Vol. 15 No. 129
SUMMARY OF THE SECOND CONFERENCE OF THE
PARTIES TO THE ROTTERDAM CONVENTION ON THE PRIOR INFORMED CONSENT
PROCEDURE FOR CERTAIN HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS AND PESTICIDES IN
The second meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (PIC COP-2) met from 27-30 September 2005, in Rome, Italy. Over 500 participants representing more than 133 governments and a number of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and United Nations agencies attended the meeting.
The Rotterdam Convention was adopted in September 1998, entered into force in February 2004, and has now been ratified by 100 countries. Its 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 certain hazardous chemicals that are traded internationally. It facilitates information exchange about their characteristics, provides for a national decision-making process on their import and export, and disseminates these decisions to parties. The PIC procedure currently applies to 41 banned or severely restricted chemicals and severely hazardous pesticide formulations listed in the Rotterdam Convention’s Annex III, among which are 24 pesticides, 11 industrial chemicals, and six severely hazardous pesticide formulations.
At COP-2, delegates discussed and adopted 15 decisions on, inter alia: the programme of work and the budget for 2006; operational procedures of the Chemical Review Committee (CRC); the finalization of the arrangements between the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for the provision of the secretariat to the Rotterdam Convention; pilot projects on the delivery of regional technical assistance; and cooperation and synergies between the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Convention secretariats. Delegates agreed to forward a bracketed text on a compliance mechanism to COP-3 and to task the Secretariat with a study on financial mechanisms. By the end of the week, most delegates expressed satisfaction that they had swiftly agreed to several decisions necessary to ensure the implementation of the Convention, including many CRC proposals and decisions on regional and national technical assistance.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ROTTERDAM CONVENTION
Growth in internationally-traded chemicals during the 1960s and 1970s prompted efforts by the international community to safeguard people and the environment from the harmful effects of such chemicals. These efforts resulted in the adoption of the International Code of Conduct for the Distribution and Use of Pesticides by FAO and the London Guidelines for the Exchange of Information on Chemicals in International Trade by UNEP. Both the Code of Conduct and the London Guidelines included procedures aimed at making information about hazardous chemicals readily available, thereby permitting countries to assess the risks associated with their use. In 1989, both instruments were amended to include a voluntary PIC procedure, managed jointly by FAO and UNEP, to help countries make informed decisions on the import of banned or severely restricted chemicals.
At the UN Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, delegates adopted Agenda 21, which contains an international strategy for action on chemical safety (Chapter 19) and calls on states to achieve full participation in and implementation of the PIC procedure by 2000, and the possible adoption of a legally-binding PIC convention.
In November 1994, the 107th meeting of the FAO Council agreed that the FAO Secretariat should proceed with the preparation of a draft PIC convention as part of the joint FAO/UNEP programme. In May 1995, the 18th session of the UNEP Governing Council adopted Decision 18/12, authorizing the Executive Director to convene, with FAO, an intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC) with a mandate to prepare an international legally-binding instrument for the application of the PIC procedure.
NEGOTIATION OF THE CONVENTION: The INC held five sessions between March 1996 and March 1998 during which a draft of the PIC Convention was produced, revised, and ultimately agreed upon, as well as a draft resolution on interim arrangements.
CONFERENCE OF PLENIPOTENTIARIES: The Conference of Plenipotentiaries of the Rotterdam Convention was held from 10-11 September 1998, in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Ministers and senior officials from nearly 100 countries adopted the Rotterdam Convention and the Final Act of the Conference. In line with the new procedures contained in the Convention, the Conference also adopted a resolution containing numerous interim arrangements for the continued implementation of the voluntary PIC procedure and invited UNEP and FAO to convene further INC meetings during the period prior to the Convention’s entry into force and to oversee the operation of the interim PIC procedure.
INTERIM PROCEDURE: INC-6, held in Rome from 12-16 July 1999, approved draft decisions on the definition and provisional adoption of the PIC regions, the establishment of an Interim Chemical Review Committee (ICRC), and draft decision guidance documents (DGDs) for chemicals already identified for inclusion in the interim PIC procedure. The first session of the ICRC took place in Geneva from 21-25 February 2000, and agreed to recommend ethylene dichloride and ethylene oxide for inclusion in the interim PIC procedure.
INC-7 was held in Geneva from 30 October to 3 November 2000, and addressed the implementation of the interim PIC procedure, preparations for the COP, including financial arrangements, and agreed to add ethylene dichloride and ethylene oxide to the interim PIC procedure. ICRC-2 was held in Rome from 19-23 March 2001, and addressed the inclusion of monocrotophos in the interim PIC procedure.
INC-8 was held in Rome from 8-12 October 2001, and resolved a number of questions associated with the discontinuation of the interim PIC procedure and conflict of interest of ICRC members. ICRC-3 was held in Geneva from 17-21 February 2002, and recommended the addition of monocrotophos, Granox TBC and Spinox T, DNOC, and another five forms of asbestos to the interim PIC procedure.
INC-9 was held in Bonn, Germany, from 30 September to 4 October 2002. It agreed on the inclusion of monocrotophos in the interim PIC procedure, and made progress on financial rules and dispute settlement procedures. ICRC-4 was held in Rome from 3-7 March 2003, and addressed new candidate chemicals for inclusion in the interim PIC procedure, as well as notifications of final regulatory actions to ban or severely restrict parathion, tetraethyl lead, tetramethyl lead, and tributyl tin compounds.
INC-10 was held in Geneva from 17-21 November 2003, and agreed to add four forms of asbestos, DNOC, and dustable powder formulations of benomyl, carbofuran and thiram (formerly referred to as Granox T and Spinox TBC) to the interim PIC procedure, but deferred to the next meeting a decision on including a fifth form of asbestos, chrysotile. ICRC-5 was held in Geneva from 2-6 February 2004, and discussed notifications of final regulatory action to ban or severely restrict dimefox, endrin, endosulfan, mevinphos, and vinclozolin; but decided not to recommend any of the five chemicals for inclusion in the interim PIC procedure, since the notifications did not meet all the criteria listed in Annex II. The ICRC recommended the inclusion of tetraethyl lead, tetramethyl lead, and parathion for inclusion in the interim PIC procedure.
