January 25, 2012

Asian Port Officials Conclude Workshop with Commitments to Collaborate More Effectively

Filed under: Asia, INECE Secretariat, seaports — inece @ 5:42 pm

The International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE) Seaport Environmental Security Network (SESN) hosted its Third Workshop on Combating the Illegal Trade in Hazardous Wastes Through Seaports with co-sponsorship from the United Nations Environment Programme Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. The workshop was held in Bangkok, Thailand on 19-20 January 2012.

Photo credit Nancy Isarin

Participants at the INECE Workshop (credit N. Isarin)

The INECE SESN Workshop was attended by 38 participants from customs and environmental authorities from 10 countries in the Asia region, as well as from several international organizations. Representatives from countries in North America, Europe and Africa also attended.  The complete list of participating country representatives includes: Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam. Additionally, officials from the Basel Convention Regional Center, AECEN, UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, IMPEL and the World Customs Organization attended the workshop.

The workshop consisted of plenary presentations and small group break-out sessions for training. The workshop was conducted in an interactive setting with opportunities for questions, discussion and networking. Participants also went on a site visit to Laem Chabang Port where officials from the Port Authority who provided an overview of port characteristics and activities, and Customs, who explained their process for targeting and inspecting shipments for hazardous waste. Customs officials also presented several case study examples of seized shipments of illegal hazardous waste. At the port, participants had the opportunity to observe the port’s x-ray technology and to interact with customs officials to learn more about their targeting criteria and screening techniques. Following the visit to the port, participants enjoyed lunch together and wrap-up discussion.

The workshop produced several important outcomes, including a call for greater communication and more intense collaboration among the various national agencies responsible for environmental enforcement at seaports. It was noted that extending this communication and collaboration within the Asian region, as well as internationally, would be beneficial. Capacity building activities, especially in the areas of waste takeback, inspection methods, safety  and risk/threat assessments, were identified as needs for the Asian region. Issues of particular interest included the export/import of electronic waste, the various definitions of hazardous waste and the need for effective regulations. Regular meetings within an active network were identified as necessary to improve communication, collaboration, and capacity building among Asian nations.  It was noted that synergistic alliances between the BCRCs, UNEP ROAP, IMPEL, INECE SESN, AECEN, WCO and other organizations working in the region should be an important component of network development. INECE SESN and WCO will cooperate in the sharing of tools, such as the new INECE SESN Waste Takeback Guidance Manual.

The workshop was an important training opportunity for officials from countries that are participating in the Second INECE SESN International Hazardous Waste Inspection Project at Seaports. As with the first project, each participating country prepares and carries out focused hazardous waste inspections in its own seaports and shares the results with INECE. The Project will provide a means for competent authorities to better evaluate their own capacity for detecting and deterring illegal transboundary movements of hazardous wastes through seaports with the support or tools developed by INECE and international experts. The primary purpose is to build enhanced capacity at ports for more effective inspections of waste shipments through improved multidisciplinary cooperation of officials from environment and customs ministries, police and port officials.

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January 13, 2012

Workshop on Combating Illegal Hazardous Waste Trade to Convene in Bangkok

Filed under: seaports — inece @ 4:32 am
Laem Chabang Port

Laem Chabang Port

The INECE Seaport Environmental Security Network (SESN) will host its Third Workshop on Combating Illegal Hazardous Waste Trade Through Seaports, on 19-20 January 2012, in Bangkok, Thailand.

The workshop will bring together experts to collaboratively identify, promote, and refine best practices for detecting and deterring illegal shipments of hazardous waste. On the second day of the workshop participants will visit to observe inspection activities, partake in training exercises and discuss enforcement tools and techniques with Thai officials.

The illegal transportation and trade of hazardous waste is an issue of international concern. Countries of origin and countries of destination both look for effective ways to counteract the shipment of such waste streams. Strategic approaches to inspection and enforcement of domestic and international legislation are critical in this respect. Without those, the detrimental effects of such shipments to the environment, to the health of workers and the general public, and to economies will be persistent and growing. The INECE SESN provides a platform for compliance and enforcement professionals working to stop illicit international shipment of waste.

