The fifth Conference of the Parties (COP5) to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) convened for its fourth day in Geneva, Switzerland on Thursday, 28 April 2011.
In the morning, delegates discussed DDT and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). During the afternoon delegates considered draft decisions on information exchange, effectiveness evaluation, non-compliance and endosulfan.
Contact groups on finance, synergies and budget met throughout the day.
MATTERS RELATED TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONVENTION
MEASURES TO REDUCE OR ELIMINATE RELEASES FROM INTENTIONAL PRODUCTION AND USE: Evaluation of the continued need for the procedure under paragraph 2 (b) of Article 3: Delegates considered and adopted the draft decision (UNEP/POPS/COP.5/CRP.13) under this item without amendment.
DDT: The Secretariat introduced documents inter alia, on: the promotion of DDT alternatives, and a report of the DDT expert group and implementation of activities of the Global Alliance for Alternatives to DDT (UNEP/POPS/COP.5/4-5, UNEP/POPS/COP.5/INF/2-3 and 36).
SOUTH AFRICA provided a summary of the First Assembly of the Global Alliance for Alternatives to DDT which convened on 26 April 2011, noted that the Alliance aims to coordinate activities on the development of alternatives, and called for donor support.
Discussing the results of risk assessment of DDT use in indoor residual spraying, the WHO noted it has updated its position on the use of DDT and associated guidelines.
Noting that DDT was introduced to his country by WHO, GABON emphasized that it had not been effective in preventing vector borne disease and is now banned. INDIA supported the continued use of DDT in line with WHO guidelines. The AFRICAN GROUP called for technical assistance for judicious management of DDT use. MEXICO summarized efforts to phase-out DDT and offered to share its experiences.
The EU invited the Secretariat to collect information on alternatives to DDT, to be assessed by the expert group and POPRC.
INDONESIA recognized the need for a timeframe for reduction of DDT use and called for financial assistance for use of alternatives. The ARAB GROUP supported limits on the use of DDT and extension of resources to conduct inventories of DDT stockpiles. BANGLADESH and the DOMINICAN REPUBLIC called for assistance with disposal of DDT stockpiles.
SWITZERLAND proposed that DDT be phased out by 2020, with review by the COP in 2019.
GHANA highlighted problems caused by unauthorized use of DDT. JAPAN called for further information on effective alternatives.
WHO emphasized that choice of insecticides must consider technical, biological, and epidemiological factors, and highlighted the issue of pyrethroid resistance in mosquitoes.
IPEN urged the COP to establish an independent monitoring mechanism in countries using DDT. BIOVISION FOUNDATION supported rapid phase-out of DDT and deployment of new approaches.
The INDIAN CHEMICAL COUNCIL requested clarification on discrepancies concerning the number of countries that currently use DDT. AFRICA FIGHTING MALARIA drew attention to a decision taken by the African Leaders Malaria Alliance on the need for greater access to DDT to fight malaria.
President Blaha proposed, and delegates agreed, to request the Secretariat to prepare a draft decision on the issue.
PCBs: The Secretariat introduced the documents on PCBs (UNEP/POPS/COP.5/9, UNEP/POPS/COP.5/29, UNEP/POPS/COP.5/INF/4 and UNEP/POPS/COP.5/INF/23).
SRI LANKA requested assistance in accessing test kits for identification of contaminated transformers.
MOLDOVA, with the REPUBLIC OF KOREA, supported the proposed measures in the Secretariat’s report (UNEP/POPS/COP.5/9).
The EU requested that assessment of progress in eliminating PCBs take place at COP7, and, supported by SWITZERLAND, MEXICO and JAPAN, emphasized that the PCB Elimination Network (PEN) should not have financial consequences for the Stockholm Convention.
CHILE called for participation of sectors with relevant PCB(s) management experience.
IRAN, PAKISTAN, and BANGLADESH highlighted the importance of technology transfer and, with LEBANON, COLOMBIA, NIGERIA, and the ARAB GROUP, called for resources for PCB elimination.
CANADA called for the Basel Convention to lead work related to PCB waste. QATAR highlighted its work to eliminate PCBs in accordance with its NIP.
IRAQ called for technical assistance to help in PCB elimination. The AFRICAN GROUP called for, inter alia, training of personnel to deal with environmentally sound management of PCBs; equipment for PCB testing; and disposal and destruction technologies. INDONESIA requested that PEN be more focused on training and capacity building. The CENTER FOR PUBLIC HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL DEVELOPMENT highlighted measures being taken in Nepal to eliminate PCBs, including educating end-users on the dangers of these substances.
Offering the perspective that, through PEN, the Secretariat had become focused on implementation, Joint Executive Secretary Jim Willis presented the Secretariat’s proposal for PEN to continue its operations in a less formal manner, supported by UNEP, similar to the regional centers. COP5 President Blaha requested the Secretariat to prepare a draft decision on this matter.
MEASURES TO REDUCE OR ELIMINATE RELEASES FROM UNINTENTIONAL PRODUCTION: BAT and BEP: Delegates considered the draft decision on guidelines on BAT and provisional guidance on BET (UNEP/POPS/COP.5/CRP.14). The EU suggested amending the periodicity of the expert group meeting from annually to biennially. Delegates adopted the draft decision with this and minor amendments.
Identification and quantification of releases: Delegates considered the draft decision on the review and updating of the Standardized Toolkit for Identification and Quantification of Dioxin and Furan Releases (UNEP/POPS/COP.5/CRP.15), and adopted it without amendment.
LISTING OF CHEMICALS IN ANNEX A, B OR C TO THE CONVENTION: Delegates considered the draft decision on the operation of the POPRC (UNEP/POPS/COP.5/CRP.8), including the decision text and an annex amending the terms of reference (ToR) of the POPRC. CANADA preferred omitting reference to wastes-related recommendations. Delegates agreed to the deletion and adopted the draft decision, and the annex on the POPRC’s ToR.
Delegates considered the draft decision on listing of technical endosulfan, its related isomers, and endosulfan sulfate (UNEP/POPS/COP.5/CRP.19).
INDIA emphasized that all substantive decisions should be consensus-based; called for identification of safe non-POPs alternatives; and underscored the need for technical and financial assistance for developing countries.
KUWAIT supported a total ban on endosulfan. CUBA supported listing endosulfan, pending inclusion of a preambular paragraph in CRP.19 linking endosulfan to financial and technical assistance for developing countries. NORWAY suggested this concern be reflected in decisions on financial resources.
CHINA supported CUBA and said endosulfan sulfates are not intentionally produced and should not be listed in Annex A.
SWITZERLAND called for adoption of the decision and noted that listing endosulfan would enable access to GEF funding.
The EU supported Switzerland and called for keeping endosulfan sulfate in the listing, but noted it could live with China’s proposal to include reference to endosulfan sulfate in a footnote as opposed to listing it in Annex A.
The AFRICAN GROUP called for adoption of the draft decisions on listing and the work programme on endosulfan (CRP.20).
CUBA reiterated its proposal to include reference to financial and technical assistance in CRP.19 and delegates agreed to defer discussion on this matter.
Delegates then turned their attention to the draft decision on the work programme for BDEs and PFOS (CRP.21). KENYA, supported by FIJI, GHANA, MEXICO, BOLIVIA and NORWAY proposed the insertion of language requesting parties to ensure that waste materials containing BDEs are not exported except for the purpose of environmentally sound disposal in the importing country. The EU and CANADA requested time to consult on this addition and the matter was deferred.
REPORTING: Delegates considered the text on reporting (UNEP/POPS/COP.5/CRP.16) and agreed on minor amendments, subject to consideration by the budget group.
EFFECTIVENESS EVALUATION: Delegates considered the draft decision on the global monitoring plan for effectiveness evaluation (UNEP/POPS/COP.5/CRP.11) and adopted the decision without amendment.
INFORMATION EXCHANGE: Delegates considered the draft decision on information exchange (UNEP/POPS/COP.5/CRP.18) and adopted the decision without amendment.
NON-COMPLIANCE: President Blaha introduced a draft decision on resuming negotiations on compliance at COP6 (CRP.12), noting the proposal stresses intersessional work to address major issues.
CHINA requested clarification on what the proposed policy dialogue would entail. Serbia, for CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE, supported the proposal to postpone deliberations on the establishment of a compliance mechanism to COP6. COP5 President Blaha noted that postponing the decision to COP6 was “very sad.” He explained his idea of the policy dialogue, which would see the Bureau facilitate bilateral talks between parties, and stressed that if the draft decision is adopted, parties would have to commit to adopting a compliance mechanism at COP6. Delegates will return to this issue on Friday.
Delegates considered and adopted the draft decision on official communications (UNEP/POPS/COP.5/CRP.22) without amendment.
BUDGET: The group met throughout the day and into the night to discuss draft decisions with budgetary implications, deliberate on which budget scenario to adopt, and consider the resultant implications of the Swiss proposal to reallocate its contributions. They further debated the most appropriate areas to make budget cuts if necessary, with one party stating a preference for cuts within the new POPs activities.
SYNERGIES: The contact group chaired by Osvaldo Álvarez (Chile) met in the morning and concluded revisions of the ToR for the review reports by the Secretariats, and those by UNEP and FAO. They considered textual changes on review arrangements, and joint activities in the draft decision on operationalization of synergies (CRP.2). The group continued consideration of joint services into the evening.
JOINT BUDGET AND SYNERGIES: In the afternoon, the synergies and budget groups met jointly and discussed the budget for the joint Secretariat. They also considered synergies on joint managerial functions, and many parties said it was “interesting but not feasible” to hold back-to-back COPs in 2013.
FINANCE: On financial resources, participants completed discussions of draft decisions on the effective implementation of the memorandum of understanding with the GEF and on the third review of the financial mechanism. They also considered the draft decision on the needs assessment.
On technical assistance, delegates discussed a draft decision endorsing all seven nominated regional and sub-regional centers, with a provision that the endorsement for the nominated center in the Russian Federation would become effective upon deposit of the Russian Federation’s instruments of ratification. They discussed whether to invite further nominations, agreeing to refer to Decision SC3/12 that outlines the ToR for the selection of centers. The contact group also considered guidance on technical assistance.
In the evening session, the contact group was scheduled to address the ToR for the needs assessment, the facilitating work with regard to financial resources and mechanism, and guidance to the financial mechanism.
IN THE CORRIDORS
As COP5 made steady progress on several issues and edged its way towards listing endosulfan, some participants were caught off guard by the African Group’s last-minute request to ensure that waste materials containing BDEs are not exported (except for environmentally sound disposal). Some suggested that, in practice, this could mean that countries could continue recycling BDE-containing foams into products such as carpets (which many NGOs feel violates Article 6 of the Convention), but that they would be requested not to export these for purposes other than disposal.
Some observers heralded this as a way of closing what they see as a loophole introduced in the listing of these products at COP4 by allowing the recycling of articles that contain or may contain them. A few even noted this may be a means of ensuring BDEs in products are more carefully traced. As some delegates scrambled to respond to the request, a few participants philosophically characterized this as an opportunity for developed countries to step up to the plate and demonstrate their commitment to achieving a POPs-free world.
ENB SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS: The Earth Negotiations Bulletin summary and analysis of POPs COP5 will be available on Monday, 2 May 2011 online at: http://enb.iisd.org/chemical/pops/cop5/