February 28, 2011

UNEP Governing Council Concludes with Support for Green Economy, Environmental Governance Reform

Filed under: Chemicals & Waste, climate, UN System — inece @ 7:18 pm

From the UNEP Press Release:

A major sustainable development conference in Brazil next year offers a key opportunity to accelerate and to scale-up a global transition to a low-carbon, resource-efficient Green Economy, a meeting of the world’s environment ministers has signaled.

Potential challenges, including new kinds of trade barriers, need to be managed. But a Green Economy offers a way of realizing sustainable development in the 21st century by “building economies, enhancing social equity and human well-being, while reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities”.

Ministers called on the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to support countries keen to operationalize such a transition and to play a key and ‘active’ role in putting the challenges, opportunities and strategies towards a Green Economy firmly on the agenda for next year’s landmark meeting.

The UN Conference on Sustainable Development 2012, or Rio+20, also needs to address how the world can better manage and govern the environment including by evolving and strengthening the institutions responsible.

The ministers responsible for the environment, who have been meeting this week at UNEP headquarters, expressed concern that the overall efforts of the United Nations and nations in respect to the ‘environmental pillar’ of sustainable development remained weak, underfunded and fractured.

In their summary of discussions, released today at the close, many delegates said countries needed to move beyond pinpointing shortcomings and to focus on a real reform agenda in the run up to Rio+20.

For more information, see  the full list of decisions, the Chair’s summary, and other related documents at http://www.unep.org/gc/gc26/; IISD’s coverage of the event at http://www.iisd.ca/unepgc/26unepgc/; and the UNEP Green Economy  site at http://www.unep.org/greeneconomy.


February 25, 2011

EPA orders proper disposal of intercepted electronic waste shipment destined for Vietnam

Filed under: Asia, North America, seaports — Tags: , — inece @ 2:22 pm

A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency press release highlights responses to the detection of an illegal shipment of discarded computer monitors to Vietnam.


Used Computer Monitors by Victoria Reay (flickr)

(Seattle – Feb. 15, 2011) — Metro Metals Corp. and Avista Recycling, Inc. have been ordered to properly dispose of computer waste they attempted to illegally export from Minnesota to Vietnam through the Port of Seattle, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. EPA is simultaneously seeking a $31,600 penalty against the companies for violating federal hazardous waste laws. 

Metro Metals Corp., a Toronto, Canada, based company, and Avista Recycling, Inc., a recycling company operating in Hopkins, Minnesota, arranged for the export of a shipment of 913 discarded computer monitors to Vietnam on December 6, 2010. U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents intercepted the shipment, which had been incorrectly identified in shipping paperwork as “scrap plastic,” at the Port of Seattle for inspection before it could leave the U.S.

“Companies that collect discarded cathode ray tubes must be held accountable to manage these wastes in compliance with our laws which ensure that they will be properly handled, and not sent abroad to countries that have not agreed to receive waste from the U.S.” said Edward Kowalski, EPA’s Director of the Office of Compliance and Enforcement in Seattle.

Some televisions and computer monitors contain cathode ray tubes (CRTs). Color computer CRT monitors contain an average of four pounds of lead. CRTs may also contain mercury, cadmium and arsenic.

EPA alleges that the companies violated several federal hazardous waste management requirements designed to ensure the proper management and transport of such wastes. First, the companies failed to evaluate their waste and identify it as hazardous. They also failed to manifest the waste or comply with other pre-transit requirements for such shipments. Even more importantly, the companies failed to notify EPA of their intent to export the waste to Vietnam and, consequently, attempted to bypass the process required for Vietnam to consent to receive hazardous wastes from the U.S. before it can leave the country.

For the full press release, see US EPA’s News Room.

February 18, 2011

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator to Focus Environmental Governance in Kenya

Filed under: Africa — Tags: — inece @ 4:45 pm

Delegates at the Launching Conference of EANECE, Kenya, May 2010

A U.S. EPA press briefing announces Administrator Lisa Jackson’s agenda for travel to Kenya and Ethiopia on Friday, 18 February 2011 to engage in bilateral and multilateral meetings aimed at building relationships with key African counterparts and other environmental leaders.

Part of Administrator Jackson’s meetings will include joining the director general of Kenya’s National Environmental Management Authority to speak on environmental initiatives and to participate in a roundtable with the East Africa Enforcement Network.

The East African Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network (EANECE) was established in 2010 by the governments of five East African countries — Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi, in partnership with INECE — to promote the rule of law, good governance, and sustainable development through efficient and effective implementation and enforcement of environmental legislation and policies.

For more information, see http://inece.org/eanece/.

February 11, 2011

Basel Secretariat: Consultancy Announcement and Call for Applications by 28 February 2011

Filed under: Environmental Crime, UN System — inece @ 4:37 pm

The Secretariat of the Basel Convention (SBC) announced a consultancy announcement for the development of a draft instruction manual for the legal profession on the prosecution of illegal traffic.

The SBC  invites interested candidates to submit their candidature by 28 February 2011.

For the Terms of References, see http://www.basel.int/convention/communications/2011-02-11.pdf.

February 10, 2011

INECE Extends Paper Deadline, Launches Web Site for 9th Conference

Filed under: 9th Conference, INECE Secretariat — inece @ 4:38 pm

INECE is pleased to announce the launch of a website supporting its 9th International Conference on Enforcement Cooperation: Strengthening Environmental Governance.

Cheakamus Lake, Canada
Image by Andrew Smith

The website, http://www.inece.org/conference/9/, features information about the Conference Program, the Conference travel information and logistics, and the benefits of participating in the Conference.

