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Third Meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs-3)

Geneva, Switzerland
6 - 11 Septembre, 1999

On the first day of the third session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-3) for an International Legally Binding Instrument for Implementing International Action on Certain Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), delegates heard opening statements from Philippe Roch, State Secretary, Director of the Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape, and Dr. Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director of UNEP. Delegates also adopted the provisional agenda, made general statements and heard a report from the Co-Chairs of the Criteria Expert Group (CEG).

Philippe Roch, , State Secretary, Director of the Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape, called for solidarity and a global effort to stop POPs production and to eliminate existing stocks. Roch also emphasized the need to add other substances to the convention and to apply pressure on industry to stop development and production of additional POPs.
Dr. Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director of UNEP, remarked that the INC is at a critical point in the negotiations and emphasized that it is time to develop specific control measures and set deadlines for the 12 POPs. He stressed that no country is immune to POPs, that no country acting alone can address POPs and that every country will benefit from participating in global action.
Chair John Buccini (Canada) introduced and delegates adopted the provisional agenda (UNEP/POPS/INC.3/1.) He presented the planned organization of work contained in a Secretariat's Note (UNEP/POPS/INC.3/INF/7) and indicated his intent to address in Plenary articles on the basic obligations of the convention, specifically: measures to reduce or eliminate releases of POPs; national implementation plans; information exchange; public information, awareness and education; and research, development and monitoring.
Jim Willis, UNEP Chemicals, introduced the meeting reports, meeting documents and information documents as contained in UNEP/POPS/INC.3/INF/16. He highlighted two meeting documents prepared at the request of INC-2: an analysis of selected conventions covering the ten intentionally produced POPs (UNEP/POPS/INC.3/2); and definitional issues relating to POPs-disposal, destruction, wastes and stockpiles (UNEP/POPS/INC.3/3).
The WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO) highlighted a progress report on the development of the WHO action plan for the reduction of reliance on DDT use for public health purposes (UNEP/POPS/INC.3/INF/15) and stressed overcoming the cost of alternatives.
PHYSICIANS FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY expressed concern over DDT use for malaria control and, with the US and the WWF, stressed the need to phase out DDT and redirect attention to the research and creation of new mechanisms to control malaria.
Criteria Expert Group Co-Chairs Reiner Arndt (Germany) noted that CEG-2 had fulfilled the groups mandate. He said the CEG agreed organic substances with transformation products are POPs should be eligible for nomination. He noted the CEG did not reach agreement on: the half-life in water necessary to meet the persistence criteria; the log Kow necessary to demonstrate bioaccumulation; or the definition for the potential for long-range environmental transport. He also noted the CEG supported reference to the precautionary principle in the convention.
CEG Co-Chair Fatoumata Jallow Ndoye (The Gambia) noted the CEG considered options for a chemical review committee and preferred establishment of two chemical review committees to address risk assessment and risk management.
Members of Greenpeace protesting outside the conference site, calling for faster action and the inclusion of more chemicals in the POPs negotiations.

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