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PREPCOM 3 for the Further Development of a
Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM)

Vienna | 19-24 September 2005
Earth Negotiations Bulletin - ENB
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Formula for Success Eludes SAICM PrepCom-3

SAICM PrepCom-3 ended early on the morning of Sunday, 25 September 2005, with delegates unable to agree on many key elements of the strategic approach. These elements, which were to have been resolved so that the three SAICM documents could be approved this week and adopted at ICCM in Dubai next February, will now be the subject of further negotiation in Dubai.

SAICM President Viveka Bohn (Sweden) led delegations in a final concerted effort to reach consensus Saturday evening. Large informal consultations took place during an hour-long break starting at 9:40 pm, after which plenary resumed. President Bohn gaveled the meeting to a close at 12:06 am.

Above, a large group representing multiple regions assembled in front of the ENB table at the beginning of the break.

The Earth Negotiations Bulletin's summary and analysis of SAICM PrepCom-3 will be available on this site on Tuesday, 27 September.


Saturday, 24 September
Plenary

UNEP Chemicals Director John Buccini, SAICM PrepCom-3 President Viveka Bohn, and Matthew Gubb, SAICM Secretariat.

Donald Hannah, New Zealand, chair of the principles and approaches contact group, said delegates had not been able to reach an agreement, as bottom line positions did not overlap.

Mark Hyman, Australia, clarified that the positions of the delegations with a strong interest on precaution could not readily be brought together.

John Arsenau, Canada, proposed new text on principles and approaches, "in the spirit of moving forward to Dubai."

Tarek Eid El Ruby, Egypt, asked to retain reference to asbestos.

Raphael Azeredo, Brazil, who chaired the drafting group on risk reduction, informed the plenary about the reasons for some parts of the text being bracketed.

Yeshey Penjor, Bhutan, on behalf of the least developed countries, opposed the text in the chapeau of financial considerations.

Mexico, on behalf of GRULAC, opposed the text in the chapeau of financial considerations, and supported India's opposition.

Senegal said the review body should have a strong link to the UN system.

Bjørn Erikson, ICFTU, supported the insertion of reference to the ILO convention on chemicals.

Ivana Halle, Croatia for the Central and Eastern European Group, supported ICCM taking the lead in the SAICM review process.

Glenn Wiser, IPEN, said it was deeply troubled by the characterization of SAICM as voluntary.

Thomas Jacob, ICCA, preferred language stating that changes may be needed in the way that some societies manage chemicals.

Prodipto Ghosh, India, said the text must contain reference to additional resources in the chapeau on financial considerations.

Miguel Hildmann, Argentina, said developing countries had been excluded from consultations leading to the compromise "package deal," and this was not a very "polite" way of ending the SAICM negotiations.

Noting that the "glorious thing" about the SAICM was its inclusiveness, Colin Church, EU, clarified that the "package deal" could be discussed in Dubai, and it was never intended as a "take it or leave it" deal, but as a point of compromise for future discussion.

David Brown, US, clarified that SAICM should not apply to products regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Austria said he was honored to welcome delegates to Vienna, thanked them for coming, and hoped to welcome them back soon.

President Bohn gaveled the meeting to a close at 12:06 am, Sunday 25 September.

Translation ended at 8:30 pm, and many delegations were no longer present when the meeting ended.
Contact Group on Implementation

The contact group on Implementation, chaired by Chris Vanden Bilcke, completed its discussions of the text this morning.
Around PrepCom-3

After working late Thursday and Friday nights, delegates queued for caffeine at lunchtime Saturday.

Jim Willis, US, formerly UNEP Chemicals Director, reacted to the evening's difficult negotiations.

Delegates bid one another farewell after the meeting ended.

Your ENB team. Front row: Louise Burke, Paula Barrios, Noelle Eckley Selin. Back row: William McPherson, Nicole Schabus, Dan Birchall, Changbo Bai. (Photo by John Buccini.)

Austria Center Vienna, site of SAICM PrepCom-3.

Related Links

SAICM web site
PrepCom 3 meeting documents
UNEP Chemicals Unit
IFCS web site
Rotterdam Convention web site

Related ENB Coverage

Linkages Chemicals page
ENB coverage of SAICM PrepCom-2
ENB coverage of SAICM PrepCom-1
ENB coverage of POPs COP-1
ENB coverage of INC-11 and COP-1 of the Rotterdam Convention
ENB coverage of IFCS-4

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