The website also includes a news section, where INECE will post updates relevant to Conference participants. The website will be expanded over time to provide links to Conference papers and other background information. It also will serve as an information hub during the Conference that will be used for sharing updates from the panels and workshops.

Please bookmark the site and continue to check back regularly for updates.

INECE is extending the deadline for submissions of Conference background papers until 15 April 2011. However, we encourage interested authors to send their papers as soon as possible to allow time for review of the articles by the Secretariat. The papers, which can be submitted by any interested practitioner, should provide expert analysis and discussion on a subject relevant to the Conference theme and workshop topics. Shorter discussion papers of fewer than 5 pages also are welcome.

Please visit http://inece.org/conference/9/call-for-papers/ for the Paper Guidelines. Papers should be submitted to conference@inece.org, along with the Paper Release Form.

Please note that the Conference is by invitation only. For more information, email conference@inece.org.

February 9, 2011

Report Estimates Global Environmental Crime at $40 Billion Annually

Filed under: biodiversity, Environmental Crime, Forests — inece @ 10:55 pm

A new report by Global Financial Integrity, entitled “Transnational Crime in the Developing World,” ranks four types of environmental smuggling among the top ten most valuable trade flows in the world.

The illegal traffic in oil, wildlife, timber and fish together are valued at close to $40 billion, according to the report which also outlines the role of transnational crime syndicates and their vast trade networks in facilitating this trade.

For the full report, please visit: http://transcrime.gfip.org/.

February 8, 2011

CEC to Host North American E-Waste Webcast: 15–16 February

Filed under: North America, seaports — Tags: — inece @ 3:58 pm

From CEC:

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) has organized the “Workshop on E-waste Recycling and Refurbishing: Environmentally Sound Management Practices” and invites interested persons to follow the webcast on 15–16 February (2011), starting at 9:00 a.m.

The meeting will foster an exchange of experiences among experts, government officials, and members of the public, to assess the environmental, social and economic challenges and advantages of applying and adopting sustainable e-waste practices. An additional benefit will be to promote the enforcement of environmental laws in the transborder movement of these wastes.

Register early to follow the Workshop webcast—which will feature simultaneous interpretation in Spanish, French and English—and submit your questions and comments. The preliminary agenda is available online.

For further information, visit the CEC website.

February 7, 2011

Regional Planning Meeting of the Maghreb Compliance and Enforcement Network Held in Rabat

Filed under: INECE Secretariat, NECEMA — inece @ 9:11 pm

The Regional Planning Committee of the Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement in the Maghreb (NECEMA) held a meeting in Rabat, Morocco, on 28 January 2011 to confirm its 2011 workplan and to review accomplishments of 2010. Government officials from Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia participated in the meeting, along with international experts from INECE and from the Regional Environment Center.

During the meeting, the Executive Committee decided that the emphasis of the 2011 workplan will be on strengthening the Secretariat of NECEMA as well as the availability of funding, the execution of the adopted work plan, and the visibility of NECEMA. The meeting also provided the opportunity to review accomplishments of the network in 2010 across NECEMA’s three priority areas: (1) supporting efforts by Maghreb countries to develop an integrated strategy to advance compliance with environmental laws; (2) advancing cooperation among countries of the region; and (3) building capacity for environmental enforcement.

World Leaders Call for Sustainable Forest Management at Launch of UN Year of Forests

Filed under: biodiversity, Forests, UN System — inece @ 7:52 pm

From the UN Media Release:

Environmental experts and world leaders called today for the sustainable management of forests in the interest of human development as the United Nations Forum on Forests began its High-level Ministerial Segment by launching the International Year of Forests, 2011, which was followed by discussions on people-centred forestry and financing for forest communities.

“We have a chance to agree on how best to realize the full potential of forests — for sustainable development, economic stability, the fight against poverty and our efforts to ensure future prosperity for all,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said as he opened the proceedings via video message.  By proclaiming the Year, the General Assembly had created an important platform from which to educate the global community about the great value of forests, while continuing to link all global efforts in sustainable forest management following on the climate agreements reached in Cancun, Mexico, in late 2010 and leading up to the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).

Key to sustainable forest management is ensuring compliance with national law to protect forest resources, including predictable and appropriate enforcement responses to violations. For information on INECE’s work on promoting compliance and enforcement for forest protection, see http://www.inece.org/forumslogging.html.

Additional resources: For the full media release, see http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs//2011/envdev1188.doc.htm. To watch the webcast of the launch ceremony of the International Year of Forests, please visit UN Webcast. See also, the web page for the UN Forum on Forests, http://www.un.org/esa/forests/.

February 2, 2011

Ramsar Convention on Wetlands Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Filed under: biodiversity, climate, water — inece @ 7:30 pm

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands celebrates its 40th Anniversary on 2 February 2011, marking the day that 18 nations agreed, in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, on the text of the Convention.

The Ramsar Convention, which currently has 160 Contracting Parties, is an intergovernmental treaty that embodies the commitments of its member countries to maintain the ecological character of their Wetlands of International Importance and to plan for the “wise use”, or sustainable use, of all of the wetlands in their territories. The Ramsar Secretariat has developed 12 Key Messages on wetlands in recognition of the Convention’s 40th Anniversary, which can be accessed online.

As the Key Messages recognize, wetlands provide irreplaceable ecosystem services, including provision of food, water purification, storage and supply of freshwater, flood control and storm protection, and recreation. Wetlands are frequently areas of high biodiversity and many species are wetland-dependent for all or part of their lifecycles. Wetlands also have a key role to play in the carbon cycle and in climate change mitigation and adaptation.  As part of a renewed commitment to Ramsar on the occasion of its 40th anniversary, countries could evaluate areas to strengthen enforcement of existing laws to protect wetlands and, where necessary, strengthen relevant legislation.

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