Daily report for 18 September 2012
3rd Session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM3)
ICCM-3 reconvened on Tuesday, 18 September in Nairobi, Kenya. In the morning, delegates met in plenary to continue discussions on emerging policy issues and the addition of activities to the GPA. In the afternoon, delegates addressed financial and technical resources for implementation. The contact group on emerging policy issues resumed its discussions on lead in paint, chemicals in products and hazardous substances in electrical and electronic products. Delegates dealt swiftly with emerging policy issues and the addition of activities to the GPA, although there was some debate on managing perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) and the transition to safer alternatives. The afternoon’s discussions on financial and technical resources discussed possible options for future funding arrangements, including options under the UNEP ED’s report on possible long-term financing options for chemicals and wastes.
IMPLEMENTATION OF SAICM
Emerging policy issues: Nanotechnology and manufactured nanomaterials: On nanotechnology and manufactured nanomaterials (SAICM/ICCM.3/17), THAILAND offered to establish a sub-regional hub in, inter alia, “nanosafety,” noting that such a hub would continue collaboration with other countries through activities such as capacity building, awareness raising and developing safety guidelines. Zambia, for the AFRICAN GROUP, called for further information exchange, capacity building, and development of training materials to enhance preparedness for addressing products containing nanomaterials. China outlined the steps his country has taken, including promulgating national standards regarding exposure hazards to human health and the environment. Norway lamented the paucity of information on the hazards and risks of nanotechnology. The CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW (CIEL) noted that despite the lack of information, precautionary approaches to this issue are still applicable. Switzerland, with Mexico, called for a comprehensive approach to address nanotechnology.
AUSTRALIA and the ICCA supported the EU and its 27 Member States' suggestion for streamlining proposed activities. The ICCA and PERU supported emphasis on capacity building. CANADA suggested that work on nanomaterials could be accommodated within the existing GPA structure. PAKISTAN urged including support for developing lifecycle and health impact assessments of nanomaterials.
President Pietz forwarded the draft resolution submitted by the OEWG (SAICM/ICCM.3/INF/2) to the contact group on emerging policy issues for further deliberation.
Managing PFCs and the transition to safer alternatives: President Pietz noted the progress report on PFCs (SAICM/ICCM.3/18) and a proposal from the OEWG for a corresponding ICCM resolution (SAICM/ICCM.3/INF/2). She stressed that ICCM-3 would only provide feedback, not instructions, on the Global PFC Group’s proposed work programme. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and UNEP, supported by the US, proposed removing the resolution’s annex setting out terms of reference (ToR) for the Group.
KENYA suggested that the Group hold regional workshops to promote awareness around PFCs, and for the Stockholm Convention Secretariat to undertake two pilot projects in Africa on the lifecycle of PFC-containing products. The EU supported inviting the Group to report to ICCM-4 and, with the US and ICCA, supported the participation of non-OECD countries in the Group. IPEN said the Group should cover additional PFCs and not only those that industry is already actively phasing out. SWITZERLAND called for the priorities for the Group work programme to focus on the PFC survey, information about PFC uses, and synthesis papers. The Basel Convention Regional Coordinating Centre (BCRC) for Africa, supported by SENEGAL, urged helping developing countries build capacity to conduct environmental monitoring of PFCs.
CHINA suggested, but SWITZERLAND opposed, replacing “welcome” in the draft resolution with “take note.” At the suggestion of NORWAY, SWITZERLAND, AUSTRALIA and the EU, delegates proposed “inviting,” as opposed to “requesting,” the Group to report to ICCM-4. The Conference agreed to ask the Secretariat to draft a resolution based on the OEWG proposal, but without the annex containing the ToR, “inviting” a report to ICCM-4 and bracketing “welcome.”
