Basel Convention

Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal


The Basel Convention ensures the implementation of strict controls from the time of generation of a hazardous waste to its storage, transport, treatment, reuse, recycling, recovery and final disposal. It compels Parties to guarantee’s that hazardous wastes and other wastes are managed and disposed in an environmentally sound manner.

The Convention recognize the principle of responsibility of the countries in the handling and transportation of hazardous wastes. It prevents that the hazardous waste to be sent to states which not have the technical, administrative or legal capacity. The Convention was adopted in 1989 and entered in force on May 5, 1992.

The Conference of the Parties (COP) is the highest decision-making body of the Convention. In this instance the policies that guide its implementation are agreed. The COP has the authority to adopt amendments  and negotiate protocols. Meets at least once every two years and its decisions are taken by consensus. The 11th meeting of the COP was held in Geneva in May 2013.

The Convention subsidiary bodies are: the  Bureau and the Open-Ended  Working Group (OEWG) which main objective is to prepare  recommendations to be considered by the COP.

Colombia and the Basel Convention

The Convention was adopted in Colombia by Law 253 of 1996, declared enforceable by the Constitutional Court  C-977/96. It represents the first and only international treaty on hazardous waste.

Colombia hosted the 10th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP), in Cartagena in 2010. During this meeting was adopted the "Cartagena Declaration" on the prevention, minimization and recovery of hazardous wastes and other wastes.

The 9th meeting of the Open Ended Working Group (OEWG9), that was held in Geneva in September 2014, reviewed the progress made in the implementation on the Cartagena Declaration. Colombia led the group of "Friends of the Co-chairs". It was highlighted the importance of reducing the amount of hazardous wastes and other wastes and minimize their transboundary movement. 

From the 10th to the 12th of December, 2014, the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, together with the Secretariat, will hold in Barranquilla (Colombia) THE Subregional Workshop on Illegal Traffic of Hazardous Waste.

The follow-up and implementation of the Convention in Colombia, is a competency of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development.

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