The ninth 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-9) was held from 30 September to 4 October 2002 in Bonn, Germany.
Over 230 participants representing more than 100 governments, nine intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, and a number of United Nations agencies attended the session.
The prior informed consent (PIC) procedure aims to promote a shared responsibility between exporting and importing countries in protecting human health and the environment from the harmful effects of certain hazardous chemicals that are traded internationally. A major step in this process was taken in September 1998 with the adoption of the Rotterdam Convention on the PIC Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade. To date, the Convention has been signed by 72 States and the European Community, and ratified by 34 States. It will enter into force once 50 instruments of ratification are deposited. Until the Convention's first Conference of the Parties (COP), the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) will continue to provide guidance regarding the implementation of the PIC procedure during this interim period.
A key objective at INC-9 was to consider key issues associated with implementation of the interim PIC procedure. As part of this work, delegates addressed various matters raised by the Interim Chemical Review Committee (ICRC), which advises the INC. At INC-9, delegates agreed to the ICRC's recommendation to include the chemical monocrotophos in Annex III to the Rotterdam Convention, which lists chemicals subject to the PIC procedure. Delegates also agreed to recommendations on the range and description of DNOC, asbestos, and Granox TBC and Spinox T.
Another key aim at INC-9 was to continue preparing for the first COP. Delegates made progress on the draft financial rules and provisions, procedures for dispute settlement, mechanisms for handling cases of non-compliance, and discontinuation of the interim PIC procedure. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin report outlining these discussions in detail is available at: http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/vol15/enb1575e.html
The Sixth Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-6) for an International Legally Binding Instrument for Implementing International Action on Certain Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) was held from 17-21 June 2002, in Geneva, Switzerland. Approximately 400 delegates from more than 125 countries, including representatives of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, attended the meeting.
During the week, delegates discussed a number of issues relating to, inter alia, preparations for the Conference of the Parties (COP), and adopted decisions on: size of the Bureau; budget; DDT and Register of specific exemptions; the Expert Group on best available techniques and best environmental practices; wastes and stockpiles; implementation plans; the POPs Review Committee; a clearing-house mechanism; technical assistance; financial resources and mechanisms and the interim financial mechanism; effectiveness evaluation; non-compliance; and INC-7.
The Stockholm Convention was adopted and opened for signature on 22 May 2001. The treaty calls for international action on 12 POPs grouped into three categories: 1) pesticides: aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, mirex and toxaphene; 2) industrial chemicals: hexachlorobenzene (HCB) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); and 3) unintended by-products: dioxins and furans. Governments are to promote best available techniques and environmental practices for replacing existing POPs while preventing the development of new POPs. Provision has also been made for a procedure identifying additional POPs and the criteria to be considered in doing so.
Key elements of the treaty include: the requirement that developed countries provide new and additional financial resources; control measures to eliminate production and use of intentionally produced POPs, eliminate unintentionally produced POPs, where feasible, and manage and dispose of POPs wastes in an environmentally sound manner; and substitution involving the use of safer chemicals and processes to prevent toxic by-products. Precaution is operationalized throughout the Stockholm Convention, with specific references in the preamble, the objective and the provision on identifying new POPs.
Since the Stockholm Convention's adoption, 151 countries have signed the treaty, and 11 have ratified it (Canada, Fiji, Germany, Iceland, Lesotho, Liberia, Nauru, the Netherlands, Rwanda, Samoa and Sweden). The Convention will enter into force 90 days after receipt of the 50th instrument of ratification. [http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/chemical/pops6/
THIRD MEETING OF THE INTERIM CHEMICAL REVIEW COMMITTEE (ICRC-3)
ICRC-3 met from 17-21 February 2002 in Geneva, Switzerland.
Discussions during the meeting resulted in a recommendation by the Committee that three widely-used pesticides and all forms of asbestos be added to the international list of chemicals subject to the Prior Informed Concent (PIC) procedure. These recommendations will be transmitted to the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee of the Rotterdam Convention on the PIC Procedure for certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, whose next meeting will take place from 30 September to 4 October 2002 in Bonn, Germany.
