Marking 30 years of implementing the Basel Convention

Adopted on 22 March 1989, the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal was adopted in Basel, Switzerland, in response to a public outcry following the discovery, in the 1980s, in Africa and other parts of the developing world of deposits of toxic wastes imported from abroad. The overarching objective is to protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects of hazardous wastes. Covering a wide range of wastes defined as “hazardous” based on their origin and/or composition and their characteristics, as well as two types of “other” waste namely household waste and incinerator ash.

Entering into force in 1992, by 22 March 2019 – the 30th anniversary of its adoption - the Convention had 187 Parties, giving it almost universal coverage. A series of events in Geneva and Nairobi were staged in order to mark this milestone, starting with the Fourth UN Environment Assembly, UNEA-4, in Nairobi from 11 to 15 March 2019, including:

UNEA-4 Opening Session statements, 11 March 2019: Speech by the UNEA President, Minister Siim Valmar Kiisler, outlining the achievements of the Basel Convention, with a response by the Basel Convention Executive Secretary, Rolph Payet. For more on this event, including photos, see: and

Informal Cake-Cutting Reception at UNEA-4 and Speeches, 12 March 2019: Hosted by Rolph Payet and staged in the joint BRS, Minamata Convention, SAICM & UN Environment Chemicals & Health Branch lounge installation “Making the Invisible, Visible”, an informal lunchtime happening brought together dignatories and stakeholders from all UN regions, from government and from civil society, to share reflections and insights on the 30 years of implementing the Convention. More than 20 individuals took to the microphone. For more on this event, including photos, see: and

These events are followed by special events in Geneva, on March 22 and during the 2019 Triple COPs. More details will follow in due course.