Daily report for 26 January 1999

2nd Session of the INC for an International Legally Binding Instrument for Implementing International Action on Certain Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)

On the second day of INC-2, delegates met in Plenary to complete preliminary discussions on: national implementation plans; information exchange; public information, awareness and education; and research, development and monitoring. In the afternoon, the Implementation and Negotiation Groups convened. The Implementation Group began discussions on areas for technical and financial assistance. The Negotiation Group began to negotiate text on measures regarding the prohibition of and restrictions on the production and use of certain POPs.


In morning Plenary, delegates addressed and gave general support for the proposed article on national implementation plans. IRAN, CHINA, INDIA, NEW ZEALAND, the GAMBIA, the US and others, called for a flexible approach to take into account different national circumstances. GERMANY, on behalf of the EU, supported by PANAMA, said plans should be obligatory. CHINA, COSTA RICA, MALAYSIA and others called for financial assistance for developing plans. BANGLADESH called for capacity building at the national level. CTE D’IVOIRE called for developed countries to assist developing countries in preparing plans. INDONESIA stressed that developing countries need assistance to properly identify existing POPs levels. PANAMA, supported by the PHILIPPINES, stressed the value of regional harmonization and collaboration. The US said plans are a key to overall success and that the starting points for addressing byproducts will be particularly varied. UNIDO, highlighting its experience with plans, stressed financial and technical support for developing countries. CANADA said plans would be valuable for evaluating new substances under the convention’s criteria.

On a proposed information exchange article, IRAN and GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL advocated a wider scope of information exchange. BARBADOS and LESOTHO supported including information on import and export. GHANA and EL SALVADOR supported information exchange spanning the whole chemical cycle. SURINAME proposed including information exchange on national implementation plans. GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL emphasized solutions and information on alternatives with respect to byproducts. ALGERIA asked who would decide what constitutes a good alternative and suggested designating organizations to carry out studies to determine scientific validity and facilitate informed decision making. The G77/CHINA and ETHIOPIA underscored the importance of expanding information to look at indigenous, nonchemical alternatives. IRAN, supported by CUBA and PERU, called for a clearly defined mechanism. IRAN and PAKISTAN called for stronger wording.

NEW ZEALAND and CUBA cautioned against duplication of information dissemination efforts.

CANADA, supported by the US, suggested separate paragraphs on: information exchange on reduction and elimination; and on alternatives. The EU, CUBA and THAILAND supported establishing national contact points. The EU encouraged IGO and NGO contributions. The EU, IRAN, PERU, the PHILIPPINES, GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL, INDONESIA and KUWAIT opposed keeping any information confidential. The US and the RUSSIAN FEDERATION supported confidentiality with respect to some business information and for national security purposes, respectively.

INDONESIA advocated the exchange of relevant information between countries with similar conditions. NIGER, CHAD and the PHILIPPINES underscored the importance of raising public awareness. ARGENTINA asked the Secretariat to provide a few models for information exchange and suggested a database or clearinghouse. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION referenced the mechanism used under the Montreal Protocol as a possible starting point.

On public information, awareness and education, MALI underscored the importance of changing attitudes and behavior of citizens. The PHILIPPINES called for a comprehensive advocacy campaign targeted at all stakeholders. The EU proposed that public authorities possess and update relevant environmental information. The GAMBIA said sensitization of policy makers is a priority. INDIA stressed the need to address how to achieve public awareness. IRAN called for interregional cooperation and training to reduce adverse impacts of POPs. CANADA, supported by SWITZERLAND, requested including Integrated Pest Management. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION said governments must develop information systems that would allow people to minimize their risks. INDONESIA said the public must be made aware that POPs endanger their lives, and proposed the development of national POPs awareness networks. The US said the public should have an opportunity for input in developing national plans. CUBA called for education programmes for different levels. IPEN said obstacles to public education include inaccessibility of information due to national security, bureaucratic and intellectual property rights restrictions, and called for full disclosure of information that might affect health and environment.

On research, development and monitoring, NIGERIA stressed the need for oversight of technical assistance. CANADA said the article should also cover harmonization of sampling methodologies. KENYA called for widespread harmonization of information between regions to facilitate dissemination of POPs information at the local level. COLOMBIA called for national POPs units to draw activities together though focal points and to facilitate the establishment of regional networks. GERMANY said monitoring could be addressed in a different article. INDONESIA said methodologies evaluating alternative release reduction or elimination strategies should consider cultural as well as social and economic factors. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION, SENEGAL and EGYPT supported using elements of the Montreal Protocol, including national focal points and an oversight committee. TANZANIA called for a more collaborative approach from developing countries and those with economies in transition. The PHILIPPINES said national monitoring should include the private sector, particularly with respect to the illegal traffic of banned substances. The FAO said the article should also take into account the work of the CEG, in particular criteria already identified. INUITS OF THE WORLD called for a stronger core obligation on parties for research, development and monitoring.

Chair Buccini next addressed the mandate of the Implementation Group. Referring to the report of INC-1, he noted that the Implementation Group would address the broad topics of identifying areas requiring technical and financial assistance and identifying possible existing and future sources of technical and financial assistance for discussion, with special attention to technical and financial assistance for: compiling inventories; capacity-building; monitoring POPs impacts; public education; identifying and obtaining alternatives, including recapturing indigenous knowledge; pilot projects; information exchange; import and export controls; technology transfer; and destroying or disposing of obsolete stocks in an environmentally sound manner (UNEP/POPS/INC.1/7).


