The conferences of the parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions in spring 2017 called for better global management of chemicals and waste to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (particularly 3, 6, 12 and 14; see go.nature.com/2kw1xsy). As delegates from the Chinese government and the Basel Convention Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific, we are concerned about the loss of political will among developed nations to provide the technical assistance to back such plans in developing countries.
A reason for this reluctance might be that funding for tackling global environmental issues is already stretched. Another US$4.37 billion will be needed to implement the Stockholm Convention in 2018–22, and the global economic downturn has shrunk the Basel Convention Trust Fund, which covers such technical assistance.
Fortunately, some companies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are cooperating to improve the management of industrial chemicals and waste. For example, the urban mining company GEM based in Shenzhen, China, has instigated recycling schemes. And NGOs such as IPEN (www.ipen.org) are publicizing the Stockholm Convention's moratorium on the recycling of persistent organic pollutants.