Published by the International
Institute for Sustainable Development
Vol. 15 No. 14
January 26 1999
POPS INC-2 HIGHLIGHTS
MONDAY, 25 JANUARY 1999
On the first day of the second session of the International
Negotiating Committee (INC-2) for an International Legally
Binding Instrument for Implementing Action on Certain Persistent
Organic Pollutants (POPs), delegates convened in Plenary
throughout the day. In the morning, delegates heard opening
remarks, addressed organizational matters and heard updates on
the first meeting of the Criteria Expert Group (CEG-1), the
third meeting of the Intersessional Group (ISG-3) of the
Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS) and the
activities of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). Delegates
also began discussions on an expanded outline of an
international legally binding instrument.
Chair John Buccini (Canada) opened INC-2 and introduced
Shafqat Kakakhel, Deputy Director of UNEP, to deliver opening
remarks. Mr. Kakakhel welcomed delegates to INC-2 on behalf of
Dr. Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director of UNEP. He underscored
that the negotiation of a POPs treaty is a first priority for
UNEP. He noted that the work of the INC is well underway, and
lauded the consensus achieved at INC-1 as a step forward for
global action to reduce and eliminate all environmental
discharges of POPs. He emphasized that no country or person is
protected from the effects of POPs and that no country alone can
stem the tide. He emphasized the importance of will and
resources in meeting the challenge of negotiating a treaty by
the year 2000 and highlighted the POPs Club as a mechanism for
countries and NGOs to contribute resources to support
negotiations. In closing, he expressed his belief that INC-2
will act deliberately and decisively to further the elaboration
of a POPs convention.
Chair Buccini introduced, and the Plenary adopted, the agenda
for INC-2 (UNEP/POPS/INC.2/1). Regarding the organization of
work, Chair Buccini explained that Plenary sessions will be held
daily and that there are provisions for the working group on
implementation issues to meet from Tuesday through Thursday.
INDIA, on behalf of the Asia Pacific Group, announced that Jafar
Ghamieh (Iran) would replace Dr. Mohammed Asrarul Haque (India)
as the regional representative to the Bureau.
Jim Willis, Head of UNEP Chemicals, presented the
Secretariats report on intersessional work as requested by INC-
1, highlighting the significant degree of work undertaken and
noting the documents prepared for INC-2. He also noted the
availability of a POPs characterization database and new
contributions received from the GEF towards POPs identification
and management initiatives. Mr. Willis then introduced a
document on the development of a master list of actions on the
reduction and/or elimination of the releases of POPs
(UNEP/POPS/INC.2/INF/8). He hoped to produce and maintain a
master list of ongoing activities at the national, regional and
international levels for distribution at INC-3 and to update the
list to match the meeting schedule.
Dr. Ulrich Schlottmann (Germany) highlighted the discussions
and outcomes of ISG-3 held in Japan in December 1998. Andrea
Merla, on behalf of the GEF, underscored the GEFs support for
the POPs negotiations and its awareness of the adverse effects
of POPs. He emphasized the success of the Montreal Protocol, and
the GEFs contributions and experience. He confirmed that the
GEF is ready to serve as the financial mechanism for the POPS
instrument and underscored that additional resources will be
CEG Co-Chairs Reiner Arndt (Germany) and Fatoumata
JallowNdoye (The Gambia) reported on CEG-1 and referred
delegates to the report of the meeting (UNEP/POPS/INC/CEG/1/3).
Co-Chair Arndt highlighted the CEGs suggestion for the INC to
consult the International Maritime Organization (IMO) before
addressing whether the POPs instrument should encompass
anthropogenic transport of tributyl tin (TBT). He noted both the
CEGs recommendation for a provision to protect against new
substances exhibiting POPs characteristics and the screening
criteria identified by the CEG. Co-Chair Jallow Ndoye
highlighted the table of tasks for a procedure and the proposed
work plan for the CEG. IRAN emphasized that the CEG evaluate
socio-economic factors in balance with scientific factors.
