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

By Katharina Kummer | Go to book overview

6
Ensuring Compliance: Relevant Concepts and Mechanisms

The preceding chapters have examined the international obligations pertaining to the management, transboundary movement and disposal of hazardous wastes, as set out in the Basel Convention, the regional waste management systems, and some sectoral pollution control regimes. It has been established that a global waste management regime, composed of the Basel Convention, regional waste management systems concluded under its umbrella, and applicable sectoral pollution control regimes, is emerging, and that this could be strongly supported through the harmonization of the relevant legal rules with each other. The emerging global waste management regime provides a standard of behaviour that must be adhered to in the context of the management and disposal of hazardous wastes. This standard is determined by the following fundamental primary obligations: the minimization of hazardous waste generation at source; the disposal of hazardous wastes as close to the source as possible (principle of proximity); the environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes -- in accordance with relevant technical guidelines and applicable transport rules -- whatever the place of disposal (principle of non-discrimination); the cessation or gradual phasing-out of environmentally unsound disposal options, such as ocean dumping and incineration at sea; the prohibition of exports of hazardous wastes under certain circumstances; the requirement of PIC for transboundary movements of hazardous wastes which are not in principle prohibited; the obligation to arrange for adequate disposal of wastes in the event of illegal transactions, and those that cannot be completed as foreseen; and the exchange of information and technical cooperation.

In order to make this regime effective, mechanisms must be set up which induce compliance with the relevant rules, and regulate the consequences of their breach. Such mechanisms have three main objectives: first, the prevention of environmental damage resulting from hazardous wastes; second, reparation of damage once it has occurred; and third, the equitable allocation of the costs of remedial measures. The objectives of a future liability protocol to the Basel Convention (discussed in para. 16 below) were identified by some members of the Working Group charged with its elaboration in a similar fashion: 'The victim should be protected; the person who

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