The Basel Convention

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal is the most comprehensive global legal instrument on hazardous and other wastes. The Convention has been the primary international response to the issues arising from the presence of wastes hazardous to human health and the environment. With 178 Parties to the Convention, including 177 State parties and the European Union, the Convention seeks to address the management of these wastes across the waste management hierarchy from their generation, to transport and final disposal.

The primary objective of the Basel Convention is to protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects of hazardous wastes. In order to achieve this, the Convention has two pillars. Firstly, it regulates the transboundary movements of hazardous and other wastes. Secondly, it obliges its Parties to ensure that these wastes are managed and disposed of in an environmentally sound manner (ESM).
The scope of the Convention encompasses a wide range of wastes classified as hazardous wastes based on their origin, composition and characteristics as outlined in Article I and Annexes I, II VIII and IX to the Convention. There are also two types of wastes categorised as other wastes under Article I and Annex II, namely household wastes and incineration wastes. Some of the wastes regulated by the Convention include biomedical and healthcare wastes, persistent organic pollutant (POP) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) wastes, used oils and lead acid batteries, electrical and electronic waste, asbestos waste, used fluorescent bulbs, and many more.

The Centre

The primary mechanism for assisting in the implementation of the Basel Convention and its obligations is a series of Basel Convention Regional Centres for Training and Technology Transfer (BCRC). Established across the world under Article 14 of the Convention, these Centres are meant to provide for the effective implementation of the Convention at the national to regional levels. The Basel Convention Regional Centre for Training and Technology for the Caribbean Regional (BCRC-Caribbean) serves the Contracting Parties to the Basel Convention within the Caribbean region and any other country consenting to be served by the Centre.

The Cabinet of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago agreed in August 1995 to the hosting of the Basel Caribbean Sub-Regional Training and Technology Transfer Centre at the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI). The Centre then began its operations at CARIRI in 1998. However, following the adoption of Decision VI/3 by the sixth Conference of the Parties (COP) in 2002, a Framework Agreement between Trinidad and Tobago and the Secretariat for the Basel Convention (SBC) was signed at the seventh COP in 2004 to establish the BCRC-Caribbean. The Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago then enacted Act Number 2 of 2008 for the legal establishment of the Centre as an autonomous institution with its own legal personality in April 2008.

The Centre operates pursuant to the provisions of the Basel Convention, the strategic framework for its implementation (currently 2012 to 2021), and other related decisions of the COP to the Convention. The activities performed by the BCRC-Caribbean in relation to its regional role shall be conducted under the general guidance and in coordination with the SBC. as well as with the work of other BCRCs. The Centre forms an important functional and operational part of the institutional framework of the Basel Convention. The BCRC-Caribbean is meant to assist the Contracting Parties, through capacity building, in their efforts to implement and achieve the objectives of the Convention. Core functions of the BCRC-Caribbean are:
  • Training,
  • Technology transfer,
  • Information dissemination,
  • Consulting, and
  • Awareness raising.

The development and implementation of the activities of the Centre relevant to its regional role is advised by a Steering Committee. The Committee consists of members nominated by the Parties who develop and endorse the Business Plan for the Centre for each biennium and oversee its implementation. Currently, the primary source of funding for the operations of the BCRC-Caribbean comes from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago via the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources. Future sources of funding are expected to include voluntary contributions from the Contracting Parties to the Centre, donor institutions and the Basel Convention Trust Fund.

The Parties

The countries consenting to be served by the BCRC-Caribbean include:
  • Antigua and Barbuda,
  • Commonwealth of the Bahamas,
  • Barbados,
  • Belize,
  • The Republic of Cuba,
  • The Commonwealth of Dominica,
  • The Dominican Republic,
  • The Republic of Guyana,
  • Jamaica,
  • The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago,
  • Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis,
  • Saint Lucia,
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and
  • Suriname

Our Host Country

The twin island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is the southernmost Caribbean island state situated just off the north-eastern coast of Venezuela. Trinidad, on which the Centre is located, is the larger of the two islands and is home to well over 90% of the total population. A former plantation colony of the Spanish, British, French and Dutch collectively, the country's economy has now become primarily an industrial one since achieving independence in 1962 and becoming a republic in 1976. Economic activity is dominated by the energy and related petrochemical sector as a result of its hydrocarbon resources and its century old history in the oil industry, with the manufacturing sector also contributing to the local economy to a lesser extent. Tourism is the primary economic driver in Tobago.

The natural environment of Trinidad is a mixture of mountain ranges, plains and coastline, while Tobago consists of a forested mountain range surrounded by cliffs, beaches and reefs. The country is home to a variety of regionally and internationally recognised festivals and events.