Monday, 14 July
On the first day of the Seventh Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-7), delegates met in morning and afternoon Plenary sessions. In the morning, delegates heard opening addresses, discussed organizational matters and made statements regarding ongoing international activities relating to the work of the Committee. In the afternoon, delegates initiated deliberations on the Secretariat’s activities, extrabudgetary funds, and preparations for the Conference of the Parties (COP).
Philippe Roch, Director of the Swiss Agency for the Environment, Forests, and Landscape, welcomed delegates to INC-7, emphasizing that much work needs to be completed before the first Conference of the Parties (COP-1), and noted the importance of collaboration among UN and other bodies. He noted Switzerland’s recent decision to ratify the Convention.
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Ahmed Djoghlaf, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), on behalf of UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer, stressed the need for prompt entry into force of the Convention, emphasizing the importance attached to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) and the 22nd session of the UNEP Governing Council. Djoghlaf noted the Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) work on POPs and stressed the need for concrete action.
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Delegates adopted the INC-7 agenda with minor amendments. Chair John Buccini (Canada) presented the organization of work , highlighting the importance of the work of the Legal Drafting Group (LDG) for INC-7’s progress.
Jim Willis, Executive Secretary of the Stockholm Convention interim Secretariat, reported on the Secretariat’s progress in completing the work requested at INC-6, noting that the Secretariat was unable to assess the feasibility of Stockholm Convention regional and sub-regional centers, nor conduct relevant case studies due to resource constraints.
The INC-7 elected Mearle Barrett (Jamaica) as a permanent Bureau member, representing the Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC) and Bayat Mokhtari (Iran) as a temporary member representing the Asia-Pacific Group for INC-7.
REVIEW OF ONGOING INTERNATIONAL ACTIVITIES RELATING TO THE WORK OF THE COMMITTEE
The Secretariat introduced the fifth edition of the master list of actions on the reduction and/or elimination of POPs releases, noting an increase in the number of reporting countries. Jim Willis, UNEP Chemicals, highlighted the GEF- and donor-supported activities of UNEP in facilitating the Convention’s early ratification and implementation.
The US highlighted its project to assist countries in gaining access to POPs information through the internet. The GAMBIA and GHANA noted their ratifications of the Convention, while ALGERIA, BENIN, CAMEROON, EGYPT, HAITI, KENYA, MALAWI, MALAYSIA, MALI, MONGOLIA, NIGER, NIGERIA, the PHILIPPINES, SYRIA, the US, and VENEZUELA noted their work toward ratification. GERMANY highlighted a South-East Asian regional workshop on PCBs and an information exchange network on capacity building for the sound management of chemicals launched by the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS). NICARAGUA outlined its work to eliminate POPs stockpiles. MEXICO noted the completion of its first POPs inventory. THAILAND described its successes in monitoring and compiling POPs inventories.
CANADA emphasized the importance of the financial mechanism, national implementation plan (NIP) guidance, effectiveness evaluation, Best Available Techniques – Best Environmental Practices (BAT-BEP), the POPs Review Committee (POPRC), and the compliance mechanism. CAMEROON outlined its work identifying alternatives to POPs. COTE D’IVOIRE called for additional funds to assist its NIP development. KENYA urged additional funding for its research on alternatives to control disease vectors. The PHILIPPINES expressed interest in becoming a member of the BAT-BEP Expert Group. EGYPT requested clarification on measures to prohibit illicit trafficking and on the financial cost of replacing POPs. ITALY, on behalf of the EU, highlighted the European Commission’s draft proposal on implementation of the Stockholm Convention, which should lead to the prompt ratification of the Convention by all EU Member States and accession countries.
The RUSSIAN FEDERATION said it is strengthening national-level management of dangerous chemicals. NIGERIA noted its efforts to increase stakeholder awareness of POPs. TOGO underscored the importance of the Bamako Convention. TANZANIA underlined its participation in the Africa Stockpiles Programme. GHANA and ALGERIA emphasized the need to promote synergies among the chemicals-related conventions. ZAMBIA outlined national work relating to the disposal of PCBs and information exchange. COLOMBIA noted its work on obsolete POPs. MAURITANIA stressed the need to assess the social and environmental effects of POPs. The DOMINICAN REPUBLIC outlined its national consultations on POPs. MOROCCO stressed the need to focus on financing and technology transfer. SAMOA noted the important results of a POPs regional workshop in the Pacific region. SOUTH AFRICA, JAMAICA and CHINA noted their national capacity-building efforts. SENEGAL stressed the importance of establishing regional centers using existing frameworks. BOTSWANA said national legislation on POPs is being developed.
