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SUVA, Fiji Islands (September 26, 2001 – Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat)--A regional convention to ban the importation of hazardous and radioactive wastes and to control the movement of hazardous and radioactive wastes within the South Pacific region will come into force on October 21, 2001, as a result of Tuvalu acceding to the Waigani Convention.

"This is a very significant step for the region towards the management and effective protection of our environment," said the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, W. Noel Levi, CBE.

"I urge all members to implement the provisions of the Convention."

The Waigani Convention is formally known as the Convention to Ban the Importation into Forum Island Countries of Hazardous and Radioactive Wastes and to Control the Transboundary Movement and Management of Hazardous Wastes within the South Pacific Region.

The Convention was opened for signature and ratification on September 16, 1995 and takes effect 30 days after ratification or accession by at least ten of the parties to the Agreement.

The Government of Tuvalu deposited its instrument of accession this week with Mr. Levi, who is the depositary.

The Apia-based South Pacific Regional Environment Programme is the Secretariat for the Agreement.

The full text of the Waigani Convention is available at http://www.forumsec.org.fj/docs/wc.htm

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