Sustainable Developments Vol.20 No. 1

Sustainable Developments

SD Main Page ~ Download PDF ~ Download Text ~ Back

Adobe
The free Adobe(R) Acrobat(R) Reader allows you to view, navigate, and print PDF files across all major computing platforms.

REPORT OF THE THIRD MEETING OF THE INTERSESSIONAL GROUP OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL FORUM ON CHEMICAL SAFETY

The third meeting of the Intersessional Group (ISG-3) of the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS) was held from 1-4 December 1998 in Yokohama, Japan. ISG-3 brought together approximately 135 participants representing 46 countries, intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), United Nations agencies and both industry and public interest non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Throughout ISG-3, delegates met in several Plenary and working group sessions to address three thematic areas: risk assessment; obsolete chemicals and pesticides; and capacity building. They also addressed a range of other topics, including: emerging issues such as endocrine disrupters, persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and chemicals of international concern other than POPs; harmonization of classification and labelling; NGO participation in IFCS; and matters to be carried forward to Forum III. Regional groups and NGOs convened meetings in preparation for ISG-3 on 30 November and also met periodically during ISG-3.

ISG-3 resulted in approximately twenty-five agreed action items and recommendations on risk assessment, obsolete chemicals and pesticides, capacity building, harmonization of classification and labelling, support for NGO participation in Forum activities, preparations for the third meeting of the IFCS (Forum III), longer term issues, funding and the year 2000 computer problem (Y2K).

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE IFCS AND THE ISG

The concept of an intergovernmental forum to address chemical safety originated during preparations for the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), when the UNCED Preparatory Committee identified the collaborative effort of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in the Intergovernmental Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS) as the nucleus for international cooperation on environmentally sound management of toxic chemicals and invited IPCS to identify possible intergovernmental mechanisms for risk assessment and management of chemicals. In response, UNEP, ILO and WHO convened an expert meeting in London in December 1991 to consider priority areas for an international strategy and possible proposals for an intergovernmental mechanism for the environmentally sound management of chemicals. The meeting resulted in a recommendation to establish an intergovernmental forum on chemical risk assessment and management. This recommendation was forwarded to UNCED.

At UNCED, delegates adopted the programme of action Agenda 21 which addresses the role of chemicals management directly in Chapter 19, "Environmentally Sound Management of Toxic Chemicals Including Prevention of Illegal International Traffic in Toxic and Dangerous Products," and the use of chemicals in a number of other chapters, including those on changing consumption patterns, the promotion of sustainable agriculture and rural development, and the protection of human health, oceans, freshwater and the atmosphere. Chapter 19 contains an international strategy for action on chemical safety with six priority Programme Areas: expanding and accelerating international assessment of chemical risks; harmonization of classification and labelling of chemicals; information exchange on toxic chemicals and chemical risks; establishment of risk reduction programs; strengthening of national capacity and capability for chemicals management; and prevention of illegal international traffic in toxic and dangerous products. Chapter 19 also called for the establishment of an intergovernmental forum on chemical safety.

FORUM I: In April 1994, UNEP, ILO and WHO convened the International Conference on Chemical Safety in Stockholm, Sweden. The Conference established the IFCS and constituted the first meeting of the Forum (Forum I). The Conference adopted Terms of Reference which established the IFCS as a non- institutional arrangement through which government representatives would meet to consider issues, provide advice and make recommendations to governments, UN agencies, IGOs and NGOs involved in chemical safety. The role of the IFCS as defined by the Terms of Reference is to provide clear and consistent advice for cost-effective, integrated risk assessment and management of chemicals and to improve delineation and mutual understanding of roles, initiatives and activities both within and among governments and IGOs which have responsibility for chemical safety. Forum I also took steps to provide financial and administrative arrangements for the Forum and adopted a resolution containing detailed recommendations on priorities for action in implementing Agenda 21.

ISG: The IFCS Terms of Reference established the Intersessional Group (ISG) to meet between sessions of the Forum in order to provide advice to the cooperating organizations of the IPCS. The ISG makes recommendations to the Forum, studies special problems and advises on the implementation of strategies and programmes as approved by the Forum. The ISG is comprised of the officers of the Forum and not more than 26 government participants elected by the Forum. The first meeting of the ISG (ISG-1) was held in Bruges, Belgium, in March 1995. At ISG-1, participants recommended an inventory of programmes, activities and projects related to chemical safety being carried out by IGOs, as well as an inventory of bilaterally supported initiatives in chemicals management. The second meeting (ISG-2), held from 5-8 March 1996 in Canberra, Australia, established an Ad Hoc Working Group for the Agenda of Forum II and made a number of recommendations under each of the six priority Programme Areas.

FORUM II: At the second session of the IFCS (Forum II), held from 10-14 February 1997 in Ottawa, Canada, delegates made recommendations on five of the six Programme Areas: expanding and accelerating international assessment of chemical risks; strengthening national capabilities and capacities for management of chemicals; harmonization of classification and labelling of chemicals; information exchange on toxic chemicals and chemical risks; and establishment of risk reduction programmes, including the disposal of obsolete chemicals and pesticide risk reduction. Forum II also made recommendations on emerging issues such as endocrine disrupting substances and on pollution release and transfer registers (PRTR). Delegates reached agreement on a number of actions regarding the structure and function of the IFCS. The Forum Standing Committee (FSC) was established as a mechanism to respond to new developments and to give advice in preparing for future meetings. For complete report, see: http://www.iisd.ca/chemical/ifcs/enb1501e.txt.

IFCS AD HOC WORKING GROUP ON POPS: The IFCS Ad Hoc Working Group on POPs was established in response to UNEP Governing Council (UNEP GC) decision 18/32 which invited the IFCS to initiate an assessment process regarding an initial list of 12 POPs. The assessment included available information on the chemistry, sources, toxicity, environmental dispersion and socio-economic impacts of the 12 POPs. The Working Group convened an open forum and a meeting of experts in Manila, the Philippines, in June 1996 which concluded that sufficient information existed to demonstrate that international action, including a global legally binding instrument, is required to minimize the risks from the 12 specified POPs through measures to reduce and/or eliminate their emissions and discharge. The IFCS recommended to the UNEP GC that immediate international action be taken. In February 1997, the UNEP GC adopted Decision 19/13C endorsing the conclusions and recommendations of the IFCS and requested that UNEP prepare for and convene an international negotiating committee (INC) with a mandate to prepare, preferably by 2000, an international legally binding instrument for implementing international action beginning with the 12 specified POPs. The first meeting of the POPs INC (POPs-1) was held from 29 June - 3 July in Montreal, Canada. For report of POPs-1, see: http://www.iisd.ca/chemical/pops1.html.

