Report of main proceedings for 4 May 2006
2nd Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP2) to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
In the morning, delegates met in plenary to hear progress reports from contact groups and to discuss agenda items on best available techniques (BAT) and best environmental practices (BEP), identification and quantification of dioxin and furan releases, and listing of chemicals in Annexes A (Elimination), B (Restriction) and C (Unintentional production) of the Convention. In the afternoon, delegates convened in plenary to address reporting, information exchange and a draft decision on DDT. Contact groups on financial resources and effectiveness evaluation convened in the morning and afternoon, while contact groups on technical assistance and synergies met in the afternoon and evening.
Effectiveness evaluation contact group Co-Chair El Ruby reported that the group was developing a draft decision. Financial resources contact group Chair Buys said that the group had much work to complete and emphasized its dependence on other groups outcomes. Technical assistance contact group Co-Chair Sikabonjo reported that the group had nearly completed its work.
Synergies contact group Co-Chair Alvarez reported that the group needed more time to produce a draft decision. Reporting on the budget contact group, he said that the group concentrated on the clearing-house programme and the costs of OEWG on non-compliance meetings, and hoped to report the related costs to the COP after further discussion.
COP-2 President Kiddle emphasized that the priorities for COP-2 were a draft decision on the financial mechanisms and a recommendation on the system for effectiveness evaluation.
BAT AND BEP: The Secretariat introduced the documents on BAT and BEP (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/7 and UNEP/POPS/EGBATBEP.1/5), and noted the proposed awareness-raising workshops. Gang Yu (China), Co-Chair of the first BAT/BEP Expert Group meeting, discussed the meetings tasks, including: enhancing the guidelines; addressing developing countries needs; and developing criteria for evaluating alternatives.
NICARAGUA noted the need for economically-feasible techniques, TANZANIA the need for financing, CHINA and GUINEA the need for technology transfer and the AFRICAN GROUP the need for capacity building. The EU said that the guidelines should be living documents, and advocated that the Special Trust Fund support regional workshops. SWITZERLAND encouraged periodic review of the guidelines, and the AFRICAN GROUP suggested that the African regional meeting on BAT and BEP occur after COP-8 of the Basel Convention. The Secretariat will prepare a draft decision.
IDENTIFICATION AND QUANTIFICATION OF DIOXIN AND FURAN RELEASES: The Secretariat introduced documents on the identification and quantification of dioxin and furan releases (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/8) and the second edition of the identification and quantification toolkit (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/INF/5 and UNEP/POPS/COP.2/INF/11), and proposed adoption of the toolkit as a methodology to develop national release inventories for dioxins and furans.
SWITZERLAND and ARMENIA recommended adoption of the toolkit. AUSTRALIA and the US supported the toolkit as a work in progress. The EU, supported by GHANA, JAPAN, BURKINA FASO, DJIBOUTI, GUINEA, and the INTERNATIONAL POPS ELIMINATION NETWORK (IPEN), called for provisional adoption of the toolkit, with a view to amending it as additional data are made available. The EU, supported by CHILE and COLOMBIA, further advocated a transparent and open toolkit revision process, and with GHANA and VANUATU, called for developing a process for a similar instrument on PCBs and HCBs.
BRAZIL, supported by INDIA and VENEZUELA, raised many concerns about the toolkit, preferring not to endorse it at COP-2. INDIA proposed taking note of the toolkit and adopting a revised version at a future COP.
TANZANIA and CHAD called for differentiating between activities in developing and developed countries, and the PHILIPPINES, the AFRICAN GROUP, NICARAGUA and BURKINA FASO suggested that emission factors be refined for developing countries. The AFRICAN GROUP called for an abridged version of the toolkit for local use. CHINA said that the classification of techniques in the toolkit was over-simplified. COLOMBIA called for a pilot study on emission factors for agricultural burning, and VENEZUELA for the oil industry. IPEN noted that emission factors for biomass burning are overstated.
COP-2 President Kiddle suggested provisionally adopting the toolkit, so that the Convention could take ownership of the revision process. Following objections from INDIA and BRAZIL, the EU proposed welcoming the toolkit.
LISTING CHEMICALS IN ANNEXES A, B OR C OF THE CONVENTION: Reiner Arndt, POPRC Chair, presented the report of the first meeting of the POPRC (UNEP/POPS/POPRC.1/10), highlighting activities including assessing five nominated chemicals against the screening criteria of Annex D (Information requirements and screening criteria), addressing information confidentiality, and developing criteria for the selection of experts. SWITZERLAND, AUSTRALIA, the EU, and NORWAY expressed their support for POPRCs efforts, while JAPAN suggested that POPRC's conclusions need further reflection. CHINA suggested that POPRC assess chemicals individually and not by category, while CHILE advocated a subcommittee to address isomers. CHINA said that the POPRC should consider chemicals with pure POPs' characteristics, rather than substances that degrade into POPs. Chair Arndt responded that the adverse human health and environmental effects are the same in either case, and noted that Annex D text refers both to chemicals and their transformation products. The Secretariat will draft a decision.
INFORMATION EXCHANGE: The Secretariat introduced documents on a clearing-house mechanism (CHM) for information on POPs (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/13) and the draft strategic plan for a CHM (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/INF/8). He described an internet-based CHM, and outlined a phased approach to its establishment, based on needs and priorities. He called on COP-2 to approve pilot activities and their associated costs, and consider the strategic plan for establishment of the CHM.
