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Fifth Meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPS INC-5)
Johannesburg, South Africa; 4 - 9 December, 2000

DELEGATES AGREE TO CONVENTION ON POPS - Saturday, 9/Sunday 10 December
The fifth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-5) for an International Legally Binding Instrument for Implementing International Action on Certain Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) met from 4-9 December 2000, in Johannesburg, South Africa. Approximately 525 participants from 122 countries, as well as representatives of international organizations and non- governmental organizations (NGOs), participated in INC-5 to complete preparation of an international legally binding instrument for implementing international action on twelve POPs, grouped into three categories: 1) pesticides: aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, mirex and toxaphene; 2) industrial chemicals: hexachlorobenzene (HCB) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); and 3) unintended byproducts: dioxins and furans. More than four years after the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety ad hoc Working Group recommended the development of an international agreement to eliminate some of the world's most toxic chemicals, and some two and a half years after INC-1 in Montreal, participants gathered in Johannesburg for the fifth and final round of negotiations for a legally binding POPs Convention. The final compromises reached by the early hours of Sunday morning produced robust but flexible control measures, strong elements of precaution and a realistic financing solution. Together, these serve as a promising start on the long road towards eliminating persistent organic pollutants. Continued in the ENB's Summary and Analysis - see links, above right.

Multimedia coverage: On the final day of INC-5, the ENB posted regular updates of the developments in Plenary which led to the agreement. Below is an inverted timeline of the last day of POPs-5. Note: due to equipment constraints, some of the photos available on this page are low-resolution images. Our archive of the first 5 days of POPs-5 contains a large selection of exclusively high-resolution images - please follow the links provided on the right.

Summary And Analysis

Vol 15,
no. 54


Daily Reports

Sat 9
Fri 8

Multimedia archive

Previous days' photos and RealAudio

* To view PDF files, you will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader:

txttxttxtLatest update:
txtAt 07:28 am, Chair Buccini declared: "... my understanding is, ladies and gentlemen, you've just made a convention" (listen in RealAudio). Delegates cleared the last article - W, on reservations - and have a clean, bracket-free text ready for signing in Stockholm. After numerous and sincere expressions of thanks to the Chair, the Secretariat and the host country, Buccini gaveled INC-5 to a close at 8:20 am, Sunday morning. RealAudio of Buccini's emotional closing of INC-5: "... the only thing that comes to mind is: we have a legal document today which constitutes a declaration of war on POPs. Congratulations".

A standing ovation for the completion of the INC's work, and for the dedicated chairmanship of John Buccini (Canada) over the two and a half years of the INC negotiations. Delegates were unanimous in their thanks for Buccini's work. Several participants jokingly suggested that the new agreement should be named 'The Buccini Convention'.

Chair Buccini holds aloft the Inuit statue that was given to him at INC-1. The statue, representing a mother with a baby in arms, has sat by Buccini's side on the dias at every INC meeting. It served to remind participants of the health effects of POPs and the importance of their work.

txt06:30 - The Co-Chair of the Contact Group on Art. F introduced the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle, a package proposal on Article F (Listing of Chemicals in Annexes A, B and/or C and relevant references in the preamble, the objective and Annex C. The Co-Chair noted that package is intended to resolve all issues related to the principle or approach of precaution, and the Plenary agreed to the package. Two preambular clauses were added: Acknowledging that precaution underlies the concerns of Parties to the Convention and is embedded within it; and Recognizing that the Convention and other international agreements in the fields of trade and the environment are mutually supportive. It was agreed to reference the precautionary approach as set forth in Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration in the objective of the Convention. Precautionary language was also added to Article F, including in the final step of the procedure, which states that the COP, taking due account of the recommendations of the POPs Review Committee, including any scientific uncertainty, shall decide, in a precautionary manner, whether to list the chemical in Annex A, B and/or C. RealAudio of the presentation on Article F and 'precaution'

txt05:30 - Plenary has recessed for a short break and will reconvene at 6 am, without interpretation.
txt 05:05 - the Facilitator of the informal group on Article K (Financial Resources and Mechanisms) has made her presentation, and after a short debate Plenary accepted the consensus text. The package consists of Article K (Financial resources and mechanisms), Article K bis (Interim Financial Arrangements), which designates the GEF as the interim financial mechanism, and a draft resolution for the Conference of Plenipotentiaries on interim financial arrangements. Agreement on a provision in Article K - on making implementation of developing country Parties commitments dependent on implementation of developed country Parties commitments related to financial and technical assistance - was dependent on deletion of the qualifiers in Article D (Measures to reduce or eliminate releases) and Article E (Implementation plans) on capabilities and availability of financial and technical assistance.
RealAudio of report on consensus on Art. K
txt 02:35 - Participants in the Contact Group on Art. K were seen in the hallways drinking champagne, in celebration of their achievement of a consensus (see photos on the right). The Group on Article F (Listing of Chemicals in Annexes A, B and C) is also said to have successfully completed its work. The presentations of the Co-Chairs from the two Groups to Plenary are expected shortly.
txt02:00 - During the 3 hours of today's third Plenary session, delegates inter alia: [1] approved compromise text on the import and export of Annex A&B chemicals; [2] agreed that countries shall "take measures to regulate, with the aim of preventing" the production and use of new chemicals which exhibit the characteristics of POPs; [3] approved text regarding the establishment of a register of country-specific exemptions (CSE). This text, developed by the Legal Drafting Group, was more detailed than the 'bare-bones framework' previously expected. Regarding the register, delegates agreed, inter alia, that "the COP may decide to extend the expiry date of a CSE for a period of up to five years, taking due account of the special circumstances of developing countries and CEITs."
RealAudio of Co-Chair Hinchcliffe's report; [4] heard a progress report from the Co-Chair of the Contact Group on Art. D4 (Wastes) in which he noted that numerous brackets still remain. Plenary is scheduled to reconvene for its fourth, and possibly last, session at 2:30 am.

