During the Convention's negotiations in the late 1980s, it was a strongly held view that Parties to the new Convention should not be able to make reservations or exceptions for themselves to avoid the obligations of the Convention. This prohibition against reservations is found today in Article 6 paragraph 1 of the Convention.
At the same time, the negotiating Parties also wanted to ensure that Parties would not normally be allowed to trade in wastes with non-Parties. This was done in part to encourage ratifications, but also to create a level playing field of equal obligations among Parties while ensuring adherence to the Convention's obligations. However, at the same time, it was argued that at the early stages of the Convention there might be many non-Parties and essential trade in wastes might be disrupted. Further it was argued that the strict Party/non-Party trade prohibition might be discriminatory with respect to free trade considerations. Thus, an exception was created in Article 11 to allow Parties to trade with non-Parties by using legally binding agreements as long as the core obligations of the Convention are maintained in these bilateral or multilateral agreements.
Thus, Article 11 Agreements ratified after the entry into force of the Convention are allowed as described in Article 11's paragraph 1. They are accepted "provided that such agreements or arrangements do not derogate from the environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes and other wastes as required by the Convention. These agreements or arrangements shall stipulate provisions that are no less environmentally sound than those provided for by the Convention..."
"Environmentally sound management" is defined in the Convention as "taking all practicable steps to ensure that hazardous wastes or other wastes are managed in a manner which will protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects which may result from such wastes." Abiding by the Convention itself is an obvious "practicable step" to protect human health and the environment. Ignoring Convention obligations clearly derogates from the environmentally sound management of plastic wastes.
Today, however, certain OECD countries are using Article 11 to create agreements that are far weaker or, in certain cases, completely ignoring the Basel Convention to avoid and circumvent the recent new Plastic Waste listings A3210 and Y48.
Most of these so-called Art. 11 agreements provide no control over the new plastic wastes instead of controlling these as required under the Convention. They are therefore clearly not legally valid under Article 11 requirement that such agreements be "no less environmentally sound than those provided for by the Convention."