4 December: Opening Plenary
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.
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
RealAudio of Mabudafhasi's statement
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.
Mabudafhasi out of the Plenary hall, after their respective addresses
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
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
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
Chemical Brothers: John Buccini (Canada), Chair of the POPs INC
(left) and Jim Willis, Director of UNEP Chemicals Division
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).
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.
POPS-5 participants joining in the protest
and below: The South African government held a reception for
the INC-5 participants.
Tapestries depicting the various regions of the country decorated
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
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.
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.