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Fourth Meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPS-4)
Photos and RealAudio of 20 March

Monday, 20 March:

On the opening day of INC-4, delegates met in a morning Plenary session to hear opening remarks and address organizational matters. In the afternoon, the Implementation Aspects Group (IAG) addressed technical assistance (Article J) and financial resources and mechanisms (Article K), and the Negotiating Group (NG) considered public information, awareness and education (Article H) and research, development and monitoring (Article I).

POPs INC-4 opened today at the International Congress Centre Bundeshaus in Bonn, Germany. As noted by all of the speakers during the Opening Plenary, it is a conference venue with special historical significance. The Bundestag or German parliament used to meet here until it moved to the new capital of Berlin in the summer of 1999.
Conference participants were greeted by protesters from Greenpeace (left) and WWF (below). Some members of Greenpeace feared that economic concerns might override environmental considerations in the upcoming debates.
WWF staged a theatrical 'painting of the Earth', wherein actors in protective suits representing the developed nations of the world sprayed colored water symbolizing the 12 POPs all over the planet. This was done to remind participants of the global nature of POPs.
View of the Plenary Hall from the balcony, as the participants arrive for the Opening Plenary.
The invited speakers for the Opening Plenary, from left to right: Klaus Töpfer, UNEP Executive Director; Bärbel Dieckman, Mayor of Bonn; and Jürgen Trittin, German Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.
Minister Trittin highlighted characteristics of new challenges facing environmental policy and said such policy should be guided by the precautionary principle. He noted sufficient evidence exists to justify banning new POPs and urged the chemical industry to rethink its product policy, noting that the highest POPs emissions come from legally produced chemical products.
Mayor Dieckman encouraged transparency and communicativeness to guide the week's discussions and reiterated Germany's offer to locate the future Secretariat in Bonn.


Klaus Töpfer, UNEP Executive Director, urged agreement on eliminating the 12 POPs, said POPs are an example of exporting the disadvantages of economic growth to developing countries, and highlighted the importance of a precautionary approach. He emphasized the importance of technical assistance, technology transfer and a financial mechanism to enable active participation of developing countries.

RealAudio excerpts of Töpfer's welcoming address:

Part one   Part two

Jim Willis, UNEP Chemicals (below, on the right), overviewed intersessional work undertaken by the Secretariat and related meeting documents. With regard to ongoing international activities relevant to the INC, Willis overviewed the master list of actions on the reduction and/or elimination of the releases of POPs (UNEP/POPS/INC.4/INF/5) and highlighted UNEP actions on POPs, including training and capacity-building workshops on, inter alia, managing PCB stocks and addressing stocks of obsolete pesticides, conducted in collaboration with other international organizations and donor countries.
RealAudio excerpts of Mr. Willis' statement

INC-4 Chair John Buccini (on the left) supported treating the master list as an ongoing global POPs action plan to expedite the implementation and ratification process. He reviewed the decisions, milestones and meetings since 1995 in addressing POPs, and noted that INC-4 needs to address all aspects of the convention
RealAudio excerpts of Chair Buccini's opening statement: part one  part two


CANADA underlined the importance of technology innovation, pollution prevention, and the need for a sound, science-based process that exercises precaution in identifying additional POPs. He announced that CANADA will provide CND$20 million over the next five years for capacity-building activities to implement obligations under the future POPs treaty.
The INUIT CIRCUMPOLAR CONFERENCE stressed the universal benefits of an effective convention and called for financial support through a simple, effective mechanism.
View from the back of the room of Plenary in session

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