On its third day, the COP-4.2 plenary heard progress reports from the contact groups on effectiveness evaluation and Annexes A and B, and an update from the credentials committee. Plenary then reconvened the contact group on the Convention’s budget and programme of work (POW) established at COP-4.1, and additionally created a new contact group tasked with working out a compromise on waste thresholds. The rest of the day was devoted to contact group work.
Contact Group on Annexes A and B
In the morning report to plenary, Co-Chair David Kapindula, Zambia, said the group had discussed differing views on phaseout dates for the product proposals in part 1 of Annex A.
In its afternoon session, deliberations focused on target dates for the phaseout of polyurethane production using mercury-containing catalysts. Delegates wavered between three proposed deadlines: 2023, 2025 and 2030. Some delegates asked if this issue could be deferred to the next COP; with little consensus achieved, the Co-Chairs decided to move forward to other text.
Delegates then debated on national plans as to whether they intend to implement a phasedown or phaseout of the use of dental amalgam. Some maintained that phaseout should be favored if low-income countries were able to do so; they noted that it is possible and there are no resource constraints to doing so – alternatives are available and income level of country is not a factor.
The group continued discussions into the evening.
Contact Group on the Effectiveness Evaluation
In the morning report to plenary, Co-Chair Rodges Ankrah, US, said the contact group had decided to change the name of the proposed effectiveness evaluation committee to the effectiveness evaluation group. He reported substantial progress in reviewing text submitted by parties on the draft decision, namely regarding views on membership and skillsets needed for the effectiveness evaluation group and the scientific advisory body.
In its morning session, the contact group honed in on finalizing text on procedural matters such as the format of meetings for the scientific advisory group and whether intersessional work can be effectively advanced through online work, or whether in-person meetings were preferred. Co-Chairs Ankrah and Agustin Harte, Argentina, also sought consensus on text surrounding monitoring guidance and the number of tasks outlined in the draft decision.
Discussions were expected to resume working on unfinished text in the evening.
Contact Group on Waste Thresholds
In the group's inaugural meeting in the afternoon, Co-Chairs Teeraporn Wiriwutikorn, Thailand, and Karissa Kovner, US, led discussions on the two options offered by the expert group for thresholds for wastes contaminated with mercury and mercury compounds. One option discussed would set a total mercury content threshold of 25 mg/kg but allow for tougher thresholds set at the national or local levels, and envisions an expert group to develop voluntary guidance on the establishment of risk-based thresholds between 1 and 25 mg/kg. Proponents explained why this might be the best option and would allow work on technical guidelines for mercury waste to progress under the Basel Convention. Others raised possible practical problems in applying this approach, citing different national waste management circumstances and regulatory approaches. The EU, Chile, and Switzerland announced that they would propose a joint CRP suggesting a way forward.