Tumultuous is perhaps the best word to describe the last day of the Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm (BRS) TripleCOP.
It started well. The COPs adopted a resource mobilization strategy to help raise funds commensurate with the scale of the chemicals and wastes challenges countries face. The Rotterdam COP agreed to intersessional work on the effectiveness of the Convention after a long night of negotiations.
Then, the proposal for a new Annex to the Convention was introduced and the seams started to strain. The proposed new Annex would list chemicals that countries could not reach consensus to list in Annex III of the treaty. Voting would be permitted to list in the new Annex, among those who are party to it. It's proponents said it was a way to provide information to all countries, for a wide range of chemicals.
Nigeria called for a vote on the proposal. The call divided the room, with many speaking in favor and against such a move. A three-fourths majority would be required to amend the Convention. Several countries raised points of order, and the Russian Federation twice appealed the proposal to vote on the amendment. These appeals each needed to be voted on, by a secret ballot as requested. In the carefully-managed process, no photos could be taken and the Bureau members had to oversee the counting. Neither appeal received support, but the process took several hours.
Parties were then asked to vote on the proposal; again, a secret ballot was requested. The proposal to amend the Convention and add a new Annex failed by a slim margin. Of the 132 parties present and voting, 92 supported the proposal, representing 70%. While some were pleased that the spirit of consensus prevailed, others were frustrated that a minority of parties could block the will of the majority. Many who spoke lamented how the process had unfolded, for various reasons.
There was then a break, after which the mood improved and decisions came swiftly. The Basel Convention COP adopted technical guidelines on plastic waste, which several lauded as a huge achievement to this pressing global problem. Closing the plenaries, Stockholm Convention COP President Keima Gardiner celebrated the work across the Conventions, and thanked the “BRS family” for their work to help realize a toxic-free future.
The Basel Convention gaveled to a close 10:50 pm.
The Rotterdam Convention gaveled to a close at 10:52 pm.
The Stockholm Convention gaveled to a close at 10:57 pm.