REPORT OF ISG-3

At 10:00 am on Tuesday, 1 December 1998, ISG-3 Chair Roderick Raphael (Canada) opened the ISG-3. Mr. Takumi Nemoto, Vice- Minister of the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare, welcomed participants to ISG-3. He cited endocrine disrupters and POPs as global problems and emphasized that chemical safety matters must be addressed worldwide. He noted harmonization of classification, risk assessment, capacity building and other topics on the ISG-3 agenda as matters of great concern, and anticipated interesting discussions at ISG-3.

In his opening remarks, Chair Raphael regretted that IFCS President Roy Hickman would not be present at ISG-3 and conveyed Mr. Hickman's regards to the Plenary. He said ISG-3 must adhere to the principles of the Forum and continue to lay the foundation for sustainable relationships between the IFCS and IGOs. Chair Raphael introduced the agenda for ISG-3 as contained in the Proposed Detailed Time Schedule (IFCS/ISG3/98.03wRev.3). The US requested adding a Plenary discussion of the Y2K computer problem and its implications for chemicals management. The Plenary adopted the agenda with this addition. Chair Raphael presented the regional Vice-Presidents for ISG-3: Professor Gaoussou Kanouté (Mali); Mr. Suho Seong (Republic of Korea); Ms. Ana Digon (Argentina); and Dr. Peter Lepes (Hungary). Mr. Robert Woodward (United Kingdom) was appointed Rapporteur.

Dr. Judy Stober, IFCS Executive Secretary, addressed organizational matters for ISG-3. She recalled that Forum II had created the FSC and highlighted its work in preparing for ISG – 3. She clarified that ISG-3 had three types of papers before it: working documents containing issue and action items for ISG-3; supporting background papers; and thought starters, intended to facilitate discussion and generate additional thoughts. Dr. Stober recalled that Forum II instituted an Award of Merit for outstanding contributions in international chemical safety and announced a 1 July 1999 deadline for nominations for the award to be presented at Forum III. Regarding the proposed revisions to the IFCS Terms of Reference (IFCS/ISG-3/98.29B), CANADA requested clarification of the term "majority" in reference to majority voting, and recommended simple majority of greater than fifty percent. This recommendation was noted in the ISG-3 report

Dr. Stober presented a report on the IFCS Financial Statement for 1994-1998 (IFCS/ISG-3/98.43w), providing information on the trust fund, in-kind and indirect contributions, twinning funds and a summary of contributions to support IFCS meetings on POPs. She drew attention to twinning funds that financed the participation of 24 countries at ISG-3. She underlined the importance of increasing contributors in order to increase both participation in and a sense of ownership of the Forum. She said the FSC would welcome comments and suggestions on innovative ways to support regional groups and twinning efforts. She requested ISG-3 to provide advice on making longer-term financial arrangements for administrative costs and twinning funds.

Dr. Stober highlighted IFCS awareness-raising efforts, including the President's Progress Report 1994-1997 which was presented to the Commission on Sustainable Development and the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGASS). She also pointed to other activities undertaken to raise the profile of the IFCS's work, including a funding and marketing strategy, an IFCS information kit and brochure, the IFCS Internet site (http://www.who.int/ifcs) and the President's Newsletter.

THEMATIC SESSION I: RISK ASSESSMENT

On Tuesday, 1 December, participants heard presentations and held preliminary discussions on risk assessment. Dr. Rob Visser, Head of the Environmental Health and Safety Division of the OECD, moderated the Plenary session. Dr. Michel Mercier, IPCS Director, introduced a decision paper on Expanding and Accelerating International Assessment of Chemical Risks (IFCS/ISG3/98.07w; IFCS/ISG3/98.07w ad) as well as a background paper on Targeted Risk Assessment Documents Description of Media- and Endpoint-Specific Risk Assessment Work of IPCS and WHO (IFCS/ISG3/98.44B). The decision paper noted the likelihood that the IFCS target for 500 assessments by the year 2000 will not be met and the need to confirm that Environmental Health Criteria (EHC) and Concise International Chemical Assessment Documents (CICADs), produced by IPCS and Initial Assessment Reports (SIARs), produced by OECD, count towards the target as issues to be addressed by ISG-3. It also tabled the issue of new targets and challenges for 2005 to be proposed by Forum III, given the proposal for IPCS and OECD to work together on data- rich high production volume (HPV) chemical assessments. The addendum provided a complete list of chemicals assessed by IPCS and OECD from 1994-1998. Dr. Mercier also introduced Criteria for Setting Priorities for Various Types of International Risk Assessment and Means to Identify Particular Chemicals of Interest (IFCS/ISG3/98.08w). He cited the following as conditions for giving priority to evaluation of a certain chemical at the international level: assessment of the chemical is a priority for several countries or more than one region; the chemical is proposed for international risk reduction activities; developing country use patterns are different from those in developed countries; and the chemicals are involved in transboundary contamination situations. He also introduced Harmonization of Approaches to the Assessment of Risk from Exposure to Chemicals (IFCS/ISG/98.45B) on the work of IPCS organizations and OECD, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), within the framework of the Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC), to harmonize approaches to risk assessment. The harmonization project aims to ensure outcome-oriented activities, focus on priority setting, transparency in its activities and dissemination of information to key stakeholders.

Dr. Reiner Koch, Head of International Product Policy of the European Chemical Industry Council, briefed participants on the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) Global Initiative on HPV Chemicals. The initiative sets out to test and assess 1,000 priority chemicals by the end of 2004 with the work to be based on the OECD Screening Information Data Set (SIDS) dossier. The ICCA will submit information to the OECD for a hazard assessment. Dr. Koch said that HPV chemicals of common interest and with wide dispersive uses or high exposure potential will be selected and that the ICCA is prepared to consider developing country suggestions for candidate chemicals. He underscored the ICCA's emphasis on transparency and broad availability of information.

Mr. William Sanders, US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), highlighted the US Vice-President's Chemical Right to Know Initiative: the HPV Chemical Challenge Program. He cited as the impetus for the program an EPA analysis of 2,863 industrial chemicals that revealed a lack of available information for 43% of the chemicals. The initiative challenges US industry to voluntarily fill this data gap. He explained that companies are expected to assess the adequacy of existing data, conduct needed testing and provide summaries of test results by 2004. He noted that the OECD-SIDS program will serve as the technical foundation for the HPV Challenge. The program aims to accelerate completion of OECD initial assessments, improve the availability of data and increase understanding of HPV chemicals.

