Report of main proceedings for 2 May 2007
3rd Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP3) to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
The Committee of the Whole (COW) met throughout the day to: hear reports of the technical assistance, non-compliance and effectiveness evaluation contact groups; and to discuss financial resources, listing chemicals in Annexes A (Elimination), B (Restriction) or C (Unintentional production) of the Convention, reporting, and national implementation plans (NIPs).
REPORT ON CREDENTIALS: Thierno Lô, COP-3 President, presented the report, explaining that 83 parties submitted credentials of representatives, eight parties are yet to submit their credentials and four parties are required to clarify their credentials. He said the Bureau would provide an updated report to plenary on Friday morning.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS: COP-3 President Lô noted that nominations to the Bureau must be completed by all regions by Friday.
BUDGET GROUP REPORT: Budget Group Chair John Roberts reported that the group had an initial exchange of information and discussions continued on financial and budget issues.
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
CONTACT GROUP REPORTS: Chair of the Open Ended Working Group on Non-Compliance (OEWG NC) Anne Daniel reported progress on measures and information and said that discussion on triggers would continue.
Technical assistance Co-Chair Jozef Buys reported a draft text had been developed during his group’s debate, and noted that many brackets remained. GRULAC stressed the technical assistance group mandate is to develop a process for selecting regional centers, as opposed to projects. He said if parties recall this common vision, many brackets could be removed.
Effectiveness evaluation Co-Chair Ivan Holoubek noted agreement on regional groupings and said negotiations on a draft decision would continue.
CHINA said the technical assistance deliberations indicated it may take 30 months for Stockholm regional centers to begin providing assistance. Noting technical assistance as a prerequisite for a non-compliance procedure, CHINA questioned how this would work.
FINANCIAL RESOURCES: The Secretariat noted documents on financial resources (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/16, 17, 18, 19 and 20.rev.1), which consider the Global Environment Facility (GEF) report, mobilization of resources, terms of reference (ToRs) for the second review of the financial mechanism, needs assessment and its ToRs. The GEF Secretariat outlined the GEF report on the effectiveness of implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Stockholm Convention and the GEF (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/INF/3), underscoring that the GEF 4th replenishment (GEF-4) allocated US$300 million to POPs focal areas for 2006-2010 period. Many, including MOROCCO, BURKINA FASO, INDIA, and GRULAC, congratulated the GEF on its report, and underscored the importance of new and additional financial resources to implement the Convention.
SWITZERLAND said more resources are necessary for implementing chemical conventions, especially the Stockholm Convention and the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management ((SAICM), and suggested regular review of developing country needs. The EU underscored that the GEF should continue to be the financial mechanism of the Convention, and encouraged parties to link their POP policy to their national environmental plans and achieving the Millennium Development Goals. SENEGAL stressed the need to increase capacity of Convention focal points. The AFRICAN GROUP supported mobilization of funds to implement Convention objectives and reduce poverty. CANADA noted that parties should consider all sources of funding, including from NGOs and the private sector. On ToRs for the second review of the financial mechanism, JAPAN underscored the importance of including further objective elements in the performance criteria. CHINA, supported by NAMIBIA, stressed the importance of streamlining the GEF project cycle to ensure funds can be accessed by developing countries in a timely manner.
JORDAN called for resources to be allocated to needs assessment. The US highlighted the work of the Gates Malaria Partnership on developing DDT alternatives. The UNITED NATIONS UNIVERSITY offered to share its experience in private sector partnerships. IPEN noted funding concerns for implementing the Convention and the need to engage parties in the intersessional period to prepare for the 5th GEF replenishment. The World Bank recommended linking POP issues to the development agenda. CHINA and INDIA backed the creation of an expert group to look into the financial mechanism. COW Chair Blaha suggested, and COW agreed to ask: the technical assistance contact group to take the lead on the issue; and the Secretariat to prepare draft reports on the implementation of the MoU, the ToRs for the second review of the financial mechanism, and the assessment of funding needs.
LISTING CHEMICALS IN ANNEXES A, B OR C OF THE CONVENTION: The Secretariat introduced UNEP/POPS/COP.3/12, INF/20, and UNEP/POPS/POPRC.2/17 regarding activities undertaken by the second session of the POPs Review Committee (POPRC-2). POPRC-2 Chair Reiner Arndt summarized POPRC work and encouraged parties to submit comments on the draft risk profiles. JAPAN and CHINA, expressed concerns about the POPRC technical review process, including, on precursors, bioaccumulation and commercial products. INDIA stressed that production data should not be confidential and said the POPRC should consider proposed chemicals specifically, and not isomers. Noting support for the proposal contained in the documents, the EU emphasized the difference between risk profiles and assessments. The AFRICAN GROUP stressed the need to strengthen developing country participation in the POPRC.
The INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF CHEMICAL ASSOCIATIONS (ICCA) and CROPLIFE INTERNATIONAL called for parties to provide data on ecotoxicity. The INTERNATIONAL TRADE UNION CONFEDERATION expressed concern on confidentiality of information relating to health and environmental issues. IPEN noted that civil society demands a moral approach to contaminants. POPRC-2 Chair Reiner Arndt, in response to Japan, proposed including application of bioaccumulation criteria in the POPRC-3 agenda. He noted perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and commercial mixtures would be addressed at POPRC-3. He reminded the COP to solve the confidentiality issue, noting that thus far, in dealing with eight chemicals, there had been no problems. COW Chair Blaha confimed appointment of Liselott Sï¿½ll (Norway) to replace Janneche Utne Skare (Norway) on the Committee. COW Chair Blaha also asked the Secretariat to prepare draft decisions on isomers and the treatment of confidential information.
REPORTING: The Secretariat introduced UNEP/POPS/COP.3/21 on reporting. CAMBODIA, supported by many, noted difficulties in using the system and called for training. JAPAN lamented the lack of flexibility in the system, and CHILELE, supported by many, requested translation into all the UN official languages. The FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA and KUWAIT informed COW of the nomination of an official focal point. COW Chair Blaha proposed, and COW agreed, to request that the Secretariat prepare a draft decision on reporting.
NIPs: The Secretariat introduced UNEP/POPS/COP.3/10, 11, 29 and INF/8 on national implementation plans (NIPs). Stressing the need for financial and technical assistance for implementation, many developing countries outlined the status of development and timeline for transmission of their NIPs to the Secretariat. CHINA, supported by NORWAY, proposed that the Secretariat invite experts from developing countries, countries with economies in transition and international organizations to participate in drafting additional guidance for NIPs. COW Chair Blaha noted that discussions would resume on Thursday.
NON-COMPLIANCE: The group discussed procedures for submissions to be made to the non-compliance committee, including: triggers; the composition of the committee; and the objectives, nature and underlying principles, with some delegates noting the effectiveness of smaller groups and others debating the need to demonstrate that a country is affected by another partyï¿½s failure to comply. By the evening session, much progress had been made on the text. Negotiations were completed at 9:30 pm with few remaining issues yet to be agreed. Chair Daniel will carry out informal bilateral consultations throughout Thursday to iron out the outstanding issues.
TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE: Co-Chair Jozef Buys explained the group had the mandate to discuss financial resource issues, and that this would be undertaken after completing work on regional centers. Participants achieved agreement on all but two contentious issues, namely: hosting regional and sub-regional centers, in which CHINA proposed language stipulating only developing countries and countries with economies in transition could host such centers, with which the EU and JAPAN disagreed; and inclusion of a criterion for candidate Stockholm centers to submit a programme of work or project proposal. Negotiations were expected to continue until 11:00 pm in an attempt to resolve those issues.
BUDGET: The budget group, chaired by John Roberts, continued discussing the 2006-2007 operational budget and the 2008-2009 estimated budget (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/INF/17 version 2 and its annexes). On the need for consultants to develop guidelines for NIPs, effectiveness evaluation, financial mechanism evaluation, DDT information system, clearing-house mechanism, needs assessment and synergy, one participant favored focusing on effectiveness evaluation. Participants also discussed: the distribution of work among permanent staff; the proposed 2008-2009 UN scale of assessments for the apportionment of contributions to the General Trust Fund; the projected expenditure for 2007; and outstanding contributions. Participants initiated discussions on a draft decision on financing and 2008-2009 budget and requested the Secretariat to elaborate options for budget scenarios.
EFFECTIVENESS EVALUATION: Co-chaired by Thérèse Yarde (Barbados) and Ivan Holoubek (Czech Republic), participants agreed on a draft decision on effectiveness evaluation, including the establishment of coordination and regional organization groups. Regarding the size of the coordination group, India, on behalf of the ASIAN GROUP, and CHINA insisted on having at least three representatives from each region for a total of 19, and requested tasking the body with coordinating implementation of the global monitoring plan (GMP), but developed countries disagreed. The group asked the Secretariat to prepare annexes to the draft decision, including these differences which will be bracketed and discussed at the COW. The contact group also agreed on a text related to regional groupings, which will be reflected in the amended GMP.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Delegates seemed outnumbered by the hostesses as they constantly changed into a variety of beautiful traditional outfits. The colors dimmed as participants filed into the different contact groups, gritting their teeth for another day of hard negotiations. Non-compliance and effectiveness evaluation came along in leaps and bounds, whilst budget took its time, many eyes being turned towards financial issues in the first place. With many groups continuing into evening session again, delegates aspired to imitate COW Chair r Blaha, who threatened to take a nap at the closing of the COW afternoon session.