INC-11 was held in Geneva on 18-19 September 2004, and 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: The first COP to the Rotterdam Convention, held in Geneva on 20-24 September 2004, adopted all the 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, such as the: composition of the PIC regions; inclusion of chemicals in Annex III recommended during the interim period; adoption of financial rules and provisions for the COP, the subsidiary bodies, and the Secretariat; establishment of the CRC; cooperation with the World Trade Organization; settlement of disputes; and the location of the Secretariat.
CRC-1: The first meeting of the CRC, held in Geneva from 11-18 February 2005, considered notifications on 14 candidate chemicals for inclusion in Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention. The CRC decided to recommend to the COP the inclusion of chrysotile asbestos in Annex III, and agreed on a schedule to prepare the corresponding DGDs. In addition, it considered a number of working procedures and policy guidance, and raised issues for consideration by the COP, such as: the difference between risk evaluation requirements conducted under different international bodies; possible confusion between trade names and brand names; the meaning of the term “severely restricted”; and the consideration of additional information on DGDs.
The second Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade opened in Rome Tuesday afternoon, 27 September 2005, with COP-2 President Philippe Roch (Switzerland), welcoming delegates to the meeting.
David Harcharik, Deputy Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), highlighted the contribution of pesticides to increased food production and to poverty reduction, while also noting their environmental costs. He said the expected increase in agricultural production will be met by a rise in pesticide use, which requires appropriate chemicals regulation. Noting the high rate of ratifications of the Rotterdam Convention, he called for further advancement in the implementation of the PIC procedure, drawing upon partnerships, shared responsibilities, and coherent and consistent approaches within the broader environment and development context.
UNEP Deputy Executive Director Shafqat Kakakhel highlighted the links between sound chemicals management and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), noting that the 2005 World Summit held in New York reaffirmed an unambiguous commitment by all governments to achieve these goals. He highlighted that the PIC procedure started as voluntary and evolved into a binding convention, thus enabling global cooperation to complement national efforts on chemicals management. He also encouraged countries to ratify the Rotterdam Convention, noting that the voluntary PIC procedure will end in February 2006.
Domenico Zinzi, Italy’s Vice-Minister of Health, underscored his country’s commitment to implementing the Convention. He stressed the importance of adopting an integrated approach to chemicals management as reflected in the Convention, which entrusts secretariat functions to both UNEP and FAO. He called for reinforced synergies between health and environment policies, and for close cooperation between the Secretariats of the Rotterdam, Basel and Stockholm Conventions, given the links in the international management of chemicals, hazardous wastes and persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
President Roch then presented, and delegates adopted, the agenda for the meeting and the organization of work (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/1). The Bureau members for this meeting, who had been elected at COP-1, were Dessalegne Mesfin (Ethiopia), Maria Teriosina (Lithuania), Maria Celina de Azevedo Rodrigues (Brazil) and Yusef Shuraiki (Jordan), who served as rapporteur.
Delegates met in plenary throughout the four-day meeting and established contact groups on budget and non-compliance. Numerous drafting groups also convened to find agreement on specific text. The following report summarizes the discussions and decisions taken during COP-2, according to each agenda item, and highlights issues where consensus has not yet been reached.
RULES OF PROCEDURE FOR THE COP
On Tuesday, President Roch opened the floor for comments on the bracketed rule on decision making, as a last resort, by a two-thirds majority vote of the parties present and voting (Rule 45 Paragraph 1 of Decision RC-1/1). Some parties supported consensus-based decision making and others the use of a two-thirds majority in the absence of consensus. The President suggested, and delegates agreed, to leave the clause in brackets in the decision for consideration at future COP meetings.
STATUS OF IMPLEMENTATION
On Wednesday, the Secretariat introduced a report on the implementation of the Convention (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/6), as well as the status of ratifications and the list of designated national authorities (DNAs) (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/INF 1 and 2). She said there were 47 new parties since COP-1, and noted no new proposals had been received for inclusion of severely hazardous pesticide formulations. Nigeria said that the absence of proposals for inclusion of severely hazardous pesticide formulations was caused by developing countries’ lack of capacity. The EU expressed concern over the low rate of responses concerning decisions taken by parties on the future import of chemicals listed in Annex III. Guinea stressed DNAs’ difficulties in gathering local and national information, and Sudan noted the short time allowed to provide import responses.
CONFIRMATION OF CRC EXPERTS
On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced the list of experts designated by parties for the CRC (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/7), noting the CRC had proposed Bettina Hitzfeld (Switzerland) as Chair. On Friday, the COP considered and approved a draft decision.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/CRP.7) confirms the appointment of the experts and of Chair Hitzfeld. Experts confirmed to the CRC are:
The decision also instructs the Democratic Republic of Congo to communicate its nomination to the Secretariat by 1 December 2005.
On Tuesday, the Secretariat presented the report of the first meeting of the Chemicals Review Committee (CRC-1) (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/8). India opposed the recommended inclusion in Annex III (Chemicals subject to the PIC procedure) of chrysotile asbestos, while Ukraine stressed decisions of the CRC should be taken by consensus. The COP took note of the report.
ISSUES ARISING OUT OF CRC-1
In plenary on Tuesday and Wednesday, CRC Chair Hitzfeld introduced several issues that were brought to the attention of COP-2 by CRC-1 (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/9).
