St. Kitts and Nevis holds national consultation on the Basel Convention

(SKNIS): Approximately twenty persons representing various governmental and non-governmental stakeholder agencies assembled at the Ocean Terrace Inn (OTI) to participate in a one-day national consultation workshop on the Basel Convention and facilitation of the entry into force of the Ban Amendment.

The workshop was organized by the Department of Environment in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Convention (BRSC) of the United Nation’s Environment Programme. It focused on raising awareness of the Basel Convention and the Ban Amendment and other related international agreements and arrangements (Stockholm, Rotterdam and Minimata Conventions); providing assistance to St. Kitts and Nevis to ratify the Ban Amendment and in implementing the Basel Convention; encouraging exchange of information and experiences and; supporting the development of recommendations for implementation of the Conventions.

Alistair Edwards, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Environment et.al, underscored the significant importance of the workshop and in particular, the BRS Conventions.

“The BRS Conventions are very important for Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The Basel Convention in particular, deals with the transboundary movement of hazardous waste, something that we suspected all along that a lot of international agencies or countries move these waste materials through our waters and only when an accident occurs we hear about it, but really and truly these pose danger to human health, as well as to our environment,” said the permanent secretary. “This workshop was essentially ratifying something that we signed ages ago, bringing this into force that all countries including our own are consistent with our treatment of hazardous waste and transboundary movement of these same materials.”

Mr. Edwards said that small island states like St. Kitts and Nevis can use all the assistance possible to help protect the borders in some instances where the federation cannot do it alone. He made specific mention of one such instance where the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) assisted St. Kitts and Nevis in moving some old chemicals from the St. Kitts Sugar Manufacturing Cooperation (SSMC) to a safe place in Europe. The permanent secretary extended thanks to the organization and noted that the federation welcomes initiatives that would enforce laws and enhance protection of territorial waters.

Presently, St. Kitts and Nevis is in the process of executing two projects on a national level that can advance the implementation of the BRSC. These include the Minamata Initial Assessment Project geared towards the ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury and, the Project for Development and Implementation of a Sustainable Management Mechanism for POPs in the Caribbean under the Stockholm Convention.

St. Kitts and Nevis will be represented at the upcoming Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Basel Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions scheduled for April 24 to May 05, 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland. The COP is the ultimate decision making body of the Conventions and matters of national interest will be put forward for support and decision.

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