New nominations for emerging policy issues: The Secretariat introduced the agenda item on new nominations of emerging policy issues on endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and environmentally persistent pharmaceutical pollutants (SAICM/ICCM.3/19). On environmentally persistent pharmaceutical pollutants, she said the proposal had not met the criteria for consideration. She also noted that the OEWG did not reach consensus on the inclusion of the EDCs proposal in the agenda. President Pietz opened discussions on the nomination and report on the status of EDCs (SAICM/ICCM.3/INF/23; SAICM/ICCM.3/INF/22). The AFRICAN GROUP proposed a resolution on EDCs (SAICM/ICCM.3/CRP.3) which, supported by the RUSSIAN FEDERATION, URUGUAY, KIRIBATI and others, supported including EDCs as a new emerging policy issue under SAICM, and additionally called for a cooperative project to, inter alia, increase global awareness on EDCs, support capacity building, and ensure the consolidation and timeous delivery of information regarding EDCs.
Brazil preferred deferring a decision on the issue until the World Health Organization (WHO) released their report on the state of science on EDCs. Noting that the report in question is “undergoing a clearance process,” the WHO said that her organization is ready to work with the ICCM if EDCs are included as a new emerging policy issue. ICCA cautioned against duplicating work in other fora through the inclusion of EDCs. NORWAY urged the ICCM to use SAICM to address EDCs comprehensively across all sectors.
The US COUNCIL FOR INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS (USCIB) emphasized the need for scientific knowledge on EDCs and said it was premature to include them as a new emerging policy issue. GREENPEACE EAST ASIA emphasized the need for precautionary and preventive approaches to deal with EDCs. SUSTAINED LABOUR called for including labor-related issues to enable policy development. The Conference agreed to request the contact group on emerging policy issues to also consider EDCs.
On environmentally persistent pharmaceutical pollutants, INTERNATIONAL DOCTORS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT outlined intersessional work, noting a proposal on the issue will be submitted at OEWG-2.
Evaluation of and guidance on implementation and review and update of SAICM: Addition of activities to the GPA: On addition of activities to the GPA for nanotechnology and manufactured nanomaterials (SAICM/ICCM.3/3; SAICM/ICCM.3/INF/4/Rev.1), Nigeria supported its inclusion as a new work area under the GPA. The EU called for establishing a register of nanomaterials, encouraging information exchange, and establishing public-private partnerships (PPPs) to ensure environmentally-sound management of nanomaterials.
Financial and technical resources for implementation: On financial and technical resources for SAICM implementation (SAICM/ICCM.3/7) and possible long-term financing options for SAICM (SAICM/ICCM.3/10), the Secretariat noted relevant reports provided by, inter alia, the IOMC, UNEP and the WHO. Greg Filyk (Canada), Co-Chair of the finance contact group at the OEWG, highlighted views on: mainstreaming chemicals management into national policy; industry involvement; and external funding options.
The Secretariat introduced the documents related to the QSP, including conclusions and recommendations of the QSP Executive Board on the Programme’s midterm evaluation, the report of the QSP, and the report on the implementation of the QSP and its Trust Fund (SAICM/ICCM.3/8, 9 and 23). QSP Executive Board Co-Chair Nassereddin Heidari (Iran) then highlighted some recommendations of the Board, including that ICCM-3 should consider ways to promote mainstreaming of sound chemicals management throughout their life-cycle into all relevant development plans and programmes.
UNEP noted the positive response to the ED’s draft proposal (SAICM/ICCM.3/12), and informed that the next steps for the ED are to take feedback into account, and finalize the report for consideration by the thirteenth session of the UNEP GC.
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) highlighted its contribution towards fulfilling SAICM’s objectives, noting a direct contribution of US$5 million for financing relevant pilot projects, and an indirect contribution of US$25 million for financing mercury-related projects and the environmentally sound management of e-wastes.