Process for drafting decision guidance documents: Delegates discussed a flow chart recommended by CRC-1 on the process for drafting DGDs. In response to requests for clarification on how the process is initiated, the COP agreed to reference text in the Convention that the process begins with identification of one notification from each of two PIC regions. The EU suggested retaining reference to the Secretariat verifying such notifications. On the issue of comments on DGDs by observers to the CRC, Brazil suggested that such comments should be taken note of, as opposed to incorporated, in DGDs. In plenary on Friday, the COP adopted a revised process for drafting DGDs.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/CRP.6) contains a flow chart and accompanying explanatory notes on drafting DGDs. The flow chart specifies that the process begins when the Secretariat has identified at least one verified notification from each of two PIC regions, has verified that a proposal contains information required, and has collected additional information. It then details the process by which the CRC drafts and considers an internal proposal on the chemical. The flow chart specifies that the CRC then incorporates, as appropriate, comments from members, and takes note of comments by observers, on the internal proposal, and prepares a DGD for consideration by the COP.
Determination of existing trade in chemicals: On Wednesday, Chair Hitzfeld noted that the CRC had adopted working procedures for determining existing trade in chemicals (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/8, Annex III).
Final Outcome: The COP agreed to encourage industry bodies, NGOs and parties to provide information requested for determination of the ongoing trade in chemicals (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/L.1/Add.1).
Preparation and use of focused summaries: On Wednesday, Chair Hitzfeld noted that focused summaries are prepared to supplement supporting information that is either voluminous or not in English.
Final Decision: The COP agreed to encourage parties to prepare focused summaries (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/L.1/Add.1) in accordance with guidance prepared by the CRC (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/8, Annex IV).
Risk evaluations conducted under different international bodies: On Wednesday, Chair Hitzfeld said the CRC had sought guidance on whether hazard or risk evaluations conducted under multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) such as the Montreal Protocol or the Stockholm Convention could be used by notifying parties without the need to carry out additional evaluations reflecting prevailing national conditions. Jamaica, Norway and the Republic of Korea said national risk evaluations should not be required in cases of global risks, while Australia and others stressed the importance of criteria regarding risk evaluation under prevailing national conditions. Switzerland suggested the Secretariat provide case studies on relevant substances.
Final Outcome: The COP invited the Secretariat to prepare a paper on the topic for discussion at CRC-2 and COP-3, including consideration of case studies of specific chemicals covered under other MEAs, with a possible assessment of the value of including those chemicals in the Convention and the number of chemicals that might be implicated.
Confusion between trade names and brand names: On Wednesday, Chair Hitzfeld said the CRC had noted confusion on the use of “trade names” in DGDs, and Croplife International pointed out the need to clarify whether the use of this term referred to a brand or a company name.
Final Outcome: The COP invited industry representatives to continue to work with the CRC on this issue (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/L.1/Add.1).
Guidance on the term “severely restricted”: On Wednesday, Chair Hitzfeld said the CRC had difficulty in addressing “severely restricted” chemicals when insufficient information was available to assess whether there had been a real or expected reduction in use as a consequence of the regulatory action. The Pesticide Action Network asked that governments provide information on reductions in exposure to people or the environment.
Final Outcome: The COP encouraged parties to, when submitting notifications on a chemical, describe the real or expected effects of regulatory action with respect to its use (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/L.1/Add.1).
Additional information: On Wednesday, Chair Hitzfeld drew attention to a paper submitted by Canada on consideration of a study on DGDs’ scope (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/CRP.4), seeking to ensure that the DGDs accomplish their intent. Brazil said the DGDs’ scope was clear in the Convention, and suggested that the study be limited to discussing alternative ways of submitting information, while Australia suggested the study could look at the need to expand the DGDs’ scope. A drafting group was created to work on the issue. On Thursday, Australia reported that the drafting group had reached consensus on a proposed decision, which was adopted.
Final Decision: The decision asks the Secretariat to prepare a paper reviewing the information exchange mechanisms and the clearing house to assess how these are meeting parties’ needs (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/L.1/Add.2).
NON-COMPLIANCE: REPORT OF THE WORKING GROUP
This issue was discussed in plenary on Wednesday, after a report on the meeting of the Ad Hoc Open Ended Working Group on Non-Compliance (26-27 September, Rome) was presented by Chair Denis Langlois (Canada) (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/CRP.9). Langlois explained that the group had been unable to reach consensus on several fundamental issues within the draft for the establishment of a compliance committee, including the nature of the trigger mechanism, i.e. who can make a non-compliance submission. Australia openly questioned the utility of discussing other aspects of the compliance mechanism while this remained undecided. A contact group was created, also chaired by Langlois, and met on Wednesday and Thursday.
In the contact group many parties resisted discussing anything but a self-trigger arrangement and developing countries particularly opposed an NGO/individual trigger. Many also resisted a Secretariat trigger, alleging that this may put the Secretariat’s independence and neutrality at risk. Regarding the size and composition of the compliance committee, some were in favor of distributing membership using existing UN-designated regions, while others preferred using those delineated by the PIC. There was also debate regarding what measures could be taken in the event that facilitation and capacity building had failed to produce compliance. Some parties, such as the EU and New Zealand, favored stronger measures, and others such as Japan, China, and India, objected to anything approximating punitive measures.
In the closing plenary, Chair Langlois presented the group’s report despite the fact that it still contains a large amount of bracketed text on substantive issues. He indicated that the group had agreed to continue work at COP-3; and the COP took note of the report (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/CRP.9).
Final Decision: The COP took note of the Report of the Open-ended Ad Hoc Working Group on Non-Compliance on the work of its first session (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/CRP.9). They also adopted a report of the contact group on procedures and institutional mechanism for the non-compliance committee (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/CRP.14) and a draft decision where the results of this group’s deliberations will be annexed (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/CRP.15).