The workshop is an important training opportunity for officials from countries that are participating in the Second INECE SESN International Hazardous Waste Inspection Project at Seaports. As with the first project, each participating country prepares and carries out focused hazardous waste inspections in its own seaports and shares the results with INECE. The Project will provide a means for competent authorities to better evaluate their own capacity for detecting and deterring illegal transboundary movements of hazardous wastes through seaports with the support or tools developed by INECE and international experts. The primary purpose is to build enhanced capacity at ports for more effective inspections of waste shipments through improved multidisciplinary cooperation of officials from environment and customs ministries, police and port officials.

January 11, 2012

German News Covers Illegal Electronic Waste Shipment Issues

Filed under: seaports — inece @ 2:58 am

A recent article in “Financial Times Deutschland” looks at efforts to combat illegal shipments of electronic waste that being sent from Western Europe to countries like Ghana and explores the concern that the electronic scrap contains valuable raw materials such as gold which could be more efficiently  extracted.

The full article, in German, is available at http://www.ftd.de/unternehmen/handel-dienstleister/:rohstoffland-deutschland-das-grosse-geschaeft-mit-dem-elektroschrott/60151755.html.

November 28, 2011

Illegal Waste Shipments: Authorities Meet with Shipping Industry to Join Forces

Filed under: INECE Secretariat, seaports — inece @ 12:38 pm

credit Uli HarderINECE (together with IMPEL) co-facilitated an international workshop in which authorities and organizations met with stakeholders from the shipping industry to find common ground for effective approaches to fight illegal transnational hazardous waste shipments. Such shipments are in conflict with the provisions of the Basel Convention and cause serious risks for public health, safety and the environment. Apart from this, upon detection, illegal shipments may cause reputational damage and economic costs for the industry. The workshop was hosted by Dutch Customs and the Environmental Inspectorate of the Netherlands.

Participants mutually learned from views, practical examples and discussions. Illegal waste shipments are generally perceived as a serious problem that needs to be addressed by appropriate measures. In doing so, however, the legitimate trade and transport should not fear unnecessary interventions. It was concluded that ways forward may be found through improved exchange of information, both within and between stakeholders’ communities. Further work will be initiated along those lines, also in anticipation of a potential follow-up workshop in 2012.

October 28, 2011

Report from the Exchange of Nigerian Inspectors to Antwerp and Bremen Ports

Inspector Exchange Participants

From 10-14 October 2011, Nigerian officers visited their colleagues in Antwerp, Belgium, and Bremen, Germany. This exchange was facilitated by INECE in collaboration with the involved authorities in Antwerp, Bremen, and Nigeria.

The objective of the event was to learn mutually about the procedures and practice regarding the inspection of international waste shipments in the ports. Such inspections are important to detect and prevent those shipments that are illegal.

Through a mixture of presentations, discussions and practical demonstrations and exercises, the involved officers got acquainted with several essential approaches and the challenges they present.

Important recurring issues were the following:

(more…)

October 14, 2011

Nigerian Port Inspectors Exchange with Colleagues in Antwerp and Bremen

Filed under: Africa, Europe, seaports — Tags: , , — inece @ 6:25 pm

Port of Antwerp by Serge Van Cauwenbergh

Together with Belgian and German authorities, INECE currently is co-facilitating a 4 day exchange of Nigerian inspectors to the ports of Antwerp, Belgium, and Bremen, Germany. Due to its central location, the port of Antwerp is the second largest port in Europe, in terms of total freight shipped, and the port of Bremen is the fourth largest.

The objective of this event is to learn mutually about the procedures and practices with regard to illegal export and import of waste commodities. Important aspects covered during the exchange will be issues like discrimination between waste and reusable materials, effective collaboration between involved authorities, and return of illegal shipments to country of origin.

Sharing the practical experiences, know-how and challenges, and exchanging the relevant information, are important steps to become more effective in the international fight against illegal waste shipments and dumping.

September 17, 2011

Criminal Charges in Major US E-Waste Exporter Case

Filed under: Asia, Chemicals & Waste, North America, seaports — Tags: , , — inece @ 7:39 am

The owner and chief executive officer of an electronic waste recycling buisness in Colorado, USA,  have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of wire and mail fraud, environmental crimes in connection with the failure to file a notification to export hazardous waste, exportation contrary to law, and destruction, alteration, or falsification of records.

