Sixth Meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs INC-6)
Geneva, Switzerland   -   17-21 June 2002
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Monday, 17 June:

On the first day of INC-6, delegates heard opening addresses, discussed organizational matters, including expansion of the Bureau, heard statements regarding ongoing international activities relating to the work of the Committee, and initiated deliberations on extrabudgetary funds. From left to right: Philippe Roch, Director of the Swiss Agency for the Environment, Forests, and Landscape; John Buccini, Chair of the POPs INC; and Jim Willis, Head of UNEP Chemicals.


Opening Plenary
INC Chair John Buccini (Canada) opened INC-6.
 
Above: View from the balcony of INC-6 in session.
In his opening remarks, Philippe Roch, Director of the Swiss Agency for the Environment, Forests, and Landscape, welcomed delegates to Geneva noting INC-6 marks a shift from negotiation to implementation of the Convention. He stressed: the importance of technical and financial assistance to developing countries and countries with economies in transition; the need to collaborate with other multilateral environmental agreements and international organizations on implementation and burden-sharing; and industry's responsibility to develop new chemicals in light of the Stockholm Convention.
 
Jim Willis, UNEP Chemicals, delivering a message from Klaus Töpfer, UNEP Executive Director, underscored the Stockholm Convention Secretariat's budgetary shortfall, congratulated the 151 signatories and 11 country ratifications and wished INC-6 a successful meeting.

Willis later reported on intersessional work requested by the INC and required by the resolutions in the Final Act of the Convention, and emphasized the transition of the Secretariat from supporting negotiations to its role as the interim Convention Secretariat.

 

Statements by multilateral and
non-governmental organizations
The Basel Convention said its implementation experience would be useful to POPs and encouraged continued collaboration with the POPs Secretariat. .
 
The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), representing the Secretariat of the Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP) Convention, said he expected that the POPs Protocol to the LRTAP Convention would enter into force by the end of the year, and expressed interest in UNECE collaboration with the POPs Secretariat.
 

The Rotterdam Convention highlighted the successful operation of the Chemical Review Committee and noted four workshops aimed at facilitating practical training on operational elements of the Convention. Germany provided a brief update on the Information Exchange Network on Capacity Building for the Sound Management of Chemicals (INFOCAP) under the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety process (UNEP/POPS/INC.6/INF/21).

The World Bank said it lacked a portfolio on POPs and that its work on POPs is linked to sectors in which it is working, such as industry and agriculture. He noted work with countries made possible under a trust fund established by the Canadian government.

 
Finland, on behalf of the Arctic Council, highlighted, inter alia, the importance of implementing the Stockholm Convention to ensure Indigenous Peoples' food security; and ongoing research on pentabromodiphenyl ether (pentaBDE), a potential addition to the Stockholm Convention.
 
The International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN) encouraged governments to consider involving NGOs in their enabling activities and NIP preparations.
 
The UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) summarized its efforts to provide training to countries with a view to building national implementation plans (UNEP/POPS/INC.6/INF/27).
 
The UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) outlined its ongoing activities on promoting enabling mechanisms and best available technologies as supported by the GEF.
 
The World Health Organization (WHO) described POPs-related activities (UNEP/POPS/INC.6/INF/26), and highlighted a guidance document produced in collaboration with the FAO and UNEP on alternative strategies for sustainable pest and vector management, to be launched at INC-6.
 
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) provided an overview of its activities related to POPs pesticides (UNEP/POPS/INC.6/INF/24), and highlighted, inter alia, the application of integrated pest management, including the search for alternative management approaches against pests and diseases.
 

The Worldwide Fund For Nature (WWF)
said it is encouraged by the number of ratifications and expressions of interest in ratifying the Stockholm Convention.
 

Review of the budgetary situation

Jim Willis presented the draft programme of work and budget (UNEP/POPS/INC.6/3) and a paper on contributions to the POPs Club (UNEP/POPS/INC.6/INF/25). Regarding the draft programme of work and budget, he described the budgets for 2001 and 2002, as well as the projected budget for 2003-2004. He emphasized that if the funding needed to cover 2002 expenditures and repay money owed to the UNEP Environment Fund does not come in before end-2002, the Secretariat will face a serious financial crisis that will severely restrict its operations.

Willis later answered questions from the floor on various topics, including the Secretariat's ineligibility for GEF funds and the relationship between UNEP Chemicals and the interim Secretariat regarding financing. He advised against detailed elements of the budget, to allow for fungibility, if necessary, in financial matters. He also cautioned against relying on secondments to address staffing issue, stating that they tend to come from certain groups, which could change the demographics of the staff.

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