Brackets remain on the following issues within the annex “Establishment of a compliance committee”:
STUDY OF POSSIBLE OPTIONS FOR FINANCIAL MECHANISMS
On Wednesday in plenary, the Secretariat presented a study of possible options for lasting and sustainable financial mechanisms (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/10), identifying nine possible options. Nigeria, on behalf of the African Group, called for new and additional financial resources, noting they should be sustainable, predictable and sufficient. Switzerland and others supported the option of expanding the Global Environment Facility (GEF) POPs focal area to serve as a cluster for chemicals conventions. Brazil, for the Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC), said it supported a financial mechanism for the Rotterdam Convention specifically and, with China and others, stressed the links between a financial mechanism, implementation, and compliance. The EU noted its support for: mainstreaming international aid for the Convention’s implementation, an option not included in the study; the status quo option; and urging GEF to include more Rotterdam Convention-related activities under the POPs focal area. This last option was also supported by Japan. Many delegations said the status quo was not acceptable.
Discussion continued in plenary on Thursday, when many developing countries expressed support for the establishment of a financial mechanism for chemicals agreements, the expansion of the GEF POPs focal area to serve chemicals-related activities, and the establishment of a Rotterdam Convention financial mechanism. New Zealand and others stressed the need to inquire whether existing funds, such as the Multilateral Fund of the Montreal Protocol and GEF, could support the Convention. South Africa called for consideration of options for the interim period, and many delegations supported the idea of using the Multilateral Fund option for that purpose. A drafting group was convened to prepare a draft decision on the issue.
Delegates considered the draft decision in Friday’s plenary, with a number of developing countries saying they could not support a paragraph requesting the Secretariat to explore the option of mainstreaming chemicals management issues within development assistance strategies, noting their priority was poverty reduction. The EU said sustainable development was the responsibility of all countries.
In the afternoon, delegates considered a revised decision, which included a request to the Secretariat to identify options for establishing a new financial mechanism for the Convention, so as to secure “new and additional” financial resources for its implementation. The EU proposed an alternative paragraph requesting the Secretariat to review the identified needs and use (for technical assistance and capacity building) of the voluntary special trust fund, and to identify any barriers to its effective use, for consideration at COP-3. Brazil, for GRULAC, stated it could not accept the paragraph as an alternative, and proposed alternative wording, which was supported by several developing countries, but rejected by the EU. GRULAC proposed new language requesting the Secretariat to examine in more detail a number of options in its study on options for financial mechanisms. The EU said it could only support consideration of “all” the options in the report. The COP agreed to adopt a decision in line with the EU’s proposal, maintaining the status quo. Many developing country delegations expressed their deep disappointment at the lack of resolution on this issue.
Final Decision: In the decision, the COP will request the Secretariat to further explore all the options identified in its study on financial mechanisms (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/10), taking into consideration the discussions held at COP-2.
REGIONAL DELIVERY OF TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE
On Thursday, the Secretariat presented a report on the experience gained regarding delivery of regional assistance, and a corresponding draft decision (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/12). Many delegates emphasized the importance of technical assistance for the implementation of the Convention, with some delegations calling for synergies between chemicals-related conventions and other agreements and activities, such as trade-related conventions and customs initiatives. Nigeria, on behalf of the African Group, called for legislation stressing synergies between chemicals-related activities, and Ethiopia emphasized the need to consider wastes-related issues, and recommended close collaboration with the Basel Convention Secretariat. The Basel Convention Secretariat and many country delegates stressed the role of Basel Convention Regional Centers in the implementation of the Rotterdam Convention, and called for predictable financial resources to support them. Brazil and Morocco also highlighted the role that regional centers to be created under the Stockholm Convention could play. The EU proposed adding a reference to the Bali Strategic Plan on Technology Support and Capacity-Building in the preamble of the draft decision, and a reference to DNAs, customs services, and other relevant organizations. China proposed including national technical assistance in addition to regional assistance in the title of the decision, and in an operative paragraph requesting the Secretariat to prepare a programme of activities for 2007–2008. On Friday in plenary, the COP considered the revised draft decision, which included the proposals by the EU and China. Kenya suggested adding a reference to “other international processes,” while China said the word “national” should be added to the cost programme of activities for technical assistance delivery. The decision was adopted as amended by Kenya and China.
Final Decision: In the decision on the regional and national delivery of technical assistance (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/CRP.11) the COP stresses, inter alia:
Additionally, the COP: requests relevant parties to contribute to the voluntary trust fund to support technical assistance activities; adopts the work plan of action for the regional and national delivery of technical assistance for 2006-2007 contained in its appendix; and requests the Secretariat to report on experience gained in technical assistance to COP-3 and to prepare a detailed cost programme of activities for technical assistance delivery for 2007-2008.
ENCOURAGEMENT OF THE WCO TO ASSIGN SPECIFIC HS CODES TO ANNEX III CHEMICALS
The Secretariat presented documents on cooperation with the World Customs Organization (WCO) (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/16 and UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/INF/4), noting the assignment by this organization of specific Harmonized System (HS) codes to the chemicals originally listed in Annex III (Chemicals subject to the PIC procedure). These codes identifying all export products will enter into force for WCO parties on 1 January 2007. Chemicals included in Annex III during COP-1 are expected to be included in further HS amendments which enter into force on 1 January 2012. She also noted the possibility of joint training of customs officials.
Many countries supported collaborative work in training customs officers, with the EU proposing to look for synergies with other environmental conventions providing such training. Ethiopia proposed including DNAs in the training, and Argentina supported cooperation with the Basel Convention in this area. Iran suggested converting the six-digit HS codes into 11 digits to distinguish Annex III chemicals from those not included in the annex. Switzerland, supported by Syria, proposed including the compilation of HS codes for Annex III chemicals on the Convention’s web site and in COP-2’s report (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/CRP.2), but the Secretariat explained that this last document constitutes a summary for parties to consult, and may not be officially published without the consent of the WCO. The COP endorsed continued collaboration with the WCO.
Final Outcome: The COP endorsed continued collaboration with WCO on assignation of HS codes to chemicals and groups of chemicals listed in Annex III and on customs officials training (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/L.1/Add.2).
