The screens lit up with proposed text for delegates to consider at the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG). They are tasked with developing a new science-policy panel for the sound management of chemicals and waste, and to prevent pollution. It is a complex task to design a new international body that will bridge science and policy communities – and there are only two meetings left after participants leave Bangkok.
Proposals for a possible capacity-building function and the panel’s objective were tabled during the resumed meeting of the contact group on scope and functions. On capacity building, a fault line emerged. For some, it should be a stand-alone function, on a par with the panel’s functions to produce assessments, share information, and communicate with stakeholders. For others, capacity building is a cross-cutting issue to be considered as an element within the other functions.
On the objective, delegates’ suggestions led to a messy text, which belied their emerging consensus on the importance of including protection of human health in the overarching statement of the panel’s purpose. Many supported an objective that specifies the audience for the panel’s work, namely, policymakers or governments.
A separate contact group considered the upcoming work to be completed before the next meeting. There were tentative offers made by some countries to host the next OEWG meeting, and Switzerland confirmed its intent to hold the third, and final, meeting. Countries shared ideas on different documents to be prepared for their consideration at OEWG 2, such as the panel’s rules of procedure or conflict of interest policy. Some suggested a full “zero draft.”
Delegates continued to meet into the night, focusing on the objective of the panel before turning to its functions.
All ENB photos are free to use with attribution. For this event, please use: Photo by IISD/ENB | Natalia Mroz
Written and edited by Jennifer Allan, Ph.D., Deborah Davenport, Ph.D., Moritz Petersmann, and Asterios Tsioumanis, Ph.D
To receive free coverage of global environmental events delivered to your inbox, subscribe to the ENB Update newsletter.