VENEZUELA highlighted its PCB inventory. NIGER said it is researching alternative means to fighting malaria. HAITI expressed interest in increasing its cooperation with African francophone countries. MALAYSIA and MONGOLIA noted ongoing preparation of their NIPs. SYRIA called for assistance in eliminating POPs stockpiles. MALAWI announced its preparation of an inventory and a NIP. BENIN thanked UNEP for its technical and financial assistance in the environmental management of POPs. The DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO noted the difficulties encountered by African countries in ratifying the Convention. MALI highlighted a subregional workshop on the impacts of POPs. BELARUS noted the problem of obsolete pesticides. ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA called upon the international community to assist Small Island Developing States in strengthening their capacities to address POPs-related issues.
Highlighting its focus on capacity building and training, the UN INSTITUTE FOR TRAINING AND RESEARCH outlined its work to support the Convention, including training and skills development initiatives. The UN INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATION described its enabling activities to implement the Convention and its work with the GEF on implementation and awareness-raising activities. The WORLD BANK described its work as an implementing agency for the Africa Stockpiles Programme. The FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION outlined its work relating to POPs, including revisions to its International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides and projects and guidelines for POPs elimination. The WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION underlined its work on, inter alia: disease vector control measures; alternatives to DDT; and monitoring pesticide use.
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The GEF introduced its Secretariat’s note on GEF activities in support of the early implementation of the Convention. The UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME reported on its work as a GEF implementing agency. The SOUTH PACIFIC REGIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMME outlined its activities in advancing the implementation of the Convention.
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The BASEL CONVENTION SECRETARIAT outlined the areas of cooperation between the Basel and Stockholm Convention Secretariats and UNEP Chemicals, and called for financial support for POPs-related activities.
The WORLDWIDE FUND FOR NATURE highlighted its ratification scorecard and noted its work in the Africa Stockpile Programme. CROPLIFE INTERNATIONAL and the CHLORINE CHEMISTRY COUNCIL noted the implementation activities of industry. The INTERNATIONAL POPS ELIMINATION NETWORK described its activities and commended GEF and UNEP support for NGO involvement in the Stockholm Convention’s activities.
ACTIVITIES OF THE SECRETARIAT AND REVIEW OF THE SITUATION AS REGARDS EXTRABUDGETARY FUNDS
Executive Secretary Willis introduced the Secretariat’s draft programme of work (PoW) and budget, noting a deficit of US$778,947, and highlighting contributions to the POPs Club and UNEP’s POPs Capacity Building Project. He stressed the PoW’s priorities for 2004, including the effective functioning of the COP and undertaking activities to assist countries in implementing the Convention.
JAPAN, NEW ZEALAND, SWITZERLAND and the US, supported establishing a budget group. The US stressed the importance of the Secretariat in supporting the BAT-BEP Expert Group. SWITZERLAND announced its contribution of US$60,000 for case studies on synergies and highlighted the need for flexibility in the budget. MOROCCO and URUGUAY appealed for financial assistance for developing country participation. The EU emphasized the need for prioritization within the budget. NORWAY said prioritization must occur in a transparent manner.
The Secretariat introduced its note on the COP’s draft rules of procedure and its subsidiary bodies, and highlighted the need for policy decisions on unresolved issues, including: participation of specialized agencies and non-parties; the election of officers; voting in subsidiary bodies; and the order of voting on proposals. LDG Chair Anne Daniel (Canada) proposed that the LDG work to reduce the number of outstanding issues. Stressing the importance of rules and procedures on decision making, the US and EGYPT suggested that decision making by the COP be by consensus. JAPAN underscored the importance of addressing financial mechanisms and decision making rules.
The Secretariat introduced notes on the draft financial rules and draft rules on arbitration and conciliation for the COP, its subsidiary bodies and the Secretariat. LDG Chair Daniel recommended, and delegates agreed, to refer this issue directly to the LDG.
The Secretariat introduced a synthesis of views on non-compliance and an overview of non-compliance regimes in multilateral environmental agreements. CANADA, SWITZERLAND and the EU, emphasized their support for the early development of a compliance mechanism. NEW ZEALAND, supported by AUSTRALIA, ARGENTINA, CHILE, COLOMBIA and EGYPT, suggested that the issue be addressed after the Convention enters into force. She also emphasized that the compliance mechanism should be voluntary and facilitative. The US and AUSTRALIA recommended, and delegates agreed, that the LDG discuss compliance if time allows, but focus on the priority issues, including financial rules and rules of procedure.