Highlights and images for 30 July 2021

On the final day of the online segment of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conferences of the Parties (COPs), parties sought to finalize their work on those prioritized agenda items deemed essential to the ongoing operation of the Conventions. Some of this work, such as adoption of the report on participants’ credentials, was straightforward. Other agenda items, however, were much more challenging and took several hours to resolve.

Discussions of the draft decisions on the interim programmes of work and budgets were particularly difficult. Parties had met on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in a closed contact group to negotiate this complex and sensitive agenda item, but could not reach agreement on some elements of the text in the decisions. One delegation was particularly concerned about how and when parties should be consulted by the BRS Secretariat about revised budget scenarios, how the economic impacts of the pandemic should be recognized, and whether parties’ financial contributions should be allocated to aspects of conventions which they have not ratified. After extensive discussion, parties adopted decisions on the interim programme of work and budget for each of the three Conventions.

Parties to the Stockholm Convention also returned to discussions of the Convention’s financial mechanism, with many delegates again underscoring the importance of providing greater and more accessible financial support to developing countries to address listed POPs. Some parties also raised concerns regarding operation of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Convention’s financial mechanism. After lengthy discussion, parties adopted a decision that forwards to the GEF two documents to inform the negotiations of its eighth replenishment: the fifth review of the Convention’s financial mechanism and an assessment of parties’ funding needs to meet their obligations for the period 2022-2026. This decision also, inter alia, strongly encourages GEF donors to significantly increase the mechanism’s allocation of funding to the Stockholm Convention to assist recipient countries in meeting the impending 2025 deadline for eliminating their PCB use in equipment, as well as the 2028 deadline for the environmentally-sound waste management of PCB-containing liquids and equipment.

Connectivity issues plagued delegates from around the world on this final day of the meeting, slowing and disrupting delegates’ work throughout the day. At the conclusion of the meeting, neither Rémi Nono Womdim, Executive Secretary of the Rotterdam Convention, FAO, nor Rolph Payet, Executive Secretary of the BRS Conventions, were able to deliver their planned remarks due to technical problems. Carlos Martin-Novella, Deputy Executive Secretary of the BRS Conventions, spoke on their behalf, thanking participants for their hard work throughout the week.

At 8:00 pm (UTC +2), each of the COP Presidents adjourned the meeting of their respective Conventions. These meetings of the BRS COPs are expected to resume in a face-to-face format in Geneva from 6-17 June 2022.

The Earth Negotiations Bulletin summary and analysis of the 2021 BRS COPs is available here.