.

208. Alkoby, ANon-state actors and the legitimacy of international environmental law’ (2003) 3 Non-State Actors & Int'l L 2398.

209. Scott, CAnalysing regulatory space: fragmented resources and institutional design’ (Summer 2001) Pub L 329353 at 336.

* I am grateful to Professor Gavin Little for his constructive criticisms and enduring support. I would also like to acknowledge the helpful comments of Professor Karen Morrow, Lisa Cherkassky, the Editors of Legal Studies as well as those of the anonymous reviewers.

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(Re)invigorating the health protection objective of the Basel Convention on Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal

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