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Chemicals Management

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December 2007


The second meeting of the Ad Hoc Joint Working Group (AHJWG) on Enhanced Cooperation and Coordination between the Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions convened from 10-13 December 2007 in Vienna, Austria. Participation in the meeting was limited to the 45 members of the AHJWG. The meeting discussed administrative, information management and public awareness, technical substantive, and organizational issues. The meeting agreed that intersessional work prior to the third meeting will focus on developing draft recommendations on, inter alia: administrative issues including back-to-back meetings, resource mobilization, financial management and audit functions; information and public awareness; technical substantive issues including national reporting and potential coordination on compliance; and organizational issues including coordination at the national level, programmatic cooperation in the field and coordinated use of offices and regional centres. The AHJWG agreed that it would meet again from 25-28 March 2008 in Rome, Italy. The recommendations from the meeting will be considered by the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions at their respective Conferences of the Parties (IISD RS sources). Link to further information AHJWG website

November 2007


The third meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC 3) of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) took place from 19-23 November 2007, in Geneva, Switzerland. POPRC 3 approved the risk management evaluation for five chemicals, and recommended that COP 4 consider listing the following under Annex A (elimination): lindane; chlordecone; hexabromobiphenyl (HBB); and pentabromodiphenyl ether (pentaBDE). It also recommended that COP 4 consider listing, under Annex A or Annex B (restriction), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), its salts, and PFOS fluoride (PFOSF). Risk profiles were approved for four chemicals, and POPRC-3 adopted a draft work programme to prepare draft risk management evaluations for those chemicals, namely on: commercial octabromodiphenyl ether, pentachlorobenzene, and alpha and beta hexachlorocyclohexane. The decision on the risk profile for short-chained chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs) was deferred until POPRC 4, scheduled to convene in October 2008. Links to further information Meeting documents IISD RS coverage

The First Meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) to Review and Assess Measures to Address the Global Issue of Mercury convened from 12-16 November 2007, in Bangkok, Thailand. The meeting was being convened in response to decision GC24/3 IV taken at the 24th Session of the UNEP Governing Council (GC), calling for the development of an overarching policy framework for the UNEP Global Mercury Partnership. Over 250 representatives from governments, regional economic integration organizations and stakeholder representatives are attending the meeting. The OEWG reviewed options for enhanced voluntary measures and new or existing international legal instruments on mercury. The meeting agreed on intersessional work to be completed by the Secretariat in seven areas, including: providing information on financial considerations of a free-standing convention, a new protocol to the Stockholm Convention and voluntary measures; providing information on the ways in which sustainable technology transfer and support could be facilitated for global mercury control actions; analysis of implementation options; organization of response measures; analysis of costs and benefits for each of the strategic objectives; analysis on meeting demand of mercury if primary production is phased out; preparation of a paper on major mercury containing products and processes with effective substitutes; and providing information on funding available through the Global Environment Facility and the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management. Link to further information IISD RS coverage

July 2007


The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) International Project Steering Committee (PSC) met for its first meeting via teleconference on 12 July 2007. The PSC is tasked with developing a proposed reporting mechanism for measuring, assessing and reporting on progress for implementing SAICM. The reporting mechanism will be presented at the second session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM 2), tentatively scheduled to take place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 11-15 May 2009. The teleconference reviewed draft indicator questions developed by the consultant, Resource Futures International (RFI), for measuring progress on SAICM implementation. RFI presented four draft questionnaires to solicit information from four SAICM stakeholder categories: national governments, international government organizations, industry,and non-governmental organizations. Further comments on the drafts will be accepted until 20 August 2007. RFI will revise the indictors/questionnaires and a second PSC meeting will be held in mid-September 2007. Link to further information Draft Summary of Discussion

