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1.3 International Environmental Conventions and Agreements

Article 153 of the Basic Law provides that the application to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of international agreements to which the People's Republic of China is or becomes a party shall be decided by the Central People's Government, in accordance with the circumstances and needs of the Region, and after seeking the views of the Government of the Region.

International agreements to which the People's Republic of China is not a party but which are implemented in Hong Kong may continue to be implemented in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The Central People's Government shall, as necessary, authorise or assist the Government of the Region to make appropriate arrangements for the application to the Region of other relevant international agreements.

A summary of international environmental conventions and agreements being in force and applicable to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is as follows:


Subject   Convention   Objectives
Global Climate Change United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 1992, as supplemented by Protocol in 1997. To achieve stabilisation of atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases at levels that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human-induced) interference with the climate system.
Ozone Layer Protection Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, 1985, as supplemented by Protocol in 1987 (amended in 1990 and 1992). To protect the ozone layer by taking precautionary measures to regulate and control global emissions of ozone depleting substances so as to protect human health and the environment from harmful effects. Amendments have been made from time to time to adjust the timetable for reducing consumption and production of the substances that deplete the ozone layer.
Conservation International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, 1946, as amended in 1956. To achieve the optimum level of whale stocks as rapidly as possible without causing wide-spread economic and nutritional distress and to establish a system of international regulation to ensure proper and effective conservation and development of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry.
  Plant Protection Agreement for the Asia and Pacific Region, 1956, as amended in 1967, 1979 and 1983 (Article 1(a) only). To prevent the introduction into and spread within Asia and Pacific Region of destructive plant diseases and pests by collective international action.
  Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat, 1971, as amended in 1982. To halt encroachment into and progressive loss of wetlands now and in the future, taking into account the fundamental ecological functions of wetlands and their economic, cultural, scientific and recreational values.
  Conservation Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, 1972. To establish an effective system of collective protection of the cultural and natural heritage of outstanding universal value, organised on a permanent basis and in accordance with modern scientific methods.
  Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, 1973, as amended in 1979. To protect specific endangered species from over- exploitation through a system of import and export permits.
  Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, 1979. To take action to protect the migratory species of wild animals whenever possible and appropriate.
Hazardous Wastes Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, 1989. To set up obligations for State Parties with a view to:
(a) reduce the production and transboundary movements of hazardous wastes to a minimum and ensure the environmentally sound and efficient management of such wastes;

(b) minimise the amount and toxicity of hazardous wastes generated and ensure their environmentally sound management by disposing of hazardous wastes as close to the source of generation as possible, and reduce transboundary movement of hazardous wastes;

(c) assist developing countries in the environmentally sound management of hazardous and other wastes they generate;

(d) establish a monitoring system from point of production to point of disposal; and

(e) regulate exports and imports of hazardous wastes by enforcing the requirement to obtain official consent from the importing country.
Marine Pollution International Convention relating to Intervention on the High Seas in Cases of Oil Pollution Casualties, 1969, as supplemented in 1973 and as amended in 1991, 1996 and 2002. To adopt measures of an exceptional character to protect the interests of the people from the grave consequences of a maritime casualty on the high seas resulting from oil pollution of sea and coastlines.
  Protocol of 1992 to amend the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1992, as amended in 2000. To adopt uniform international rules and procedures for determining questions of liability and providing adequate compensation for those who suffer damage caused by pollution resulting from the escape or discharge of oil from ships.
  Protocol of 1992 to amend the International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage, 1992, as amended in 2000. To establish a fund for providing compensation to persons who suffer damage caused by pollution resulting from the escape or discharge of oil from ships, beyond that provided by the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1992.
  International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified and supplemented in 1978 (excluding Annex IV), as amended in 1984, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997,1999, 2000, 2001 and 2003. To prevent pollution of the marine environment from discharge of harmful substances or effluents from ships. The Protocol of 1978 recognises the need to further prevent and control marine pollution from ships, in particular, oil tankers.
  Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, 1972, as amended in 1978 (Incineration), 1980, 1989 and 1993. To control marine pollution resulting from dumping operations and to encourage regional agreements to complement the existing Convention, and to improve protection of the marine environment.
  International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation, 1990. To establish measures in dealing with oil pollution incidents and to provide international co-operation in response to such incidents.
Persistent Organic Pollutants Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, 2001. To commit the international community to protecting human health and the environment from persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
      To set the goal of ending the release and use of the 12 most dangerous POPs referred to as the "Dirty Dozen".
      To require governments to take steps to ban, stop or limit the production and use of certain pesticides, and reduce the release of unintentional by-products, e.g. dioxin/furans, due to combustion and industrial processes, with the target of their continuing minimisation and, where feasible, ultimate elimination.

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