The Ninth Meeting of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC9) of the Waigani Convention was convened virtually on 9 February 2023. Present at the meeting which elected the Cook Islands as Chair, Federated States of Micronesia as Vice-Chair and Samoa as Rapporteur, were representatives from 10 of the 13 Parties to the Waigani Convention.
Substantive matters deliberated upon at STAC9 included a proposal to amend the Waigani Convention, recommendations of the 2021 review of the convention and the work programme for the 2024-2025 biennium.
The proposal to amend the convention was brought before STAC9 by the Working Group that was established by the Eleventh Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to Waigani Convention (COP11) in 2021. The Working Group, consisting of representatives from Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Samoa presented their report to the STAC which included 4 options for adopting the 2019 Basel Convention Plastic Waste Amendments to the Waigani Convention and 2 options for a mechanism to adopt future amendments to the Basel Convention. The STAC endorsed recommendations by the Working Group which will be tabled at COP12 in September 2023.
“Development and increasing populations continue to pressure our environment and natural resources. The Waigani Convention provides an important legally binding instrument in tackling one of the biggest issues in the Pacific, that being the management of our hazardous waste” says SPREP Hazardous Waste Management Adviser, Mr Joshua Sam.
He further highlights the work of the STAC, “discussions and recommendations made at the STAC Meeting improve the effectiveness of the Convention to best serve the Pacific Region through its waste management initiatives.” In that regard, the STAC plays an essential role in the functioning of the Waigani Convention, and it is vital that it discharges its mandated responsibilities.
In 2021, SPREP commissioned a review of the Waigani Convention at the request of the Parties to assess the effectiveness of the convention at all levels from the Secretariat to its governance bodies and Parties. The review produced 13 recommendations and as agreed to at COP 11, the STAC was assigned the responsibility of implementing the recommendations. The Secretariat presented a plan of action to implement the recommendations that STAC deliberated on and approved for tabling at COP12.
Finally, the draft 2024-2025 Work Programme of the Waigani Convention, prepared by the Secretariat was presented at STAC9 as required by Article 14 (b). Members of the STAC request for them to review the draft work programme and forward comments to the Secretariat by 31 March 2023.
*The Waigani Convention is a regional multilateral environment agreement that aims to reduce and eliminate transboundary movements of hazardous and radioactive wastes; to minimise the production of hazardous and toxic wastes in the Pacific region; to ensure that disposal of wastes in the Convention area is completed in an environmentally sound matter; and to assist Pacific island countries that are Parties to the Convention in the environmentally sound management of the hazardous waste they generate.
*The STAC is a subsidiary body of the Waigani Convention that was established to provide technical and scientific guidance to Parties.
The thirteen 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.
For more information, please contact Mr Anthony Talouli at [email protected] or Mr Joshua Sam at [email protected].