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Fifth Meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPS INC-5)
Johannesburg, South Africa; 4 - 9 December, 2000


Monday, 4 December: Opening Plenary

On the first day of INC-5, delegates met in morning and afternoon Plenary sessions to hear opening statements and begin consideration of draft Article K (Financial resources and mechanisms). The Legal Drafting Group also began its work in the afternoon.

Right: Rejoice Mabudafhasi, South African Deputy Minister for Environmental Affairs and Tourism, gave the opening address. She emphasized the importance of public education and awareness, especially for those exposed to POPs, and called for capacity building, a clear financial mechanism and technical assistance to enable developing countries to carry out their obligations. She stressed the ultimate goal of elimination, but noted the necessary use of DDT to control malaria, and called for accelerated research on cures.
RealAudio of Mabudafhasi's statement

UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer reiterated that the poorest are suffering most from the effects of POPs. He emphasized timely, adequate, new and additional financial resources, and common but differentiated responsibilities. He acknowledged necessary use of DDT, and said convention language must stimulate development of alternatives.


RealAudio of Töpfer's statement:
Part one  Part two

Töpfer escorting Mabudafhasi out of the Plenary hall, after their respective addresses to POPS-5.
Chair Buccini informed delegates that a master list of actions on POPs had been produced, and said these need to continue and expand. He noted that understanding, cooperation, creativity and a commitment to seek out compromises were necessary to conclude negotiations, and stressed communication throughout all aspects of the meeting. Emphasizing that history will be made this week, he reiterated the importance of openness, transparency, inclusiveness and accountability in the process.


RealAudio of Buccini's statement

Jim Willis, UNEP Chemicals, presented the Secretariat reports on intersessional work and noted that reports had been received from 108 countries, fourteen IGOs and eight NGOs on their actions taken to reduce and/or eliminate POPs. He said UNEP had organized eight regional and sub-regional workshops, and was implementing 27 country-based projects on POPs.
RealAudio of Willis' statements

Mohamed El-Ashry, CEO of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), reported that the last GEF Council Meeting had agreed that, should the GEF become the designated financial mechanism for POPs, "new and additional financial resources" would be made available specifically for this purpose through the third replenishment. Responding to IRAN on the meaning of "new" resources, he emphasized that these would be financial resources beyond the normal replenishment for other GEF activities.
RealAudio of El-Ashry's statements
The Chemical Brothers: John Buccini (Canada), Chair of the POPs INC (left) and Jim Willis, Director of UNEP Chemicals Division

Preparing for POPS-5...

The UNEP Chemicals Secretariat has been very busy since POPS-4: not only have they been preparing and translating numerous documents, organizing logistics and arranging finances; but they have also developed buttons encouraging delegates to eliminate all brackets from the text (right) and a thematic poster (left).

Greenpeace protest
POPS-5 participants were greeted by representatives of Greenpeace wearing yellow protective "Toxics Patrol" suits. Protesters handed out leaflets and urged delegates to push for a strong treaty.
Far left: POPS-5 participants joining in the protest

Evening reception
Above and below: The South African government held a reception for the INC-5 participants.
Tapestries depicting the various regions of the country decorated the walls.
Above and below: The highlight of the evening was the THE POPS CLUB Awards: Klaus Töpfer and Jim Willis awarded certificates and pins to heads of delegations in recognition of their governments' support for the POPs negotiation process. The POPs negotiations are entirely financed by government donations
Left: the evening was closed with a speech from Mohammed Valli Moosa, South African Minister for Environmental Affairs and Tourism who was unable to attend the morning's Opening Plenary.

In the corridors...

The opening day buzz at INC-5 dwelled on the difficult obstacles to resolving the issue of a financial mechanism for the convention, with some participants also forecasting divisive debates over the precautionary principle. Others dwelled on the shadow cast by the recently-suspended climate change negotiations. One participant suggested that, as a result, the G-77 would approach this meeting with renewed solidarity.

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