Since one of the objectives of the Basel Conventioni is to promote capacity building in hazardous wastei management, particularly in developing countries of the world the Secretariat of the Basel Convention is promoting the establishment of Basel Convention Regional Centers (BCRCs) in specified regions (e.g. Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, East Asia etc) in accordance with Article 14 of the Basel Convention. The role of these centres is to promote capacity building in Hazardous waste management through mainly training and technology transfer activities.
On the basis of an initial feasibility study carried out in May 1997, South Africa that was selected to host the Basel Convention Regional Centre for the English speaking African countries. The South African Government, in collaboration with the Danish aid agency, Danida and in full cooperation with the Basel Convention Secretariat (SBC) launched a four-year programme valued at Danish Kronor (DKK ) 24.2 million to support establishment of a centre in South Africa. Initially it was based at Vista University in the City of Pretoria. The region to be served comprised all English-speaking African countries.
The process of establishing the centre was initiated in March 2000. The period between March 2000 to July 2001, covered all the preparatory work of physical establishment and setting of transition management pending recruitment of permanent staff. For the whole period covering July 2000 to October 2003, the Centre was located at Vista University, after which it moved to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria until its closure in 2006.
Initiated by English-speaking African countries, in 2003, the Africa Institute for Environmentally Sound Management of Hazardous and Other Wastes provides a framework for the ownership of the Centre by the countries being served. The signing of the Agreement on the 31st March 2004 in Jeju Republic of Korea represented the formal intention by Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia to set up and join the Africa Institute for the Environmentally Sound Management of Hazardous and Other Wastes.
This Institute hosts the Basel Convention Regional Centre upon signing of an MoU with the Secretariat of the Basel Convention.
Since 2003 four more countries have signed the agreement: Namibia, Botswana and The Gambia became signatories, while Mauritius became the first country to ratify the agreement on 10 March 2006. Nigeria, Namibia, Botswana, Tanzania, Lesotho and South Africa followed suit bringing the number of ratifications to seven on 17 January 2008. Zambia followed early in 2011. This brings the total number of signature countries to nine with eight ratifications to date. Upon the fifth ratification the agreement entered into force and the IGOi was established in 2009.