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Waigani Convention on hazardous waste management opens today

Waigani Convention on hazardous waste management opens today

The Waigani Convention to ban the export of hazardous or radioactive waste to the Pacific Islands Forum Countries, and prohibit Forum island countries from importing such waste, held its Eighth Conference of the Parties in Samoa today.

Nine of the 13 Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) Members that are Parties to the Waigani Convention were present at the meeting. SPREP is the Secretariat of the Waigani Convention that entered into force in 2001.

"Hazardous waste management remains a critically important issue for our region. The islands we live on are often very small and vulnerable to the impacts of hazardous waste, which particularly impact on water tables and waterways which are the lifeline of our Pacific communities," said Mr. David Sheppard, Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

The key objectives of the Waigani Convention are to; reduce or eliminate transboundary movement of hazardous and radioactive waste into and within the Pacific region; to minimise the production of hazardous and toxic waste in the Pacific region; to ensure that disposal of such waste is completed in an environmentally sound manner and as close to the source as possible; and to assist Pacific island countries that are Parties to the Convention in the environmentally sound management of hazardous waste they generate.

The Waigani Convention is similar to the Basel Convention which serves as the primary international instrument governing the transboundary movement and the environmental management of hazardous waste. However, importantly, the Waigani Convention also includes radioactive waste, and applies only to the Pacific islands region.

"The Waigani Convention offers a very important legally binding mechanism for tackling one of the biggest issues that our countries face in the Pacific that being hazardous waste management. Let's all work together to ensure that it is working as effectively as possible to support all Pacific countries in the better management of hazardous waste." said Mr. David Sheppard.

Key achievements of the Waigani Convention over the past five years include closer cooperation between the Waigani Convenion and the global Basel Convention, strengthened relations with the Asia-Pacific Basel Regional Centre based at Tsinghua University in Beijing with the hosting of two graduate students from Tsinghua earlier this year at SPREP and, a closer alignment between the SPREP Programme on Waste and Pollution and the Waigani-Basel Regional programme.

The 13 Parties to the Waigani Convention are: Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The 8th meeting of the Waigani Convention is held at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel on 18 September. It is followed by The Pacific Environment Forum on Climate Finance on 21 September and the Twenty-Sixth SPREP Meeting of Officials is from 22nd – 24th September.

The 21 Pacific island countries and territories that are members of SPREP are: American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Wallis and Futuna.

The 5 Metropolitan members of SPREP are: Australia, France, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States of America.

ENDS

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