More than 1,000 people from 170 countries gathered on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on Monday to discuss the management of waste under the Basel Convention, organisers said.
Indonesian Environment Minister Rahmat Witoelar opened the five-day meeting organised by the governing body of the 1992 convention on the generation and movement of waste.
The ninth such "Council of the Parties" is scheduled to focus on the impacts of hazardous waste on human health and livelihoods in terms of the UN's millennium development goals, organisers said.
It will also include discussions on the disposal of massive amounts of electronic waste such as old mobile phones.
Witoelar said Indonesia's long coastline made it particularly vulnerable to the illegal dumping of toxic waste.
"Due to its archipelagic nature, with the second longest coastal line in the world, Indonesia is vulnerable to illegal traffic of transboundary hazardous waste," he said.
The Basel Convention is an international treaty which regulates the international trade in hazardous waste and aims to minimise its generation and movement across borders.
Participants are expected to adopt a "Bali Declaration" aimed at highlighting the importance of health and waste management for global development strategies such as reducing poverty.
"As we are all too often reminded, hazardous wastes continue to pose serious risks for human health and the environment," said Basel Convention Executive Secretary Katharina Kummer Peiry said in a statement ahead of the meeting.
"It is especially important that this meeting reaffirms the undeniable interdependence between environmentally sound waste management and the achievement of sustainable development, especially for those who need it the most."