Daily report for 20 June 2002
6th Session of the INC for an International Legally Binding Instrument for Implementing International Action on Certain Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
On the fourth day of INC-6, delegates met in morning and afternoon Plenary sessions, in two morning contact groups and one evening contact group. In the morning Plenary, delegates completed deliberations on financial resources and mechanisms, interim financial arrangements, measures to reduce or eliminate releases from intentional production and use and Register of specific exemptions, and measures to reduce or eliminate releases from stockpiles and wastes. In the afternoon, delegates discussed information exchange, technical assistance, and effectiveness evaluation. The two morning contact groups on the POPs Review Committee (POPRC) and on best available techniques (BAT) and best environmental practices (BEP) finalized their work and presented reports to Plenary in the afternoon. The evening contact group finalized decisions on guidance on technical assistance, and on the feasibility study on regional and subregional centers.
PREPARATIONS FOR THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES: Financial resources and mechanisms, and interim financial arrangements: Following up on Wednesday’s discussion regarding the Memorandum of Understanding with and guidance to the GEF, the GEF Secretariat indicated it would consider INC-6 proposals at its October 2002 Assembly.
On review of the financial mechanism’s effectiveness, NORWAY, with CANADA, distinguished between review and evaluation. NORWAY stressed the need for criteria to be consistent with guidance provided in the article on financial mechanisms. The EU, POLAND and the US stressed that criteria for the financial mechanism review should not be GEF-specific. The EU proposed inviting country submissions to this end. The EU and POLAND suggested, and delegates agreed, to postpone discussion on the institutional structure for the final financial mechanism. POLAND and CANADA recommended, and delegates agreed, to use the criteria for review as indicated in the article on financial resources and mechanisms. CANADA recommended drawing upon outcomes of other reviews and evaluations of the GEF, and suggested the Secretariat seek assistance from experts but not invite country submissions. Delegates mandated the Secretariat to submit a draft document on the review of the financial mechanism to INC-7.
Regarding guidance on and timing of activities to collect information from relevant funding institutions, CANADA proposed a database, and, with the EU and the US, stressed the private sector’s role. CHILE recommended that the COP discuss identification and mobilization of available resources. The EU highlighted overlap of activities with those of the capacity assistance network (CAN). POLAND suggested the COP undertake the review of these activities by 2004. IRAN suggested the Secretariat utilize GEF funds. CHINA inquired about the extent of technical or financial assistance to the Convention by NGOs and intergovernmental organizations. Delegates asked the Secretariat to present INC-7 with a draft report on this issue.
Measures to reduce or eliminate releases from intentional production and use and Register of specific exemptions: Regarding work on DDT (UNEP/POPS/INC.6/5 and INC.6/INF/ 3), VENEZUELA recommended that the COP analyze suitability of DDT alternatives for developing counties. The EU encouraged cooperation between UNEP and the WHO, and consideration of work undertaken by NGOs. He recommended that the Secretariat develop a format for reporting on DDT use. THE GAMBIA sought WHO advice regarding its 1995 DDT ban, while INDIA sought assistance from the WHO in developing alternatives to DDT. Chair Buccini said the Secretariat, in cooperation with the WHO, would develop a format for reporting by Parties and develop guidance and collect information for COP-1.
Regarding specific exemptions and the review and process for extending exemptions, including a draft format of the Register of specific exemptions (UNEP/POPS/INC.6/4 and INC.6/INF/6), JAPAN said that the Register should not have any legal implications. The US, with the EU, said the remarks column in the proposed format was useful to provide further information on the scope of the exemption. The EU supported general guidelines on criteria for exemption extensions and for temporary exemptions. The US supported initiating the development of guidance, with country input, to assist the COP, and to be consolidated by the Secretariat and discussed at INC-7. Delegates invited the Secretariat to propose a reporting format, as well as a format for the Register.
Measures to reduce or eliminate releases from stockpiles and wastes: Delegates discussed the note on guidelines for POP wastes and cooperation with the Basel Convention (UNEP/POPS/ INC.6/8). NORWAY, with CANADA and the US, stressed the importance of cooperation with the Basel Convention’s Technical Working Group (TWG) and among experts at the national level. The EU proposed that the Secretariat analyze and recommend relevant elements of the Basel Convention guidelines for adoption by the COP. Delegates agreed to ask the Basel Convention to consider inviting INC members to participate in developing relevant guidelines. CUBA said the guidelines should contain economically viable options. Delegates welcomed continued cooperation between the two Conventions, particularly at the national level, in capacity building, and on guidelines development.
Clearing-House Mechanism: Regarding possible functions of the clearing-house mechanism (CHM) (UNEP/POPS/INC.6/INF/ 7), the EU, with NORWAY, questioned the US $250,000 requested by the Secretariat and the potential for synergies between the CHM and CAN. The Secretariat explained that roughly US $150,000 of their request accounted for supporting the existing Stockholm Convention website. CHILE stressed keeping the CAN and CHM as two separate systems. ARGENTINA and NORWAY emphasized the importance of maintaining support for the website. POLAND encouraged creating CHMs at the national level, especially for non-UN language countries. NEW ZEALAND, with ARGENTINA, suggested that the Secretariat develop a more detailed CHM workplan and budget for consideration at INC-7.
