On 16 and 17 July 2012 the first “Stakeholder Workshop & StEP Open Meeting in China” was successfully held in Beijing, co-organized as an event of the Solving the E-waste Problem (StEP) Initiative by United Nations University (UNU) and Basel Convention Regional Center for Asia and the Pacific (BCRC Beijing). The workshop was supported by China Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It provided an interactive platform to understand ongoing and upcoming stakeholder activities on e-waste management in China, identify the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders, and facilitate cooperation amongst them based on shared priorities and goals.
The workshop was attended by more than 50 participants, with a variety of Chinese, international and multinational representatives from UN organizations, governmental agencies, research institutes, electronic producers, collection and recycling companies.
The first day of the workshop consisted of presentations about ongoing activities related to used electronics and e-waste management in China, including the progress made by recent policies and the latest developments in electronics recycling technologies in China. International participants also shared their most recent policy progress and expertise related to used electronics management.
The second day focused on in-depth group discussions in which participants identified and compared key priorities and challenges for the different organizational sectors represented at the meeting. During these discussions, participants identified several shared priorities for future work. These included strengthening regulations in order to promote formal e-waste collection channels increase the environmental standards for electronics recyclers in China; developing third-party certification and licensing systems for recyclers; coordinating research & development across academic and industrial sectors; building technical and institutional capacity for the informal recycling sector; and creating a communication platform for knowledge sharing among both domestic and international stakeholders. The second day concluded with a site visit to a local e-waste recycling facility in Beijing.
Following this two-day event, a document summarizing the status quo of e-waste issues, collection and treatment, policy and stakeholders in China will be published by UNU. The document will include the results of a survey completed by participants in this workshop, which gives information about stakeholders’ activities, goals and geographic locations, and relations to each other. An online platform will be developed by MEP and BCRC for stakeholders to continue sharing information and progress on shared priorities. In addition, a provincial-level workshop in Guangdong with a similar format to this one is being planned for September 2012 to address e-waste issues and identify working priorities at the local level.