Waigani Convention on hazardous waste management opens today
The Waigani Convention to ban the export of hazardous or radioactive waste to the Pacific Islands Forum Countries, and
prohibit Forum island countries from importing such waste, held its Eighth Conference of the Parties in Samoa today.
Nine of the 13 Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) Members that are Parties to the Waigani
Convention were present at the meeting. SPREP is the Secretariat of the Waigani Convention that entered into force in
"Hazardous waste management remains a critically important issue for our region. The islands we live on are often very
small and vulnerable to the impacts of hazardous waste, which particularly impact on water tables and waterways which
are the lifeline of our Pacific communities," said Mr. David Sheppard, Director General of the Secretariat of the
Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
The key objectives of the Waigani Convention are to; reduce or eliminate transboundary movement of hazardous and
radioactive waste into and within the Pacific region; to minimise the production of hazardous and toxic waste in the
Pacific region; to ensure that disposal of such waste is completed in an environmentally sound manner and as close to
the source as possible; and to assist Pacific island countries that are Parties to the Convention in the environmentally
sound management of hazardous waste they generate.
The Waigani Convention is similar to the Basel Convention which serves as the primary international instrument governing
the transboundary movement and the environmental management of hazardous waste. However, importantly, the Waigani
Convention also includes radioactive waste, and applies only to the Pacific islands region.
"The Waigani Convention offers a very important legally binding mechanism for tackling one of the biggest issues that
our countries face in the Pacific that being hazardous waste management. Let's all work together to ensure that it is
working as effectively as possible to support all Pacific countries in the better management of hazardous waste." said
Mr. David Sheppard.
Key achievements of the Waigani Convention over the past five years include closer cooperation between the Waigani
Convenion and the global Basel Convention, strengthened relations with the Asia-Pacific Basel Regional Centre based at
Tsinghua University in Beijing with the hosting of two graduate students from Tsinghua earlier this year at SPREP and, a
closer alignment between the SPREP Programme on Waste and Pollution and the Waigani-Basel Regional programme.
The 13 Parties to the Waigani Convention are: Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati,
New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
The 8th meeting of the Waigani Convention is held at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel on 18 September. It is followed by The
Pacific Environment Forum on Climate Finance on 21 September and the Twenty-Sixth SPREP Meeting of Officials is from
22nd – 24th September.
The 21 Pacific island countries and territories that are members of SPREP are: American Samoa, Commonwealth of the
Northern Marianas, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall
Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu
and Wallis and Futuna.
The 5 Metropolitan members of SPREP are: Australia, France, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States of