COOPERATION WITH THE WTO
The Secretariat presented a paper on Thursday on cooperation with the World Trade Organization (WTO) (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/15), saying that although it had been unable to achieve observer status at the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment, it had been invited to attend the Committee’s Special Sessions on a meeting-by-meeting basis, including one in February 2005. She said the Secretariat provided the WTO with a “non interpretative” matrix regarding trade provisions in the Rotterdam Convention. She said a report of the WTO Special Session is available (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/INF/4), and that such reports will be made available on a regular basis with the intention of enhancing the flow of information.
Final Outcome: The COP took note of the report (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/15) and supported further cooperation efforts with the WTO (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/L.1/Add.2).
ENHANCING SYNERGIES BETWEEN THE STOCKHOLM, ROTTERDAM AND BASEL CONVENTIONS: On Thursday, the Secretariat introduced a study on cooperation and synergies between the Stockholm, Rotterdam and Basel Conventions (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/INF/7). New Zealand introduced a proposal presented with the EU and others, and supported by Nigeria and Iran, calling for an additional report on financial and administrative information regarding potential synergies, and identifying any financial savings (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/CRP.5). He said the study should be considered at the ninth special session of the UNEP Governing Council (GC), and at the COP meetings of the three conventions in 2006. Brazil opposed references to: inviting UNEP’s Executive Director to prepare a report for the UNEP GC; inviting UNEP and FAO to adapt arrangements as necessary to any decisions by the Stockholm and Basel COPs; and identifying financial savings that might be available to facilitate projects. South Africa, with the Gambia and China, concurred, and suggested several modifications. The US raised concerns about funding for such a study, and warned against prejudging the conclusions of the Stockholm Convention’s report. A drafting group was created to work on a draft decision. On Friday in plenary, New Zealand presented, and delegates adopted a decision with the amendments proposed by the drafting group.
Final Decision: The decision on enhancing synergies between the secretariats of the chemicals and wastes conventions (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/CRP.5/Rev.1) requests the Secretariat to contribute to the study on cooperation and synergies between the Basel and Stockholm Secretariats, and invites UNEP, in consultation with the Secretariats of the Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions, to prepare a supplemental analysis of financial and administrative arrangements that would be needed to implement any changes that the three Convention Secretariats and UNEP may propose, and make it available for consideration at the next meetings of the Basel and Stockholm COPs. In the decision, the COP further agrees to consider the results of the study and the analysis at COP-3.
MOU WITH FAO ON THE SECRETARIAT’S FUNCTIONS: On Thursday, the Secretariat introduced a note on arrangements by UNEP’s Executive Director and FAO’s Director-General for performance of the Convention’s Secretariat functions, including a memorandum of understanding (MoU) (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/14 and 14/Add.1). The discussion focused on whether the MoU should be amended if necessary, with the Secretariat noting it could be amended if agreed by FAO and UNEP, and approved by the COP. A small drafting group was created to consider the issue.
On Friday, the EU reported on the group’s deliberations, noting it had agreed that the decision on Secretariat arrangements should include a paragraph inviting UNEP’s Executive Director and FAO’s Director-General to consider the synergies study when looking at their arrangements in the future. He said the paragraph was currently part of the decision on the synergies study. Argentina, supported by China, said the decision should not presuppose the need to revise Secretariat arrangements at future meetings. The Chair suggested, and the COP agreed, that they be revised “if necessary.” The decision was adopted as amended by the EU and Argentina.
Final Decision: In the decision on Secretariat arrangements (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/CRP.16/Rev.1), the COP: approves the arrangements by the Executive Director of UNEP and the Director-General of FAO for the performance of Secretariat functions to be concluded on the basis of the approved a MoU; invites both of them to consider, when reviewing the arrangements, whether any changes are needed based on the outcomes of a study on synergies between the Rotterdam, Stockholm and Basel conventions; and decides to review the arrangements at its future sessions, if necessary.
COMMUNICATION WITH GOVERNMENTS
On Thursday in plenary, the Secretariat presented a note on communication with governments (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/17). The EU suggested, and the COP agreed, to invite governments to provide individuals’ names as official contact points, and to invite the Secretariat to maintain both a list of official contact points for non-administrative matters, and one with contact details for DNAs. The COP also agreed to ask governments to transmit their official channel of communication on non-administrative matters; request the Secretariat to adopt and maintain lists of accredited observers; invite relevant observers to provide up-to-date contact information; and invite other observers to express their interest in being invited to COP meetings.
Final Outcome: The COP agreed to: request governments to provide their official contact points for the Convention; post these details on the Convention’s web site; and adopt the recognized official lists of observers contained in Annexes II and III of the note of the Secretariat (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.1/L1/Add.2).
REPORT ON ACTIVITIES OF THE SECRETARIAT
On Wednesday in plenary, the Secretariat reported on its activities (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/4), including, inter alia: the first COP and CRC meetings; facilitation of technical assistance; coordination with the secretariats of other relevant international bodies; liaison with DNAs; and administrative arrangements between FAO and UNEP. The COP took note of the report on Secretariat activities.
PROGRAMME OF WORK AND RECONSIDERATION OF THE INDICATIVE 2006 BUDGET
In plenary on Wednesday, the Secretariat introduced documents on: the financial report and review of the staffing situation in the Secretariat (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/18); the programme of work and 2006 budget (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/5); Secretariat arrangements (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/INF/4); updated financial information (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/INF/8); and regional delivery of technical assistance (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/12). A contact group, chaired by Jean-Louis Wallace (Canada), met from Wednesday to Friday to consider these issues.