Above and below: South African hospitality, at 01:30. On the menu tonight: coffee and Plenary.
txt21:30 - 9 o'clock Plenary has been delayed until 10:30 pm, in order to allow for document reproduction and in the hopes that consensus can be achieved in the Groups on Articles F and K, which continue to their deliberations.
txt19:15 - Afternoon Plenary: [1] Delegates agreed to the Preamble, except for a US objection to Norway's proposed language on manufacturers' responsibility for POPs. These two delegations are now drafting revised language. Delegates also discussed Australia's submission on trade and environment and relationship among international conventions, which was taken from the preambular text of the PIC Convention. Many delegation opposed and the matter is pending. [1] The Co-chair of the Contact Group on Wastes (Art. D4) began introducing revised text, but since the new document was not available for distribution the discussion was suspended. Chair Buccini urged members of the group to seek consensus on outstanding issues in the interim. [3] There was a short report from the Contact Group on Financial Resources and Mechanisms (Article K) noting that the package was still under development with many brackets remaining. The Co-Chair of the Group requested more time for discussions. Chair Buccini gave them a final deadline of 8 pm to submit their package to the Secretariat for translation.
txt 15:30 - Before the resumption of work in the afternoon, rumours were swirling about that the small contact group on Art. D4 (Wastes) will bring forward new text. Reports and text from the groups on Art. K (Finances), F (Listing of new chemicals and the Precautionary Principle) are also expected before the end of the afternoon session.
txtBefore the lunch break, delegates revisited the issue of chapeau language on byproducts, in particular language on ultimate elimination. They agreed to "a goal of, where feasible, ultimate elimination". Reservations from Australia and EU will be reflected in the report of the meeting. The US's brackets in Article D3c - substitutes, around the words "where deemed appropriate, require the" were lifted. Informal meetings on the Precautionary Principle in Article F and Article K (Finances) continue.
txtIn the first half of the morning Plenary, delegates agreed to: a Canadian proposal on Article L bis regarding evaluation of the effectiveness of the convention; and to a submission on Article P regarding the Secretariat making available to the Parties periodic reports based on information received pursuant to the article on reporting. Delegates also agreed to convene a contact group to discuss resolutions to send to the Diplomatic Conference to be held in Stockholm, Sweden in May 2001. After announcing a deadlock on text relating to the relationship between this convention and the Basel Convention, the Contact Group on Art. D4 (Wastes) has been reconvened to find a way forward. Should the group fail, the Chair has indicated that he will propose the Chair's Draft Text (INC.5/5) for adoption by Plenary. The informal discussions on Article F, and particularly on the Precautionary Principle, continue. Left: Chair Buccini having a word with a Colombian delegate as Jim Willis looks on.
txt10:45 - Chair Buccini opens Plenary, delegates start their work with CRP.60 relating to L bis

RealAudio of Chair Buccini's opening remarks, agenda, and Willis' introduction of documents
Into the night: Patrick Szell, Chair of the Legal Drafting Group, gives Chair Buccini an update on the status of drafts (below) while Jim Willis works through his dinner break (right)
Chair Buccini and Viveka Bohn of the Swedish Delegation. The High-Level Diplomatic Conference (DIPCON) will be held in Stockholm, 22-23 May 2001.
A champagne toast to the new convention, 08:35
Rejoice Mabudafhasi, South African Deputy Minister for Environmental Affairs and Tourism, returned to the Sandton Convention Center to offer her congratulations. Mrs. Mabudafhasi officially opened POPs-5, and unofficially closed it.

Right: WWF's ominous poster was taken down during the champagne celebration. WWF submitted it to the Secretariat (by presenting to Jim Willis) as UNEP/CHEM/POPS/INC/5/Poster/Rev.1, with the following amendment: "Don't DIDN'T Repeat The Hague".

The ENB would like to extend its congratulations to all those involved in achieving this Convention.
Below: During INC-5, POPs-5 participants were called to Plenary not by a bell or a
dimming of lights but, in keeping with the local context, by the beating of a drum.
Archive of past multimedia coverage: || Monday 04 | Tuesday 05 | Wednesday 06 | Thursday 07 | Friday 08 | Other images ||

UNEP Chemicals Secretariat INC-5 web site with information for participants and official documents (Useful PDFs: Chair's Scenario notes for INC-5 and preliminary draft of the Convention
ENB Coverage of POPs INC-4
Linkages Chemical Management page
ENB's "Introduction to chemical management"
Other links: Joint UNEP Chemicals / WHO-GEENET web site and the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety web site
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