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INFORMATION NOTE

Experts from Asia-Pacific countries gather in Philippines to tackle global environmental crime

Cebu, 23 November 2012 Representatives from twenty-six countries across Asia-Pacific region and beyond gathered this week in Cebu, Philippines, to address the growing challenge in preventing and controlling the international trade in hazardous waste and chemicals.  These dangerous products can be illegally traded, resulting in high economic cost to receiving countries and immeasurable harm to human health and ecosystems over many generations.

Maximising upon the severity of the issue, this is a joint meeting of the Asian Network for the Prevention of Illegal Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste, and the 1st Workshop of the Regional Enforcement Network for Chemicals and Waste, known as Project REN.  This joint event held from 20 to 23 November in Cebu, Philippines, strategically brought together national environmental authorities responsible for chemicals and waste management and enforcement officers from Customs Administrations and Police Forces across the region.  Also attending were intergovernmental organisations such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Customs Organization Regional Intelligence Liaison Office (WCO RILO) and Regional Office for Capacity-building (ROCB), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and other international experts.

This international meeting will address the growing illegal trade in waste products, such as electronic waste. Focus will be made on best practices and approaches to control trade in chemicals such as ozone-depleting substances and others controlled under multilateral environment agreements,

Speaking on behalf of the Ministry for Environment of Japan, Mr. Kazuhiro Yoshida, Director for Office of Waste Disposal Management, Waste Management and Recycling Department, said, “this is the important opportunity to join two networks and to share experiences and good practices to combat illegal transboundary movement of hazardous wastes and chemicals. I recognise that all the participants have learned from each other to tackle our common issue.”

The Asian Network is a network to combat illegal transboundary movement of hazardous wastes and other wastes under the Basel Convention. The participating countries share their latest legal framework and activities for the Basel Convention at its annual meeting.

Project REN is a new initiative funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and coordinated by UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific based in Bangkok, Thailand. It aims to develop the response to pollution crimes by supporting 25 countries across the region in areas such as information and intelligence management, building capacity through sharing best-practice, and developing operational responses. The project will continue until 2014 and aims to develop sustainability in the responses beyond that date.

Ms. Kakuko Nagatani- Yoshida, UNEP’s Montreal Protocol Policy and Enforcement Officer said, “We are fortunate to hold this meeting in the beautiful province of Cebu as a reminder of the importance to address pollution crimes which particularly affect sensitive environments and vulnerable communities. Project REN will bring together key partners and enhance the way that we tackle this emerging form of transnational organized crime.”

For more information, please contact:
Ms. Kakuko Nagatani-Yoshida, Policy and Enforcement Officer, OzonAction Programme, UNEP Regional Office for Asia and Pacific.
Tel: +6622881679; Email: Kakuko.Nagatani@unep.org