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Recent Meetings

Chemicals Management


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December 2009

REGIONAL AWARENESS RAISING WORKSHOP ON NEW POPS CONVENES

The Stockholm Convention Secretariat convened the “Regional Awareness Raising Workshop on New POPs and Reviewing/Updating National Implementation Plans Under the Stockholm Convention” in Kuwait city, Kuwait, from 14-16 December 2009. A key objective of the workshop, which was organized for Arab speaking parties, was to raise awareness on the properties and uses of the nine new POPs added to Annexes A, B and C of the Stockholm Convention. The workshop resulted in recommendations on the need to: promote public awareness of POPs; enhance availability of information on new POPs; build capacity and training tools for new POPs, including a toolkit for the identification and quantification of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS); identify resources and assistance for national coordination; enhance the role of regional centres; and strengthen collaboration with the Basel Convention, Rotterdam Convention, Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management and Montreal Protocol. (IISD RS sources)
ORIENTATION WORKSHOP FOR MEMBERS OF THE ROTTERDAM CONVENTION CHEMICAL REVIEW COMMITTEE

The Rotterdam Convention Secretariat convened an Orientation Workshop for members of the Chemical Review Committee (CRC) from 8-10 December 2009, in Budapest, Hungary. The meeting was attended by 23 members of the CRC and provided an opportunity to review the role and mandate of the Committee, as well as the working papers and policy guidance developed to facilitate its work. Participants also examined the work of the intersessional task groups for the preliminary review of candidate chemicals as well as that of the drafting groups established to prepare decision guidance documents. Link to further information Rotterdam Convention website
STOCKHOLM CONVENTION CONVENES REGIONAL TRAINING WORKSHOP ON POPS AND PCBS FOR CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

The Stockholm Convention Secretariat is convening a regional training workshop targeting national experts on the Environmentally Sound Management (ESM) of PCBs and POPs wastes from the Central and Eastern European Region, from 1-4 December, in Bratislava, Slovakia. The objective of the workshop is to enhance the capacity of the participants on the concepts, principles and standards for the ESM of PCBs and POPs wastes, as presented in the Basel Convention technical guidelines. Link to further information Stockholm Convention website

November 2009

ROTTERDAM CONVENTION CONVENES WORKSHOP FOR EASTERN EUROPEAN DESIGNATED NATIONAL AUTHORITIES

The Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention convened a subregional training and awareness-raising workshop for Designated National Authorities (DNAs), in Yerevan, Armenia, from 23-27 November 2009. The objectives of the training workshop were to assist parties to strengthen their capacity to implement the Convention and share their experiences on this matter. The meeting also included a pilot session covering aspects of the new programmatic area on the clearing house mechanism. Participants received training on a prototype clearing-house portal. Representatives from Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia, and the Russian Federation attended the workshop. Link to further information Rotterdam Convention website
STOCKHOLM AND ROTTERDAM CONVENTIONS CONVENE JOINT WORKSHOP ON EFFECTIVE PARTICIPATION

The first joint workshop of the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions for Effective Participation in the Review Committees' Work is convening in Cairo, Egypt, from 17-19 November 2009. The objective of the workshop is to support the effective participation of parties and stakeholders in the work of Rotterdam Convention Chemical Review Committee and the Persistent Organic Pollutant Review Committee, and to improve information sharing on chemicals. Participants will be made aware of opportunities for information exchange and synergistic approaches in chemicals management at the national level, as well as processes linked to chemicals' review at the international level under the Conventions. Link to further information Rotterdam Convention website
ROTTERDAM CONVENTION HOSTS TRAINING FOR ANGLOPHONE AFRICAN COUNTRIES

The Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention convened sub-regional training and awareness-raising for Designated National Authorities (DNAs) and relevant stakeholders on the Implementation of the Rotterdam Convention and other Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) in Pretoria, South Africa, from 2-6 November 2009. The objectives of the training workshop were to assist new parties including Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi and Uganda, as well as parties that have recently nominated new DNAs to meet their obligations under the Convention and strengthen their capacity to implement the Convention. Opportunities to strengthen co-operation at the national and sub-regional level and on joint implementation of other MEAs were discussed, and the importance of regional entities, including the African Institute and the Southern African Development Community as well as the role of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme in promoting regional cooperation, was stressed. Link to further information Rotterdam Convention website

