is the Waigani Convention?
to Ban the Importation into Forum Island Countries of Hazardous
and Radioactive Wastes and to Control the Transboundary Movement
and Management of Hazardous Wastes within the South Pacific Region
opened for signature in Waigani, Papua New Guinea in 1995 and
entered into force in 2001. SPREP serves as the Convention’s
Secretariat while the Secretary General of the Pacific
Islands Forum Secretariat serves as Depositary.
Who are its Parties?
The Convention is open to all Pacific island Forum countries.
As of June 2008, there are 13 Parties: Australia, Cook Islands, Federated
States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New
Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. France, Marshall
Islands, United Kingdom and the United States are eligible to join the
convention but have not yet done so. Palau signed the convention in 1995
but has yet to ratify.
What is the Purpose of the Convention?
The Convention is designed to:
· reduce or eliminate transboundary movements of hazardous
and radioactive wastes into and within the Pacific Forum region;
the production of hazardous and toxic wastes in the Pacific Forum
· ensure that disposal of wastes is done in an environmentally
sound manner and as close to the source as possible; and
· assist Pacific island countries that are Parties to the Convention
management of hazardous and other wastes they generate.
and Chemicals Covered by the Convention
covers toxic, poisonous, explosive, corrosive,
flammable, ecotoxic, infectious and radioactive wastes.
What are the General Obligations on Countries?
Countries should ban the import of hazardous and radioactive
wastes. They should minimize the production of hazardous wastes and cooperate
to ensure that wastes are treated and disposed of in an environmentally
What are the Economic and Social Benefits of the Convention?
There are many reasons why the Waigani Convention is important for the
· It provides an effective protective mechanism to stop waste traders
from making the South Pacific an international
· It will prevent ships from using the Pacific as a highway for hazardous
· It will create a regional mechanism to facilitate the clean up of hazardous
and radioactive wastes in the region.
The major benefit of the Convention is the establishment of a system to
prevent hazardous and radioactive waste entering the region or being dumped
in your country. A significant but less tangible direct benefit is the
reduced risk from a potential hazardous or nuclear waste disaster. Parties
are able to feel more secure in the knowledge that the risk of a shipping
disaster is far less likely.
are the Costs Associated with the Convention?
A small annual administrative fee is assessed to parties.
What Personnel will be Required to Administer the Convention?
The Convention requires that each Party identifies a Competent Authority
and a Focal Point. The amount of staff time required to administer
will depend on the volume of waste being held or transported. As a minimum,
a country may need to allocate some time to customs officials, a Focal
Point and possibly a scientist/engineer. SPREP may be able to assist in
some of the functions required.
National Legislation Required?
legislation is similar in format to legislation required
to administer the Basel Convention. The Basel Convention Secretariat has
produced model legislation that is useful for purposes of the Waigani Convention.
What Are the Reporting Requirements?
The Convention describes various forms of information that should be transmitted
between countries and to the Secretariat. These include:
· Export notifications;
· Written consent or disapproval for import applications;
· Movement documentation;
· Accident Notification; and
· Information on the sound management of wastes
Help Available to Administer the Convention?
SPREP acts as the Secretariat of Waigani and undertakes training and capacity
building throughout the region. This helps Pacific Island countries develop
the capacity to manage their wastes in an environmentally sound manner.
What is the Status of the Convention?
The Convention entered into force in 2001. The Conference of the Parties