Mr. Thomas Jacob, ICCA, presented International Assessment of Chemical Risks: Comments from the ICCA (IFCS/ISG3/98.12B). He emphasized ICCA support for enhancing both the quality and quantity of chemical assessment and recognized the role of industry-sponsored testing in conducting assessments. He underscored the importance of scientifically sound judgement, noting that it allows limited resources to focus on chemicals posing the most serious concern and provide for the most defensible risk management activities, especially in cases where they are challenged on trade-related grounds. He called for increased international coordination of assessment and more involvement of non-OECD countries in international deliberations on chemical assessment. He encouraged countries to work towards mutual recognition of assessments of new chemicals. Dr. Peter Glazebrook, International Council on Metals and the Environment (ICME), presented Risk Assessment of Metals and their Inorganic Compounds (IFCS/ISG3/98.19B). He discussed naturally occurring metals, factors determining their environmental mobility and human activities contributing to their concentrations. He emphasized the need for an international, multidisciplinary approach to risk assessment.

During the ensuing discussion, the INTERNATIONAL UNION OF FOODWORKERS (IUF) asked what quality control mechanisms the ICCA and US initiatives will use. The US EPA responded that it intends to audit the data and that making the information widely accessible is a form of quality control. The ICCA said it would follow OECD guidelines for quality control. SAUDI ARABIA suggested that ICCA disseminate all information gathered to manufacturers. NIGERIA expressed willingness to provide lists of specific chemicals for assessment. CANADA, supported by IUF, expressed concern over "front loading" on risk assessment information to the detriment of other programme areas. GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL highlighted areas for stakeholder involvement and suggested an ad hoc IFCS mechanism to enhance cooperation with NGOs and observer States. The UK called for harmonization of projects and attempts to avoid duplication. CANADA called for a primary focus on SIDS, CICADs and EHC, and noted that trying to define other reviews could be time consuming. SWITZERLAND called for examination of linkages with other international processes such as the Montreal Protocol, the Kyoto Protocol and the POPs negotiations. SWEDEN highlighted an initiative requiring new products to be free of human made organic chemicals that persist or bioaccumulate.

In Plenary on Friday, 4 December, ISG-3 agreed on the following action items and recommendations for risk assessment to be included in the report of ISG-3: only EHC, CICADs and SIARs will count toward the targets set by IFCS for making international assessments; Forum III will set quantitative targets for making further international assessments toward the year 2005; lists of chemicals to be addressed in the US and ICCA initiatives be circulated by the IFCS Secretariat to IFCS contact points, with a request to indicate additional chemicals that could be addressed by these initiatives; the FSC establish a mechanism to facilitate greater participation of NGO representatives; governments, industry and IGOs accelerate relevant risk assessment work; and industry take the initiative in undertaking risk assessment and risk management activities and generate additional test data and exposure information.

THEMATIC SESSION II: OBSOLETE CHEMICALS AND PESTICIDES

On Tuesday, 1 December, Mr. Mark Hyman (Australia) moderated the thematic session on obsolete chemicals and pesticides. He introduced an Overview of ISG-3 Session on Management of Obsolete Chemicals and Pesticides (IFCS/ISG3/98.41w) highlighting: the division of the session by obsolete pesticides and obsolete industrial chemicals due to differing knowledge and solutions for the two areas; and the key themes of inventories, management of stocks and stockpiles, prevention of accumulation of obsolete chemicals in the future, resource mobilization and cleanup. He noted that discussions would occur in three issue- based working groups and that issues for discussion were the scope of the problem in respect of industrial chemicals, priorities and how they are conveyed, mobilization of resources for cleanup, roles and responsibilities, and the linkages with other conventions and negotiations.

Mr. Hyman next presented a thought starter on Obsolete Chemicals (IFCS/ISG3/98.10TS) addressing the dimension of the problem. On scope, the document proposes defining obsolete chemicals as those that are unused, hazardous, stockpiled and difficult to dispose of. The definition would exclude most industrial wastes as well as contaminated sites and may differ in some respects from a definition of obsolete pesticides. The document also addresses developing inventories, management of stocks and stockpiles and disposal.

Dr. Niek A. Van der Graaf, FAO, presented a thought starter on Resources for Management of Obsolete Pesticides and Other Hazardous Waste in Developing Countries (IFCS/ISG3/98.48TS) and a background document on Obsolete Pesticides (IFCS/ISG3/98.42B). He highlighted the predominance and nature of work in Africa and the Near East, the practicality of high temperature incineration, the obstacles to rapid progress, the differences between obsolete pesticides and other chemical waste in terms of the management of each category of waste, different funding options and the issue of local capacity development for hazardous waste disposal versus export of such waste to industrialized countries.

Ms. Janice Jensen, US EPA, introduced a thought starter on Preventing the Accumulation of Unwanted Stockpiles of Pesticides (IFCS/ISG3/98.40TS). She stressed the need for preventative policies and illustrated the causes of pesticide stockpile accumulation outlined in the document. The document details what governments, farmers, industry, aid agencies and development banks can do to prevent accumulation. Ms. Jensen called on ISG-3 to encourage prevention in management and disposal and in capacity building activities.

Mr. Jim Willis, Director, UNEP Chemicals, outlined the relevance of the PIC Convention, the POPs process, the Basel Convention (IFCS/ISG3/98.22B) and other initiatives. He said: the PIC Convention, adopted and signed in Rotterdam in September 1998, has no direct bearing on the current problem of unwanted stocks though it will act to prevent future accumulations; UNEP GC decision 19/13C has application to POPs and addressed management of stockpiles; and the Basel Convention will apply to various persistent accumulators that exhibit the characteristics required under that regime. He also indicated that the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) had given positive signals for funding in this area as stockpiles are seen as a real threat to the environment and noted funds available for projects addressing chemical contamination under international waters.

Dr. R. J. Nielsson, Global Crop Protection Federation (GCPF), presented Information from Industry to Prevent Accumulations of Banned or Severely Restricted Chemicals and To Dispose of Such Stocks (IFCS/ISG3/98.28B). The document addresses scope and definition, measures to prevent accumulations, product stewardship, pollution prevention, information on PCBs, obsolete pesticides in Africa and the Near East, and actions taken by the GCPF in Madagascar, Senegal, Malawi and the Gambia. GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL presented Technical Criteria for the Destruction of Stockpiled POPs (IFCS/ISG3/98.17B). She underscored that incineration does not meet the crteria but that other technologies are capable of meeting the criteria.

During the morning session on Wednesday, 2 December, participants met in three parallel working groups on: inventories and management of obsolete chemicals; inventories and management of obsolete pesticides; and government, donor, bank and industry roles and responsibilities in cleanup and prevention of obsolete pesticides.

The working group on inventories and management of chemicals, moderated by Mr. Hyman, discussed how broad the definition of industrial chemicals should be, if PCBs should be the primary focus of attention, how PCB inventories should be assembled, management guidance for such chemicals and an IFCS strategy for PCBs. Several delegates, including SWEDEN and NIGERIA, expressed support for PCBs as the primary focus of attention. CANADA noted that comprehensive inventories of PCBs would be both costly and nearly impossible and, along with GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL, suggested that inventories be geared towards enabling elimination of stockpiles, especially those associated with electric and hydraulic equipment. GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL cited the chemical destruction stage as problematic and asked what constitutes appropriate destruction. BENIN underscored developing countries need for assistance in addressing obsolete chemicals.