October 2009

Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development Agrees on Initiative to Convene Global Commodities Forum

29 October 2009: The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Intergovernmental Forum (IGF) on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development convened from 26-29 October 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland. This voluntary initiative was established in 2005 by governments interested in promoting the contribution of the sector to sustainable development by enhancing capacities for good governance. It is an outcome of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), which met in Johannesburg, South Africa. This meeting focused on further advancing preparations by the Forum and its members for upcoming meetings of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (UN CSD) in 2010-11 to review progress on the mining sector's contribution to the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation. A key outcome from the meeting included agreement on a new UNCTAD initiative, entitled the Global Commodities Forum (GCF). The GCF will convene in early 2010 to try to develop answers to issues, such as instabilities in commodity markets, and to develop policies that will make the commodity sector a true engine for development. [UNCTAD press release, 30 October 2009]
Mercury OEWG Agrees Rules of Procedure for INC Process

October 2009: The Ad hoc Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) to Prepare for the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) on Mercury convened from 19-23 October 2009, in Bangkok, Thailand. The OEWG agreed to recommend rules of procedure to the INC, as well as intersessional work for the Secretariat to prepare documentation for the first meeting of the INC, to be held in Stockholm, Sweden, from 7-11 June 2010, including options for structure of the instrument and a description of options for substantive provisions. Delegates also took part in information sessions on supply and storage of mercury, artisanal and small-scale gold mining, and products and process. Link to further information IISD RS meeting coverage
SUB-REGIONAL TRAINING FOR FRANCOPHONE AFRICAN DESIGNATED NATIONAL AUTHORITIES ON ROTTERDAM CONVENTION CONVENES

The Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention convened sub-regional training and awareness-raising workshops for francophone African Designated National Authorities (DNAs) on the implementation of the Rotterdam Convention in Accra, Ghana, from 19-23 October 2009. The objectives of the workshop were to: strengthen the capacity of DNAs through the provision of practical training on the key obligations and operational elements of the Convention; to facilitate a national dialogue among relevant stakeholders on the implementation of the Rotterdam Convention: and to raise awareness of the linkages between the Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions. Link to further information Rotterdam Convention website
AD HOC OPEN-ENDED WORKING GROUP ON MERCURY PREPARES FOR INTERGOVERNMENTAL NEGOTIATING COMMITTEE

The Ad hoc Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) to Prepare for the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) on Mercury is convening from 19-23 October 2009, in Bangkok, Thailand. The meeting is considering: the timetable and organization of work of the INC; information that might assist the work of the INC; and activities under the current United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Mercury Programme. Several information sessions are also being convened to provide context and background for the INC. These include: supply and storage of mercury; small scale and artisanal gold mining; and mercury products, processes and wastes. Link to further information IISD RS meeting coverage
INTERNATIONAL FORUM ADDRESSES PRIMARY MERCURY MINING IN KYRGYZSTAN

A meeting on primary mercury mining in Kyrgyzstan was co-convened by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) on 18 October in Bangkok, Thailand, with over 45 participants in attendance. The meeting discussed primary mercury mining in Kyrgyzstan, the last primary mine supplying the global market. The Forum concluded with three areas for action in Kyrgyzstan, including remediation and decommissioning of the mercury mine, local alternative development and promotion of investment in other activities. The Forum also noted that the phasing out of primary mining in Kyrgyzstan provides an opportunity to undertake near-term activities while negotiations on the mercury convention are ongoing. (IISD sources) Link to further information Forum agenda
STOCKHOLM CONVENTION POPRC-5 CONSIDERS THREE CHEMICALS

The fifth meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC-5) of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) took place from 12-16 October 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland. POPRC-5 addressed several operational issues, including: work programmes on new POPs; substitutions and alternatives; toxicological interactions; and activities undertaken for effective participation in the work of the Committee. POPRC-5 also considered the draft risk profile for endosulfan and agreed to move it forward to the Annex F phase of the assessment process. The draft risk profile for short-chained chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs) was stalled at Annex E phase. This decision was taken without prejudice to future decisions, and requests the Secretariat to analyse the risk management and risk reduction measures and to present this information at POPRC-6 in 2010. The Committee also discussed whether hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) met the Annex D criteria for listing under the Stockholm Convention and agreed to move it to the Annex E phase. Link to further information IISD RS meeting coverage
INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC HEALTH PESTICIDES WORKSHOP CONVENES

