The World Customs Organization (WCO) has been implementing the ‘Asia Pacfic Plastic Waste Project’ since April 2020, focusing on supporting Customs administrations in dealing with the impact of plastic waste amendments under the Basel Convention.
The Project achieved several deliverables, including the development of a self-assessment tool to allow Customs administrations to assess their ability to enforce the Basel Convention provisions and to build capacity step by step to enhance fraud detection and efficient risk management. The Frontline Customs Officers’ Guide to Key Multilateral Environmental Agreements was amended to align itself with the Basel Convention and its recent amendments. A dedicated section on the Basel Convention and plastic waste was developed to be included in the Coordinated Border Management (CBM) Compendium.
During the Project Conference 24-25 February 2022, participants discussed the international and regional dimensions of plastic waste trade and related ongoing interventions, policies, challenges, priorities and opportunities for cooperation among the different actors involved. They also discussed the role of regional organizations and environmental authorities in supporting Customs administrations in the fight against plastic waste trafficking and in promoting legal waste trade. These discussions were summarized in a Conference Statement.
The government of Japan kindly offered a 15-month extension of the project, from April 2022 to June 2023, to continue working on building capacity at the Customs Administrations and expand the participating countries. The inclusion of new countries will help to identify further aspects to be taken into account in the development of a regional approach to plastic waste trade, to apply the newly drafted deliverables in a regional context and to fine-tune future regional recommendations regarding plastic waste trade.
In his closing remarks Mr. Ricardo Treviño Chapa, Deputy Secretary General of the WCO, highlighted the wish to develop a regional approach towards the plastic waste trade and to strengthen international cooperation so as to ensure the protection of the environment from the effects of the improper management of plastic waste. Customs is one of the key players. The WCO Secretariat will therefore continue to raise awareness among ithe members on the importance of sustainable waste trade.