The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, adopted by the diplomatic conference in Basel in 1989, was developed under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and entered into force in May 1992.
The following are the key objectives of the Basel Convention:
- To reduce transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and other wastes subject to the Basel Convention to a minimum consistent with their environmentally sound management;
- To dispose of the hazardous wastes and other wastes generated, as close as possible to their source of generation;
- To minimise the generation of hazardous wastes in terms of quantity and hazardousness;
- To ensure strict control over the movements of hazardous wastes across borders as well as the prevention of illegal traffic;
- To prohibit shipments of hazardous wastes to countries lacking the legal, administrative and technical capacity to manage and dispose of them in an environmentally sound manner;
- To assist developing countries and countries with economies in transition in environmentally sound management of the hazardous wastes they generate.
The Basel Convention is the broadest and most significant international treaty on hazardous wastes presently in effect. The impact of hazardous wastes on the environment has large repercussions; particularly on the quality of waters and land. Effective regulation of the management and disposal of hazardous wastes requires cooperation at the global level. The Basel Convention is the first and foremost global legal instrument regulating the transboundary movement of hazardous wastes and their disposal.
As of March 2022, the Basel Convention has 189 states and the European Community as Parties.