The International Public Health Pesticides Workshop: An Examination of the Barriers and Possible Solutions for Bringing New Public Health Pesticide Products to Market in Developing Countries, convened in Geneva, Switzerland, from 29 September-1 October 2009. The workshop provided a forum for regulators from disease-endemic developing countries to examine the barriers, capacities and solutions for increasing the efficiency of registration of new Public Health Pesticides (PHP) toward stimulating the marketing of new PHP products. Link to further information Stockholm Convention website

September 2009

UNDP CONVENES TRAINING TO COMBAT ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME IN WEST AFRICA

The Ozone Programme Implementation and Management Unit of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the World Customs Organisation and the Green Customs Initiative convened a workshop in West Africa in September to address transnational environmental crime. The “train the trainers” workshop sought to enable senior customs officers from Nigeria, the Gambia, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia to identify harmful cross-border environmental crimes, including the illegal trade of environmentally-sensitive commodities such as ozone depleting substances, toxic chemical products, hazardous wastes, fauna and flora, and living modified organisms. Link to further information Green Customs Initiative press release, 15 September 2009

June 2009

UNDP HIGH-LEVEL FORUM SEEKS TO AVOID RADIOACTIVE CATASTROPHE IN CENTRAL ASIA

A high-level forum organized by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) convened in Geneva, Switzerland, on 29 June 2009, and concluded with the adoption of a joint declaration stressing the need to tackle the challenge of radioactive waste in Central Asia. The meeting brought together over 100 representatives from the Central Asian region, international organizations and donors to discuss problems associated with the uranium tailing deposits left over from mining during the Cold War in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. These deposits contain more than 800 million tons of radioactive and toxic waste and many are located in densely populated and natural disaster prone areas. The outcomes of the forum included agreement to strengthen regulatory frameworks and national capacity to address the problem, as well as a call for public-private partnerships, and to explore opportunities to further exploit the tailings for economic gain. Link to further information UN press release, 29 June 2009
COMMITTEE ON TECHNICAL BARRIERS TO TRADE DISCUSSES REACH

The World Trade Organization, Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade, convened on 25-26 June 2009, and debated 48 trade concerns raised by members. Three of these concerns related to the European Community's chemical policy, the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical Substances (REACH). Recent activities by the European Community restricting the marketing and use of organostannic compounds and new controls on dimethyl fumarate were questioned by the Japanese delegation. The US delegation questioned the requirements for REACH accreditation. Link to further information WTO website
IFCS FORUM STANDING COMMITTEE SUSPENDS WORK

During a teleconference meeting on 24 June 2009, the Forum Standing Committee (FSC) of the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS) agreed to suspend the work of the IFCS. The decision came in response to the decision taken at the Second International Conference on Chemicals Management, to not integrate the Forum into the Conference at this time. In view of the financial situation of the IFCS, the FSC agreed to suspend its work for the foreseeable future and acknowledged that by doing so the result would be to also “suspend” the work of the IFCS. It recognized that the work of the FSC and IFCS may resume in the future if adequate resources became available. It was also agreed that the World Health Organization would be requested to continue hosting the IFCS website so that the wealth of information it contains is not lost. Link to further information IFCS website
STOCKHOLM CONVENTION EXECUTIVE SECRETARY ADDRESSES GEF COUNCIL

Donald Copper, Executive Secretary, Stockholm Convention, and co-Executive Secretary, Rotterdam Convention, addressed the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council on 22 June 2009. Cooper updated the GEF Council on the outcomes of the fourth session of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention, including the decision on guidance to the financial mechanism. In his address, Cooper highlighted the importance of the GEF making financial resources available in a manner that is predictable, in terms of the level of funding, and that is distinct, in that it is to be used for Stockholm Convention implementation activities. Noting that the core funding for persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in the fifth GEF replenishment (GEF-5) was currently indicated to be US$600 million, he said Parties may find that amount to be insufficient, considering the results of the Stockholm Convention needs assessment as well as the listing of nine new POPs. Link to further information Stockholm Convention website
BEST ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNIQUES AND PRACTICES OF SOUND CHEMICALS MANAGEMENT TRAINING MEETING CONVENES