The three pesticides recommended for the PIC procedure are monocrotophos, Granox TBC/Spinox T and DNOC. Monocrotophos is used in many developing countries to control insects and spider mites on cotton, citrus, rice, maize and other crops, but threatens farm workers, with medical effects including nausea, diarrhoea, blurred vision, and, in severe cases, serious respiratory problems, convulsions and even death. Monocrotophos is also highly toxic to birds and mammals. Granox TBC and Spinox T are mixtures of fungicides and the highly toxic insecticide Carbofuran, and are used in a powdered form by peanut farmers. NDOC is an insecticide, weed killer and fungicide that is toxic to humans as well as other organisms. The five remaining forms of asbestos were also recommended to be added to the PIC list. More information on this meeting is available online at: http://www.pic.int
UNEP GCSS 7, GMEF 3, and Final Open-Ended Intergovernmental Group of Ministers or their Representatives on IEG
15 February 2002: The Seventh Special Session of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council and Third Global Ministerial Environment Forum (UNEP GCSS 7/GMEF 3) took place at the Cartagena de Indias Conference Center in Cartagena, Colombia, from 13-15 February 2002.
The Session was preceded by the final, one-day meeting of the Intergovernmental Group of Ministers or Their Representatives (IGM) on International Environmental Governance (IEG), which was held at the same venue on 12 February 2002. The GCSS-7/GMEF-3 and the IGM were attended by approximately 450 delegates, including over 90 ministers and other representatives of governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as UN bodies, agencies and organizations.
The objectives of the GCSS-7/GMEF-3 were to review UNEP's implementation of decisions taken by the 21st session of the Governing Council/Second GMEF (GC-21/GMEF-2), and to consider recent developments in relation to UNEP's preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), including on international environmental governance.
The IGM failed to reach agreement on a number of critical issues, in particular on strategies to ensure predictable and stable funding for UNEP and according universal membership to the UNEP GMEF. However, these issues were resolved during the GCSS-7/GMEF-3, at which delegates adopted the IGM report on IEG and agreed to transmit it to the third session of the WSSD Preparatory Committee (PrepCom III). Delegates also agreed to take note of a statement by the President of the Governing Council on UNEP's contribution to the WSSD, and to transmit it to PrepCom III, together with the report and policy statement prepared for the GCSS-7/GMEF-3 by UNEP's Executive Director.
Regarding the review of implementation of decisions of GC-21/GMEF-2, the Council adopted five decisions on: a strategic approach to chemicals management at the global level; compliance with and enforcement of multilateral environmental agreements; development of a strategy for the active engagement of civil society, the private sector and Major Groups in the work of UNEP; implementation of the Global Programme of Action (GPA) for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities; and the environmental situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
The Earth Negotiations Bulletin report outlining these discussions in detail can be found at: http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/unepgc/gmef3/
BASEL CONVENTION WORKING GROUP MEETINGS
The Technical and Legal Working Groups of the Basel Convention on the Control of the Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal met from 14-18 January 2002 in Geneva, Switzerland.
Experts from approximately 100 governments were in attendance. The 19th session of the Technical Working Group (TWG) convened from 14-15 January, while the first joint meeting of the Technical and Legal Working Groups took place from 16-17 January. These meetings were followed on 18 January by the fourth session of the Legal Working Group (LWG).
During the 19th session of the TWG, technical guidelines for the identification and environmentally sound management of plastic wastes and for their disposal were adopted after lengthy discussions. A new version of the draft technical guidelines on recycling/reclamation of metal and metal compounds was introduced, while the draft technical guidelines for the environmentally sound management of waste lead-acid batteries were finalized and provisionally adopted. New draft technical guidelines for the environmentally sound management of the full and partial dismantling of ships were presented and will be ready for adoption by the next TWG meeting in May 2002.
During the first joint meeting of the TWG and LWG, delegates considered the progress report on the implementation of the Basel Declaration and the development of a ten-year strategic plan for the Basel Convention, agreeing to establish an intersessional working group on the draft strategic plan. Delegates also discussed the financial limits of liability under the Protocol on Liability and Compensation. Small separate working groups were formed to draft guidance elements for bilateral, multilateral or regional agreements, and to promote the work on prevention and monitoring of illegal traffic in hazardous wastes.
The fourth session of the LWG debated the issue of establishing a mechanism for monitoring the implementation of and compliance with the obligations set out by the Basel Convention. More information on these meetings is available online at: http://www.basel.int