June 2007


The Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS) 75th Forum Standing Committee (FSC) meeting convened from 18-20 June 2007, in Jongny, Switzerland. Participants agreed that IFCS Forum VI, to convene in September 2008, will consider “global partnerships for chemical safety” and “contributing to the 2020 Goal.” The FSC also agreed on the Plenary agenda topics for Forum VI, which will include: nanotechnology and nanomaterials, opportunities and challenges; the need for international action on lead and cadmium; substitution and alternatives; ecologically sound and integrated pest and vector management; and the future of IFCS. The draft FSC meeting report and information on working groups preparing the agenda plenary topics will be available soon on the IFCS website (IISD sources). Link to further information FSC Agendas and Reports website

The FAO Plant Protection Service organized a workshop on “Pesticide Management in Southern Africa,” which convened in Umhlanga Rocks, Durban, South Africa, from 14-16 June 2007. The pesticide life-cycle concept, which is included in the Code of Conduct, was the guiding principle discussed at this workshop. Several key issues were identified during the deliberations, including the need for: development/strengthening of pesticide acts; clarity in registration process; laboratory facilities; improved coordination among various departments; increased awareness of chemical risks; increased understanding of the impact of chemical misuse on the environment; and disposal options for obsolete pesticides. Link to further information Workshop report

May 2007


The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has organized a “Workshop to Reduce Use and Release of Mercury in Products.” UNEP Chemicals and Thailand's Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources organized the workshop, which convened from 17-19 May 2007, in Bangkok, Thailand, with the support of the US Environmental Protection Agency. The workshop was organized in response to the call of the UNEP Governing Council 24th session, for increased efforts to address the global challenges to reduce risks from releases of mercury by reducing the global mercury demand related to use in products and production processes. The workshop was attended by 24 governments, as well as representatives from six nongovernmental organizations, two industry organizations, and two intergovernmental organizations. Participants identified several areas in which action could be taken to decrease the use of mercury in products, including through: raising awareness of political decision makers and consumers/users of mercury; providing for information exchange, including inventory development and cooperation at the regional and national levels; and supporting capacity building efforts to transfer and apply best management practices and new technologies on substitutes to mercury containing products. Link to further information Workshop proceedings

A Wreck Removal Convention has been adopted, under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The IMO, with the support of the UN Office in Nairobi (UNON) and the government of Kenya, organized a diplomatic conference from 14-18 May 2007, in Nairobi, Kenya, to approve the Convention. Shipwrecks can pose hazards to navigation or, because of the nature of their cargo, to the marine and coastal environments, or to both. The Convention, which was prepared by the IMO Legal Committee, will make shipowners financially liable for wrecks and requires them to take out insurance or provide other financial security to cover the costs of wreck removal. It will also provide States with a right of direct action against insurers. In addition, the Convention includes provisions on: the report of and location of wrecks; determination of hazards when a wreck is beyond territorial waters; rights and obligations to remove hazardous ships and wrecks; financial liability; and settlement of disputes. Links to further information IMO Press Release, 10 May 2007 IMO Press Release, 16 May 2007

The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) Conference for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN): Implementation Towards 2008 and Beyond, convened from 9-11 May 2007, in Jakarta, Indonesia. The purpose of the conference was to assess progress with GHS implementation in ASEAN and to review and further develop a regional GHS implementation strategy towards the internationally agreed target date of 2008. The conference was organized by Indonesia, the ASEAN Secretariat, UNITAR and ILO, with financial support from the European Union, Switzerland, and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPWC). Link to further information UNITAR website

The third Conference of the Parties (COP-3) to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) is meeting in Dakar, Senegal, from 30 April-4 May 2007. The meeting's agenda includes an evaluation of the continued need for DDT for disease vector control and alternative strategies to replace DDT, criteria for the review process for entries in the register of specific exemptions, and measures to reduce or eliminate releases from unintentional production of dioxin and furan and releases. Other issues to be addressed by the COP include: guidance on technical assistance; national implementation plans; listing chemicals in Annexes A (Elimination), B (restriction) or C (unintentional production) of the Convention; reports from the Global Environment Facility (GEF); procedures and institutional mechanisms for determining non-compliance and for the treatment of parties found to be in non-compliance; enhancing synergies within the chemicals and waste cluster and the supplementary report on cooperation and coordination among the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions; and adoption of the 2008-2009 budget. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of POPs COP-3

