“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’. http://www.basel.int/TheConvention/ConferenceoftheParties/Meetings/COP12/tabid/4248/mctl/ViewDetails/EventModID/8051/EventID/542/xmid/13027/Default.aspx.
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:
- The use of residual lifetime and age of used equipment as a criterion for distinguishing waste from non-waste.
- The manner in which to handle hazardous wastes from failure analysis equipment failure analysis, repair, and refurbishment.
- The use of product obsolescence as a criterion for distinguishing waste from non-waste, particularly with respect to cathode-ray tube monitors (CRTs).
- 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.