“The investigation confirmed that Executive Recycling repeatedly exported used cathode ray tubes to China. In addition, Executive Recycling also made false promises to its customers who believed that Executive Recycling was properly disposing of their electronic waste. Homeland Security Investigations stands ready to prevent any company from circumventing U.S. controls to export hazardous waste,” said David M. Marwell, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations in Denver, Colorado.

The indictment is the result of an ongoing 30 month investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division.

Excerpted from the U.S. Department of Justice Press Release. For the full press release, see http://www.justice.gov/usao/co/press_releases/2011/September2011/9_16_11.html.

July 21, 2011

UNODC: Sharing intelligence key to fighting environment crimes

Filed under: Environmental Crime, seaports, UN System — inece @ 2:37 pm

From the UNODC Press Release: 

National governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations met to discuss critical issues related to the illicit trade of commodities such as wildlife, timber, fish and waste at the 11th Asian Regional Partners Forum on Combating Environmental Crime (ARPEC), held 13-14 July 2011 in Bangkok. Organized by the Regional Centre of UNODC in East Asia and the Pacific, this ARPEC meeting focused on the critical role of intelligence-sharing and media management in fighting organized environmental crime in Asian countries.

For the full article, see the UNODC web site.

See also, ARPEC’s Environmental Crime poster.

July 12, 2011

Videos from CEC E-waste Public Forum Available Online

Filed under: North America, seaports — Tags: — inece @ 4:34 pm

Videos and presentations from the June annual meetings of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation’s (CEC) Council and Joint Public Advisory Committee are now available on the CEC website.

You can now watch the Managing E-waste in North America Public Forum, hosted by the Joint Public Advisory Committee on 21 June, in its entirety, and download presentations from sessions on environmentally sound management practices for e-waste, inter-agency enforcement cooperation and a roundtable discussion with representatives from Dell Global Takeback, Mexico’s REMSA, and the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition.

The forum also featured an overview of e-waste challenges and opportunities in North America by Sarah Westervelt, e-Stewardship Policy Director at the Basel Action Network.

See http://www.cec.org/Council2011.

May 27, 2011

Experts Agree to Develop Tools and Share Experiences in Conducting Hazardous Waste Inspection Projects

Filed under: 9th Conference, INECE Secretariat, seaports — inece @ 7:43 pm

On 18 May 2011, the INECE Seaport Environmental Security Network  (SESN) hosted a day-long meeting at the headquarters of the World Customs Organization in Brussels to share experiences in organizing international hazardous waste inspection projects. Participants included experts from: the European Union Network for Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law Transfrontier Shipments of Waste (IMPEL-TFS), Ghana Customs & Excise Preventive Service, the World Customs Organization’s Environmental Crime Programme and Regional Intelligence Liaison Office in Asia-Pacific, the Asia Network for Prevention of Illegal Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes, the Secretariat of the Basel Convention, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Discussions focused on common challenges associated with conducting international hazardous waste inspections projects, including: how to implement waste take-back procedures when an illegal shipment is detected, how to share sensitive information across borders, effectiveness of available communication tools and channels and the costs and benefits of various types of preparation and training tools and activities.

Participants agreed to: (1) create an ad hoc working group of experts to draft a guidance document on waste take-back procedures; (2) draft a summary document of available information sharing tools for use in inspection projects; (3) to ask the INECE trainers network to create a guidance document of good practices in inspection training; and (4) to work closely together to align projects, create synergies, and avoid redundancies.

The meeting followed a two-day meeting of the Waste Shipments Compliance and Enforcement Platform. The Waste Shipments Compliance and Enforcement Platform (wscep.org) is a partnership between international organizations, national competent authorities and non-governmental organizations to align and amplify their efforts in tackling illegal movements of hazardous waste. These efforts are a combination of promoting awareness, capacity building and operational enforcement collaboration. INECE participates in the platform to share experiences conducting international hazardous waste inspection projects and related tools, resources and lessons learned.

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