Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB)

Volume 15 Number 248 | Tuesday, 2 May 2017


BRS Conventions COPs Highlights

Monday, 1 May 2017 | Geneva, Switzerland


Languages: EN (HTML/PDF) FR (HTML/PDF)
Visit our IISD/ENB Meeting Coverage from Geneva, Switzerland at: http://enb.iisd.org/chemical/cops/2017/

Plenary convened in a joint session of the BRS COPs on Monday morning for reports from contact groups. In the morning, BC COP13 convened, followed by SC COP8. Both COPs reconvened briefly in the afternoon to take decisions, after which plenary was suspended. Contact groups met throughout the day.

BASEL COP13

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, COORDINATION AND PARTNERSHIPS: Basel Convention Partnership Programme: Partnership for Action on Computing Equipment (PACE): The Secretariat introduced the documents (CHW.13/13 and 13/Add.1; CHW.13/INF/15 and 31). The PACE Co-Chairs, Marco Buletti (Switzerland) and Leila Devia (Argentina), reported on the group’s work.

Several countries lauded the work of PACE. SERBIA, LIBERIA, NIGERIA and LESOTHO supported the work of BCRCs on e-waste.

BURKINA FASO shared their experience in implementing a pilot project on electrical waste. IRAQ requested the Secretariat to provide a report on the differences between electrical and electronic waste. IRAN requested a list of end-of-life management measures for e-waste. BAHRAIN, supported by CAMEROON, called for a list of e-waste exporting companies to better manage illegal traffic.

INDIA stressed that as the e-waste TGs have not been finalized, adoption on the draft decision on PACE should be deferred.

Delegates agreed to request the Secretariat to revise the draft decision, in collaboration with India and the PACE Co-Chairs.

Environmental Network for Optimizing Regulatory Compliance on Illegal Traffic (ENFORCE): The Secretariat introduced the documents (CHW.13/14 and INF/32). ENFORCE Chair Leila Devia (Argentina) reported on the second meeting of the Network, calling on the COP to nominate five members to the Network to serve until COP14.

The EU, INDIA, PERU, NIGERIA and CHINA supported the continuation of ENFORCE’s work.

IRAQ requested ENFORCE to provide information on national legislation to combat illegal traffic. CHINA suggested the Network use relevant cases to provide more up-to-date experience. BC COP13 President Khashashneh confirmed that analyzing cases is within the Terms of Reference.

The INTERNATIONAL NETWORK FOR ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE AND ENFORCEMENT and the EU NETWORK FOR IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT OF EU LAW called for promoting the visibility of the networks to enhance cooperation. 

Delegates agreed to adopt the draft decision with textual amendments suggested by the EU.  

Proposed partnership on household waste: The Secretariat introduced the documents (CHW.13/15 and INF/33). Gabriela Medina (Uruguay) and Prakash Kowlesser (Mauritius), Co-Chairs of the informal group, summarized the group’s work and introduced the concept note establishing a partnership.

INDIA, Argentina on behalf of GRULAC, LIBERIA, Nigeria on behalf of the AFRICAN GROUP, INDONESIA, SRI LANKA, IRAN, KAZAKHSTAN, the COOK ISLANDS, and SAUDI ARABIA highlighted the difficulties in managing household wastes and supported formation of this new partnership.

The EU welcomed the progress made and introduced two CRPs: one on the terms of reference (CRP.6) and the other a draft decision (CRP.18) on creating innovative solutions for ESM of household waste. IPEN and ISLAND SUSTAINABILITY ALLIANCE both noted the importance of recognizing environmentally sound options for the treatment of household wastes in the context of the SC and small island developing states (SIDS), respectively.

KYRGYZSTAN called for technical assistance, LIBYA for financial resources, and MALI for support to develop infrastructure to manage household wastes. MOROCCO stressed the need for monitored landfills for household wastes.

CAMEROON, with SUDAN and ETHIOPIA, called for the partnership to focus on plastics. GUINEA noted potential linkages with the SC, pointing to the management of plastics in household wastes. TOGO highlighted the country’s legislation banning the import and export of non-biodegradable plastic.

IRAQ called for cooperation between the BC and SC to tackle challenges related to household wastes containing POPs, with YEMEN also calling for cooperation on household wastes containing mercury. NIGER called on the partnership to consider job-creation aspects in household waste management.

BAHRAIN called on the partnership to prepare a comparative study of techniques and approaches on the management of household wastes. SENEGAL called on the partnership to prepare a manual on this issue. SAMOA called for appropriate, sustainable household waste disposal technologies for SIDS. Delegates agreed to adopt the draft decision, pending confirmation from the budget group, and taking into account textual amendments by the EU, as well as the TORs for the partnership on household wastes.

STRATEGIC ISSUES: Cartagena Declaration on the Prevention, Minimization and Recovery of Hazardous Wastes and Other Wastes: Delegates agreed to adopt the draft decision (CRP.27).