The working group determined that the scope of coverage of obsolete chemicals should include chemicals that cannot be used or are being withdrawn, are hazardous to human health and the environment, and are held in stockpiles and difficult to dispose of. The scope would also include sites contaminated by leakage from stockpiles. The working group agreed that PCBs should be addressed as the first priority and noted that development of PCB inventories is very important and an iterative long-term process. Regarding PCB management guidance, guidance under the Basel Convention and the soon-to-be completed UNEP guidance were noted. Participants agreed the IFCS could play a role in undertaking inventory of and managing PCBs and other chemical stocks. The working group proposed an IFCS strategy on PCBs that would assist countries to develop and implement action plans addressing inventory development, collection and storage of materials for destruction, aspects of destruction and alternatives to PCBs.

In the working group on inventories and management of obsolete pesticides, moderator Mr. Jan Huismans, UNITAR, tabled for discussion: lack of awareness; lack of knowledge on problem size and impacts of obsolete stocks; inventories as a first step; lack of resources and know-how; and roles of external advisors and donors. Dr. Van der Graaf, FAO, highlighted the need for different solutions for different countries and for consideration of the time factor between making an inventory and disposal, noting that in some situations it may be safe to keep pesticides until acquiring a safe disposal methodology. On resources, he favored an overall trust fund to achieve a more systematic clean up. On site remediation, he stressed being practical and prioritizing what is most urgent. He supported regional approaches and noted the difficulties in gaining funds on an individual country basis. SLOVAKIA highlighted an eleven- country project in Central Europe on use and environmental impacts of pesticides. She stressed that inventories had been completed but that there were now financial problems with translating the outcomes into country information documents. The NETHERLANDS questioned at what stage expertise is needed, favored a country-coordinating body, preferably the FAO, and raised the issue of contaminated sites. Dr. Van der Graaf underscored that inter-organizational collaboration is necessary and that, while the FAO can provide an overview, it has no resources or mandate to address matters such as building incinerators. SWITZERLAND supported incineration by export to countries with disposal technology. COLOMBIA highlighted its difficulties with lack of general awareness and also problems with private sector cooperation. PERU noted that the bulk of its obsolete pesticides and stockpiles had come from donors, and highlighted the success of the national profile process in increasing awareness. GHANA highlighted the role of its integrated chemicals management programme in identifying obsolete pesticides needing destruction.

The working group concluded that political awareness on problems resulting from obsolete pesticides is not adequate in many countries and called for awareness-raising before compiling inventories. The group also concluded that obsolete pesticides include banned pesticides, pesticides that have passed their expiry date and pesticides that have become unusable due to long or inappropriate storage or for other reasons. Other conclusions drawn were that: a practical approach is required for site remediation; initial inventories are needed to assess problems and create estimates of resources required for disposal, followed by more detailed sampling; disposal solutions will differ among regions and regional approaches to disposal should be pursued; overall coordination should be strengthened and funding for this is needed; obtaining funds for disposal operations on a country by country basis is difficult and the GEF should be approached again; and pesticides for exports should be recently formulated to avoid obscelesence before use.

The working group on clean up and prevention of obsolete pesticide stockpiles, moderated by Ms. Janice Jensen, US EPA, recommended that: the definition of obsolete pesticide stockpiles be understood to include the associated site where stocks are or were previously held, recognizing that developing countries have additional problems such as inventory and hazardous waste dumps; clean up measures be linked to establishing sustainable prevention strategies that enable governments and stakeholders to address current and future pesticide-related issues, in particular stockpiles of obsolete pesticides; donor agencies, international organizations, development banks and the GEF be urged to commit funding for cleanup and disposal operations as essential parts of development aid; and countries with obsolete pesticide stock problems should accord a higher priority for cleanup in their aid agendas.

Working groups reported the outcomes of their meetings in afternoon Plenary on Wednesday, 2 December. In the ensuing discussion, moderated by Mr. Hyman, FRANCE called for greater consideration of the potential role and contributions of industry. GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL called for closer attention to the issue of PCBs. Concerns were expressed regarding the Basel Convention’s potential to frustrate transboundary movements for cleanup purposes. Mr. Hyman emphasized securing resources as a key issue and stressed the associated role of the IFCS. He said the IFCS could articulate a unified expression of priorities and expectations. Several participants underscored the importance for countries seeking aid to clarify their priorities at the national level. In order to increase the likelihood of GEF funding, the US stressed that funding proposals to GEF be framed in a manner that highlights new issues, such as risks from atmospheric movements of POPs, demonstrating linkages between chemicals management and GEF funding areas.

On Friday, 4 December, the Plenary considered action items and recommendations on obsolete chemicals and pesticides in the final report. In the final report ISG-3: agreed that PCBs should be the first priority for action on obsolete industrial chemicals, requested UNEP to circulate a questionnaire to establish what kinds and quantities of chemicals other than PCBs might need to be managed as obsolete stocks and report on the results to Forum III; recommended that UNEP undertake work to help governments develop action plans on PCBs in accordance with UNEP GC Decision 19/13C; endorsed the IFCS Strategy on PCBs detailed in an annex of the report and recommended that the FSC take measures to ensure the strategy’s implementation; agreed that for obsolete pesticides, governments should link clean-up measures with the adoption of sustainable prevention strategies that enable governments and other stakeholders to address pesticide issues, including ensuring that stockpiles will not accumulate; agreed that, to prevent future accumulations, governments, donor agencies and industry should all accept some share of responsibility; invited interested participants to investigate the possibility of a pilot programme or programmes to demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of new destruction technologies and to report on the results to Forum III; and, recognizing the lack of adequate funds for the management and disposal of obsolete chemicals and pesticides, urged governments, including donor governments, donors, international funds, industry and relevant IGOs to reflect this in their funding priorities. The report also noted industry's particular responsibility to provide appropriate marketing, coordination and product stewardship to prevent stockpiling in the future and to assist in the cleanup of current stockpiles. The report also acknowledged that, when appropriate, users should accept some responsibility for the responsible use and disposal of pesticides.

THEMATIC SESSION III: CAPACITY BUILDING

On Wednesday, 2 December, Professor Schlottmann, Head of Chemical Safety of the German Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, moderated the thematic session on capacity building. Mr. Jan Huismans, UNITAR, presented Capacity Building for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IFCS/ISG3/98.24w) and the IOMC Analytical Report on Capacity Building Activities (IFCS/ISG3/98.20B). He noted IFCS priorities for international capacity building as: enhancement of awareness-raising at all levels; guidance for effective chemical legislation, enforcement and management; strengthening national infrastructures, including training and education; establishment of national chemical information systems and regional and global information exchange networks; and risk reduction in priority areas. He cited issues for consideration by ISG-3, including: government responsibility for assessment of national infrastructure and articulation of needs for improvement; national consensus on concrete priorities for action; clarification of the role of international funding institutions; international dialogue on improving coordination, effectiveness and sustainability of capacity building efforts; identification of comparative advantages of various IOMC partner organizations and donor agencies; and linkages with other chapters of Agenda 21.

Mr. Anchim Halpaap, UNITAR, presented Preparation of National Profiles to Assess the National Infrastructure for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IFCS/ISG3/98.14B). He highlighted the status of comprehensive National Profile preparations around the world, noting that 42 countries have completed National Profiles and 20 countries have National Profiles under preparation. Mr. Rob Vesser, OECD, introduced the Second OECD Survey of Development Assistance Activities for Capacity Building (IFCS/ISG3/98.25B) and highlighted bilateral and multilateral projects from 1996 - 1998. (The survey can be found at http://www.oecd.org/ehs/Capacity/index.htm.) Mr. Frederick C. McEldowney, ICCA, introduced the paper Sound Management of Chemicals (IFCS/ISG3/98.24w). He recommended that countries conduct a cost-benefit analysis of implementing a regime for protection of human health and noted a preference for incentive- based voluntary programs over state regulatory approaches. He suggested the following prioritization list for capacity building in countries: classification and labelling, emergency response/prevention, high priority chemicals risk management list, product registration, inventory and new substance notification. Mr. Ronald McFarlane, Pesticide Action Network (PAN), highlighted the role of public interest groups in capacity building. Ms. Oluronke Soyombo (Nigeria) detailed Nigeria's experience in developing a National Profile and introduced Capacity Building: National Profiles Experience (IFCS/ISG3/98.37TS). She said initial obstacles included lack of funding, cross-sectoral concerns and the decentralized nature of information. She cited achievements from the National Profile experience as a holistic approach to chemicals management, strengthening of cooperation, identification of priorities and the development of reference documents.

In the discussion that followed, GHANA noted that the UNITAR guidelines were instrumental in convincing technocrats and academics to contribute to the National Profile process. The US underscored the importance of country capacity and asked for guidance as to what might be appropriate recommendations for developing countries. JAPAN emphasized the importance of national capacity to regulate entry of chemicals through product registration. GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL noted there is often a great discrepancy between legislation and reality in developing countries, and questioned if capacity building exercises correlate reports with practices on the ground. ANGOLA shared its experiences in drafting a national profile and noted difficulties arising from political instability such as high transportation costs for gathering information in destabilized areas. TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO asked what steps are being taken to improve communication between IGO offices within countries. The FAO called for enforcement of legislation and increased efforts to enable farmers to make informed decisions.

On Thursday, 3 December, participants met in two parallel working groups, one on substantive priority issues for national capacity building and the other on partnership for sustainable capacity building. Ms. Ana Digon (Argentina) chaired the working group on substantive priority issues for national capacity building. The group heard presentations on three documents: Priority Topics for National Capacity Building (IFCS/ISG3/98.35TS); How a Project is Born (IFCS/ISG3/98.34TS) and Guidelines for Chemicals Management Legislation (IFCS/ISG/UNITAR/98.09w).

BRAZIL, supported by the US, underscored the need to link chemicals management to other health and environmental topics such as water quality and biodiversity in order to attract funding for capacity building. CANADA recalled the availability of financial resources from sources other than UNITAR. PAN called for a regional approach to national legislation development because of transboundary pollution situations. The working group emphasized the development of effective national legislation, implementation of national awareness- raising and education programmes, and capacity building for risk assessments and management. The group also called for regional group meetings prior to Forum III to catalyze systematic action and integrated approaches within the identified priority areas, and drew attention to possible linkages with the Rotterdam Convention on PIC and the POPs negotiations.

In the working group on partnership for sustainable capacity building, chaired by Sarita Hoyt, US EPA, participants had before them three documents: Exchange of Experience to Improve the Sustainability of Capacity Building Projects and Programmes (IFCS/ISG3/98.36TS); Creation of a Capacity Building Network to Enhance Coordination and Cooperation and the Development of Partnerships to Assist Countries in their Ongoing Efforts to Strengthen Chemicals Management Capabilities (IFCS/ISG3/98.38TS); and an outline of a project in Thailand assisted by Germany to establish a national inventory of dioxin and furan emissions. Participants agreed to support a capacity building network, preferably using the Internet, in which all IFCS partners could actively participate. As access to the Internet is not universal, it was recommended that funds be earmarked by donors to enable recipient countries to gain Internet access and that use of paper documentation continue during the transition period. The NETHERLANDS stressed interactive information exchange, stable contact points and the need for an overview coordination body. UNITAR and other IOMC organizations were requested to consider organizing workshops on the network including Internet training. The network should actively encourage and facilitate opportunities for appropriate public interest NGO participation in all specific capacity building activities at the national and regional levels based on their interests and expertise. BRAZIL noted that locating the center of the network in a developing country could contribute to local capacity building. SWITZERLAND supported the work under the ongoing UNITAR/IOMC Informal Capacity Building Network and announced financing for the capacity building network from 1999 to 2001. Capacity building was recognized as an ongoing process with the need to increase awareness among senior government officials of existing activities and the need for continuous investment in chemical safety management.

With participants recognizing the need to precisely define the framework of the network, UNITAR offered to work with IOMC participating organizations, countries and other parties to develop draft terms of reference for consideration and possible adoption of a network at Forum III. CANADA identified a need to specify expectations of what the network should and should not do in order to keep the network simple. IFCS regional groups were encouraged to express their interests and needs regarding the network.

COLOMBIA, and others, identified language as a barrier to spreading the network information to the relevant people. It was recommended that strategic information be supplied in one or two languages with implementation information being provided in all the necessary languages. ICCA announced that it is establishing a list of expert contact points. On documentation of ongoing projects, participants indicated the need to encourage transparency and capture success stories and lessons learned including failures and cited the Thai-German dioxin project as an example of a case study to be published by UNEP in a compendium of POPs studies.

On Friday, 4 December, the Plenary debated capacity building action items and recommendations in the final report. Participants agreed that: chemicals management, legislation, policy and enforcement were a high priority for capacity building and IOMC organizations were requested to develop practical guidance in these areas and to increase efforts to coordinate activities at the national level; donor agencies, development banks and coordinating groups, including the World Bank, regional development banks, the GEF, UNDP and OECD Development Assistance Committee, should be asked to designate appropriate contact points and to participate at Forum III, with a special session on funding; regional Vice-Presidents should be encouraged to continue their efforts supporting the completion of national profiles; a capacity building network for the sound management of chemicals should be established and UNITAR, in collaboration with IOMC participating organizations, countries and other interested parties, should develop draft terms of reference for the network for discussion and possible adoption at Forum III; and IFCS participants should facilitate NGO participation in capacity building activities at all levels.

EMERGING ISSUES

On Tuesday, 1 December 1998, Plenary considered emerging issues, including endocrine disrupters, chemicals of international concern other than POPs, and cooperation and efficiency in the sound management of chemicals. Dr. John Buccini (Canada), Chair of the IFCS Ad Hoc Working Group on POPs, reported that the group had been dissolved on 29 June 1998, with the formation of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) on POPs. He referred participants to the document IFCS Ad Hoc Working Group on POPs Final Report submitted to the Third Intersessional Meeting of the IFCS (IFCS/ISG3/98.21B) for a summary of the Working Group’s achievements. Reflecting on the historical high points, he identified the Working Group’s September 1996 submissions to UNEP GC which were used as the basis for UNEP GC decision 19/13C to convene a POPs INC and also the UNEP/IFCS-sponsored regional workshops for raising awareness of POPs issues. He acknowledged the valuable contributions from the IFCS Secretariat, UNEP and all IFCS participants throughout the process. On lessons learned by the Working Group that could facilitate successful participation efforts in the future, he highlighted that UNEP decision 18/32 was clear and time specific and specified the tasks required within the time period, and he underscored the need for a clear understanding of relations between the Forum and IGO’s.

Dr. Judy Stober, IFCS Executive Secretary, introduced Endocrine Disrupters - Progress Report on Forum II Recommendations (IFCS/ISG3/98.23B). The document outlines IPCS and OECD progress made in response to IFCS Forum II recommendations to coordinate work on these issues internationally and to report on their ability to support the work requested. She noted the relevance to progress of the OECD Test Guidelines programme. Also identified as relevant were a paper on endocrine disrupters under joint preparation by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) and others and a further international activity on endocrine disrupters addressing the issue of scope. Mr. Jim Willis, UNEP Chemicals, highlighted two new relevant activities to be funded by the GEF: one on reducing pesticide run-off to the Caribbean; and another on regionally-based threats of persistent toxic substances, relating particularly to distances transported in the environment.

Delegates considered Chemicals of International Concern other than POPS: Status Report (IFCS/ISG3/98.18B Rev.1). The report outlined historical discussions on a proposal for a workshop on chemicals of international concern other than POPs. DENMARK noted that the document suggests such a workshop be postponed until 2000 when outputs from current initiatives are available. On enhanced cooperation and efficiency in the sound management of chemicals, Mr. Willis noted the report requested by UNEP GC decision 19/13D outlining options for more efficient coordination among international activities on chemicals was still under preparation, and anticipated finalization in time for the 20th UNEP GC in February 1999. Chair Raphael encouraged participants to access the report when available.

HARMONIZATION OF CLASSIFICATION AND LABELLING OF CHEMICALS

On Thursday, 3 December, participants in Plenary considered harmonization of classification and labelling of chemicals. Participants had before them the following documents: Report on Status and Progress of Implementation of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) (IFCS/ISG3/98.31w); Description and Further Clarification of the Anticipated Application of the GHS (IFCS/ISG3/98.32B); Harmonization of Classification Systems (IFCS/ISG3/98.16B); GHS for the Classification and Labelling of Chemicals- Progress Report Covering the Period December 1997 - December 1998 (IFCS/ISG3/98.46B); and a comprehensive OECD room document entitled Harmonized Integrated Hazard Classification System for Human Health and Environmental Effects of Chemical Substances - as Endorsed by the 28th Joint Meeting of the Chemicals Committee and the Working Party on Chemicals in November 1998 (superseding the technical criteria for toxicity and ecotoxicity in Annex 1 to IFCS/ISG3/98.46B).

Mr. Robert Woodward (UK), Vice-Chair of the Coordinating Group for the Harmonization of Chemical Classification Systems (CG/HCCS), outlined the progress on a GHS made by the CG/HCCS in consolidating the technical work in various international fora addressing toxicity and environmental endpoints, physico- chemical endpoints, chemical mixtures and hazard communication (e.g. hazard labelling and safety data sheets). Directing participants to the OECD room document, he highlighted the harmonized classification system as covering: acute toxicity; skin irritation/corrosion, eye irritation/corrosion, respiratory or skin sensitization, and mutations in germ cells; cancer; reproductive toxicity; target organ orientated systemic toxicity; aquatic environment; and chemical mixtures. Matters not covered are terrestrial environment, neurotoxicity, immunotoxicity, water activated toxicity/corrosivity, aspiration hazards and hazards of defatting substances. He highlighted acute toxicity and reproductive toxicity as two of the most difficult endpoints to settle on. JAPAN noted the exclusion of endocrine disrupters as an endpoint and GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL called for recording public interest concern on this matter. On labelling, MALI, supported by the US, stressed the need to address illiteracy in Africa using methods such as pictures. The ILO noted a number of studies in African countries showing that existing labels were not understood by workers.

On scope clarification of the GHS, Mr. Woodward noted the historical process in addressing this and said that the outcome is detailed in Description and Further Clarification of the Anticipated Application of the GHS (IFCS/ISG3/98.32B). On implementation of the GHS, he outlined the history and details of the proposed implementation mechanism put forward in IFCS/ISG3/98.31w. In recognizing resource limitations and a concern to avoid proliferation of additional committees, the proposal is to use the existing framework of the UN Committee of Experts on Transport of Dangerous Goods (UN CETDG) under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC). The proposal would, without disrupting the transport functions of the UN CETDG, reconfigure the UN CETDG and its Sub-Committee into a committee with a new extended mandate together with a Sub-Committee on the transport of dangerous goods and a Sub- Committee on the GHS. ISG-3 requested the CG/HCCS, in cooperation with the UN CETDG, to develop terms of reference for the proposed ECOSOC body. It also recommended that the President of the Forum send the GHS Status Report to the UN ECOSOC along with a letter requesting that the proposal be introduced at the March 1999 meeting in order to be discussed at the June 1999 formal session. SWEDEN stressed the need to consider resource implications of the proposal. CANADA supported retaining existing focal points under the proposed new system. The EC underscored that there will be implementation issues and difficulties for the reconfigured bodies. ISG-3 asked that the issue of adequate resources for any reformatted UN committee be addressed a letter.

