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Transnational trafficking and the rule of law in West Africa: a threat assessment

TitleTransnational trafficking and the rule of law in West Africa: a threat assessment
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2009
InstitutionUnited Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
AbstractAround 1988, there were a series of scandals surrounding the dumping of toxic waste in a number of West African countries, often with the complicity of national authorities. These concerns were addressed the next year with the passage of the Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, which requires notification and tracking of international waste shipments. This did not prevent short-sighted leaders from voluntarily importing waste, so a number of African countries jointly agreed to prohibit this practice in the 1991 Bamako Convention on hazardous waste. These two initiatives were apparently spectacularly successful, and, with a few notable exceptions, there have been very few instances of toxic dumping since. There has been, however, a new threat emerging: that of electrical and electronic waste, also known as e-waste. With the planned obsolescence of items such as cell phones andcomputer equipment, it is estimated that the EU alone produces 8.7 million tons of e-waste each year. Many oft hese items contain heavy metals and other toxins. Being expensive to recycle, there are strong incentives for dumping.At the same time, developing countries could make good use of many items regarded as outdated in the richer countries. It can become difficult to discern what is dumpingand what is legitimate export for re-use.
UNODC_2009_West-Africa-Report.pdf4 MB
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