“It is much more interesting to discuss substantive issues rather than procedural ones, but also sometimes exhausting,” a delegate murmured upon leaving the venue following a marathon of evening contact group sessions. Long working hours portray both delegates’ commitment and the importance of “getting it right” regarding the establishment of the science-policy panel (SPP) to contribute further to the sound management of chemicals and waste and to prevent pollution.
Following a brief stocktaking plenary session in the morning, the entire day was devoted to negotiations within two contact groups. Delegates worked throughout the day, sacrificing time that should have been available for lunch and dinner, to make progress on the draft text for proposals to establish the SPP.
Contact Group 1 on scope, objectives, functions, operating principles, and conflict of interest (CoI), focused on CoI in the morning, inviting contributions by the Ozone Secretariat and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Secretariat. They provided details on terms of reference and procedures on CoI in their respective processes. Using this input as a source of inspiration, delegates proceeded to a second reading of the proposal for a CoI policy. The group also discussed scope and, briefly, purpose and definitions related to CoI policy. On scope, most interventions supported reference to experts and review editors disclosing CoI, with one strongly objecting.
Delegates further addressed operating principles on the basis of a non-paper developed by the Co-Facilitators that sets out a table clustering 24 proposed elements into five areas, focusing, among other things, on whittling down and streamlining the list.
Contact Group 2 on institutional arrangements continued elaborating on the functions of the SPP’s secretariat, with discussions centering around providing scientific, technical, organizational, communication, and capacity-building support. Delegates also discussed provisions on evaluation of the operational effectiveness and impact of the SPP and invited the Co-Facilitators of Contact Group 3 on work-related processes and procedures to jointly discuss the interrelationships between the SPP’s deliverables, including the kinds of expertise needed in the subsidiary bodies of the SPP, and institutional arrangements. Deliberations further focused on committees and subsidiary bodies, including an envisaged interdisciplinary expert committee and suggestions for establishing additional subsidiary bodies and committees, such as a policy committee and a prospective error analysis committee.