"Environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes" is the subject of
Chapter 20 of Agenda 21. Effective control of the generation, storage, treatment, recycling and reuse, transport, recovery and disposal of hazardous wastes is, according to Agenda 21, "of paramount importance for proper health, environmental protection and natural resource management, and sustainable development." Prevention of the generation of hazardous wastes and the rehabilitation of contaminated sites are the key elements, and both require knowledge, experienced people, facilities, financial resources and technical and scientific capacities.
Among the overall targets of Chapter 20 are the following: (1) preventing or minimizing the generation of hazardous wastes as part of an overall integrated cleaner production approach; (2) eliminating or reducing to a minimum transboundary movements of hazardous waste; (3) ratifying the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal; (4) ratifying and full implementation of the Bamako Convention on the Ban of the Import into Africa and the Control of Transboundary Movement and Management of Hazardous Wastes within Africa; and (4) eliminating the export of hazardous wastes to countries that prohibit such imports.
Managing hazardous wastes was discussed by the Commission on Sustainable Development at its second and seventh sessions and by the General Assembly at its nineteenth Special Session.
In 2004 the Ministerial Statement on Partnerships for Meeting the Global Waste Challenge was adopted at Conference of the Parties 7 (COP). The Statement recognizes the environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes as part of the wider issues of water protection, improved sanitation, solid waste management and economic and social development. It calls for the reduction of the impacts of hazardous wastes on human health and the environment and promotes a fundamental shift in emphasis from remedial measures to preventive measures such as reduction at source, reuse, recycling and recovery. It recognizes the importance of mobilizing new and additional financial resources to build partnerships to meet the global waste challenge worldwide.