The third meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-3) to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) convened from 30 April-4 May 2007, in Dakar, Senegal. Participants considered several reports on activities within the Convention's mandate and adopted 22 decisions on, inter alia: a revised process for the review of entries in the register of specific exemptions; DDT; measures to reduce or eliminate releases from wastes; guidelines on the standardized toolkit for identification and quantification of releases; guidelines on best available techniques (BAT) and draft guidance on best environmental practices (BEP); regional centers; listing chemicals in Annexes A, B or C of the Convention; reporting; effectiveness evaluation; national implementation plans; budget; financial resources; technical assistance; synergies; and non-compliance. Delegates also agreed that COP-4 will take place from 4-8 May 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland. Link to further information IISD RS coverage

March 2007


The Ad Hoc Joint Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation and Coordination between the Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions held its first meeting in Helsinki, Finland, from 26-28 March 2007. The Working Group was tasked with developing recommendations on ways to enhance cooperation and coordination at the administrative and programmatic levels, to be presented to the Conferences of the Parties of the three Conventions. The meeting was co-chaired by Chile, China and Finland. Participants developed guiding principles for their work, identified national needs to be addressed in promoting cooperation and cooperation, and identified areas of cooperation and coordination that could be promoted. The Working Group concluded that the objectives of coordination and cooperation are the strengthening of the three conventions; coherent policy guidance; and maximizing the effective and efficient use of resources at all levels. The Working Group developed ten principles to guide its work, including: promoting the implementation and enforcement of the conventions; respecting the legal autonomy of each convention; ensuring that form follows function; responding to the specific needs of developing countries and countries with economies in transition; and promoting programmatic coordination and cooperation. National needs to be addressed in promoting cooperation, including institutional, public awareness and information exchange, as well as the mobilization of financial resources, were also recognized. The Working Group also identified three areas of cooperation and coordination that could be promoted, including: among the three secretariats; in new areas such as coordinated use of regional offices and shared legal and financial arrangements; and in formal management and oversight. The Working Group agreed to hold a second meeting in December 2007, during which it will discuss the three areas of cooperation and coordination that could be promoted (IISDRS Sources).

Link to further information Ad hoc Joint Working Group website

At the Third Chemical Review Committee (CRC3) of the Rotterdam Convention, which met from 20-23 March 2007, in Rome, Italy, the committee of experts took steps to include two pesticides – endosulfan and tributyl tin compounds – in the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure under the Convention. Endosulfan, commonly used in cotton farming, was recommended due to the unacceptable risks it poses to workers and to the environment. Tributyl tin compounds, used in anti-fouling paints for ship hulls, were recommended because they enter the marine environment, particularly in enclosed harbors, where they are toxic to fish, molluscs and other organisms. Parties to the Convention will decide when they meet in Rome in 2008 for their biannual Conference of the Parties whether to accept the Chemical Review Committee's guidance. Links to further information CRC3 meeting documents Rotterdam Convention Press Release, 23 March 2007

February 2007


The Asian Development Bank (ADB) hosted a workshop on the “Effective Waste Management and Resource Use Efficiency in East and Southeast Asia” in Manila, the Philippines, from 15-16 February 2007. The workshop formed part of the 3R process initiated by the Ministerial Conference on the 3R Initiative held in Tokyo, Japan, in April 2005, which formally launched the Initiative by the G8 leaders at the Sea Island Summit. The meeting addressed municipal and industrial waste issues, as well as agricultural waste, water and energy. It shared information and experiences on 3R-related areas and identified strategic policies and programmes to promote 3R in some countries. Link to further information Basel Convention Bulletin, April 2007