Summary of the matter addressed in the submission:

Submission SEM-15-002 (Management of Analog TV Waste) was filed by several individuals and NGOs in Mexico, asserting that while millions of TV sets are being discarded as a result of the so-called “analog blackout” (the conversion from analog to digital TV broadcasting), a management plan required by Mexican law is not being implemented. The Submitters maintain that Mexico’s National Program for the Integral Management of Discarded TVs from the Transition to Digital Television (Programa Nacional para la Gestión Integral de los Televisores Desechados por la Transición a la Televisión Digital Terrestre) is “unattainable,” “not sufficiently precise, and neither adequate to the reality of the situation nor of the time required for program implementation.” The Submitters maintain that government authorities are not allowing public participation and allege a lack of coordination between levels of government, an absence of information to the public, and the lack of a budget to implement the program. They further maintain that the call center for the program is not operating.

The Submitters assert that Mexico is failing to effectively enforce the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, as well as provisions of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States (Constitución Política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos), the Federal Environmental Liability Law (Ley Federal de Responsabilidad Ambiental), the General Law of Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection (Ley general del Equilibrio Ecológico y La Protección al Ambiente), the General Law for Prevention and Comprehensive Management of Waste (Ley General para la Prevención y Gestión Integral de los Residuos), and the Regulations to that Law, and Mexican Official Standard NOM-161-SEMARNAT-2011.

Summary of the response provided by the Party:

On 30 May 2016, Mexico provided its response in accordance with NAAEC Article 14(3). The Party asserts that the transition to digital television transmission (DTT) was planned and coordinated through official instruments that are presently in operation. These instruments include the Work Program for the Transition to Digital Television Transmission (Programa de Trabajo para la Transición a la Televisión Digital), the National Program for the Integral Management of Discarded TVs from the Transition to Digital Television (Programa Nacional para la Gestión Integral de los Televisores Desechados por la Transición a la Televisión Digital Terrestre), i.e., the “National Program,” as well as an agreement on the bases for collaboration on environmental protection regarding the negative impacts that could arise from the management and improper final disposal of analog television sets discarded due to the transition to digital transmission. Moreover, the Party contends that these national policies and programs may not be subject to examination through the submissions on effective enforcement matters process (the “SEM process”) because —contrary to the assertions of the Submitters— they do not qualify as environmental law nor are they expressly mandated by any of the Party’s environmental laws.

Mexico also remarks that the obligations arising from the Stockholm Convention do not conform to the NAAEC’s definition of “environmental law” and that the absence of a law, regulations or legal provisions for the implementation of said obligations is precisely why the Convention may not be considered under the SEM process.

With respect to the Submitters’ assertion questioning the classification and management of the electronic wastes at issue in the submission, Mexico affirms that, in compliance with Official Mexican Standard NOM-161, analog television sets are classified as special management wastes provided they remain intact. This standard establishes that disposal of these wastes shall be subject to a management plan. In its response, the Party explains that the General Law for the Prevention and Comprehensive Management of Waste (Ley General para la Prevención y Gestión Integral de los Residuos—LGPGIR) delegates to the states jurisdiction over special management wastes, as well as over the formulation and implementation of the corresponding management programs. In addition, the Party affirms that the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales—Semarnat), in exercising the powers attributed to the Ministry under the LGPGIR, prepared the National Program with the goal of establishing a public policy on the management of discarded television sets. The Party contends that the starting point in developing the National Program was the division of powers between the three orders of government established in the LGPGIR and that the Program does not seek to replace the management plans prescribed by said law.

Moreover, Mexico points out that the parties who are required by law to carry out the special management plans for discarded television sets are the manufacturers, importers, exporters and distributors of these products — in the terms of LGPGIR Article 28.

With respect to the Submitters’ assertions regarding the failure to enforce the principles of waste minimization, recovery and utilization in relation to discarded television sets, the Party remarks that the distribution of new television sets does not generate electrical and electronics appliance wastes per se and that in characterizing old television sets as special management waste, based on the LGPGIR, the National Program is consistent with said principles. Furthermore, the Party points out that, under Article 20 section II of the Regulation to the LGPGIR, the manufacturers, importers, exporters and distributors of products which become special management waste, once they are discarded, are also required by law to include in their management plans measures to ensure compliance with the principles of waste minimization, recovery and utilization.

Regarding the Submitters’ assertion on the lack of information to citizens, Mexico affirms that it did indeed communicate with and inform the public of the environmental risks that the improper disposal of analog television sets would represent via campaigns in the mass media (including radio and television), social media, the print media and other channels of information.

Names and citations of the environmental laws in question:

Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, as well as provisions of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States (Constitución Política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos), the Federal Environmental Liability Law (Ley Federal de Responsabilidad Ambiental), the General Law of Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection (Ley general del Equilibrio Ecológico y La Protección al Ambiente), the General Law for Prevention and Comprehensive Management of Waste (Ley General para la Prevención y Gestión Integral de los Residuos) and the Regulations to that Law, and Mexican Official Standard NOM-161-SEMARNAT-2011.

Submitter(s):

Names withheld pursuant to Article 11(8)(a)

Submission Timeline

August 24, 2015

The Secretariat received a submission and began a preliminary analysis of it under the guidelines.

Submission - Submission authored by Submitter(s) on 23/08/2015

Acknowledgement - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 24/08/2015

September 22, 2015

The Secretariat notified the submitter(s) that the submission did not meet all of the Article 14(1) criteria and that the submitter(s) had 60 days to provide the Secretariat with a revised submission that conforms with Article 14(1).

Determination - Secretariat Determination under Article 14 (1) authored by Secretariat on 22/09/2015

December 4, 2015

The Secretariat received a revised submission and began to analyze it.

Submission - Submission authored by Submitter(s) on 04/12/2015

Acknowledgement - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 04/12/2015

December 7, 2015

The Submitters corrected the minor errors of form.

Acknowledgement - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 07/12/2015

March 1, 2016

The Secretariat determined that the submission met the criteria of Article 14(1) and requested a response from the concerned government Party in accordance with Article 14(2).

Determination - Secretariat Determination under Article 14 (1) and 14 (2) authored by Secretariat on 01/03/2016

May 30, 2016

The Secretariat received a response from the concerned government Party and began considering whether to recommend a factual record.

Party Response - Response from the Party under Article 14 (3) authored by Mexico on 30/05/2016

Acknowledgement - Other document authored by Secretariat on 31/05/2016

Other Documents - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 31/05/2016

December 2, 2016

The Secretariat determined not to recommend the preparation of a factual record. Under guideline 9.6, the process was terminated.

Determination - Secretariat Determination under Article 15 (1) authored by Secretariat on 02/12/2016