Negotiations in the contact group focused on the FAO’s in-kind contribution, and on funding for further negotiation on the creation of a compliance mechanism. Consensus was reached on all items of the budget and the in-kind contributions will not be reflected in the line on the Secretariat’s personnel support but rather in a footnote to the staffing table for 2006. A revised draft decision prepared by the Secretariat was discussed in the contact group on Friday morning, where minor amendments were made to the paragraphs on the establishment of a contingency reserve to meet the annual salary costs of the posts contributed in-kind by FAO. Delegates agreed to add language specifically authorizing the Secretariat to draw from this reserve, should the FAO withdraw its in-kind contribution.
On Friday, Chair Wallace presented the draft decision to plenary. Argentina reiterated her country’s reservation regarding the application of the revised UN scale of assessments. The draft decision was adopted without amendment.
Final Decision: The decision on financing and budget arrangements for the biennium 2005-2006 (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/CRP.12) reconfirms decision RC-1/17 on the budget for the biennium 2005-2006, approves the operational budget amounting to US$3,710,224 for 2006, and includes three tables on: the operational budget for 2006, the scale of contributions to the trust fund for the implementation of the Convention, and the approved staffing table for 2006. In the decision, the COP creates a special contingency reserve to provide the annual salary costs of the Secretariat posts currently covered by in-kind contributions should these contributions be discontinued, and authorizes the Secretariat to draw down from this reserve in such a case. The COP also approves, on an exceptional basis, US$270,000 in the operational budget to support travel for experts to attend discussions on the issue of non-compliance during COP-3. It further decides that the contributions of parties shall be based on the current UN scale of assessments, notes that a number of parties have not paid their contributions to the operational budget for 2005, and invites the Executive Secretary to submit proposals for promoting full and timely payment of contributions by parties for review at COP-3.
APPLICABILITY OF INTERNATIONAL LAW: On Thursday in plenary, the Secretariat, presented a report on the applicability of international trade to the Convention (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/13), noting that even if a hazardous chemical is not traded internationally, it can still be considered by the CRC for inclusion in Annex III. Argentina said international trade should be taken into account by the CRC when analyzing severely restricted pesticide formulations. The COP took note of the report.
SUBMISSION BY KYRGYZSTAN: On Friday in plenary, Kyrgyzstan introduced a document (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/CRP.8) containing its proposal to clarify the issue of “previously considered notifications.” Recalling that previously considered notifications had triggered a new Annex III listing process for chrysotile asbestos, he proposed that the COP note that the notifications that had previously formed the basis for the amendment to Annex III should be disregarded in the event inclusion was rejected. The EU, Jamaica and Australia noted that the COP had not reached consensus on the inclusion of chrysotile asbestos, and thus the notification had never been rejected. The COP took note of Kyrgyzstan’s submission.
On Friday delegates met throughout the day and adopted decisions prepared during the course of the meeting including the budget, compliance and a decision on financial mechanisms.
The COP elected the following Bureau members for COP-3, representing the five UN regional groups: Yue Ruisheng (China), for the Asia-Pacific Group, as Bureau president; Andrea Repetti (Argentina), for GRULAC, Helga Schrott (Austria), for the Western European and Other States Group; and Azhari Omer Abdelbagi (Sudan), for the African Group, as vice-presidents; and Maria Teriosina (Lithuania), for the Eastern European Group, as vice-president and rapporteur.
Delegates also adopted the report of the meeting with a few amendments by parties clarifying their interventions (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.2/L.1, /Add.1 and /Add.2). The Secretariat announced that COP-3 will be held in Geneva from 7-13 October 2006.
Representatives of regional groups congratulated President Roch on the completion of his service and wished him good luck on his future endeavors, and thanked the Secretariat and the Italian Government. President Roch gaveled the session to a close at 6:10 pm.
A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF COP-2
With an agenda of issues necessary for the smooth functioning of the Rotterdam Convention, COP-2’s work was characterized by a cordial atmosphere, achieving some progress on a number of key concerns such as implementation and technical assistance. The “good chemistry” that pervaded FAO headquarters during the week showed that with a significant number of ratifications, the Convention is gathering critical mass, and developing a functioning working arrangement. Negotiations at COP-2, however, raised a number of deeper issues that future COPs will need to address, some of which are also present in other processes and MEAs, including the Montreal Protocol, the Basel Convention, and the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management. These issues include: the desirability and facilitation of the process for adding new chemicals to the PIC list; the need and scope for financial support for developing countries’ implementation; and the importance of securing a mechanism to facilitate and ensure compliance. In addition, the position of the Convention within the broader context of chemicals management is still a matter of much debate, particularly with regard to relations with other chemicals agreements, such as the Basel and Stockholm Conventions.
This analysis explores the progress achieved at COP-2, which focused primarily in administrative issues. This evidences that the first “phase” of the COP’s work is attempting to streamline internal processes to ensure its smooth operation, for example by responding to CRC clarification or guidance requests, and by encouraging parties to provide all the required information in their notifications. It then focuses on three areas of substantive debate, namely: compliance; the inclusion of new chemicals in the PIC procedure; and the financial mechanisms. It also examines the Convention’s place in the emerging international chemicals regime, and concludes by analyzing how the solution of these issues might affect the Convention’s future.
CLEANING UP THE LAB: ADMINISTRATIVE ISSUES
COP-2 addressed a number of administrative issues, such as its budget and Secretariat arrangements. Discussions in a budget contact group raised few contentious issues. Notably, the discussion over the use of the UN scale of assessments for assessed contributions, which created significant dissent at the end of COP-1, as well as in other related forums, such as Basel Convention’s COP-7, did not re-emerge. This was perhaps because the budget for the biennium had already been approved at COP-1 and it was only being reconsidered for minor adjustments, and because contributions had actually dropped, given the increased number of parties at COP-2.