Forty-seven representatives from 24 English-speaking African countries are participating in a regional capacity-building workshop on Best Available Techniques and Best Environmental Practices (BAT and BEP) and the Environmentally Sound Management (ESM) of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). The workshop, which is convening from 15-19 June 2009, at UN headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, was organized to build national capacity to manage POPs waste, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) oils and contaminated equipment in an environmentally sound manner. The participants, who represent countries that are party to Stockholm Convention on POPs, will learn about an electronic training tool on the Basel Convention POPs waste guidelines to foster understanding of the concepts, principles and standards of BAT and BEP. Link to further information UNEP press release
SWISS COUNTRY-LED INITIATIVE TO IMPROVE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE BASEL CONVENTION CONVENES

The first meeting of the Swiss Country-Led Initiative (CLI) to improve the effectiveness of the Basel Convention convened from 15-17 June 2009, in Bali, Indonesia. The objective of the CLI is to develop recommendations for consideration by Parties at the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) for a way forward to ensure that the transboundary movements of hazardous wastes, especially to developing countries and countries with economies in transition, constitute an environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes, as required by the Basel Convention. The meeting addressed possible reasons for transboundary movement of hazardous wastes where environmentally sound management cannot be ensured. Topics discussed included economic, legal and enforcement issues, and awareness/infrastructure. The next meeting of the CLI is expected on convene from 12-15 January 2010. Link to further information Basel Convention website

May 2009

ICCM2 CONVENES IN GENEVA

The Second Session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM2) is taking place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 11-15 May 2009. The meeting has a heavy agenda covering a range of important issues, including: financial and technical resources for implementation; emerging policy issues; a proposal from the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS) for integration of the IFCS into the ICCM; and the need to strengthen national chemicals management capacities. On the first day of ICCM2, delegates heard an opening statement by Swedish Environment Ambassador Viveka Bohn, in which she called for the creation an international panel of experts to help protect the public against the poisonous substances. Delegates also began an exchange of views on emerging issues, including nanotechnology and manufactured nanomaterials, chemicals in products, electronic waste, and lead in paint. Links to further information IISD RS ICCM2 Coverage ICCM2 website
ICCM2 AGREES TO ACTION ON EMERGING ISSUES

The second session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM2) convened from 11-15 May 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland. Delegates considered new emerging policy issues, rules of procedure, the need for an intersessional body, and matters related to finance, and adopted resolutions on, inter alia: rules of procedure; emerging issues; a process for considering emerging issues; the establishment of an open-ended working group; and financial resources. Delegates also took the decision not to integrate the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS) as a subsidiary body of the ICCM. The ICCM2 decision left the IFCS to determine its own future. As a result, the Forum Standing Committee will convene via teleconference in June 2009 to take a decision on the future of IFCS. (IISD RS sources) Link to further information IISD RS meeting coverage
STOCKHOLM CONVENTION LISTS NINE NEW CHEMICALS

The fourth Conference of the Parties (COP4) to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) was held from 4-8 May 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland. Over 800 participants, representing more than 149 governments, as well as intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, and UN agencies, attended the meeting. Three key decisions were prerequisites for success at COP4: the addition of nine new chemicals to the Convention; financial resources and technical assistance, including endorsement of regional coordinating centers; and agreement on a non-compliance mechanism. The three issues were interlinked, and while delegates were at an impasse until early Saturday morning, 9 May, a political compromise was eventually achieved allowing the COP to adopt a compromise package of decisions on new chemicals and financial resources and technical assistance. There was no agreement on a non-compliance mechanism and work on this was deferred to COP5. Link to further information IISD RS POPs COP4 coverage

