Seventh Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP7) to the Basel Convention
The seventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-7) to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal was held from 25-29 October 2004, in Geneva, Switzerland.
COP-7 opened with a preparatory segment, from 25-27 October, followed by a high-level segment for ministers and heads of delegations, which took place from 28-29 October. Participants in the high-level segment engaged in an interactive discussion on partnerships for meeting the global waste challenge – the theme of COP-7. A key decision at COP-7 was to apply the terms of the Basel Convention to ships to be dismantled. COP-7 also adopted decisions on definitions of hazardous wastes, hazardous waste characteristics, a number of technical guidelines, guidance elements for bilateral, multilateral or regional agreements, and follow-up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). Click here for the Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage
of this meeting.
Stockholm Convention Expert Group on Best Available Techniques and Best Environmental Practices
Experts on persistent organic pollutants have gathered to work on guidance on best available techniques (BAT) and best environmental practices (BEP) in relation to the Stockholm Convention.
The third session of the Stockholm Convention Expert Group on BAT-BEP met from 11-16 October 2004 in Tokyo. At the meeting, experts discussed the development of guidelines on BAT and provisional guidance on BEP relevant to the provisions of the Stockholm Convention. Topics addressed included consideration of alternatives in the application of BAT, general guidance and guidelines in the application of BAT and BEP, and guidance by source category. The Expert Group agreed to forward draft guidelines to the first Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention (COP-1), to be held 2-6 May 2005 in Punta del Este, Uruguay, for consideration and possible adoption. More information
Informal Consultations Convene on the Mauritius SIDS International Meeting
October 2004: The second round of informal informal consultations held in preparation for the International Meeting on the Ten-Year Review of the Barbados Programme of Action (BPOA) for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) took place recently at UN headquarters in New York. During the consultations, delegates continued deliberations on the revised Draft Strategy for the Further Implementation of the BPOA that was produced following the previous round of informals in May 2004. With the understanding that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, delegates resolved ten chapters of the draft Strategy Paper, and reached partial resolution on seven chapters. Text concerning Graduation, and Trade: Globalization and Trade Liberalization remain contentious, and discussions on Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise were deferred to the International Meeting. [ENB Briefing Note
SECOND SESSION OF THE PREPARATORY COMMITTEE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF A STRATEGIC APPROACH TO INTERNATIONAL CHEMICALS MANAGEMENT (SAICM PrepCom 2)
The second session of the Preparatory Committee for the Development of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM PrepCom2) took place in Nairobi, Kenya, from 4-8 October 2004.
During the meeting, participants discussed elements for an overarching policy strategy for international chemicals management, made progress in creating a matrix of possible concrete measures to promote chemical safety, and provided comments on an initial list of elements to be included in a high-level political declaration. At the session, participants agreed that SAICM will consist of an overarching policy strategy, a global plan of action, and a high-level declaration, and progress made was during the session in identifying and elaborating the elements for the overarching policy strategy. The work of the PrepCom will culminate in a final “International Conference on Chemicals Management” in 2006. Click here for the Earth Negotiations Bulletin
coverage of this meeting.
FIRST CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE ROTTERDAM CONVENTION (COP-1)
The first Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention (COP-1) was held from 20-24 September 2004, in Geneva.
Immediately preceding COP-1, the eleventh session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for an International Legally Binding Instrument for the Application of the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (INC-11) was held on Saturday, 18 September 2004, in Geneva. Over 534 participants representing more than 135 governments and a number of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and United Nations agencies attended the sessions.
The prior informed consent (PIC) procedure aims to promote shared responsibility between exporting and importing countries in protecting human health and the environment from the harmful effects of the trade of certain hazardous chemicals. The Rotterdam Convention was adopted in September 1998, and entered into force on 24 February 2004. To date, the Convention has 74 Parties, including 73 States and the European Community (EC).
INC-11 was held to consider the addition of four chemicals to the interim PIC Procedure, a necessary step before considering adding those chemicals to the Convention at COP-1. At INC-11, delegates agreed to add tetraethyl lead, tetramethyl lead and parathion to the interim PIC Procedure, but did not reach consensus on the addition of chrysotile asbestos. COP-1 added 14 additional chemicals to Annex III of the Convention, including the three added at INC-11. COP-1 also successfully adopted decisions required to make the legally binding PIC Procedure operational. Delegates addressed procedural issues and other decisions associated with the entry into force of the Convention and the setting up of the COP and subsidiary bodies. As part of this work, COP-1 took decisions on: composition of the PIC regions; adoption of financial rules and provisions for the COP, subsidiary bodies, and the Secretariat; establishment of the Chemical Review Committee (CRC); cooperation with the World Trade Organization (WTO); and settlement of disputes. Delegates also voted to establish the Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention in Geneva and Rome. Click here for the Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage
of this meeting.