NORWAY stressed inclusion of the precautionary principle in
developing criteria and procedure and the importance of
international and regional concerns and substantiating potential
damage with respect to long range transport. SOUTH AFRICA called
for a closer look at contamination due to river transport and
asked whether this constituted a global problem.
Supporting IRAN, GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL said socio-economic
considerations are necessary in determining measures, a
timeframe and alternatives. The DOMINICAN REPUBLIC expressed
concern regarding proof of risk or hazard. GREENPEACE
INTERNATIONAL underscored the difficulty in proving the harm of
a substance. KUWAIT said a POPs convention needs solutions,
including alternatives to DDT.
CEG Co-Chair Jallow Ndoye highlighted the CEG's discussion on
contamination due to river transport and reiterated that the CEG
had established a contact group to look at socio-economic
factors. CEG Co-Chair Arndt said solving the DDT dilemma was not
the CEG's responsibility. Chair Buccini said the CEG is to deal
with new POPs and the INC would deal with DDT. At the CEG's
request, he said an information document would be made available
outlining what the IMO is doing to address the problem of TBT.
He said consideration of including a new chemical provision in
the convention should be dealt with under the agenda item on
preparing an international instrument.
Prior to actual discussion on the topic of preparation of an
international legally binding instrument, Chair Buccini asked
delegates to confirm that the Secretariat-prepared document,
Expanded outline of an international legally binding instrument
for implementing international action on certain POPs
(UNEP/POPS/INC. 2/2), would provide an acceptable departure
point for discussions and to note additional items that they
wished to include in the instrument. Chair Buccini said that the
discussion would indicate the types of measures that will be
taken under the convention and thereby provide guidance for the
discussions of the working group on implementation issues. He
also emphasized the importance of covering all articles in the
instrument during the week in order to turn the Secretariat
draft text into an INC draft text.
Mr. Willis explained that the Secretariat based the
elaboration of the expanded outline on a variety of other
international treaties and emphasized that the document did not
provide draft text but an expanded outline. The majority of
delegations, including the CZECH REPUBLIC, SOUTH AFRICA, IRAN,
MALAYSIA, THAILAND and ICELAND, expressed support for the
document and noted areas of importance to be addressed. GERMANY,
on behalf of the EU, called for inclusion of obligations that
ban trade in prohibited chemicals, with the exception of
transboundary movements for destruction. ETHIOPIA, ANGOLA and
SENEGAL called for inclusion of provisions proposed at INC-1 on,
inter alia: inventory requirements; liability and compensation;
remediation and clean-up of contaminated sites; transportation,
storage and distribution; and regional cooperation. SOUTH AFRICA
said attention must be given to differing regional and national
conditions, especially in developing countries and countries
with economies in transition. EGYPT called for regional training
centers to raise awareness.
CHINA noted that issues surrounding the production, export
and accumulative impacts of POPs are different for developed and
developing countries and, with IRAN, said the instrument should
stipulate shared but differentiated responsibilities. The US,
recalling discussions of responsibilities during negotiations of
the PIC Convention, preferred the concept of shared
responsibilities. The DOMINICAN REPUBLIC underscored the need to
address non compliance and called for a financial mechanism
modeled after that of the Montreal Protocol. IRAN stressed the
need to link commitments undertaken and financial and
technological needs for implementation and, with CHINA,
emphasized the importance of reliable financial and
technological assistance to ensure compliance in developing
countries. SWITZERLAND said the GEF offer to serve as the
financial mechanism could meet concerns regarding financial
The RUSSIAN FEDERATION emphasized that the convention must be
dynamic and take into account social and economic factors in
developing countries and countries with economies in transition.
INDIA underscored the importance of the determination of
criteria for new POPs and financial and technical assistance. He
said diseases such as malaria may necessitate a phase out over a
period of time and, along with BRAZIL, COLOMBIA and PAKISTAN,
emphasized the need for a differentiated timetable, similar to
that of the Montreal Protocol, for phasing out POPs.
