14/06/2012

International Dialogue on the Environmentally Sound Management of E-Waste and 5th PACE Physical Meeting

Members of the PACE Working Group in San Salvador 
During the first week of May (7-11th), two separate international meetings were held in San Salvador with the aim of addressing the electronic waste stream. The first was the International Dialogue on the Environmentally Sound Management of E-waste hosted by The Government of El Salvador and the Basel Convention Regional Centre for Central America and Mexico (CRCB-CAM), with support from the Basel Convention Regional Centre for South America (CRS-CB) and Central American Commission for Environment and Development (CCAD). The second meeting took the form of the 5th Physical Meeting of the Partnership for Action on Computing Equipment (PACE) Working Group. The BCRC-Caribbean participated in both the Dialogue as well as the PACE meeting, of which the Director, Dr. Ahmad Khan, is a member.
At the International Dialogue, the meeting was envisioned as an opportunity to develop a template for e-waste pilot programmes for the entire Latin America & Caribbean (LAC) region. It was attended by representatives from various Parties to the Basel Convention, including Brazil, Canada, Japan and Zambia, as well as the non-Parties of the United States of America and Taiwan. Representatives from 10 of the Basel Convention Regional Centres, NGOs, IGOs, industry and the private sector also participated in the Dialogue. During the proceedings, presentations were made and information disseminated on the issue and management of E-waste internationally.

On Day 1, participants were provided with an overview of the E-waste situation in Central America and El Salvador, the technical and policy guidelines, facilities and industries throughout Latin America that support the collection, processing and recycling of E-waste, and related international experiences. Day 2 allowed for presentations on various E-waste strategies globally including presentations on the Taiwan system, the proposed national strategy for El Salvador, and the perspective from the global E-waste NGO, the Basel Action Network (BAN). Panel discussions over the two days centred on approaches by industry to address some of the technical aspects of E-waste management, including industry life-cycle approach, extended producer responsibilities and historical E-waste, as well as lessons learned on E-waste management at the government level. An outcome of the Dialogue was the development of recommendations, at the private sector and governmental levels, towards an El Salvadoran National E-waste Strategy. All of the presentations and information coming out of the International Dialogue is available at the dedicated website for the event.

The 5th face to face meeting of the PACE Working Group (PACEWG) commenced with a high level opening session with remarks delivered by the Coordinator of Information System at the Technical Secretariat of the Presidency of El Salvador, the representative from the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, and the Co-chairs of the PACEWG. This session was followed by meetings of the entire PACEWG in addition to those of the 5 project groups over the 3-day period.

Work assessed during the overall WG meetings included the revision of the overall Guidance Document on the Environmentally Sound Management of Used and End-of-Life Computing Equipment for consideration at the 8th session of the Open Ended Working Group (OEWG8) in September 2012 as outlined in Decision BC-10/5. A schedule for achieving this goal was agreed upon whereby all guidelines, with the exception of that on the transboundary movements (TBM) of E-waste, or their executive summaries, recommendations and glossary of terms at minimum, must be finalised and approved by June 30th 2012. This date allows for the final revision of the overall Guidance Document which will then be sent to the Secretariat for editing and posting on the Basel website in advance of the OEWG meeting.

There were also reviews and decisions made on internal WG items such as the PACE membership listing, its budget, terms of reference for the PACE project groups that were submitted for approval, and commencement of preparations for OEWG8 as well as a PACE side event to be held at that meeting. During each of the 5 PACE project group meetings revisions were made to their respective ToRs, updates on various project activities and their implications for future work were discussed, and future teleconferences were scheduled. This series of PACEWG meetings ended with an update from the Secretariat on its revisions of the Draft Technical Guidelines on Transboundary Movements of Electronic and Electrical Waste (e-waste), which is currently available for comment in its draft form until 15th June 2012, and an agreement that the 6th physical PACEWG meeting will be held immediately after the OEWG8 meeting in Geneva in September 2012.