Suman Sharma
Suman Sharma
Topic: COUNTDOWN TO THE TRIPLE COPs: How does Technical Assistance assist Parties implement the Chemicals and Waste Conventions?
Suman is a Programme Officer in BRS Secretariat serving as lead contact point for issues relating to the Basel and Stockholm Convention Regional Centres and is responsible for implementing the activ...
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Number of questions: [2]
Posted on 26/03/2015 15:05:17
Dear Mr Sharma
What kinds of technical assistance supports does the Secretariat offer to developing countries, who can apply is it only government officials or are they also open to NGOs and private sector and universities, and how do you ensure the activities are actually responding to real - as opposed to perceived - needs of developing countries in the fields of hazardous waste, environmentally sound management of chemicals, and greening of the relevant sectors?
Richard Rast (from Germany)
Dear Mr Rast,
Many thanks indeed for your very pertinent question. I see that there are 3 main points in your question: What kind of technical assistance support is offered by the Secretariat; who in the developing country is eligible to receive such support and how do you identify the needs of the countries?

On the first part of your question, the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions have mandated through their relevant articles on the role of Secretariat to provide assistance to the eligible country parties to enable them to implement their obligations under the Conventions upon request. To fulfill this mandate the Secretariat has been implementing several activities which include preparing and publishing various awareness raising materials, technical guidance on various relevant issues, organizing training programmes and facilitating the work of relevant partners to name a few.
Realizing the importance of the providing technical assistance to the developing countries, the Secretariat has reorganized itself to have a full-fledged Technical Assistance Branch. The technical assistance programme under these Conventions comprises following four major pillars: The first pillar is need assessment, development of supporting tools and methodologies. The technical assistance needs of the parties are identified through various sources such as national implementation plans, national reports, national action plans, or even direct requests made by parties. In addition to these information sources, the Secretariat collects information on their needs through online need assessment questionnaire periodically. I believe this also answers to the third part of your question.
The second pillar is training and capacity-building activities. A large number of training and capacity building activities on various thematic issues that are listed in the approved work programme of the Secretariat are organized mostly at regional and subregional level. In some cases such capacity building activities are even organized at national level. The participants of these training and capacity building programmes have often been from NGOs and academic institutions as well.
The third pillar is Partnerships. This is another area of assistance where the secretariat works with relevant partners. A public private Partnership for Action on Computing Equipment (PACE) to deal with the electronic waste is one of the examples of such partnership. More such partnerships for example with academia and research institutions to deal with various issues under all 3 Conventions are being considered.
The fourth pillar is Regional centres. The Basel and Stockholm Conventions have established a network of 23 regional centres around the globe to provide technical assistance and capacity building including technology transfer to developing countries. Among these 7 centres are both the Basel and Stockholm convention centres. These centres are required to prepare their workplans/business plans in consultation with the Parties they serve. This is another opportunity to identify the real needs of the parties. Once these plans are finalized, the centres start approaching various donors and funding sources to secure funding to implement various activities from their plans. The secretariat works very closely with the centres and facilitates their task. The regional centre have been very effective in supporting regional delivery of technical assistance catalyzed by the Secretariat. In addition, a number of regional centres have been involved in executing various big projects funded by GEF in collaboration with other partner agencies to assist parties in implementing their obligations under the Conventions.

On your question about who in developing country receives the technical assistance, I believe I briefly touched upon that while answering your other questions above. As mentioned earlier the Secretariat is mandated to provide assistance to the eligible parties upon request. It is therefore up to the parties to decide who they want to include in receiving assistance provided by the Secretariat.
I would like to thank you very much for your question and giving me this opportunity.

Posted on 26/03/2015 02:07:47
Dear Mr. Suman,
In what ways does the Secretariat assist African countries that are Parties to the Basel Convention address the dumping of electronic and electrical waste?

Francis Bagambilana (from Tanzania (United Republic of))
Dear Francis Bagambilana,
Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal has identified electronic and electrical waste stream as one of the priority waste stream. Since 2002 under the Convention several initiatives/projects launched on e-waste including in Asia, Africa and in Latin America. At this time technical guidelines on Transboundary movement of electronic and electrical equipments is being developed and will be presented for the adoption to the upcoming 12th meeting of the COP of the Basel Convention. Besides, assigning of harmonized system codes to this waste stream is underway in collaboration with World Customs Organization.

On your specific question, in what way the Secretariat assist African countries in controlling illegal dumping of these wastes, let me inform you that the Secretariat has taken a number of initiatives recently on electronic waste in Africa. The Basel Convention Coordinating Centre for Africa with Basel Convention Regional Centre in Senegal along with number of other partners undertook the E-Waste Africa project from 2008 to 2012. The project aimed is to enhance the capacity of West Africa and other African countries to tackle the growing problem of e-waste.
More information is available on this at following link of the Convention's website:
The findings of this project was presented and discussed in The Pan-African Forum on E-waste, which was held in March 2012 in Kenya. The Forum adopted a Call for Action on E-waste in Africa. The Call for Action outlines a set of priorities to support development of a regional approach for the legal transboundary movements and the environmentally sound management of e-waste for the African continent to protect human health and the environment as well as to promote opportunities for social and economic development.
In addition to this, the Basel Convention Regional Centre in South Africa is currently in the process of developing e-Waste inventory in several African countries. Further, the Secretariat is organizing a workshop on the issues relating to e-waste management for Africa later this year. These are some of the recent and upcoming activities that are aimed to assist the African countries in dealing with illegal dumping of electrical and electronic wastes. Further, upon request from the parties on specific needs including on e-waste related matters, the Secretariat could explore further opportunities to assist the countries as appropriate. I hope to have answered your question. Thanks again for this very relevant question.