International Management of Hazardous Wastes: The Basel Convention and Related Legal Rules

By Katharina Kummer | Go to book overview

2
The Basel Convention: an Analysis and Assessment

THE ELABORATION OF THE BASEL CONVENTION

A. Preliminary Work within UNEP: The Montevideo Programme and the Cairo Guidelines

UNEP's concern with the hazardous waste cycle dates from the early 1980s. The issue was not included as a priority area in the original Action Plan adopted by the Governing Council of UNEP at its first session in 1973.1 It did not receive much attention until 1981, when the Governing Council mandated a group of senior government officials expert in environmental law to determine major subject areas suitable for increased global and regional co-operation in the elaboration of environmental law.2 The Montevideo Programme for the Development and Periodic Review of Environmental Law, which sets out the conclusions and recommendations of the experts and constitutes a fundamental policy document for UNEP, identified the transport, handling and disposal of toxic and dangerous wastes as one of these major subject areas. It recommended the preparation of guidelines and principles which could lead to a global convention on hazardous wastes, within the framework of UNEP and in co-operation with other competent organizations. This priority was reaffirmed and strengthened by the second meeting of the senior government officials, convened in Rio de Janeiro in 1991 to review the Montevideo Programme.3

Based on the Montevideo Programme, the Governing Council in 1982

____________________
1
Decisions of the Governing Council of UNEP at its 1st session: Action Plan for the Human Environment: programme development and priorities, 3 July 1973, (UNEP/GC/10), reprinted in ILM 12 ( 1973) p. 1183 et seq.
2
UNEP Governing Council Decision 9/ 19A of 26 May 1981 (UNEP/GC. 9/19A), recalling Decision 8/15 of the previous year (UNEP/GC.8/15) and UNGA Resolution 35/74 of 5 December 1980.
3
UNEP, Montevideo Programme ( Nairobi 1982); Report of the Ad Hoc Meeting of Senior Government Officials Expert in Environmental Law to the Governing Council of UNEP, 7 December 1981 (UNEP/GC.10/5/Add. 2); UNEP, Review of the Montevideo Programme 1981-1991 ( Nairobi 1991); Conclusions and Recommendations of the Rio Meeting of the Senior Government Officials, repr. in EPL 22/2( 1992) p. 123. Cf. also Caldwell, ( 1990), p. 121.
An earlier version of this chapter appeared in ICLQ 41/3( 1992), p. 530 et seq., entitled 'The International Regulation of Transboundary Traffic in Hazardous Wastes: The 1989 Basel Convention'.

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