Consensus was also reached on Secretariat arrangements, as most parties agreed that the current cooperation between UNEP and FAO was working quite well, a testament both to the experience gained in the voluntary PIC procedure and during the interim period, as well as the current individuals who have shared the post of Executive Director. Conflicts emerged only over potential changes in this arrangement, particularly with regard to the practical effects of efforts to take advantage of synergies among chemicals agreements. Some feared that having one shared Executive Director with the POPs Convention would mean losing the equal weight of FAO and UNEP in the current arrangement. Some countries preferred keeping the status quo, and still others looked to have a single Executive Director in the future.
ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: MAJOR AREAS OF DISCUSSION
How can compliance be achieved? One of the major points of contention at COP-2 was the issue of non-compliance. The proceedings of the Open-Ended Ad Hoc Working Group on Non-Compliance held immediately before COP-2, and a contact group during the meeting, showed that there is serious disagreement among parties on four different issues:
In the contact group, participants considered, among others, the non-compliance mechanism of the Montreal Protocol, which is seen as one of the key factors of a successful ozone layer regime. However, in the context of PIC, where funding is not forthcoming and developed countries do not feel the need to provide it for developing countries to comply with their obligations under the Convention, the discussions took a different turn.
While developing countries were concerned about adopting a non-compliance mechanism when there is no financial mechanism to support their implementation of the Convention, negotiations stalled early in the week, with Australia expressing its unwillingness to even proceed with discussions as long as language on the trigger mechanism remained uncertain. While most parties accepted that a non-compliant party should be able to “self-trigger” non-compliance proceedings, positions contrasted starkly regarding whether this could be done by other parties, the Secretariat, or NGOs/individuals. Another contentious issue was whether the committee should be able to recommend “punitive” measures as a last resort. Several countries expressed strong opposition to this idea, and even opposed the possibility of including among the possible measures a formal announcement of non-compliant parties which, in any case, would have to be approved by consensus by the COP.
Given divergent positions in these and other key issues, COP-3 can expect significant debate over non-compliance. While most developing countries link compliance with the financial discussions, some developed countries link it with discussions being held in other MEAs and as a result hold inflexible positions, more related to their general views on MEA compliance than to any doubts on their own ability to comply with this Convention. However, the Chair of the contact group remained optimistic that further debate will lead to an eventual compromise, considering that progress was achieved, and that parties have a better sense of the compromises they will need to make to come to an agreement on the issue.
Incorporation of new chemicals: Another important set of issues addressed by COP-2 related to the procedures for adding new chemicals to Annex III, which lists the chemicals subject to the PIC procedure and the desirability of including more chemicals in the list. Even though delegates recognized the quality of the Chemicals Review Committee’s (CRC) work, controversy surfaced over: the effect of requiring consensus by the COP on the inclusion of new chemicals in the PIC procedure; the effects of notifications that do not fulfill all the criteria required by the Convention, specifically regarding risk assessments; and the lack of notifications of new severely hazardous pesticide formulations.
The concern over consensus-based inclusions in the PIC procedure is fueled by the ongoing debate over chrysotile asbestos and the continuous opposition by Canada, the Russian Federation, India and others to include the chemical in the PIC procedure. A number of delegates and NGOs have pointed out the futility of having a PIC list if countries have the power to block inclusion of relevant substances for economic or political reasons, despite the CRC’s recommendations.
The lack of new nominations of severely hazardous pesticide formulations is also a cause for concern, since it appears as though many developing countries lack the capacity to produce the basic data – such as reports of poisoning incidents – required by the Convention to trigger the process. This could potentially hinder the effective implementation of the Convention in the most vulnerable countries, and some noted it will only be solved if these countries receive the technical assistance and funds required to make nominations.
Another problem addressed by COP-2 was the reason why 13 out of 14 chemicals notified by parties as banned or severely restricted chemicals were rejected by CRC-1 from consideration for inclusion in the PIC procedure because they did not include a sufficient “risk evaluation under the prevailing conditions of the notifying party,” as required by the Convention. Many felt that this fact highlights the need to address financial or technical constraints that are preventing parties, especially developing countries who are the primary beneficiaries of the PIC procedure, from presenting complete notifications.
Financial arrangements: In facilitating the effectiveness of and ensuring compliance with the Convention, it is clear that financial and technical assistance is urgently needed in some countries. While COP-2 got a good sense of the problem when a delegate from a developing country mentioned he needed to visit an internet café in order to download import response forms on chemicals, since there is no internet access in his ministry, the lack of a decision on the establishment of an adequate financial mechanism for the Convention remains elusive, to the profound disappointment of many delegates. The disappointment at the lack of commitment by donors to provide new funds for chemicals management was not surprising, however, given similar developments in the context of the Basel Convention and the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management. At COP-2, discussions on financial mechanisms focused on nine options for financing, ranging from maintaining the status quo to establishing a multilateral fund specific to the Convention. While most developing countries supported either a fund specific to the Rotterdam Convention, or one for chemicals-related agreements, stressing the need for new and additional financial resources, the majority of donor countries preferred the option of using existing mechanisms and procedures, including the Global Environment Facility (GEF) POPs focal area, the Montreal Protocol’s Multilateral Fund, and the existing voluntary trust fund of the Convention.
In this last case, however, even if developing countries were ready to consider the GEF and the Multilateral Fund as a possible interim sources of funding, for example through training of customs officials to identify PIC chemicals, many delegates noted that activities related to PIC may not fall under the scope of the ozone regime or fulfill the criteria of “additionality,” “global effects” or “incremental costs” required by the funds mentioned. Other delegates, however, emphasized that the GEF is “whatever its members want it to be,” giving the example of climate change adaptation and biosafety regulatory framework projects funded by GEF notwithstanding the fact that these also have significant non-additional components. On this issue, some delegates commented that under the prevailing political conditions, GEF donors (developed countries) are unlikely to increase GEF funding or open new windows for the Convention, since most PIC chemicals-related projects will have no obvious global effects and do not address priority issues of key donors’ political agendas.
