The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism gave a presentation on the establishment of a permanent centre in
Committee Business: adoption of Minutes of 6 March
The Minutes of 6 March were adopted, subject to a correction, because Mr Julies was recorded as having moved in favour of the vote although he was not present.
Africa Institute For The Environmentally Sound Management Of Hazardous And Other Wastes (The Institute); Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) Briefing
Ms Judy Beaumont, Acting DDG: International Cooperation Unit, DEAT, gave a presentation on the Africa Institute for the Environmentally Sound Management Of Hazardous And Other Wastes (referred to as the Centre). She explained that the Basel Convention’s aim was to minimise hazardous waste, and particularly the trans-boundary movement of waste. It was explained that in Africa there were five Centres established: namely in
An interim Centre, set up as a South African institution, had operated for five years and established 24 training centres. In 2006 the decision to liquidate the interim centre was taken, and instead to establish a permanent centre.
Ms Beaumont explained that there were three conventions,
Ms J Chalmers (ANC) asked if the fact of
Ms Beaumont explained that the hosting in
Ms Chalmers asked where persistent organic pollutants were being considered in the Centres.
Ms Beaumont replied that persistent organic pollutants (POPS) would fall under the ambit of the Centre once it had agreed to the Stockholm Convention. To do this, a proposal that the centre should like to include POPS would be made at the next meeting.
Ms Chalmers asked about the incentives in place to get the other 21 countries to ratify, as also the reasons for the different fees in place for the different countries.
Ms Beaumont said that the main incentives were tied to the recognition of the need to deal with the waste.
She said that the contributions of the different countries would calculated using a United Nations formula, and each would contribute according to their place on the scale. This would need to be further investigated once the Centre was up and running. There was a legal agreement to facilitate the implementation of the
Mr A Mokoena (ANC) asked if this was a duplication of the
Ms Beaumont explained that
The Acting Chairperson stated that it appeared that it had been problematic to get the interim structure going, and he wondered if, in order to create the permanent Centre, the interim Centre would not need to be resuscitated
Ms M Ntuli (ANC) asked what this Centre would be adding that the interim Centre had not done.
Ms Beaumont explained that the reason the temporary Centre had been established was to deal with the chemicals while ratification of the agreement was pending. The permanent structure would not be a Section 21 company, as it would be set up under the international agreement, and not the South African law. and would fall under the international agreement not SA law.
Mr Mokoena suggested that the Centre should rotate between the different countries to involve them more.
Ms Beaumont commented that the proposal of rotation would make sense from the point of view of establishing some sense of ownership, but practically it would not work. In order to built institutional capacity there was a need to form a strong base and that could not happen with rotation.
Ms Chalmers asked what the initial priorities of the Centre were, and asked how the Centre was conceived to function, as she thought that there would be considerable staffing and expertise needed.
The Acting Chairperson asked what would be the main difference between the permanent centre and interim centre that would motivate the interests of the participants to give their full support, so that this Centre could succeed where the last had failed.
Ms Beaumont explained that there were two differences. The first was that in the interim Centre there was no political buy in. For the permanent Centre a source of annual funding from the ratified members would be received. There was a much greater sense of ownership for the permanent Centre. Secondly, the importance of dealing with chemicals was increasing, and thus the permanent Centre was taking a higher profile role where the interim centre had not. She explained that the Centre would need to start slowly. Membership fees from five countries would come in the first year, and increase thereafter. For the first year, the priority would lie in training, awareness raising and information trading. From there a three to five year strategic plan would be decided upon. She also explained that donors had expressed an interest, since the interim Centre had been known as the best regional Centre. It was a flagship example and all donors had been concerned about its closure, but understood why it had to happen. These donors were still interested in being donors for the permanent Centre.
Ms Chalmers asked if the other regional centres were up and running and if
Mr Mokoena felt that the
Ms Beaumont agreed that the Bamako Convention was an important question that should have been raised at the workshop. The question whether
Mr Mokoena said that he disagreed with the non-ratification of the Bamako Convention. Africa had been very clear through
Mr J Durand, Parliamentary Liaison Officer, DEAT, suggested that the Committee should arrange a new meeting with the Department of Trade and Industry. He recognised the sensitivity around trade of hazardous waste, but suggested that there may be importance attached to the trading of waste, and this trading should not be stopped without understanding the full implications.
The Acting Chairperson suggested that the Department should have a joint meeting with the Department of Trade and Industry and then re-present to the Committee so the Committee would have a better idea of what they were dealing with, and better understand why
Mr Mokoena suggested that the Department of Science and Technology should also be included in this meeting. He also asked for clarification of the meeting in
Ms Ntuli asked if the loopholes of not ratifying
Mr Durand clarified that the
The Acting Chairperson asked why
Ms Ntuli asked what are the environmental issues around trade were.
Ms Beaumont felt that the
Ms Chalmers believed that it was very important to get this Institute up and running but that waiting for the ratification of
Mr Mokoena countered that he would be opposed to quickly ratifying a Convention and regretting the decision later.
The Acting Chairperson asked for agreement that the Department should arrange an urgent meeting with the dti and that the Committee would meet with the Minister and discuss the issues in study groups.
Ms Beaumont asked for clarification if the Study group with the Minister would deal with the
The Acting Chairperson confirmed that it would.
The meeting was adjourned.
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