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Environmental conventions

Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal 

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal was adopted on 22 March 1989 by the Conference of Plenipotentiaries in Basel, Switzerland, in response to a public outcry following the discovery, in the 1980s, in Africa and other parts of the developing world of deposits of toxic wastes imported from abroad.

The overarching objective of the Basel Convention is to protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects of hazardous wastes. Its scope of application covers a wide range of wastes defined as “hazardous wastes” based on their origin and/or composition and their characteristics, as well as two types of wastes defined as “other wastes” — household waste and incinerator ash. 

Kazakhstan acceded to the Convention in February 2003.

Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants

The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants was adopted by the Conference of Plenipotentiaries on 22 May 2001 in Stockholm, Sweden. The Convention entered into force on 17 May 2004.

The Stockholm Convention is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from chemicals that remain intact in the environment for long periods, become widely distributed geographically, accumulate in the fatty tissue of humans and wildlife, and have harmful impacts on human health or on the environment.

The Convention requires that such stockpiles and wastes be identified and managed to reduce or eliminate POPs releases from these sources. The Convention also requires that wastes containing POPs are transported across international boundaries taking into account relevant international rules, standards and guidelines.

The Republic of Kazakhstan ratified the Convention in June 2007.

Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade

The text of the Rotterdam Convention was adopted on 10 September 1998 by a Conference of Plenipotentiaries in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The Convention entered into force on 24 February 2004.

The Rotterdam Convention is a multilateral treaty to promote shared responsibilities in relation to importation of hazardous chemicals. The convention promotes open exchange of information and calls on exporters of hazardous chemicals to use proper labeling, include directions on safe handling, and inform purchasers of any known restrictions or bans. Signatory nations can decide whether to allow or ban the importation of chemicals listed in the treaty, and exporting countries are obliged to make sure that producers within their jurisdiction comply.

The objectives of the Convention are:

— to promote shared responsibility and cooperative efforts among Parties in the international trade of certain hazardous chemicals in order to protect human health and the environment from potential harm;

— to contribute to the environmentally sound use of those hazardous chemicals, by facilitating information exchange about their characteristics, by providing for a national decision-making process on their import and export and by disseminating these decisions to Parties.

The Republic of Kazakhstan ratified the Convention in March 2007.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

CITES was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of IUCN (The World Conservation Union). The text of the Convention was finally agreed at a meeting of representatives of 80 countries in Washington, D.C., the United States of America, on 3 March 1973, and on 1 July 1975 CITES entered in force. 

CITES is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.

Because the trade in wild animals and plants crosses borders between countries, the effort to regulate it requires international cooperation to safeguard certain species from over-exploitation. CITES was conceived in the spirit of such cooperation. Today, it accords varying degrees of protection to more than 35,000 species of animals and plants, whether they are traded as live specimens, fur coats or dried herbs.

Kazakhstan acceded to the CITES in April 1999.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

IPCC is the international body for assessing the science related to climate change. The IPCC was set up in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to provide policymakers with regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation.

The IPCC assessments provide a scientific basis for governments at all levels to develop climaterelated policies, and they underlie negotiations at the UN Climate Conference – the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The assessments are policy-relevant but not policy-prescriptive: they may present projections of future climate change based on different scenarios and the risks that climate change poses and discuss the implications of response options, but they do not tell policymakers what actions to take.

The IPCC embodies a unique opportunity to provide rigorous and balanced scientific information to decision-makers because of its scientific and intergovernmental nature. Participation in the IPCC is open to all member countries of the WMO and United Nations. It currently has 195 members.

The Republic of Kazakhstan signed the Convention on June 11, 1992, ratified the May 4, 1995.

Paris Agreement 

The agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, regulates greenhouse gas reduction measures in the atmosphere in 2020. The Agreement was adopted by consensus, December 12, 2015, signed April 22, 2016. It enters into force after ratification by 55 countries.

The Republic of Kazakhstan signed an agreement in August 2016.

Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar Convention)

Ramsar Convention is the oldest of the modern global intergovernmental environmental agreements. The treaty was negotiated through the 1960s by countries and non — governmental organizations concerned about the increasing loss and degradation of wetland habitat for migratory waterbirds. It was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975. 

The Convention’s mission is “the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world”.

Wetlands are among the most diverse and productive ecosystems. They provide essential services and supply all our fresh water. However they continue to be degraded and converted to other uses. 

The Contracting Parties commit to:

—  work towards the wise use of all their wetlands;

—  designate suitable wetlands for the list of Wetlands of International Importance (the “Ramsar List”) and ensure their effective management;

—  cooperate internationally on transboundary wetlands, shared wetland systems and shared species.

The Convention uses a broad definition of wetlands. It includes all lakes and rivers, underground aquifers, swamps and marshes, wet grasslands, peatlands, oases, estuaries, deltas and tidal flats, mangroves and other coastal areas, coral reefs, and all human-made sites such as fish ponds, rice paddies, reservoirs and salt pans.

Republic of  Kazakhstan has ratified the Convention on 13 December 2005.

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) 

UNCCD is a Convention to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought through national action programs that incorporate long-term strategies supported by international cooperation and partnership arrangements.

The Convention, the only convention stemming from a direct recommendation of the Rio Conference’s Agenda 21, was adopted in ParisFrance on 17 June 1994 and entered into force in December 1996.

It is the only internationally legally binding framework set up to address the problem of desertification. The Convention is based on the principles of participation, partnership and decentralization—the backbone of Good Governance and Sustainable Development. It has 195 parties, making it near universal in reach.

The Republic of Kazakhstan signed the Convention in 1994 and ratified in 1997.

Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea (Tehran Convention)

The understanding of the necessity to protect and preserve the Caspian Sea’s natural resources for future generations and that this goal can only be achieved through international cooperation was at the heart of the intent to create the  Tehran Convention.

By ratifying the Convention the five Parties Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan confirmed their readiness to go the path of sustainable development and to take environmental concerns into account in their development planning.

Having entered into force in 2006, the Tehran Convention is the first regional legally binding instrument signed by all five Caspian littoral states. It serves as an overarching governance framework which lays down the general requirements and the institutional mechanism for environmental protection and sustainable development in the Caspian Sea region.

Under its umbrella the Parties have developed additional Protocols on priority areas of common concern. The effective implementation of the Tehran Convention and its Protocols will support the protection of the marine environment and with it of the livelihoods, health and well-being of present and future generations around the Caspian Sea.