A POTENT MIXTURE? PIC IN THE CHEMICALS MANAGEMENT REGIME
Some of the most difficult questions that arose at COP-2 had less to do with the Rotterdam Convention than with the controversial matter of how to best to coordinate chemicals management issues among the different conventions and instruments. The recent meeting of the third preparatory committee for the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management showed clearly that countries have different visions of what an integrated international chemicals management regime should eventually look like. While everyone agrees on the importance of cost effectiveness, discussions on this topic also evidenced that positions vary widely, with one end of the spectrum envisioning it might eventually lead to a common secretariat for the three conventions, and others insisting that their subject matter and particular approaches require independent secretariats, regional centers for capacity building and technical assistance, and financial arrangements.
CONCLUSION: GOOD CHEMISTRY
COP-2 made progress on a number of administrative matters, while leaving some contentious and politically-sensitive issues, such as compliance, the inclusion of new chemicals in the PIC procedure and financing, yet to be resolved. During the negotiations, links between these three issues appeared time and again, with developing countries arguing that unless they receive financial and technical support they will not be able to comply and present complete notifications including local risk assessments. Developed countries responded that compliance and financing are separate issues, with some noting that it is in the developing countriesï¿½ own interest to comply with the Convention, and they should not wait for additional funds to make all efforts to comply with their obligations.
All these issues will be taken up again at COP-3. It is clear from the achievements of the Convention to date, though, that a milestone has been reached. The hundredth country has ratified the Convention, a solid track record has been established, and there is broad hope that PICï¿½s ï¿½good chemistryï¿½ will continue in the future.
LATIN AMERICAN REGIONAL CONSULTATION ON THE ROTTERDAM CONVENTION: This regional consultation on the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade will be held from 17 to 21 October 2005, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. For more information, contact: Rotterdam Convention Secretariat; tel: +41-22- 917-8296; fax: +41-22-797-3460; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.pic.int/en/ViewPage.asp?id=405
FIRST MEETING OF THE STOCKHOLM CONVENTION PERSISTENT ORGANIC POLLUTANTS REVIEW COMMITTEE (POPRC): The first meeting of the Stockholm Convention POPs Review Committee will be held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 7-11 November 2005. For more information, contact: Stockholm Convention Secretariat; tel: +41-22-917-8191; fax: +41-22-797-3460; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.pops.int
CONSULTATION MEETING ON POLYCHLORINATED BIPHENYLS: This meeting will take place from 14-16 November 2005, in Mexico City, Mexico. Organized by UNEP Chemicals, this meeting aims at learning more about the Stockholm Conventionï¿½s obligations and what they mean for the implementation of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB) phase-out efforts and finding possible partners for implementing and/or funding PCB phase-out projects. For more information, contact: Frank Moser, UNEP Chemicals; tel: +41-22-917-8478; fax: +41-22-797-3460; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.chem.unep.ch/pops/pcb_activities/second_session/webpage.htm
47TH MEETING OF THE MONTREAL PROTOCOLï¿½S MULTILATERAL FUND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE: The 47th Meeting of the Executive Committee of the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol will be held from 21-25 November 2005, in Montreal, Canada. For more information, contact: Multilateral Fund Secretariat; tel: +1-514-282-1122; fax: +1-514-282-0068; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.multilateralfund.org
ANDEAN SUBREGIONAL CONSULTATION ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ROTTERDAM CONVENTION: This subregional consultation on the implementation of the Rotterdam Convention in the Andean subregion will be held from 21-25 November 2005, in Montevideo, Uruguay. For more information, contact: Rotterdam Convention Secretariat; tel: +41-22- 917-8296; fax: +41-22-797-3460; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.pic.int/en/ViewPage.asp?id=405
FIRST MEETING OF THE STOCKHOLM CONVENTION EXPERT GROUP ON BEST AVAILABLE TECHNOLOGIES AND BEST ENVIRONMENTAL PRACTICES (BAT/BEP): The first meeting of the BAT/BEP Expert Group will be held from 28 November 2005 - 2 December 2005, in Geneva. For more information, contact: Secretariat of the Stockholm Convention; tel: +41-22-917-8191; fax: +41-22-797-3460; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.pops.int
SVENTEENTH MEETING OF THE PARTIES TO THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL: This meeting will be held from 12-16 December 2005, in Dakar, Senegal. For more information, contact: Ozone Secretariat; tel: +254-20-62-3851; fax: +254-20-62-4691/92/93; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.unep.org/ozone
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CHEMICALS MANAGEMENT: The International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM) to adopt the completed Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) will be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from 4-6 February 2006, immediately before the 9th Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council and Global Ministerial Environment Forum. For more information, contact: UNEP Chemicals; tel: +41-22-917-8111; fax: +41-22-797-3460; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.chem.unep.ch/ICCM/ICCM.htm
OPEN-ENDED AD HOC WORKING GROUP ON NON-COMPLIANCE OF THE STOCKHOLM CONVENTION: This working group will take place from 28-29 April 2006, in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, contact: Secretariat of the Stockholm Convention; tel: +41-22-917-8191; fax: +41-22-797-3460; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.pops.int
SECOND CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE STOCKHOLM CONVENTION (POPS COP-2): POPs COP-2 is scheduled for 1-5 May 2006, in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information contact: the Secretariat of the Stockholm Convention; tel: +41-22-917-8191; fax: +41-22-797-3460; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.pops.int
IFCS FORUM V: The fifth session of the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety is scheduled to take place from 21-29 September 2006, in Budapest, Hungary. For more information contact: IFCS Secretariat; tel: +41-22-791-3873; fax: +41-22-791-4875; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.who.int/ifcs/Meetings/index.htm
THIRD CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE ROTTERDAM CONVENTION (PIC COP-3):
PIC COP-3 will be held from 7-13 October 2006, in Geneva, Switzerland.
For more information, contact: Rotterdam Convention Secretariat; tel:
+41-22- 917-8296; fax: +41-22-797-3460; e-mail: