International commitments and cooperation

International networks

Overview of the international networks in which we participate.

UN Basel Convention - National Focal Point

Belgium is party to the UN Basel Convention, the UN Rotterdam Convention and the UN Stockholm Convention. These are multilateral environmental agreements regulating, respectively, the transboundary movement of waste, the international trade of certain hazardous chemicals, and  Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). Their aim is to protect human health and the environment against the harmful effects of (certain) wastes. Transport of waste is regulated on the basis of origin/destination, composition and waste properties.   

The UN Basel Convention on transboundary movement of waste has been transposed into European legislation via the European Waste Shipment Regulation. OVAM acts as the national contact point for the UN Basel Convention and represents Belgium in the ’Working Party International Environment Issues Basel (WPIEI Basel). This is a technical working group in the Environment Council (ENVI), which prepares EU positions and negotiations.  

Basel Plastic Waste Partnership 

The Basel Plastic Waste Partnership was established under the Basel Convention in 2019 to mobilise business, government, academia and civil society to improve and promote the environmentally sound management of plastic waste at global, regional and national levels and to prevent and minimise its generation. It currently has more than 100 members from government, civil society and the private sector, and four project groups through which activities, including public awareness and outreach, are implemented. Over 50 pilot projects across the world will be implemented in 2021-2024. Overall, the projects focus on environmentally sound management of plastic waste, prevention and minimisation of generation of plastic waste, and control of transboundary movements of plastic waste. The projects are a vehicle for introducing practical considerations brought on by the implementation of the Plastic Waste Amendments, which is accelerating efforts to ensure waste plastics are only traded with countries that have adequate infrastructure for environmentally sound management of plastic waste. 

Member of the Steering Committee of UNEP International Resource Panel 

OVAM represents Belgium in the Steering Committee of the International Resource Panel (IRP). The IRP was launched in 2007 by the United Nations Environment Programme to build and share the knowledge needed to improve our use of resources, worldwide. The Panel’s goal is to steer us away from overconsumption, waste and ecological harm and towards a more prosperous and sustainable future.  

OECD Working Party on Resource Productivity and Waste – Bureau member 

OVAM represents Belgium in the OECD Working Party on Resource Productivity and Waste (WPRPW) and is a member of the WPRPW Bureau. The OECD is tackling today’s most challenging resource management issues by promoting the sustainable use of materials to reduce their negative environmental impacts, and by encouraging resource efficiency and the transition towards a circular economy. OECD Member Countries share legal instruments that aim to ensure environmentally sound management of waste in all OECD Member Countries.  

International bilateral cooperation

As a frontrunner in the field of waste and materials policy, OVAM sees its responsibility as sharing its knowledge, policy insights and good practices. We believe that the transition to a circular economy needs a global, international approach and we are committed to sharing our experiences and learning from policies and projects elsewhere in the world. If you would like to plan a (study) visit, please go to the Contact page on this website.   

We conclude cooperation agreements with numerous countries and regions, both within and outside Europe, in the context of the foreign policy of the Flemish government 

OVAM currently enjoys structural bilateral cooperation with colleagues from the environmental administrations of the Netherlands and South Korea.