Intervention by the Indonesian Delegation at the 14th Session of the Human Rights Council, Panel on Toxic Waste

Mr President,

On behalf of my delegation I would like to thank the panellists for their insightful contributions today.  Toxic waste, and the issues surrounding it, are seldom discussed within a human rights context so today’s panel discussion was much appreciated and welcomed by Indonesia.  

Mr President,

Toxic waste continues to present a huge risk to both human health and the natural environment and it is high time that we took concrete measures to ensure the protection of both from hazardous substances.

The ineffective and irresponsible management of toxic waste undermines, amongst others, an individual’s human right to life, to health, and to a safe and healthy environment in which to live and earn a livelihood.

 It is crucial that we continue in our discussions and work to identify the best solutions and practices to reduce the impact of hazardous waste on our people and communities.  

Mr President,

Indonesia is honoured to currently hold the Presidency of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.  Like many developing countries, Indonesia is a country vulnerable to illegal waste dumping and we face many challenges in regulating and monitoring the illegal movement of hazardous waste into our country.  

In this regard, we strongly believe that developed nations and international organizations should lead the way in ensuring that the regulations for the storage, transport, treatment, reuse, recycling, recovery and final disposal of hazardous waste are stringent and legally enforced at all levels.

At the national level Indonesia has initiated a number of laws and initiatives relating to the waste management.   Regulations for managing hazardous wastes started to come into effect over 15 years ago but were further strengthened in 1999 with the enactment of law GR-18/1999 which  provides for the prevention and minimization of hazardous waste generation and the regulation their control, storage, transport, treatment and final disposal, including recycle and recovery.

Furthermore, in 2002, the Indonesian Ministry of Environment renewed the pioneering “PROPER” Program – a rating system which scores companies on their compliance with environmental law.

The PROPER system of ranking companies by colour has had a proven impact on the way these businesses are perceived both on the stock markets and by banks. Green and gold, the highest status, requires companies to not only comply with the waste management laws but also prove that their environmental management system is working effectively. 

The PROPER system also demands that companies demonstrate a real commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility and apply the four r’s, namely reducing, reusing, recycling and recovering when using natural energy resources. 

We have been greatly encouraged by the results of this innovative system and we urge fellow members to explore the many ways in which the management of hazardous waste can be improved and maintained in this increasingly globalized world. 

In conclusion Mr President, I would like to reiterate that Indonesia fully supports the work of all those working to strengthen the collaboration between the international human rights mechanisms and procedures, the United Nations Environment Programme and other relevant United Nations agencies. 

Toxic waste presents a global risk which requires a global response and the onus is upon us all to ensure that our citizens enjoy the right to live in healthy, clean and safe environments.

Thank you

Geneva, June 8th 2010