“Procedural versus substantive discussions” was the theme of the second day of work for the Ad hoc open-ended working group on a science-policy panel (OEWG SPP) to contribute further to the sound management of chemicals and waste and to prevent pollution. While most participants agree that much work remains to be done “to get it right” regarding the SPP’s establishment, and that time “is not on our side if we want to finish work by the end of 2024,” procedural discussions on election of officers, reflecting geopolitical tensions, dominated Tuesday’s deliberations.
As the Group of Eastern European States (EEG) had been unable to reach consensus on two regional representatives for the Bureau, delegates held elections by secret ballot for the two vacant seats. This was a lengthy process taking up most of the available time in the morning and afternoon plenary sessions. Eventually, Alexandru Roznov (Romania) and Roman Filonenko (Ukraine) were elected.
On substance, delegates met in plenary in the morning to hear reports on Monday evening’s work from the Co-Facilitators of: Contact Group 1 on scope, objectives, functions, operating principles, and conflict of interest (CoI); and Contact Group 2 on institutional arrangements. The Co-Facilitators reported some progress, but stressed that more time is required to finalize deliberations. Informal discussions on budget, which took place on Monday afternoon, provided the requested clarifications, which will expedite discussions under Contact Group 4, scheduled for later in the week, on intersessional work and budget.
Contact Groups 1 and 2 used every available window of time to make progress, including during lunchtime and in the evening, demonstrating delegates’ commitment to reach a successful outcome.
Contact Group 1 addressed the CoI draft text at lunchtime, discussing the purpose of the CoI policy. Delegates suggested identifying “potential” CoIs, and exchanged opinions on referring CoI-related requests to the Bureau. In the evening, the group considered proposals for elements to be included in operating principles, categorized into five clusters.
Discussions in Contact Group 2 focused on possible bodies under the SPP. Delegates welcomed a graph, presented by the Secretariat, which provided a visual of possible bodies of the panel, including a bureau, secretariat, interdisciplinary expert committee, and other subsidiary bodies or committees. Discussions centered around questions relating to the relationship between the bodies of the panel; membership of the panel; and decision-making power within the SPP. In the evening, delegates initiated textual negotiations on institutional arrangements, starting with provisions on plenary, including its functions.