Effectiveness Evaluation: Delegates discussed the note on two existing UNEP Chemicals monitoring programmes (UNEP/POPS/ INC.6/10). CANADA, supported by the US, AUSTRALIA, and ARGENTINA stressed the need to develop a strategic framework for evaluation at the earliest stage possible. AUSTRALIA noted that monitoring should consider both environmental and health effects. JAPAN emphasized the need to strengthen or initiate monitoring activities and encouraged the sharing of environmental data. SANTA LUCIA, SAMOA and ARGENTINA emphasized the need for methodology standards. The EU warned against committing to a project with unrealistic financial implications. CHINA stressed that monitoring should focus on POPs covered under the Convention. Delegates agreed that an informal drafting group will prepare a draft decision by Friday, 21 June.
PRESENTATION OF DRAFT DECISIONS: Regarding the draft decision on guidance on technical assistance, the G-77/ CHINA proposed text inviting developed countries to provide information to the Secretariat on ways and modalities for the provision of assistance. The EU questioned the appropriateness of text on possible modalities for implementation. SAINT LUCIA proposed that the Secretariat’s report on priorities for technical assistance be based, in part, on information gathered from consultative workshops.
Regarding the draft decision on the feasibility study, SWITZERLAND and others, proposed that the study be undertaken in consultation with the Basel Convention Secretariat. The G-77/ CHINA recommended that the study include an assessment of possible mechanisms for technology transfer and financial assistance. The EU stated that it would be premature to embark on the pilot project or CAN prior to completion of the feasibility study.
Regarding the pilot project draft decision, SWITZERLAND, supported by GRULAC and others, proposed that the pilot project be conducted in cooperation with the Basel Convention Secretariat and its Regional Centers. GRULAC reiterated that the feasibility study and the pilot project should be conducted simultaneously.
Regarding the CAN draft decision, SWITZERLAND, supported by the CZECH REPUBLIC and others, proposed that the feasibility study take into account relevant ongoing work in other fora. Chair Buccini proposed forming a contact group to finalize these four decisions.
Regarding the draft decision on interim guidance on national implementation plans, the Secretariat amended the text to invite governments to provide their comments by 31 October 2002. EGYPT asked that the issue be discussed on Friday, 21 June, when the draft decision is made available in all UN languages.
CONTACT GROUP REPORTS: The results of the contact group on BAT/BEP, co-chaired by Sergio Vives (Chile) and Robert Kellam (US), were presented to Plenary. Co-Chair Vives presented the draft terms of reference for the Expert Group on BAT/BEP explaining that: its first meeting will be held prior to INC-7; the INC shall identify two interim co-chairs; the Expert Group will have balanced representation among developed countries, developing countries and countries with economies in transition, as well as representation from intergovernmental organizations, and environmental and industry organizations; and participants should have expertise in technical issues and/or relevant environmental policy and/or the functioning of the Stockholm Convention.
POPRC contact group Co-Chairs Fatoumata Jallow Ndoye (The Gambia) and Reiner Arndt (Germany) reported that participants agreed: to the task and size of the Committee; that work will be based on scientific evaluation followed by risk management evaluation; and that meetings would be held in English. Participants also agreed the Rotterdam Convention model was a good starting point on how to resolve issues of conflict of interest. Participants failed to agree on the POPRC composition, on an expert nomination procedure, and on funding issues.
The contact group on technical assistance, co-chaired by Christopher Corbin (Saint Lucia) and Jozef Buys (Belgium), met in the evening to discuss four draft decisions (UNEP/POPS/INC.6/ CRP.12). The group managed to finalize the draft decisions on guidance on technical assistance and on the feasibility study on regional and subregional centers, but did not have time to resolve decisions on the pilot project on regional and subregional centers and on the CAN.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Although Switzerlandï¿½s offer to fund COP-1 in Uruguay comes as little surprise to delegates, many nevertheless speculate that, by presenting its offer, Switzerland is looking for GRULAC support in its bid to host the Stockholm Convention Secretariat in Geneva. Some speculate that this arrangement may have affected the outcome of deliberations in the contact group on technical assistance, but were noticeably more reticent when asked if they thought it would prejudice the outcome of todayï¿½s World Cup matches.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: Plenary is expected to convene at 10:15 am to, inter alia, continue its discussion on monitoring and evaluation, hear reports from Co-Chairs of the technical assistance contact group and the Legal Drafting Group, and address the article on reporting.
WORLD CUP FOOTBALL: World Cup quarterfinals will be televised at the coffee bar on the ground floor. England will play Brazil at 8:30 am, and Germany will play the US at 1:30 pm.