The EU suggested that the budget contact group consider the CHM. SWITZERLAND suggested that the Conventions website should be given priority, while CHINA called for prioritizing information on the risks and economic efficiency of alternative substances and technology transfer, and for quick agreement on the strategic plan. The Secretariat will draft a decision.
REPORTING: The Secretariat introduced documents outlining a cost estimate for developing an electronic system for reporting (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/19), and a draft format for reporting on polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) under the Convention (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/20). AUSTRALIA and SOUTH AFRICA supported introducing an electronic reporting system on the basis of the cost estimate, and, with the EU, suggested that the hard-copy reporting system also be retained. NEW ZEALAND, with AUSTRALIA, suggested amendments to the proposed reporting format for PCBs (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/CRP.9), stating that the amendments would streamline the reporting process. JAPAN supported the proposed amendments while CANADA voiced concerns, preferring that the format be further revised for consideration at COP-3.
COP-2 President Kiddle, noting that parties must report on PCBs by the end of 2006, asked that any further amendments be submitted to the Secretariat by Friday.
OFFICIAL COMMUNICATION WITH PARTIES AND OBSERVERS: The Secretariat introduced an overview of this issue (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/26), highlighting the need to register official contact points and to accredit non-governmental organizations as observers. In response to questions by Barbados and others, the Secretariat noted that it is up to each government to nominate the number of contact points it deems necessary. The Secretariat will draft a decision.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS: Delegates elected the following officers to the Bureau: Naresh Dayal (India); Navaan-Yunden Oyndari (Mongolia); Deon Stewart (Bahamas); Fernando Lugris (Uruguay); Anahit Aleksandryan (Armenia); Tarek El Ruby (Egypt); Katya Stanke Vasileva (Bulgaria); Jan-Karel Kwisthout (the Netherlands); and Nik Kiddle (New Zealand).
DDT: COP-2 President Kiddle presented a draft decision on DDT (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/CRP.2). The EU, opposed by TUNISIA, proposed language tasking the Secretariat, with the WHO, to facilitate capacity-building activities, rather than undertake them. INDIA proposed language on verifying the continued efficacy of DDT alternatives, and, opposed by SOUTH AFRICA, requested that the COP acknowledge rather than adopt the annexed reporting assessment process and evaluation of the continued use of DDT for disease vector control.
FINANCIAL RESOURCES CONTACT GROUP: The financial resources contact group agreed to a draft decision on the review of the financial mechanisms. Key areas of discussion included language requesting: that the Secretariat identify other possible sources of funding; and that the Secretariat, in consultation with the GEF Secretariat, report on the implementation of the COP-GEF Council MoU. Preliminary discussions began on a draft decision on additional guidance to the financial mechanism, and a proposal made by Mexico and South Africa on ToRs for work on modalities for needs assessment was presented. The group will reconvene on Friday morning.
EFFECTIVENESS EVALUATION CONTACT GROUP: The effectiveness evaluation contact group continued discussions on: review of future arrangements; provision of financial resources for gathering information for the first effectiveness evaluation report; long-term funding arrangements to implement the global monitoring plan; and proposed COP procedures for evaluating the Conventions effectiveness. Some developing countries favored language requesting immediate actions for long-term funding arrangements, while many developed countries said that such matters should be dealt with by the financial resources contact group. A draft decision with bracketed text was prepared for submission to plenary.
TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE CONTACT GROUP: Delegates continued discussions on the ToRs for regional and subregional centers for capacity building and technology transfer, and addressed, inter alia: working language, legal status, autonomy and institutional arrangements of the centers; funding for the centers activities; and the relationship between the centers and the Stockholm Secretariat. Delegates further discussed the criteria for evaluating the performance of the centers and the identified areas of technical assistance and technology-transfer needs, and agreed on a draft decision.
SYNERGIES CONTACT GROUP: The synergies contact group worked into the night on a draft decision on synergies between the Rotterdam, Basel and Stockholm Conventions. Key issues discussed included: a supplementary report; the role of the Secretariats in the process; the separation of the programmatic and administrative implications of synergies; the need for a consultative process; geographical representation in the proposed ad hoc working group; a road map on possible actions needed to enhance efficiency; and the implications of not establishing an ad hoc working group or initiating the proposed study at COP-2.
IN THE CORRIDORS
As delegates continued to press ahead on many fronts, a few participants expressed frustration that some parties had been spending disproportionate amounts of time on issues that did not need resolution this year, compared with more pressing items. Nonetheless, with the end of COP-2 rapidly approaching, delegates seemed pleased that most contact groups were picking up speed. Hope was in the air that consensus had been reached on the enhancement of synergies as a process rather than a single event, leaving room to focus on the essential goals of this COP: evaluation and financial mechanisms. Although the relevant draft decisions still feature a sprinkling of stubborn brackets, there is genuine hope that goodwill, and the pressure of looming Convention-dictated deadlines, will lead to positive conclusions by the end of Friday.
ENB SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS: The Earth Negotiations Bulletin summary and analysis of COP-2 will be available on Monday, 8 May 2006 online at http://enb.iisd.org/chemical/pops/cop2/