NGO PARTICIPATION

On Thursday, 3 December, Mr. Gunnar Bengtsson introduced the document NGO Participation in Future Forum Activities (IFCS/ISG3/98.05w/Rev.3). The document, prepared by the FSC Working Group on NGO involvement, summarized NGO contributions to Forum activities through March 1998 and the impact of this involvement. It noted that NGO participation is threatened due to limited funding and recommended the following measures to support future NGO participation: a fund for NGO participation; national consultative groups allowing for NGO participation; government support for NGO involvement in Forum activities; Secretariat reports on NGO participation; and NGO sponsorship of NGOs. GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL noted that only two public interest NGOs attended ISG-3 and cited difficulties in justifying budgets for participation to donors as one obstacle to participation. Describing this as a marketing problem, he emphasized the need for the IFCS to educate donor communities about its work and demonstrate that the IFCS is a forum that attains real objectives. Supported by IUF and ICCA, GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL called for a concerted effort to explain the function and activities of the IFCS, including testimonials from governments, NGOs and IGOs. Recalling the direct role NGOs played in establishing the IFCS and the commitments made at UNCED to NGO participation, IUF underscored the importance of direct funding. GERMANY noted limited NGO response to invitations to participate in national consultative groups. JAPAN identified a role for NGOs in contributing to information gathering. SOUTH AFRICA asked whether an NGO fund would consider participation only at the international level or take regional aspects under consideration.

The US called for an account of what NGO needs are not being met in order to provide clear guidance on what needs to be done. AUSTRALIA expressed its support for NGO involvement, but noted that several national governments were not funded to participate at ISG-3 because twinning funds were insufficient and asked whether funds should go to funding governments or NGOs. The US cautioned against competition for funds between NGOs and developing countries. The IUF agreed with the US and emphasized that NGOs do not wish to take funding away from developing countries, but do want to ensure NGO participation. PAN called for the funding of an NGO representative to participate in the FSC. CANADA emphasized raising public awareness of what the Forum does and said ISG-3 should set public awareness as a priority. CAMEROON suggested an IFCS declaration in support of NGOs. The ISG-3 final report states: in response to declining NGO participation due to lack of funding, ISG-3 recommended that the FSC continue to develop ways to enhance NGO participation in Forum activities and encouraged governments to promote NGO participation at national and international levels, enhancing their opportunities to gain funding from a variety of agencies.

FUNDING

In Plenary on Thursday, 3 December, Chair Raphael highlighted the need for innovative funding approaches, including in-kind contributions, and underscored that the funding process starts with participants themselves. On Friday, 4 December, the Plenary considered funding action items and recommendations. ISG-3 recommended that governments coordinate their national participation in budgetary processes and IGO decisions to ensure that resource allocations take account of IFCS priorities. In this regard, ISG-3 requested IOMC member organizations to further develop the outline of information on their procedures for decision making concerning their respective programmes and budgets. ISG-3 also asked that the IFCS President convey the importance and urgency of chemicals management and of the Forum to the major donor agencies and coordination groups, including the World Bank, regional development banks, the GEF, and OECD. ISG-3 requested that the FSC facilitate the preparation of marketing material, addressed to decision makers at all levels, that promotes understanding and communicates the value of IFCS activities. ISG-3 emphasized the value of broad-based contributions from its participants to support its efforts and encouraged those who have not yet done so to make contributions, at any level, as a means of showing their support for the IFCS.

FORUM III

On Tuesday, 1 December, the Plenary addressed matters for Forum III and beyond 2000. Outlining the historical process and identifying a needed framework for measuring progress of the IFCS, Chair Raphael drew attention to three documents relevant to the topic: IFCS Analysis of Progress - Preparation of a Report for Forum III (IFCS/ISG3/98.33w), which proposes using a set of simple indicators of progress; Linkages between Chapter 19, Other Chapters of Agenda 21, and Related International Activities (IFCS/ISG3/98.30B); and Forum Priorities for Action until the year 2010 (IFCS/ISG3/98.06w). Chair Raphael stressed the need for countries to be consistent in their directions and dealings with international bodies. The US called for a harmonized approach between recommendations and what is in fact carried through to governing bodies and for guidelines from relevant IGOs on the key decision points in terms of the path forward. UNITAR, speaking for the PRTR coordinating group, called for PRTR as an agenda item for Forum III. On Forum priorities for action until the year 2010, SWEDEN stressed synchronization with decisions of the UN General Assembly. On planning for Forum III, the UK underscored considering the effectiveness of documents as opposed to just numeric consideration and said resources for new areas are limited, necessitating prioritization.

On Thursday, 3 December, Dr. Gunnar Bengtsson noted regional groups' discussions for priorities beyond 2000 and support for analyzing progress using simple indicators of progress in preparing for Forum III (Annex 11 of ISG Final Report). He called on regional groups for any issues arising from their discussions. HUNGARY, on behalf of the Central and Eastern European Group, stressed difficulties experienced with information flows and recommended this as a priority for Forum III. ARGENTINA, on behalf of the Latin American Regional Group, highlighted better coordination and cooperation. MALI, on behalf of the African Regional Group, called for greater attention to cleanup of contaminated sites and removing current barriers to collaboration among local focal points. UNITAR, AUSTRALIA, SLOVAKIA, the US, OECD, CANADA, UNEP and others strongly supported a session on PRTRs at Forum III. ISG-3 supported a critical analysis of the achievements of the Forum since 1994 as a basis for a stocktaking exercise at Forum III. ISG-3 requested the FSC to develop an Agenda for Forum III that would take account of its recommendations and, in particular, consider a session on PRTRs. ISG-3 also underscored that regional meetings should be organized prior to Forum III as a matter of urgency. BRAZIL announced it will host Forum III in 2000. A September or October date is under consideration with the location still undetermined.

THE YEAR 2000 COMPUTER PROBLEM

In Plenary on Thursday, 3 December, Mr. Pep Fuller, US EPA, introduced a proposal suggesting that ISG-3 issue a Chemical Safety Advisory regarding the potential impact of the year 2000 computer "millenium bug" problem (Y2K). He highlighted the outcomes of a meeting of the OECD Working Group on Chemical Accidents convened on 2 December 1998 to address this topic, including: agreement that many computers responsible for maintenance schedules, monitoring and control, and security systems in modern chemical installations are potentially vulnerable to Y2K failures; agreement that both governments and industry must assume responsibility for the safe operation of chemical installations; and the establishment of an Electronic Information Clearing-House on Chemical Emergencies. Mr. Fuller cited a survey of 15,000 companies in 87 countries that estimates that fifty percent of chemical processing, petroleum, water utilities, and pulp and paper processing facilities are expected to face Y2K problems. He also detailed possible problems resulting from supply chain failures and emphasized the need for manual override capability and contingency plans to avoid serious accidents. The proposed advisory took note of the outcomes of the OECD meeting and encouraged use of the clearing- house to continue or initiate actions to prevent failure of safety-related systems. ICCA noted activities in the US, Canada and Europe to address these issues. MALI expressed concern over developing countries' capacity to cope with the possible catastrophes, and endorsed the advisory. SWITZERLAND emphasized the importance of the issue for small- and medium-sized enterprises. CAMEROON asked what is being done to address the problem given the limited amount of time. The OECD responded that the clearing-house will soon be functional on the Internet (http://www.oecd.org/ehs/) and that UN agencies will provide information and experts to address the issue. ISG-3 agreed to issue the advisory on the Y2K problem, and requested that linkages be established on the IFCS website to guide all concerned governments and organizations to relevant information.