MOU with UNEP: Delegates agreed to adopt the draft MOU between UNEP and the BC COP (CRP.28).

STOCKHOLM COP8

LISTING OF CHEMICALS: SC COP8 President Adu-Kumi noted the SC listings contact group had agreed to a “package deal” on five decisions related to decaBDE, SCCPs and HCBD. He invited delegates to adopt each of the decisions pending confirmation that the financial implications of the decision been accommodiated in the 2018-19 biennium.

decaBDE: Delegates agreed to adopt: the decision to list decaBDE in Annex A to the Convention (CRP.14) with specific exemptions for production and use; and the review of information related to specific exemptions (CRP.15).

SCCPs: Delegates agreed to adopt the draft decision to list SCCPs in Annex A with specific exemptions (CRP.13) and to invite the BC to update its TGs on POPs to address SCCPs. SC COP8 also agreed to adopt the review of information related to specific exemptions for SCCPs (CRP.16), with the inclusion of a new paragraph proposed by the Russian Federation inviting parties and others to provide information on alternatives to SCCPs.

HCBD: Delegates agreed to adopt the draft decision to list HCBD in Annex C (POPS/COP.8/15). SC COP8 also agreed to invite the BC COP to update the TGs on POPs to address unintentional uses of HCBD.

BDEs: SC COP8 President Adu-Kumi proposed, and parties agreed, to adopt the evaluation and review of BDEs pursuant to paragraph 2 of parts IV and V of Annex A (CRP.21), which require every second meeting of the COP to evaluate progress parties have made toward elimination of these substances.  

MOU between UNEP and the SC COP: Delegates agreed to adopt the draft decision on the MOU (CRP.17)

Regional and sub-regional centres for capacity-building and transfer of technology: SC COP8 President Adu-Kumi proposed, and parties agreed, to adopt the draft decision.

PCBs: Noting that square brackets remained in the draft decision, President Adu-Kumi called for informal consultations to resolve this. IRAN, the EU, KYRGYZSTAN, NORWAY and SWITZERLAND indicated their intent to participate. 

CONTACT GROUPS

BC COMPLIANCE: The contact group convened in the morning and evening. In the morning, participants reached agreement on the ICC’s review of national reporting, national legislation and electronic approaches to the notification and movement documents, including setting the interim targets for reports due for 2014 and 2015: “10% are complete and submitted on time” and “20% of reports are complete as submitted but late.” Views differed on specific submissions regarding party implementation and compliance and co-chairs encouraged further informal consultations between two parties.

BC TECHNICAL MATTERS: The contact group convened in the morning and afternoon. In the morning, delegates focused on the intersessional process to continue work on the e-waste TGs. Several supported a process outlined by a CRP submitted by China to establish a technical expert group comprised of 25 members, 20 from parties and five from BCRCs. Some developed countries suggested adding mention to regional balance.

In the afternoon, the contact group considered a draft decision proposed by the Co-Chairs. Many supported the establishment of an expert group that will develop its own working modalities. Participants discussed regional centres’ participation, and the number of non-party observers and their selection. One developing country preferred that the group “finalize” the TGs while some developed countries preferred the group “advance the work.” The contact group continued into the evening.

BC STRATEGIC MATTERS: The group worked throughout the afternoon to complete its work. Participants agreed on text for both the draft decision and work programme of the group on ESM. Participants devoted the rest of the session to a final reading of the draft decision to evaluate the Strategic Framework by 2021. Discussions focused on the need for a SIWG to perform this work immediately after BC COP13, as well as assurance that would parties be involved throughout the process.

IN THE CORRIDORS

As delegates reconvened after a day off, many predicted a sharp uptick in the pace and intensity of work during the coming days. Several appreciated the Swiss-hosted reception held on Saturday night, which was a welcome break from work, but also strengthened relationships among participants. One delegate jokingly proposed a future “contact group on dancing Co-Chaired by the three Presidents and the Secretariat.” With this goodwill bolstering the atmosphere in plenary, several decisions were adopted, including a package of decisions to list three chemicals under the SC.

This package emerged from intense contact group discussions involving give and take across the SCCPs and decaBDE decisions, yet the decisions were applauded and adopted without further comment – a juxtaposition not lost on observers and delegates. Several were unhappy with the lack of discussion in plenary, lamenting what they characterized as a “problematic” decision-making process. Noting broad exemptions on decaBDE for the aerospace industry, some delegates emphasized that “this process of demanding exemptions without justification is not OK.” Some observers were “appalled” that the lists of exemptions for decaBDE and SCCPs were long, while commentary on the implications of all these continued applications was short. Another delegate expressed relief that these decisions were finished comparatively early in the meeting. Recalling that listing decisions at SC COP7 occurred in the wee hours of the last night and for one chemical, by a vote, he said it was a good sign that these decisions were “finished so soon, and particularly well before ministers arrive.”