Research Handbook on International Environmental Law
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Research Handbook on International Environmental Law

Edited by Malgosia Fitzmaurice, David M. Ong and Panos Merkouris

This wide-ranging and comprehensive Handbook examines recent developments in international environmental law (IEL) and the crossover effects of this expansion on other areas of international law, such as trade law and the law of the sea.
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Chapter 29: International Chemicals and Waste Management

Katharina Kummer Peiry


* Katharina Kummer Peiry Introduction Management of hazardous chemicals and wastes was one of the first environmental issues to be addressed by international rules, in response to a general recognition that chemical safety is an issue that transcends national boundaries. At the European Community and OECD levels, relevant rules were adopted as early as the 1960s and 1970s (Pallemaerts, 2003: 7–9). To date, around 50 regional and global agreements on chemicals-related issues have reportedly been adopted, including in areas such as prevention of pollution of the air, watercourses and the oceans with chemicals, occupational health, and chemical weapons (Gubb and Younes, 2006). At the global level, three multilateral agreements specifically targeting the management of chemicals and wastes are currently in operation. All three were elaborated within the framework, or with the participation, of UNEP, the key organization within the UN system responsible for environmental matters. The Basel Convention on hazardous wastes was adopted in the late 1980s, and the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, which address different aspects of chemicals management, were adopted some ten years later, the issue of chemicals having received less prominence on the international environmental agenda of the 1980s than toxic wastes. The management of potentially hazardous chemicals and wastes has now been subject to international attention and legal regulation for several decades. During this time, the focus of attention has shifted and the international regimes have evolved accordingly. This chapter examines this evolution and proposes potential further avenues of development for the next decades that may...

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