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Indonesia is vulnerable to trafficking in hazardous substances, wastes

NUSA DUA, Feb. 23 — Indonesia is vulnerable to illegal trafficking in hazardous substances and wastes, Antara news agency cited Environment Minister Prof. Muhammad Hatta as saying.

As a vast archipelagic country, Indonesia had about 2,000 locations which were potential entry points, Prof. Muhammad Hatta said in his opening address at the Simultaneous Extraordinary Meetings of the Conferences of the Parties (COPS) to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

The agriculture-based industry and other industries in Indonesia are also potential emitter of chemicals included those categorized as Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), he said.

"We therefore believe that international cooperation and agreements, at both global and regional level, are crucial in tackling these challenges," the minister said.

Indonesia hosts the Basel Convention Regional Center for South East Asia (BCR-SEA). Indonesia and Switzerland have jointly involved in the Country-Led Initiative (CLI) on the Ban Amendment of the Basel Convention, according to Minister Hatta.

"During the last 20 years Indonesia has played an active role in global environmental management initiatives and cooperation, including in the implementation of the Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAS)," he said.

Indonesia is also signatory to several international conventions, including the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), the Convention on Biodiversity, and the Basel and Stockholm Conventions.

The Simultaneous Extraordinary Meetings of the Conferences of the Parties (COPS) to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions is organized by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

The meeting will last until Feb 24 and is being attended by around 1,200 participants from 140 countries.

On Feb 24 to Feb 26, UNEP will hold the 11th Special Session of the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum, also at the Bali International Convention Center, Nusa Dua.

The meeting is expected to be officially opened by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and attended by around 100 environmental affairs ministers from various countries. (PNA/Bernama)

DCT/ebp

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