Decision BC-12/5
Decision BC-12/5 is the technical name of the decision made at the twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to adopt, on an interim basis, an amended version of the Draft Technical Guidelines on Waste and Non-Waste.

“Adopts, on an interim basis, the technical guidelines on transboundary movements of electrical and electronic waste and used electrical and electronic equipment, in particular regarding the distinction between waste and non-waste under the Basel Convention, on the understanding that the technical guidelines are of a non-legally binding nature and that the national legislation of a party prevails over the guidance provided within the technical guidelines […]”

From p. 1 of Basel Secretariat. 2015. ‘Decision BC-12/5 | Technical Guidelines on Transboundary Movements of Electrical and Electronic Waste and Used Electrical and Electronic Equipment, in Particular Regarding the Distinction between Waste and Non-Waste under the Basel Convention’.


The decision to adopt the guidelines intended to distinguish between waste and non-waste electronics (Decision BC-12/5) was controversial. The core of the controversy centered on what several Parties felt was an ill considered attempt to achieve consensus by moving the text of the guidelines to an annex of a note from the Basel Secretariat.

In Decision BC-12/5 the main points of disagreement said to exist among the Parties are listed in Paragraph 5 of the decision. These points of disagreement are:

  1. The use of residual lifetime and age of used equipment as a criterion for distinguishing waste from non-waste.
  2. The manner in which to handle hazardous wastes from failure analysis equipment failure analysis, repair, and refurbishment.
  3. The use of product obsolescence as a criterion for distinguishing waste from non-waste, particularly with respect to cathode-ray tube monitors (CRTs).
  4. How to handle the presence of hazardous components in used equipment.

Comments received from Parties on the technical guidelines suggest the range of disagreements includes both a larger number of issues than those listed above as well as substantially different understandings of what is deemed problematic about the technical guidelines.

Electronic Waste »Electronic Waste
Draft Technical Guidelines »Draft Technical Guidelines
Documents »Documents
Decision BC-12/5
Criteria 2 negatively impacts trade of used medical equipment »Criteria 2 negatively impacts trade of used medical equipment
Exempt activity, not sector »Exempt activity, not sector
Non-Annex VII countries manufacture new electronic products »Non-Annex VII countries manufacture new electronic products
Appendix V: Issues for further work »Appendix V: Issues for further work
Life-span is bad criterion »Life-span is bad criterion
Avoid premature retirement of used equipment »Avoid premature retirement of used equipment
Repair became a loophole »Repair became a loophole
Listing facilities is difficult and burdensome »Listing facilities is difficult and burdensome
A risk of Eurocentrism in guideline criteria »A risk of Eurocentrism in guideline criteria
Include CRTs as waste »Include CRTs as waste
Definitive guidance difficult to provide »Definitive guidance difficult to provide
Consensus definition of obsolete is needed »Consensus definition of obsolete is needed
Life-span is good criterion »Life-span is good criterion
Developing countries become sinks for waste »Developing countries become sinks for waste
Situations in which used equipment is or is not waste »Situations in which used equipment is or is not waste
Require notification for used EEE »Require notification for used EEE
Use production date »Use production date
Use national law to determine if CRTs are waste »Use national law to determine if CRTs are waste
Use EPR principle »Use EPR principle
Permit exemption for used parts »Permit exemption for used parts
Ensure return to exporting country »Ensure return to exporting country
Exempt medical devices »Exempt medical devices
RRR of devices already happens in non-OECD states »RRR of devices already happens in non-OECD states
No exemption for medical devices »No exemption for medical devices
Exempt ICT capital equipment »Exempt ICT capital equipment
Require permission of national health authority of importer »Require permission of national health authority of importer
Production date is burdensome »Production date is burdensome
Hold agents and shippling lines liable »Hold agents and shippling lines liable
International standards should apply to Africa »International standards should apply to Africa
Assume exports are waste »Assume exports are waste
Facilities must be able to document ESM »Facilities must be able to document ESM
Take into account situation of Palestine »Take into account situation of Palestine
CRTs still widely used in developing countries »CRTs still widely used in developing countries
Life-span is a poor criterion »Life-span is a poor criterion
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