April 2009

STOCKHOLM CONVENTION PACIFIC REGIONAL MEETING CONVENES

The Regional Awareness Raising Workshop on “Fostering the implementation of the Stockholm Convention in the Pacific” convened from 6-8 April 2009, in Nadi, Fiji. The Workshop addressed: available guidance for Stockholm Convention parties; technical assistance and financial resource mobilization; and preparing for COP-4. Participants exchanged initial views on anticipated national positions on key issues to be addressed at COP-4, including the addition of new chemicals. They agreed that they needed to consult their capitals, and no regional position was formulated. IISD RS Sources.
IMO LEGAL COMMITTEE APPROVES DRAFT PROTOCOL TO CONVENTION ON CARRIAGE OF HAZARDOUS AND NOXIOUS SUBSTANCES BY SEA

The Legal Committee of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) held its 95th session in London, UK, from 30 March-3 April 2009, and approved a draft Protocol to the 1996 International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea. The draft Protocol is designed to address practical problems that have prevented many States from ratifying the original Convention. The Convention seeks to establish a two-tier system for compensation to be paid in the event of accidents at sea, in this case involving hazardous and noxious substances, such as chemicals. One of the main obstacles that has discouraged ratification of the Convention is the requirement for States to report the quantities of Hazardous and Noxious Substances received to IMO, considering the range and diversity of hazardous and noxious substances that will be governed by the Convention. The IMO Legal Committee has requested the IMO Council, which meets in June 2009, to approve the holding of a diplomatic conference as early as possible during 2010 to consider the draft Protocol, with a view to formally adopting it. Link to further information IMO press release, 9 April 2009

March 2009

FIFTH SESSION OF THE ROTTERDAM CONVENTION CHEMICAL REVIEW COMMITTEE CONVENES

The fifth meeting of the Rotterdam Convention Chemical Review Committee took place from 23-27 March 2009, in Rome, Italy. The candidate pesticides and industrial chemicals sent to the Committee at its fifth session included: endosulfan, azinphos-methyl, methyl parathion, mirex, paraquat, phorate, hexachlorobenzene and hexachlorobutadiene. The Committee concluded that only one notification met the criteria for inclusion in Annex III of the Convention for azinphos-methyl, endosulfan, phorate, hexachlorobenzene and hexachlorobutadiene. The Committee decided to establish groups to draft rationales on how the notifications for azinphos-methyl, endosulfan, phorate, hexachlorobenzene and hexachlorobutadiene met the criteria for inclusion in annex III of the Convention, and the Committee subsequently adopted these rationales. Regarding endosulfan, the Committee was unable to reach consensus on the notifications submitted by the Sahelian countries (Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal) due to differing views on whether all the required criteria had been met. The Committee adopted a decision on endosulfan, the rationale for that decision and a timetable for preparing a decision guidance document (DGD) inter-sessionally, based on the notifications submitted by the Sahelian countries and the EU. The draft DGD will be reviewed at CRC-6 along with any unresolved issues. The Committee also considered and approved the draft DGDs on alachlor and aldicarb that had been prepared inter-sessionally by the task groups. The Committee decided to send the recommendations to include alachlor and aldicarb into Annex III of the Convention together with the draft DGDs to the fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the Rotterdam Convention. Links to further information Rotterdam Convention website Basel Convention Bulletin, May 2009
EU CONCLUDES NEGOTIATIONS ON PESTICIDES PACKAGE

EU member states concluded two years of negotiations on 24 March 2009 with the adoption of the “Pesticides Package.” The Pesticides Package enables EU member States to monitor risks related to the use of pesticides. It includes three legislative proposals: the Regulation concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market; the Directive relating to the sustainable use of pesticides; and the Regulation on pesticide statistics. The aim of the proposal is to monitor proper risk indicators related to pesticides usage. Based on the monitoring results, the member States will collect comparable data for the development of harmonised statistics. The current regulation only concerns plant protection products falling under pesticides, but may be extended in the future to cover more areas. The final agreement is expected to be confirmed by the European Parliament on 21 April 2009, and by a Council decision in June 2009. Link to further information EU press release
REGIONAL WORKSHOP ON ASSESSMENT OF THE WASTE OF ELECTRONIC AND ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT

A subregional workshop on the assessment of waste electronic and electrical equipment in the South Eastern Countries of the Mediterranean convened in Ankara, Turkey, from 16-17 March 2009. The workshop was aimed at sharing experiences in the transposition and implementation of the Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) Directive in old and new EU member countries. The workshop was financed and organized by the Technical Assistance Information Exchange Instrument (TAIEX) of the European Commission (Directorate General for Enlargement) in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry of Turkey. Participants heard presentations on the status of e-waste legislation, national actions to transpose the EU WEEE Directive, and cases of related implementation experience in older EU countries. Link to further information Basel Convention Bulletin, May 2009
Caribbean Workshop on SAICM and Related Chemicals and Hazardous Waste Instruments Convenes

13 March 2009: The Caribbean Workshop on the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) and related chemicals and hazardous waste management instruments convened in Bridgetown, Barbados, from 10-13 March 2009. The workshop concluded, inter alia: that the Second International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM-2) should formally recognize and support the regional coordination committees established by several regions; that Global Environment Facility (GEF) national focal points and the GEF Council Member for the Caribbean should pursue the establishment of a new focal area in GEF for integrated chemicals management; and that ICCM-2 should consider the GEF as one of the mechanisms for the long-term financing of SAICM. [SAICM website]

February 2009

NATIONAL CONSULTATION ON THE ROTTERDAM CONVENTION CONVENES IN SOUTH AFRICA

The national consultation to identify elements of a National Action Plan or strategy for the implementation of the Rotterdam Convention was organized by the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat and convened in Durban, South Africa, from 23-27 February 2009. The meeting facilitated a national dialogue among relevant stakeholders on the implementation of the Rotterdam Convention, as the basis for identifying the key elements in a national action plan or a strategy for the implementation of the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent. Link to further information Rotterdam Convention
UNEP GC25/GMEF TAKES HISTORIC DECISION ON CHEMICALS MANAGEMENT

Delegates to the 25th Session of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC25/GMEF), which met from 16-20 February 2009, in Nairobi, Kenya, took 17 decisions, including one on chemicals management (UNEP/GC/25/CW/l.4/Rev.1) that addresses mercury, lead and cadmium and the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM). Regarding mercury, the decision established an intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC) to develop a legally-binding instrument on mercury, and states that the INC is to develop a comprehensive and suitable approach to mercury, including provisions to reduce atmospheric emissions and specify arrangements for capacity building. It further states that the INC should consider the following: approaches tailored to specific sectors; achieving cooperation and coordination to avoid unnecessary duplication of proposed actions with provisions in other agreements; and possible co-benefits. The decision represents the first coordinated global effort to tackle mercury, and the proposed legally-biding instrument could include both binding and voluntary approaches, together with interim activities, to reduce risks to human health and the environment. An open-ended working group meeting will be convened in the second half of 2009, to prepare for the work of the INC, which will hold its first meeting in 2010 and will seek to completie its work by GC27 in 2013. The decision also recognizes that the mandate of the INC may be supplemented by further decisions of the GC. Regarding lead and cadmium, the decision requests the Executive Director to finalize the scientific review and to report to GC26 to inform discussions on the need for global action related to lead and cadmium. On SAICM, the decision notes that the International Conference on Chemicals Management will discuss ways to further progress in implementation of SAICM as well as approaches for mid- to long-term financing. Links to further information Decision UNEP/GC.25/CW/L.4/Rev.1 IISD RS coverage
UNEP GC25/GMEF Takes Decisions on Climate, International Environmental Governance and Mercury

Delegates to the 25th Session of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC25/GMEF), which met from 16-20 February 2009, in Nairobi, Kenya, took 17 decisions including on international environmental governance, a significantly increased UNEP budget, support to Africa on climate change, and mercury. In the decision on support to Africa, the GC requests the UNEP Executive Director to work with the UN Economic Commission for Africa to provide technical support to the African Climate Policy Centre once established, and to promote the mainstreaming of climate change into social and economic development processes. On coordination within the UN, the GC welcomes the Executive Director's efforts as chair of the UN Environment Management Group, including in promoting the UN's commitment in moving towards climate neutrality. In addition, the GC approved funding to support climate change activities. Another key outcome of the meeting was a decision to elaborate a legally binding instrument on mercury. It is projected that mercury pollution will rise in part as a result of increased coal-burning in Asia. The decision established an intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC) to develop a legally-binding instrument on mercury, and states that the INC is to develop a comprehensive and suitable approach to mercury. The decision represents the first coordinated global effort to tackle mercury. An open-ended working group meeting will be convened in the second half of 2009, to prepare for the work of the INC, which will hold its first meeting in 2010, with the goal of completing its work by GC27 in 2013. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of GC25/GMEF
UNEP Governing Council Convenes

