Brussels, 3 May 2019
On the 2nd of May 2019, in the fringe of the 8th Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention, BAN, the Basel Action Network, presented their new “Responsible Guidelines on e-waste”. Such Guidelines are supposed to be an alternative to the Technical Guidance developed by the Basel Convention on the transboundary movement of e-waste.
COCIR has been involved in the works on the Basel TG since 2011, advocating the need for the global free movement of used medical devices for repair, refurbishment and failure analysis. Since the beginning COCIR advocated for an approach, based on risk, that could differentiate between products ending up in illegal waste streams, such as consumer electronics and IT equipment, and professional equipment such as medical imaging devices that are not exported for illegal treatment. As COCIR stated in its position paper 2 years ago (“Time to change Strategy”), a single mechanism cannot work for different countries with different resources for enforcement and border controls. Each Country should decide the appropriate level of protection, as one-size-fit-all approaches risk to be too burdensome and un-efficient for some countries, and not enough for others.
COCIR supports both papers and approaches. While not perfect, both initiatives try to reduce the illegal smuggling of e-waste to developing countries that is responsible for sever impacts to the environment and human health due to low quality of end-of-life management. COCIR believes that the 2 guidelines complement each other by providing tools that each country should evaluate and implement depending on the specific situation. The BAN approach is by far the safest for countries with limited or no resources for the complex documental control foreseen by the Basel TG, while the Basel TG approach is more suited for developed countries, with strict environmental legislation and resources for effective custom controls.
COCIR anyway urges countries to carefully evaluate which approach towards e-waste to adopt, in relation to their real need for enforcement of environmental/waste legislation, and in relation to the consequences for national economic sectors involved in repair, remanufacturing, refurbishment and reuse activities.
For more information, contact:
COCIR Secretary General
Tel: +32 (0)2 706 8961
COCIR Communications Senior Advisor
Tel: +32 (0) 473 43 07 52