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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


Friday, 8 December

Delegates met in morning, afternoon and evening Plenary sessions to consider Articles D (Measures to reduce or eliminate releases), I (Research development and monitoring), H (Public information, awareness and education), O (Conference of the Parties), V (Entry into force) and L (Reporting). Contact Groups on Article F (Listing of chemicals in Annexes A, B and C) and Wastes, as well as the informal group on Article K (Financial resources and mechanisms), also convened during the day.

The WORLD ALLIANCE FOR BREASTFEEDING ACTION called for women's participation to be ensured in the convention.
Chair Buccini started the penultimate day of POPs-5 with a warning on the amount of work that needed to be accomplished, and laid out new ground rules for the last two days of INC-5. From left to right: Chair Buccini consulting with David Ogden, INC Coordinator; and Jim Willis, Director of UNEP Chemicals Division.
Richard Ballhorn (Canada), Chair of the
Contact Group on Art. D4 (Wastes)
Reports from the Contact Groups:
Update from Contact Group on Art. D1 and D2 (Prohibition and Restriction): Hinchcliffe highlighted, and delegates briefly discussed, New Article R Bis on a Registry of Country Specific Exemptions and Review Progress. He later reported clear advice from the LDG that the current approach adopted for the Registry may breach international law, but that the LDG could produce a "bare bones" architecture setting up the Registry and provide for the COP to further elaborate it. Discussion was suspended.
SWITZERLAND supported the general exemption approach over specific exemptions in the chapeau in Annex A (Elimination), Part I
SAUDI ARABIA said that imports and exports of wastes would fall under the Basel Convention.

Mid-morning update on the work of the Contact Group on Art. D3 (Byproducts): Contact Group Co-Chair Reiner Arndt (Germany) noted the vitually bracket-free text the Group had developed overnight and the draft programme of work for the interim period. Chair Buccini thanked the Co-Chair for the update and looked forward to the finalized text.

Late evening update on the status of Art. D3 (Byproducts): Contact Group Co-Chair Arndt (Germany) introduced the text forwarded to Plenary by the Group. Arndt highlighted remaining brackets in the chapeau and the provision on substitutes, and two bracketed alternative proposals for the provision on use of Best Available Techniques (BAT) for new sources. One option requires the use of BAT for new source; the second promotes and, in accordance with the implementation schedule of its action plan, requires the use of BAT for new sources within source categories that a Party has identified as warranting such action. The second option further requires that BAT be phased-in no later than four years after entry-into-force.
MEASURES TO REDUCE OR ELIMINATE RELEASES (ARTICLE D): New Chemicals: In the evening, Nigeria, on behalf of the G-77/CHINA, proposed that the production and use of new pesticides or industrial chemicals be prevented, with deletion of previously agreed language also referring to regulation. AUSTRALIA opposed, saying that its national legislation requires the word "regulate". This text was left for resolution on Saturday.
Closing the day's work at almost midnight, Chair Buccini noted text forwarded to the LDG and stressed that "the word of the day for tomorrow has to be 'compromise'"
The ever-popular cyber-cafe

On the penultimate day of POPs-5, the corridors of the Sandton Convention Center were littered with groups of delegates (above left) and observers (such as the business representatives, above right) huddled in the corridors over draft text. "It's amazing how many brackets dissappear over coffee", said Chair Buccini.

In the corridors...

The language of compromise began to echo in the corridors Friday, with at least one participant stating that the forming agreement "may not be perfect, but it has to happen." Others pointed out that last minute concessions and late night sessions are not unusual in international negotiations, with various delegations simply trying to get the best possible deal. One observer suggested that this display of brinksmanship was almost certainly the case regarding the sometimes edgy deliberations over language involving the precautionary principle. However, a note of caution was sounded by another participant regarding the number of brackets in the working draft article on a financial mechanism.

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