CUBA noted that pollution from POPs varies over the life
cycle of the pollutants and, noting that this could exempt some
POPs in certain uses, called for an article establishing the
scope of the treaty. ALGERIA noted that the problem of storage
of waste is not addressed. ZAMBIA said emphasis should be placed
on alternatives to POPs. The INTERNATIONAL POPS ELIMINATION
NETWORK (IPEN) called for, inter alia: a provision stating that
POPs be eliminated in an expedient manner; the development of
programmes to help developing countries find alternatives to
POPs; and clear criteria for identifying new POPs.
BRAZIL underscored the importance of addressing
unintentionally produced byproducts. SWITZERLAND said the
convention should have a procedure for amending annexes to allow
technical provisions to adapt to state of the art technology.
SOUTH AFRICA, supported by KENYA, underscored coordination of
international instruments. COLOMBIA stressed the need to define
the objective and purpose of the convention.
The INDIGENOUS ENVIRONMENTAL NETWORK called for evaluation of
religious, environmental and cultural impacts of exposure.
INUITS OF THE WORLD called for a comprehensive, verifiable and
rigorous POPs elimination treaty.
Delegates next addressed the proposed article on Measures to
Reduce or Eliminate Releases of POPs into the Environment and
its specific paragraphs on prohibition, restrictions, reduction
with the aim of elimination, and management and disposal of
stockpiles. INDIA and CHINA stressed different phase out
schedules for developed and developing countries. In addition to
prohibiting production and use of certain POPs, ALGERIA,
supported by NORWAY, called for prohibition of their import and
export. The EU, supported by the GAMBIA, said transboundary
movement should be for the explicit purpose of destruction. The
GAMBIA called for prohibition of production and use to extend to
illegal entry. The US stressed prohibition of production as a
key measure. ARGENTINA called for clarification as to whether
the restrictions on the production and use clause embraced
On reducing releases, the EU, with NORWAY, said definition of
best available techniques was necessary. JAPAN stressed the
importance of internationally comparable release inventories for
use by all parties. The US stressed efforts from both developing
and developed countries on release inventories and the need for
good baseline data in reduction of total annual releases. CANADA
supported emissions reduction targets that accommodate
On stockpiles, the GAMBIA supported a paragraph to reflect
that parties with capacity should assist those without. NORWAY
supported further looking into stockpiles of banned substances
and said export should only be for environmentally sound
destruction. JAPAN emphasized identifying all stockpiles in an
environmentally sound manner and preventing their accumulation.
ALGERIA stressed the need to address the stockpile
elimination difficulties of some countries and ETHIOPIA called
for obligations on exporting countries to address stockpiles
problems. PAPUA NEW GUINEA stressed protection of developing
countries from dumping of unwanted products.
JAPAN said exemptions should include public health
emergencies and use for research. CANADA and GERMANY supported
some limited provision for exemptions. SWAZILAND reiterated the
need to address export and import issues. AUSTRALIA, CANADA and
NEW ZEALAND cautioned against putting too much emphasis on
import and export controls. The US, supported by CANADA, JAPAN
and others, supported a simpler structure with fewer annexes.
CONSUMERS INTERNATIONAL called for consideration of chemical
or biological transformation of certain substances into POPs.
GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL underscored that elimination is the
ultimate goal and that the language used must reflect this, and
called for a greater global effort in eradicating stockpiles.
The INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF CHEMICAL ASSOCIATIONS (ICCA)
underscored their historical involvement and support for the
IN THE CORRIDORS
On the first day of INC-2 there was an overall feeling of
positive energy among delegates and little sign of controversy.
However, initial trembles of underlying issues surrounding
financial mechanisms were felt as some delegates expressed doubt
that the GEF could provide adequate means for comprehensive
implementation of a POPs convention, given its current
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: The Plenary will convene in Conference Room 2 at
10:00 am to continue general discussions on clauses of the
convention. The Plenary will also discuss terms of reference for
the working group on implementation issues, which is expected to
convene following this discussion.
SPECIAL EVENT: IPEN will hold a reception at 6:15 pm. Dr.
Klaus Tï¿½pfer is expected to address delegates at the reception.