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Cablegate: Reporting Cable: Oecd Working Group On Waste

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A

The Working Group on Waste Prevention and Recycling (WGWPR)
met February 9-10 in Paris. Delegates welcomed the approval
of the WGWPR Mandate and renewal of the Terms of Reference
until December 31, 2006 by the Working Party on National
Environmental Policy at its November meeting. Israel was
welcomed as an observer to the WGWPR. Korea announced it
will be hosting the next WGWPR meeting and workshop on
sustainable materials management in November 2005. End

Environmentally Sound Management (ESM)

1. The Secretariat presented an overview of the draft ESM
Guidance Manual that Member countries, in 2004, decided to
develop as a means of facilitating the implementation of the
OECD Council Recommendation on Environmentally Sound
Management of Waste. The U.S. and Canada supported the
ongoing development of the ESM guidance manual and
recommended keeping it brief and focusing on core
performance elements. The U.S. also questioned the value of
the current level of detail provided in certain sections, in
particular, Best Available Technology. Delegates revisited
the outstanding question from the last WGWPR meeting,
whether to develop waste stream specific guidelines for ESM
beyond the guidelines already done on used and scrap
personal computers. The Delegates communicated support for
developing additional waste stream specific guidelines,
however, no Member country volunteered a financial
contribution to make the effort possible. Canada expressed
concerns about duplicating efforts on electronics guidelines
currently under consideration by the Basel Secretariat.
Delegates agreed to postpone consideration of additional
work on waste stream specific guidelines until the next
WGWPR meeting.

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Periodical Review of the Bureau

2. Delegates were invited to consider the current
composition of the WGWPR bureau, which does not include
representation from North America. Canada expressed an
interest in joining the bureau. The U.S. and Korea
supported the addition.

Waste Prevention Indicators

3. Delegates heard presentations given by Belgium and Korea
who had volunteered in 2004 to test the applicability and
suitability of the developed waste prevention performance
indicators. Based on their findings, the indicators proved
sound and applicable when tested on various conditions in
Member countries. Delegates concluded that the WGWPR has
reached an end to indicators work that is most practical for
this group. Delegates agreed to invite the Working Group on
Environmental Outlooks and Information (WGEIO) to review
results developed so far and to consider as appropriate any
further work in the area.

Sustainable Materials Management

4. Member countries were informed by the Secretariat of
ongoing material flows accounting (MFA) activities to
support the implementation of the Council Recommendation on
material flows and resource productivity. Member countries
supported the announcement of a two-day MFA workshop to be
held in Berlin, Germany May 23-24, 2005 which is intended to
address methodological and measurement challenges associated
with managing and using material flows information. The
Secretariat gave an overview of the draft background

document on sustainable materials management (SMM), which is
a project strongly supported and funded by the U.S. While
most delegates strongly supported the project in general,
many delegates including the U.S., urged the Secretariat to
shift its narrow focus from a strictly economic analysis of
SMM to a more balanced study that includes more policy
analysis of the subject. The Secretariat intends to make
revisions to the current document based on written comments
by Member countries and will submit a revised version for
review by the Working Party on National Environmental Policy
at the June 2005 meeting.

Improving Recycling Markets

5. The Secretariat gave Delegates a brief overview of the
improving recycling markets document, which is the
compilation of the project's five studies. Delegates were
also informed of the Secretariat's plans to develop a brief
policy document on the findings once the main document is
declassified. The U.S. communicated its support for the
preparation of a brief policy document and supported
declassification of the original document on the condition
that specific factual corrections are made first. The
Secretariat will revise the document and submit it to

Delegates again for approval for declassification.

Instrument Mixes

6. Delegates heard a presentation by the Secretariat on the
Policy Mixes project, which is currently being undertaken by
WPNEP. Delegates were invited to provide their expertise
and feedback on one aspect of the project that addresses
household waste. The U.S. and other delegates communicated
their strong support for the project. The U.S. encouraged a
clarification of the goals of the study and further
development of conclusions drawn. Revisions to the overall
study will be made and submitted to WPNEP for review at
their June 2005 meeting.

--------------------------------------------- ---
Life-cycle Assessments and Cost-benefit Analyses
--------------------------------------------- ---
7. Delegates welcomed this early draft study, which was
developed by the Secretariat as a part of the larger project
`Economics of Waste,' and asked for more detail on certain
issues contained within the study. Delegates agreed to
submit additional comments in writing and will have another
opportunity to review a revised version by the next WGWPR
meeting in December 2005.

Extended Producer Responsibility

8. Delegates agreed to declassify "Analytical Framework for
Evaluating Costs and Benefits of EPR Programmes" on the
condition that any additional comments received before
February 28, 2005 must be incorporated. Delegates heard a
status report on the remaining study to be completed within
this work area. A draft study on the impact of EPR programs
on product design will be conducted by a consultant and will
be made available by December 2005. Member delegations were
supportive of the work in this area.

Transboundary Movements of Waste

9. The delegates discussed two issues on implementing
C(2001)107. One on whether and how to incorporate changes
to the OECD waste lists as a result of two changes made in
October 2004 to the Basel Convention waste lists, and the
other on how to list the waste listings on electronics and
coal plant ash in the harmonized OECD/Basel waste listing
that the OECD created. There appeared to be general
support for incorporating the new Basel Convention waste
list changes to the harmonized OECD/Basel waste listing.
These changes included a wording change on an existing
listing (refractory metals) and the adoption of two new
entries concerning metal cables coated with plastics. As
for the electronics and coal plant ash waste listings, the
U.S. objected to the Secretariat's proposed wording (which
emphasized incorrectly an amber, or controlled, listing for
these wastes) within the harmonized OECD/Basel waste list.
The U.S. circulated a written counter-proposal as a means of
facilitating a quick resolution. Delegates did not reach
agreement on the final wording of the listings and opted to
resolve the issue through an ad hoc committee (U.S.,
Germany, Austria, Japan, European Commission), which agreed
to report to the WGWPR with a new proposal.


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