February 2009: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) is convening the twenty-fifth session of the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC-25/GMEF), in Nairobi, Kenya, from 16-20 February 2009. Ministers are considering two themes, Globalization and the Environment: Global Crises: National Chaos? and International Environmental Governance and United Nations Reform – IEG: Help or Hindrance? Delegates are also considering reports on: strengthening the scientific and financial base of UNEP; the Global Environment Outlook; chemicals management, including mercury and waste management; small island developing States; support to Africa in environmental management and protection; South-South cooperation in achieving sustainable development; updated UNEP water policy and strategy; budget and programme of work for the biennium 2008–2009; long-term strategy on engagement of young people in environmental issues; future and current programmes for the development and periodic review of environmental law; and the outcome of the ad hoc intergovernmental and multi-stakeholder meeting on an intergovernmental science-policy platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Prior to GC-25/GMEF, youth leaders met in the Global Youth Gathering 11-13 February 2009 in Nairobi, Kenya and developed recommendations for GC/GMEF, including on their involvement in decision-making and on climate change. Also prior to the meeting, the tenth session of the Global Civil Society Forum convened at the UN Office in Nairobi, Kenya, from 14-15 February 2009. An estimated 230 participants attended the Forum, which sought to prepare for GC-25/GMEFand to refine the key statements of civil society at these events. [IISD RS coverage of GC-25/GMEF] [Global Youth Gathering website] [IISD RS coverage of the Global Civil Society Forum]
WORKSHOP CONSIDERS MANAGING PERFLUORINATED CHEMICALS (PFCS) AND TRANSITIONING TO SAFER ALTERNATIVES

A workshop on managing perfluorinated chemicals (PFCS) and transitioning to safer alternatives was organized by UNEP and the US Environmental Protection Agency to provide countries with the opportunity to review PFC developments since the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Workshop on Perfluorocarboxylic Acids (PFCAs) and Precursors in 2006, especially as they relate to risk reduction programs. Delegates exchanged views on the next steps regarding PFCs. The results of the meeting will be presented at a side event during the second International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM-2) in May 2009 (IISD RS sources).
INFORMAL WORKSHOP ON STAKEHOLDERS' CHEMICAL INFORMATION NEEDS CONVENES

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and Government of Sweden, with the support of the Government of Japan, hosted a meeting from 9-12 February 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss stakeholders' information needs related to chemicals in articles and products. The workshop recommended that a working group take up this issue intersessionally between the second International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM-2) and ICCM-3. The recommendation will be considered by ICCM-2, which is scheduled to convene in May 2009 (IISD RS sources).
CAPACITY-BUILDING WORKSHOP ON BAT AND BEP MEETS IN BRAZIL

The regional capacity-building workshop on the guidelines on best available techniques (BAT) and provisional guidance on best environmental practices (BEP), organized by the Stockholm Convention Secretariat, convened in Sao Paulo, Brazil, from 2-4 February 2009. The workshop raised regional awareness on BAT and BEP, and provided the opportunity for officials of the region to share experiences regarding the implementation of Article 5 under the Convention (unintentional production of POPs) specifically in using the Stockholm Convention Guidelines on BAT and BEP. Link to further information Stockholm Convention's workshop website

January 2009

STOCKHOLM CONVENTION AWARENESS RAISING WORKSHOP CONVENES IN ASIA

A Regional Awareness Raising Workshop on Fostering Stockholm Convention Implementation in Asia convened from 20-22 January 2009, in Kathmandu, Nepal. The three-day workshop was attended by representatives from regional parties and covered broad issues relating to the implementation of the Convention. These included obligations under the Convention such as development and implementation of national plans, national reporting, registering exemptions, nominated Stockholm Convention centers and accessing technical assistance and the financial mechanism. The workshop also provided participants information on the relevant guidance available on these issues under the Convention. Link to further information Summary and pictures of the meeting, 24 January 2009