Southern African Development Community (SADC) Member States are party to various regional and global Multilateral Environmental Agreements. These agreements require country-level commitments that can be fostered through a cooperative regional approach. SADC provides a platform for coordinating a regional approach to tackling global issues, such as the loss of biodiversity and disposal of hazardous wastes. A number of conventions necessary for successful environmental protection and sustainable development have been adopted by Member States and are listed as follows:
- UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Established in 1994, the UNCCD is in place to improve the living conditions of vulnerable populations living in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas.
- Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) The CBD came into force in 1993, and is in place to encourage sustainable development that considers biodiversity. Some of the strategies in place to achieve this are to decrease the rate of loss of natural habitats, establish conservation areas, restore degraded areas and protect environments susceptible to human impacts.
- UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) In 1992, countries became party to the convention that recognises the need to limit human activities contributing to climate change and to come up with solutions to curb the negative results of climate change.
- Basel Adopted in 1989, the Basel convention controls the transboundary movement of hazardous wastes and their disposal methods.
- Bamako The 1994 Bamko Convention specifically controls the movement of hazardous wastes within Africa.
- Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES entered into force in 1975 and is in place to ensure that the international trade of specimens (fauna and flora) does not threaten their survival.
- Stockholm Convention The Convention entered into force in 1994 and is in place to protect human health and the environment from chemicals that persist in the environment for a long period of time, known as Persistent Organic Pollutants.
- Rotterdam Adopted in 1998 the convention is in place to limit the trade of certain hazardous chemicals in order to protect human health and the environment.
- RAMSAR Adopted in 1971 the convention is in place for international cooperation and national action to protect wetlands and their resources.
For a complete list of conventions and international treaties see the South Africa International Relations and Cooperation page.
The Africa Institute coordinates regional efforts regarding the Rotterdam, Basel and Stockholm chemical conventions. Botswana, Lesotho, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania, South Africa and Zambia have ratified the founding agreement of the centre, which supports English speaking countries
Established in accordance with Article 14 of the Basel Convention and Article 12 of the Stockholm Convention the Centre opened in 2009, with the intention of supporting SADC Member States to elimination PCBs and initiate disposal projects in the region. The project is scheduled to begin in 2013.