Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal

General Detail

General Information

  1. Type: Convention
  2. Date of signature:
  3. Place of signature: Basel, Switzerland
  4. Depositary:
  5. Date of entry into force: 05/05/1992


Environment and products

Sub category




What is it about?

The Basel Convention creates a legal framework that regulates the movement of hazardous wastes across international borders. It was designed to prevent industrialized countries from dumping their hazardous wastes in developing and Eastern European Countries. The primary objectives of the Basel Convention are to ensure that the generation of hazardous waste is reduced to a minimum whenever possible, to reduce the trans-boundary movement of hazardous wastes and other wastes by disposing it in the country of generation, to establish enhanced controls on export and import of hazardous waste, to prevent the trans-boundary movement of hazardous wastes if those will not be managed in an environmentally sound manner and to co-operate in the exchange of information, technology transfer, the harmonization of standards, codes and guidelines and prevention of illegal traffic. An amendment adopted on 22 September 1995 (36 ratifications as of 2003) prohibits exports of hazardous wastes from EU States, OECD States and Liechtenstein to all other Parties to the Convention. The Protocol of 10 December 1999 establishes rules on liability and compensation for damages caused by oil spills of hazardous waste during export, import or during disposal.

Why is it relevant?

The present Convention does not forbid the international transfer of hazardous waste but rather provides regulation. Developing countries as traditional destination areas of hazardous waste, can continue to benefit from revenues out of this trade, at the same time they are given the power to prevent such materials from reaching their territory. Developing countries also benefit from technology transfer guiding the disposal of hazardous waste.

Additional Information

The provisions of the Basel Convention do not apply to the transfer of nuclear waste. A Conference of the Parties is established to review and evaluate the effective implementation of the Convention. Its Secretariat is headquartered in Geneva.

  • Convention on the ban of the Import into Africa and the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes within Africa (Bamako, 30 January 1991)


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