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Second Meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG-2) to Review and Assess Measures to Address the Global Issue of Mercury

6-10 October 2008 | UNEP headquarters, Nairobi, Kenya

Highlights for Friday, 10 October 2008

During the afternoon Chair Roberts (UK) paid tribute to John Whitelaw, UNEP, who is retiring after the OEWG.
Daily web coverage
Monday, 6 October - Tuesday, 7 October - Wednesday, 8 October - Thursday, 9 October - Friday, 10 October

The Second Meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) to Review and Assess Measures to Address the Global Issue of Mercury convened for its final day on Friday, 10 October at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.

During the morning, delegates considered the draft report to the Governing Council (GC) (UNEP(DTIE)/Hg/OEWG.2/CRP.10). After protracted discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of a legally-binding instrument and voluntary measures, plenary adjourned pending redrafting of the report by the Secretariat. Later in the morning, delegates agreed on the amended common elements of a mercury framework (UNEP(DTIE)/Hg/OEWG.2/CRP.9/Rev.1).

During the early afternoon, delegates turned their attention to the draft report of the meeting (UNEP(DTIE)/Hg/OEWG.2/L.1 and Add.1). The report was adopted with minor amendments.

Subsequently, delegates discussed the revised draft report to the GC (UNEP(DTIE)/Hg/OEWG.2/CRP.10/Rev.1) and adopted it with minor amendments. The report summarizes the advantages and disadvantages of a legally-binding instrument and of voluntary measures for the consideration of the Governing Council.

Delegates paid tribute to John Whitelaw, Deputy Chief, UNEP Chemicals Branch, who retires after this meeting, and expressed gratitude for his commitment to the chemicals agenda. Australia paid the final, somewhat colloquial, tribute, stating it was understood that John was about to “up stumps and shoot through, but digger we will miss you.”     

Chair Roberts gavelled the meeting to a close at 6:33pm.
The OEWG-2 Bureau and its Secretariat support.
L-R: Abiola Olanipekun (Nigeria); Gustavo Ochoa (Mexico); Ivana Vrhovac (Croatia); John Roberts (UK); John Whitelaw, UNEP; Keiko Segawa (Japan); and Nagai Masa, UNEP
Plenary session.
Franz Perrez (Switzerland) stated that a mercury convention could be developed in a way that complements and enhances cooperation and coordination among existing legally-binding instruments.
Daniel Fantozzi (USA) noted that some of the disadvantages of voluntary measures, as described, also applied to legally-binding approaches.
Cheng Weixue (China) said a MEA on mercury could create an uneven playing field among parties, given the disparity between developed and developing countries.
Anna Gonzalez (Spain).
Karel Blaha (Czech Republic).
Francis Kihumba (Kenya).
Donald Hannah (New Zealand).
Delegates during the Friday session.
Delegates during the plenary session.
John Whitelaw, UNEP, and Glen Wiser, Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL).
Noluzuko Gwayi (South Africa) consults with Abiola Olanipekun (Nigeria).
Members of the Secretariat, L-R: Desiree Narvaez, Brenda Koekkoe, Juan Caicedo and Gunnar Futsaeter.
Franz Perrez (Switzerland) consults with Cheng Weixue (China).
Chair John Roberts (UK) gavelled the meeting to a close at 6:33pm.
Daily web coverage
Monday, 6 October - Tuesday, 7 October - Wednesday, 8 October - Thursday, 9 October - Friday, 10 October

Related Links
UNEP resources
Meeting’s website
Meeting’s documents
Annotated provisional agenda
Scenario note and provisional meeting flow for OEWG-2

IISD RS resource
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IISD RS coverage of the Tenth Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum, 20-22 February 2008, Principality of Monaco
IISD RS coverage of the First Meeting of the Ad hoc OEWG to Review and Assess Measures to Address the Global Issue of Mercury, 12-16 November 2007, Bangkok, Thailand
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