On the QSP, the EU called for prioritizing mainstreaming of sound chemicals management into national development plans. On long-term financing of SAICM, he welcomed the partnership with the GEF to augment available finances, and supported the ED’s proposal that the GEF host a dedicated external fund. Brazil urged reintroducing external financing and the creation of a new financial mechanism in the proposal, stressing that the elements in the proposal should be complementary to external financing. CANADA did not support the establishment of a new integrated chemicals and wastes GEF focal area as suggested in the ED’s proposal.
FAO, for the IOMC, called on delegates to consider the QSP as a model for new funding arrangements. On external financing, under the ED’s proposal, he stressed that funds should be specifically dedicated to actions that support efforts towards the 2020 goal.
GRULAC, with the AFRICAN and ASIA-PACIFIC GROUPS, THAILAND, Senegal, Iraq, Moldova and others called for extending the QSP until a long-term financing solution is operational. GRULAC supported allowing the QSP to cover implementation activities and requested that the Executive Board develop project performance and implementation indicators. The ASIA-PACIFIC GROUP called for the QSP to focus primarily on assisting developing countries on priority issues. Introducing a new proposal (SAICM/ICCM.3/CRP.5), the AFRICAN GROUP called for restructuring the QSP to prioritize the facilitation of: mainstreaming; meaningful industry involvement in chemicals management; broadening the financing base; and development and use of economic instruments and internalization of costs for sound chemicals management.
GRULAC noted that the UNEP ED’s proposal does not cover the option of a fund modeled on the Montreal Protocol’s Multilateral Fund, and does not address regional dimensions. JAPAN welcomed the UNEP ED’s proposals regarding mainstreaming and industry involvement, but raised concerns about the proposal to help establish national chemicals and waste units.
UNDP noted the UNDP-UNEP Partnership Initiative for the Integration of Sound Management of Chemicals into Development Planning Processes, and drew attention to its progress report on this work (SAICM/ICCM.3/INF/10).
NIGERIA reiterated its proposal for strengthening the existing structures and institutions responsible for funding under the QSP to ensure immediate, sustained and efficient financing and implementation of SAICM beyond enabling activities. EGYPT said his government would not accept the use of taxes as a financing strategy.
SWITZERLAND, supported by BURUNDI, proposed the disbursement of funds to ongoing and newly approved projects. He highlighted upcoming meetings relevant to the long-term financing of chemicals and wastes management, including the upcoming meeting of the GEF Council in November 2012 and the UNEP GC/GMEF in February 2013. NORWAY urged completing negotiations on the financial mechanisms before the 27th session of the UNEP GC.
ICCA highlighted the need for industry support in financing and sharing experience in risk management. IPEN remarked on the expansion of the chemical industry emphasizing that it is time for industry to “pay its fair share.”
Iraq emphasized the importance of technical assistance and information exchange in addition to financial assistance. The Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry expressed interest in contributing to SAICM’s capacity building activities, in particular on risk reduction.
A contact group was established to continue deliberations on financial and technical resources chaired by Daniel Ziegerer (Switzerland) and Elsa Miranda (Indonesia).
IN THE CORRIDORS
Day two saw sensitive issues coming to the fore during the morning plenary, including statements from some parties calling for assistance to developing countries as they confront “toxic chemicals dumping” from companies that are mostly located in the developed world. Some said that a more effective approach would be to eliminate “double standards” on issues such as lead in paint, which is still widely available in developing countries and exposes children and vulnerable populations to considerable risks, while lead-free paint is sold elsewhere. One regional group expressed great frustration at the apparent lack of flexibility exhibited by some delegations to consider proposals on this issue that go beyond what was agreed at OEWG-1.
On EDCs, the second sensitive point, the Conference heard impassioned pleas to add this as a new emerging policy issue as soon as possible. Most supported this, but a few delegates objected on the basis that SAICM would only be duplicating efforts by other organizations, and thus wasting precious resources. As sustainable financing arrangements for SAICM were being discussed in the afternoon, delegates wondered whether the commitment to address new emerging issues will be matched by commitments to financially support activities on such issues, in addition to the existing issues currently covered by SAICM.