International Environment Law

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International Environment Law


1. The Fifteenth Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, 1989 (Basel Convention) is due to take place in April 2020. The South African Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, who has only assumed office relatively recently, will attend the meeting as the country’s national representative. She has taken note of the current dispute reported in the media between the Philippines and Canada regarding the disposal of Canadian wastes in in the Philippines and is concerned that this might be a demonstration of a failure on the international legal system to adequately manage transboundary waste. The Minister is also concerned about the effect that the relatively recent ban on plastic waste imports introduced by China on its domestic imports might have on developing countries.

2. South Africa is a party to the Basel Convention and its Ban Amendment, 1995. South Africa, however, is not a party to the Bamako Convention on the Ban of the Import into Africa and the Control of Transboundary Movement and Management of Hazardous Wastes within Africa, 1991 (Bamako Convention).


3. You work as a legal advisor within the Department of Environmental Affairs. Write a memorandum to the Minister to assist her in determining what position she should take and what arguments she should pursue at the COP for the Basel Convention. As part of your advice, the Minister has expressly asked you to consider (i) what can be done, if anything, to strengthen the Basel Convention and (ii) given that South Africa has ratified the Ban Amendment, whether South Africa should accede to the Bamako Convention. In your analysis be sure to address at least the following issues:

  • The scope of the Basel Convention, the Ban Amendment as well as the Bamako Convention;
  • The material differences between them;
  • The adequacy of the Basel Convention (including the Ban Amendment) in light of South Africa’s concerns (as expressed in paragraph 1 above), and whether South Africa should propose any material amendments to it, and if so what these amendments should be;
  •  The reasons South Africa did not originally sign the Bamako Convention at the time of its conclusion;
  • Any risks and benefits accruing to South Africa as a result of not being a party to the Bamako Convention, and the related risks and benefits should it accede.

There is no prescribed format or structure for your answer/response to the Research Task. Your answer/response should reflect that you have given consideration to what is required, ensuring that it provides a format and structure which clearly, concisely and logically addresses what is requested/instructed of you in the Research Task question. International Environment Law

6. Your answer/response to the Research Task question must be typed and submitted in word (font 12 Arial, 1.5 spacing) and may be no longer than 4,500 words, including footnotes.

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