CLOSING PLENARY

Delegates convened in Plenary on 4 December to review the Final Report of ISG-3 (IFCS/ISG3/98.zz). Rapporteur Woodward emphasized that the aim of the Report is to state a limited number of realistic and achievable recommendations. Delegates made final comments on and modifications to the twenty-four agreed recommendations and actions prior to adopting the report. Mr. Kazuo Hirayama, Director of the Office of Environmental Chemicals Safety of Japan's Ministry of Health and Welfare, lauded ISG-3 participants fruitful discussions on the three thematic areas. He said the outcomes of ISG-3 will result in valuable results in the protection of human health and the environment. He looked forward to Forum III in Brazil. Chair Raphael thanked the IFCS Bureau and Secretariat, the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare and the local organizing committee for their work. He emphasized the importance of the IFCS as a Forum for collaboration and cooperation and the importance of the Forum's goals, principles and contributions to the protection of human health and the environment. Noting that ISG-3 had resulted in clear actions that must be taken between now and Forum III, he looked forward to regional and sectoral meetings in preparation for Forum III. The meeting was drawn to a close at 3:45 pm.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR

INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON ENVIRONMENTAL ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS '98: This meeting, organized by the Environment Agency of the Government of Japan and supported by the Japan Society of Endocrine Disrupter Research will be held from 11-13 December in Kyoto, Japan. For more information, contact: Secretariat for the International Symposium on Environmental Endocrine Disruptors '98, c/o Congress Corporation, 7th Akiyama Building, 5-3 Kojimachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-8481, Japan; tel: +81-3-3263- 5394; fax: +81-3-3263-4033; e-mail: speed98@congre.co.jp.

SECOND MEETING OF THE POPS INC: The Second Meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for POPS will be held from 25-29 January 1999 in Nairobi, Kenya. For information contact: UNEP Chemicals (IRPTC); tel: +41 (22) 979-9111; fax: +41 (22) 797-3460; e-mail: dogden@unep.ch; Internet: http://irptc.unep.ch/pops/.

UNEP GOVERNING COUNCIL: The UNEP Governing Council will meet from 1-5 February 1999 in Nairobi, Kenya. For more information contact: B. Miller, UNEP; tel+254 (2) 62-3411; fax: +254 (2) 62- 3748; e-mail: milerb@unep.org.

CSD AD HOC INTERSESSIONAL WORKING GROUPS: Ad Hoc Working Groups (AHWG) will address matters related to: Consumption and Production Patterns, Tourism, Oceans and Seas, and the Comprehensive Review of the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. These AGWGs will meet in New York from 22 February � 5 March 1999. For more information contact: Zehra Aydin-Sipos, Division for Sustainable Development; tel: +1 (212) 963-8811; fax: +1 (212) 963-1267; e-mail: aydin@un.org; Internet: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/

SEVENTH SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (CSD-7): CSD-7 will be held from 19-30 April 1999 in New York. For more information contact: Zehra Aydin-Sipos, Division for Sustainable Development; tel: +1 (212) 963-8811; fax: +1 (212) 963-1267; e-mail: aydin@un.org; Internet: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/.

13TH SESSION OF THE FAO GROUP ON REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS: This meeting will be held from 7-11 June 1999 in Rome and will produce recommendations on procedures for the preparation and revision of guidelines and increased transparency and recommendations for the revision of the International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides. For more information contact: Gerold Wyrwal, FAO; tel: +39-6 / 5705 2753; fax: +39-6 / 5705 6347; e-mail: Gerold.Wyrwal@fao.org.

SIXTH PIC INC MEETING: The Sixth Session of the PIC INC meeting will be held in Rome from 12-16 July 1999 at the FAO Headquarters to begin work during the interim period between the signing of the PIC Convention and its entry into force. For more information contact: UNEP Chemicals (IRPTC), tel: +41 (22) 979- 9111; fax: +41 (22) 797- 3460; e-mail: jwillis@unep.ch; Internet: http://irptc.unep.ch/pic/. Or contact: FAO, tel: +39 (6) 5705 3441; fax: +39 (6) 5705 6347; e-mail: Niek.Vandergraaff@fao.org; Internet: http://www.fao.org/ag/agp/agpp/pesticid/pic/pichome.htm.

WMO/EMEP WORKSHOP ON MODELING OF ATMOSPHERIC TRANSPORT AND DEPOSITION OF POPS AND MERCURY: This workshop will take place in November 1999 at the WMO Headquarters in Geneva. For more information contact: Mrs. Marina Varygina, Meteorological Synthesizing Centre East, Kedrova Street 8, 117292 Moscow, Russian Federation; tel: +7 (95) 124 4758; fax: +7 (95) 310 7093; e-mail: msce@glasnet.ru.

THIRD MEETING OF THE INTERNATIONAL FORUM ON CHEMICAL SAFETY: The Third Meeting of The International Forum on Chemical Safety (Forum III) is tentatively scheduled for September or October 2000, and will be held in Brazil with the city yet to be determined. For more information contact: Executive Secretary, Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety c/o World Health Organization 20 Avenue Appia CH-1211 Geneva 27 Switzerland; tel: +41 (22) 791 3650 / 4333; fax: +41 (22) 791 4875; e-mail: ifcs@who.ch; Internet: http://www.who.int/ifcsh.

Sustainable Developments is a publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) (info@iisd.ca), publishers of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin �. This issue is written by Richard Campbell (richcam@hotmail.com) and Laura Ivers (laurai@iisd.org) and edited by: Leila Mead (leila@interport.com). The Managing Editor of Sustainable Developments is Langston James "Kimo" Goree VI (kimo@iisd.org). Funding for coverage of this meeting has been provided by the IFCS Secretariat. The authors can be contacted at their electronic mail addresses and at tel: +1-212-644-0204 and by fax: +1-212-644-0206. IISD can be contacted at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada; tel: +1-204-958-7700. The opinions expressed in the Sustainable Developments are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD and other funders. Excerpts from Sustainable Developments may be used in other publications with appropriate academic citation. Electronic versions of Sustainable Developments are sent to e-mail distribution lists (ASCII and PDF format) and can be found on the Linkages WWW- server at http://www.iisd.ca/ . For further information on Sustainable Developments, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Managing Editor at (kimo@iisd.org).