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Fourth Meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPS-4)
Photos and RealAudio of 22 March
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Wednesday, 22 March:

The IAG met during the day and evening to negotiate text for technical assistance (Articles J) and financial resources and mechanisms (Article K), and to finalize the IAG report. The NG considered provisions on waste and stockpiles under Article D, information exchange (Article G) and listing of new substances (Article F). Contact groups on by-products, and stockpiles and waste met throughout the day and evening.

Implementation Aspects Group: Article K (Financials Resources and Mecanisms)
View of the IAG in session in the Waterworks Room
The EU stressed its preference for employing the GEF as the financial mechanism. She noted options for defining the relationship between the COP and the GEF, explicitly in Article K or through COP representation on the GEF Council.
Manfred Schneider, Austria, reported on the outcomes of the drafting group on the Canadian proposed Capacity Assistance Network (CAN)

The ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH FUND called for obligations on providing resources and implementation.

NIGERIA, speaking for the G-77/CHINA, stressed establishment of an independent multilateral fund with regular and obligatory contributions from developed countries

Supporting the G-77/CHINA's call for a new fund, INDIA noted the similarities between the future POPs convention and the Montreal Protocol, and highlighted the success of the Protocol's independant financial mechanism. "Delays occure ecause of poor systems or lack of will, not because a new organization must be set up."

ZAMBIA called for an independent financial mechanism to provide assurance and consistency of funding. ZAMBIA expressed concern that POPs would not be covered by the GEF.
NEW ZEALAND supported using and expanding existing mechanisms, noting inefficiencies associated with a new mechanism
Calling for avoidance of a financial mechanism with an exclusive and narrowly focused mandate, SWITZERLAND supported an important and improved, but not exclusive, role for the GEF; and supported Canada's proposed capacity assistance network.
Maria Cristina Cardenas Fischer (Colombia), Chair of the Implementation Aspects Group, recapped the debate on Article K.

Side-Event: State of the Science Briefing

The Ministry of the Environmant of the Netherlands and Commonweal USA presented a "State of the Science Briefing" to inform INC participants of recent developments in the rapidly evolving science on POPs endocrology. This session's emphasis was on the Precautionary Principle and the need for action despite absolute scientific certainty. Dr. J. Peterson Myers, W. Alton Jones Foundation and author of Our Stolen Future (far right), spoke of the recent paradigm shift amongst endocrologists, who now accept that major long-term harm can be done to the human body (especially the fetus) with only short exposures to small amounts of certain toxins which has lead to the re-evaluation of the concept of 'acceptable background exposure' for many chemicals. Previously, the scientists placed emphasis on the immediate effects of massive exposures. Dr. Taisen Igushi, Dept. of Biology at the Yokohama City University (second from the right), presented his study entitled Detection of Endocrine Disrupters in Human Umbilical Cord. He discussed the various ways a mother's age and consumption habits can effect the type and quantity of toxins she passes on to her unborn and nursing child. Dr. Rudy Boersma, University Hospital of Groningen, the Netherlands (second from the left), discusssed the findings of a joint study between universities in the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark on the prevalence of PCB and dioxin in breastmilk. He said that despite the disturbing levels of POPs and other toxins in human milk, breast-feeding remains an invaluable source of nutrition for children and should be encouraged. Dr. Ted Schettler, Boston Medical Center and author of Generations at Risk, spoke on the effects of pre- and post-natal exposure to POPs on cognitive and motor development. The type and intensity of the effect an exposure to POPs will have in an individual are almost impossible to predict, given the complex interaction between contaminents, the importance of the timing and amounts of the exposure, and variations in individuals' physiologies. He reminded participants that the Precautionary Principle does not negate science, but instead recognizes its limits and acts on these. Sharyle Patton, Commonweal, moderated the panel.

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