Delegates began negotiations on measures to reduce or eliminate releases of POPs into the environment and debated what the prohibition of POPs would imply and cover. In addition to production and use, many delegations, including the PHILIPPINES, NORWAY, BANGLADESH and GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL, favored adding export and import, while THAILAND, MALI, JAPAN and the US opposed. COLOMBIA added that export and import should only be for destruction. MALAWI and the GAMBIA expressed concern over illegal entry and, with KUWAIT, over transit movements. CANADA considered discussion premature until direct measures are established. ICCA suggested use of the PIC Convention to govern restricted POPs.

JAPAN proposed separate treatments of POPs as products and wastes and, supported by ICELAND, suggested dealing with waste issues under the Basel Convention. CANADA, JAPAN, AUSTRALIA and the US proposed a full discussion of the PIC and Basel Conventions before further discussing export and import controls. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION proposed a separate article for import and export and asked about export to nonparties or parties that have not yet banned use. Chair Buccini proposed placing import and export in brackets and returning to the issue later.

The US proposed that each party take effective measures to eliminate production and use, instead of prohibiting production and use. He said the change would add flexibility and facilitate necessary legislation. On this proposal, GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL expressed concern regarding enforcement.

With respect to the two annexes on prohibited and restricted POPs, the US proposed a combined annex covering both types. CANADA, COLOMBIA, the DOMINICAN REPUBLIC and AUSTRALIA supported this, but the GAMBIA, NORWAY and the EU expressed reservations. AUSTRALIA, supported by ICELAND and the DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, called for closer examination. ICCA requested clarification of policy positions on prohibited and restricted POPs, underlining that the UNECE allows exemptions for research, emergencies and other purposes. Chair Buccini proposed placing the ten intentionally produced POPs into the two annexes on prohibited and restricted production and use. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION noted the absence of proposals from specialists on how to allocate between the two annexes. Chair Buccini proposed that a contact group decide this. CHINA, supported by IRAN, proposed changing the annex on prohibited POPs to reflect different deadlines for developing and developed countries. WWF noted that the annex on restricted POPs includes the expiry date of exemption, and suggested inclusion of a default mechanism whereby after the expiry date is reached, the POP would move to the annex on prohibited POPs. After some debate over the mandate of the contact group and whether one group was adequate, Chair Buccini requested that the contact group develop the two annexes and examine the model put forward by China. He stressed that the group was not mandated to redraft text, but he welcomed observations for further discussion on proposed text changes.


The Implementation Group, chaired by Maria-Cristina Cardenas Fischer (Colombia) convened in the afternoon and elected Shantanu Consul (India), Karel Blha (Czech Republic), Soki Kue- Di-Kuenda (Angola) and Manfred Schneider (WEOG) as regional representatives for the Bureau. Mr. Blha will also serve as Rapporteur. Chair Cardenas noted the Implementation Group deadline of Wednesday of INC-4, and asked for support and cooperation to achieve fruitful outcomes. Chair Cardenas drew attention to the areas for technical and financial assistance as identified at INC-1 (UNEP/POPS/INC.1/7) and opened the floor for general discussion. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION asked for inclusion of risk assessment and said a gradual and flexible approach must be taken. INDIA suggested that the areas for technical and financial assistance be considered as components of capacity building. URUGUAY said national implementation plans should start with inventories followed by public awareness programmes. SOUTH AFRICA drew attention to variations in national information available on POPs.

BARBADOS suggested a regional approach to taking inventory prior to forming national plans. NIGER preferred subregional cooperation to allow for pooling of resources. EGYPT called for guidelines for national plans and said regional plans should be elaborated later. UNIDO emphasized that the issues of POPs necessitates a well thought through work plan and recommended regional case studies. The FAO, noting its experience in eliminating obsolete pesticides, said industry and public interest groups should take part in raising awareness and data provision for inventories. ZAMBIA said inventories are a priority for identifying needs and attracting the attention of policy makers. CHAD noted that inventories are useless unless the people who use POPs are aware of risks. GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL said non-registered POPs must be included if inventories are to be meaningful. VANUATU, TANZANIA and NIGER noted existing stockpiles and stressed that their elimination is a priority. The UKRAINE said what will be done with pesticides after inventories must be clarified. ICCA said improved identification of transboundary movements of POPs will facilitate inventories.

The GEF highlighted enabling activities under a number of Conventions which involve inventories and national action plans. Co-Chair Cardenas suggested moving forward with consideration of the capacity building activity areas described in UNEP/POPS/INC.2/3. PAKISTAN supported also considering safe handling of chemicals and IRAN further added socioeconomic assessments with respect to new POPs. Summarizing and noting the potentially different types and needs in developing inventories, Chair Cardenas proposed continuing on Wednesday morning with an initial consideration and prioritization of the list of needs identified.


Overall, delegates seemed pleased with the momentum of INC-2 and cited the convening of the Implementation Group and the establishment of a contact group on annexes for prohibited and restricted chemicals as testament to this. One delegate summed up the day stating “things are starting to roll.”


Plenary: Plenary will convene in Conference Room 2 at 10:00 am to hear reports of the Implementation and the Negotiation Groups.

Implementation Group: After briefing the Plenary, the Impementation Group will continue consideration of technical and financial assistance.

Negotiation Group: Delegates will continue negotiation on measures to reduce or eliminate releases of POPs. The Contact Group on Annexes is expected to convene as well.

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