Waigani Convention COP group picture
Waste Management and Pollution Control

1 September 2023, Apia – Pacific Island countries and territories who have committed to reducing and eliminating transboundary movements of hazardous and radioactive waste and minimize the production of hazardous and toxic wastes in the Pacific region, today gathered in Apia, Samoa to convene the Twelfth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Waigani Convention. 

The Waigani Convention is more formally referred to as the Convention to Ban the Importation into Forum Island Countries of Hazardous and Radioactive Wastes and Control the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes within the South Pacific Region. 

The Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), which is also the Secretariat of the Waigani Convention, reminded the Parties that hazardous wastes and their contribution to pollution is now recognised globally as one of the triple planetary crises the world is currently facing, along with climate change and biodiversity loss. 

“The Waigani Convention plays a very important role in protecting human health and the Pacific environment from the adverse impacts of hazardous Wastes, and so this meeting is our opportunity to make affirmative decisions that will lead to the achievement of that objective,” Mr Nawadra said.

Director General, Sefanaia Nawadra
SPREP Director General, Mr Sefanaia Nawadra, speaking during the opening session of the Waigani Convention COP-12. Photo: SPREP/L.Moananu

“A number of significant issues will be presented at this COP meeting for your careful consideration and deliberation, with the common goal of finding solutions to the hazardous waste problems that present many challenges to our development aspirations,” he added. 

The first order of business for the COP was the election of a new President of the Convention for the next biennium, taking over from Australia who had been President since 2021. 

Solomon Islands was successfully nominated and elected as the incoming President of the Convention for the next two years, with Kiribati as the Vice President and Australia as the Rapporteur, to work together with the Secretariat in compiling the meeting record. 

The Waigani Convention entered into force on 21 October 2001, with Parties committing to take all appropriate measures to ban the import and export of hazardous waste to and from the Pacific and prohibit dumping of hazardous wastes and radioactive wastes in the Pacific. 

They also committed to ensuring that hazardous wastes is reduced within the areas of their jurisdiction and ensure the availability of adequate treatment and disposal facilities for the environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes in the Pacific. 

Incoming President of the Waigani Convention, Solomon Islands
Incoming President of the Waigani Convention, Solomon Islands, represented by Ms. Debra Kereseka. Photo: SPREP/L.Moananu

Parties present at the Twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention are Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Tuvalu. 

The Twelfth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Waigani Convention is being held in Apia, Samoa, in the lead-up to the 31st SPREP Meeting of Officials. 

For more information on the Waigani Convention, please visit https://www.sprep.org/convention-secretariat/waigani-convention or contact Mr Joshua Sam, SPREP's Hazardous Waste Management Adviser, at [email protected]