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Third meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (PIC COP-3)
9-13 October 2006 | Geneva, Switzerland
Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB)
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9 Oct
13 Oct &

Highlights for Monday, 9 October 2006

PIC COP-3 convened today in Geneva, Switzerland. In the morning, delegates heard opening statements by representatives of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and addressed organizational matters, rules of procedure, implementation of the Convention, and non-compliance issues. In the afternoon, delegates continued meeting in plenary in parallel with the budget contact group and a working group on non-compliance.

L-R: Maria Teriosina, COP-3 rapporteur; Frits Schlingemann, Regional Director for Europe, UNEP; Maged Younes, Head of UNEP Chemicals; Yue Ruisheng, PIC COP-3 President; Niek van der Graaff, Joint Executive Secretary - FAO; and Shivaji Pandey, Director Plant Production and Protection Division of the FAO.
Yue Ruisheng, PIC COP-3 President, opened the conference and welcomed the Democratic Republic of Congo as the Convention’s 109th signatory, and said commitments made when ratifying the Convention should now be turned into action.
Frits Schlingemann, Regional Director for Europe, UNEP, on behalf of Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, reviewed progress made in the last 15 years in addressing risks posed by chemicals to human health and the environment.
Niek van der Graaff, Joint Executive Secretary - FAO, said it would be his last COP, as he is retiring. He highlighted progress made on the Convention’s implementation, including outreach and technical assistance.
A bird eye's view of the PIC COP-3 opening plenary.
L-R: Naresh Dayal, Ministry of Environment & Forests of India; Raphael Azeredo, Brazil, proposed that the COP take decision by consensus only and Abdel Rahim Osman, Sudan, favored a two-thirds majority vote.
The Secretariat presented the document on the implementation of the Convention (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.3/4), and President Yue urged parties to consider why few pesticide formulations had been notified for consideration.

L-R: Maria Teriosina, COP-3 rapporteour; Sheila Logan, Rotterdam Convention Secretariat; Maged Younes, Acting Executive
Secretary, Stockholm Convention; Yue Ruisheng, PIC COP-3 President; Niek van der Graaff, Joint Executive Secretary - FAO; Shivaji Pandey, Director Plant Production and Protection Division of the FAO; and Yun Zhou, Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention.
Yun Zhou, Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention.
Leena Ylä-Mononen, European Union, expressed concern over parties continued failure to provide Annex III import responses, and encouraged members to use the CRC’s guidance on notification procedures.
Hamoud Darwish Salim Al-Hasani, Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries, Oman, called for continuing technical assistance to meet their commitments
Oswaldo Álvarez, Chile, indicated that inconsistent export advice formats, including from the EU, made reaction difficult.
Syria supported the two-thirds majority vote for the COP rules of procedure.
Sheila Logan, Rotterdam Convention Secretariat.
John Whitelaw, Secretariat, introduced the agenda item on the budget.
Abdoulaye Traore, Mali.
Ives Gómez, Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), Mexico; favored majority vote, noting the two-thirds majority vote practice of the UN General Assembly.
Masa Nagai, Secretariat, confirmed UNEP Legal Officer’s advice that a lack of consensus does not invalidate notifications.
CRC Chair Bettina Hitzfeld, introduced the report of CRC-2 (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.3/7), highlighting some of meeting’s outcomes: the report of the Secretariat on the preliminary review of notifications and priorities for chemicals for review by the CRC; and the recommendation to the COP on the DGD for chrysotile asbestos; and the working paper on definition of “intentional misuse.”
Non-Compliance Working Group
Jean Chiaradia-Bousquet, Senior Legal Officer - FAO.
Denis Langlois, Foreign Affairs Canada, stressed the COP-3 mandate to adopt the procedures and mechanisms on non-compliance and invited comments on five issues that remain bracketed on the establishment of a compliance committee.
Judy Beaumont, Environment & Sustainable Development Cooperation, South Africa, proposed the committee has open participation, unless the party concerned requests otherwise.
Delegates discussed the facilitative versus punitive nature of the non-compliance mechanism and existing precedents under the Montreal Protocol, the Basel Convention and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, particularly on dispute settlement procedure and suspension of rights and privileges. Chair Langlois adjourned the session, encouraging informal consultations.
Budget Working Group
The budget contact group met in the afternoon and agreed to appoint Paul Garnier (Switzerland) as chair. The group reviewed the Secretariat’s latest budget figures, contained in UNEP/FAO/COP.3/INF12, and agreed to revise figures to reflect delegates' comments. Similarly the group began looking at draft elements for a decision on financing and budget for the biennium 2007-2008. The group will continue its work on Tuesday.
L-R: John Whitelaw, Secretariat and Paul Garnier, Switzerland.
Around the conference
Chris Spence, IISD RS Deputy Director, exchanges intelligence with the ENB team.
L-R: Judy Beaumont, Environment & Sustainable Development Cooperation, South Africa, Karen Alvarenga, ENB writer/team leader, Richard Sherman, IISD RS African Regional Coverage Programme Manager, and Chris Spence, IISD RS Deputy Director
Members of the Kobe University Research Institute on MEAs (KURIM).
Delegation from Venezuela at PIC COP-3.
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