24TH SESSION OF THE OPEN-ENDED WORKING GROUP TO THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL - OZONE GROUP RESUMES METHYL BROMIDE TALKS
The use of methyl bromide and a range of other ozone-depleting substances was the subject of a recent meeting in Geneva.
The twenty-fourth meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) of Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer met from 13-16 July 2004. A major issue on the agenda was the question of exemptions to allow the use of methyl bromide. Allowances for the use of this ozone-depleting chemical had proved to be a major sticking point in negotiations in late 2003, with an extraordinary Meeting of Parties required in March 2004 to help break the deadlock.
Methyl bromide discussions:
A range of issues relating to methyl bromide were discussed, including a proposal from the US concerning the granting of multi-year exemptions (as opposed to single-year exemptions) for the use of this chemical. While a number of delegations supported the proposal on the grounds that it could improve flexibility and transparency, some participants wondered whether multi-year exemptions might encourage Parties to exaggerate their needs over several years, or discourage the development of alternatives to methyl bromide. The proposal was slated for further discussion at the upcoming Sixteenth Meeting of Parties (MOP-16), which is scheduled for November 2004. Parties also discussed the development of the accounting framework and handbook for reporting on methyl bromide. Further input was requested, which will be collated and presented at MOP-16. The work of the Methyl Bromide Technical Options Committee was considered, and delegates were informed that the Committee would be doing further work on this issue, and should have finalized a report on the subject by early October. In addition, an ad hoc working group looking at procedures and terms of reference for the Methyl Bromide Committee is scheduled to reconvene in Prague for two days immediately prior to MOP-16. Proposals on methyl bromide submitted by Kenya, Burkina Faso, Mauritius, Guatemala, the European Community, and several other Parties were also considered.
Metered-dose inhalers, the financial mechanism, and other issues:
The OEWG also considered requests for exemptions to use several other ozone-depleting substances. On the issue of exemptions for chlorofluorocarbons used in metered-dose inhalers, the European Community introduced a draft decision on the subject. The draft, which sets out a timetable to review essential-use nominations and requests additional guidance on the matter, was the subject of contact group discussions, and will be taken up again at MOP-16.
Delegates were also briefed on a review of the Montreal Protocol's financial mechanism. Preliminary results from the review suggest that the Protocol and its financial mechanism have functioned effectively, and identify areas where improvements are possible. Suggestions include alterations to improve the accuracy of performance indicators, transparency, the management of promissory notes, and the timeliness of payments.
Other issues taken up by the OEWG included the obligations of Parties under the Beijing Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, the prevention of illegal trade in ozone-depleting substances, the UN globally harmonized system for classifying and labeling ozone-depleting chemicals, and the work of various technical options committees, including those dealing with halons, rigid and flexible foams, aerosols, sterilants and carbon tetrachloride.
By the conclusion of the meeting, the Working Group had forwarded a variety of draft decisions for consideration at MOP-16. These covered issues such as: methyl bromide; possible terms of reference for a study on the 2006-2008 replenishment of the Multilateral Fund; the development of a system for tracking international trade in ozone-depleting substances; and carbon tetrachloride emissions. Click here for the official report
of this meeting.
GEF NGO Consultation and Council Meeting Convene
May 2004: Convening from 19-21 May 2004, in Washington, DC, the GEF Council approved its work programme, endorsing US$233.5 million in grants for 25 projects. The total value of the projects amount to US$980.7 million with cofinancing of $3 for every $1 approved. The Council also approved decisions on the: appointment of the Monitoring and Evaluation Director and Report of the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit; terms of reference for the GEF's third Overall Performance Study; institutional relations; performance based allocation framework; corporate budget for the 2005 fiscal year; and LDC Trust Fund Budget.
On the Report of the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit, the Council recognized the high potential for renewable energy projects in developing countries and requested that the GEF Secretariat (GEFSEC), the Implementing Agencies and the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit examine the barriers that might be impeding the success of renewable energy projects, and propose a strategy to address those barriers.
On institutional relations, the Council addressed relations with, inter alia, the UNFCCC, CBD, CCD and UNEP. Responding to the CBD decision on expanded eligibility for certain capacity building activities related to biosafety, the Council recommended that the GEFSEC develop procedures ensuring that GEF financing leads to ratification of the Cartagena Protocol. The GEFSEC and UNEP were requested to organize consultations of regional scientists and technical experts to provide advice on the project for building capacity for participation in the biosafety clearinghouse of the Cartagena Protocol. The Council also requested the GEF to inform the next Council meeting of proposals to respond to CBD decision VII/20, which requests the GEF to support the implementation of the programme of work on protected areas and in particular to “support country driven early action by continuing to streamline its procedures and the provision of fast disbursing resources through expedited means.”
Regarding land degradation, the GEFSEC was requested to prepare a note on the allocations foreseen under the land degradation focal area as well as allocations to land degradation through the other GEF focal areas and to prepare an analysis of the scope, implementation focus and coherence of the land degradation activities for the next Council meeting in November 2004. Regarding CCD Decision 6/COP.6 on a MoU to facilitate collaboration between the GEF and the CCD, the Council requested the CEO to submit a draft of the MoU, including a clarification of the roles of the Global Mechanism and the GEF, to the Council for its review and comment. On POPs, the GEFSEC was requested to review its priorities for financing under the POPs focal area to ensure that they are consistent with the priorities of the Stockholm Convention and national implementation plans.
Recognizing the GEF's contribution to the work of a number of ongoing processes, the GEF was encouraged to continue participating in the deliberations of the CSD, the UNFF and the International Meeting for the ten year review of the BPOA for the Sustainable Development of SIDS.
The GEF Council functions as an independent board of directors responsible for developing, adopting, and evaluating GEF programmes. Representing 32 constituencies (16 from developing countries, 14 from developed countries, and two from countries with economies in transition), the Council meets twice a year for three days. [http://www.thegef.org/gef/meetingdocs/97/59
EXTRAORDINARY MEETING OF THE PARTIES TO THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL
The Extraordinary Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (ExMOP) took place from 24-26 March in Montreal, Canada.
Over 350 participants attended, representing 114 governments, as well as UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, intergovernmental organizations, industry and academia. Delegates to the ExMOP adopted decisions relating to: further specific interim reductions of methyl bromide for the period beyond 2005, applicable to Article 5 Parties; nominations for critical-use exemptions (CUEs) for methyl bromide; conditions for granting and reporting CUEs for methyl bromide; and the work procedures of the Methyl Bromide Technical Options Committee (MBTOC) relating to the evaluation of critical-use nominations (CUNs).
At the ExMOP, Parties took decisions on a series of issues relating to methyl bromide that had been left unresolved at the 15th Meeting of the Parties in Nairobi in November 2003. Compromise was reached by, among others, adopting a double-cap concept distinguishing between use and production for CUEs, and by establishing an ad hoc working group to review the working procedures and terms of reference of MBTOC. Parties' perseverance through what some called excruciating negotiations has demonstrated the continued robustness and relevance of the ozone regime. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin report outlining these discussions in detail can be found at: http://www.iisd.ca/ozone/exmp/
FIFTH SESSION OF THE INTERIM CHEMICAL REVIEW COMMITTEE OF THE ROTTERDAM CONVENTION
ICRC-5 met from 2-6 February 2004 in Geneva, Switzerland.
At the meeting, the expert committee discussed notifications of final regulatory action to ban or severely restrict five chemicals: Dimefox, Endrin, Endosulfan, Mevinphos, and Vinclozolin. In addition, the committee considered draft Decision Guidance Documents (DGDs) on Tetraethyl Lead and Tetramethyl Lead and Parathion, and prepared recommendations for the intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC) on their inclusion in the prior informed consent (PIC) procedure.
On the notifications received, the Committee did not recommend any of the five to be subject to the interim PIC procedure, because the notifications did not meet all the criteria listed in Annex II (most notably, b(iii) dealing with risk evaluation). The Committee also elaborated in an explanatory note the minimum requirements for a risk evaluation to fulfill this criterion. On Endrin, the Chair noted that information received by the committee indicated that trade in the chemical had already ceased, and that no further action would be necessary. On Tetraethyl and Tetramethyl Lead and Parathion, the Committee approved draft DGDs and prepared recommendations for their inclusion in the interim procedure, to be forwarded to the INC. During the meeting, a contact group also met to identify a list of alternatives to chrysotile asbestos, which could be transmitted to the International Programme on Chemical Safety for assessment of their health effects. More information and documents from ICRC-5 can be accessed online at the Rotterdam Convention's web site: http://www.pic.int