Earth Negotiations Bulletin

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 A Reporting Service for Environment and Development Negotiations

 

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Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

 

Vol. 15 No. 135
Monday, 8 May 2006

SUMMARY OF THE SECOND CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE STOCKHOLM CONVENTION:

1-5 MAY 2006

The second Conference of the Parties (COP-2) to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) was held from 1-5 May 2006, in Geneva, Switzerland. Over 450 participants, representing more than 165 governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, and UN agencies, attended the meeting. COP-2 considered several reports on activities within the Convention’s mandate and adopted 18 decisions on, inter alia, DDT, exemptions, financial resources and mechanisms, implementation plans, technical assistance, synergies and effectiveness evaluation.

Delegates had hoped to bring the cooperative COP-1 “spirit of Punta Del Este” to Geneva, and looked forward to a straightforward meeting. Instead, each day was longer than the last as contact groups used all available time to move forward in negotiating intricate details of processes and mechanisms necessary to support progress towards meeting the obligations of the Convention. Two key decisions, in particular, were prerequisites for success at COP-2: the first review of the effectiveness of the financial mechanism of the Convention and a process to enable evaluation of the effectiveness of the Convention at COP-4, in 2009. With the adoption of these decisions, COP-2 has moved closer to the goal of eliminating or reducing the release of POPs into the environment.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE STOCKHOLM CONVENTION

During the 1960s and 1970s, the use of chemicals and pesticides in industry and agriculture increased dramatically. In particular, a category of chemicals known as POPs attracted international attention due to a growing body of scientific evidence indicating that exposure to very low doses of POPs can lead to cancer, damage to the central and peripheral nervous systems, diseases of the immune system, reproductive disorders and interference with normal infant and child development. POPs are chemical substances that persist, bioaccumulate in living organisms, and pose a risk of causing adverse effects to human health and the environment. With further evidence of the long-range transport of these substances to regions where they have never been used or produced, and the consequent threats they pose to the environment worldwide, the international community called for urgent global action to reduce and eliminate their release into the environment.

In March 1995, the UN Environment Programme’s Governing Council (UNEP GC) adopted Decision 18/32 inviting the Inter-Organization Programme on the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC), the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS) and the International Programme on Chemical Safety to initiate an assessment process regarding a list of 12 POPs. In response, the IFCS convened an Ad Hoc Working Group on POPs, which developed a workplan for assessing available information on the chemistry, sources, toxicity, environmental dispersion and socioeconomic impacts of the 12 POPs.

In June 1996, the Ad Hoc Working Group convened a meeting of experts in Manila, the Philippines, and concluded that sufficient information existed to demonstrate the need for international action to minimize risks from the 12 POPs, including a global legally binding instrument to minimize risks from the 12 POPs. The meeting forwarded a recommendation to the UNEP GC and the World Health Assembly (WHA) that immediate international action be taken on the 12 POPs. In February 1997, the UNEP GC adopted decision 19/13C endorsing the conclusions and recommendations of the IFCS. The GC requested that UNEP, together with relevant international organizations, convene an intergovernmental negotiating committee with a mandate to develop, by the end of 2000, an international legally binding instrument for implementing international action, beginning with the list of 12 POPs. Also in February 1997, the second meeting of the IFCS decided that the Ad Hoc Working Group would continue to assist in the preparations for the negotiations. In May 1997, the WHA endorsed the recommendations of the IFCS and requested that the World Health Organization (WHO) participate actively in the negotiations.

NEGOTIATION OF THE CONVENTION: The first session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-1) was held from 29 June to 3 July 1998, in Montreal, Canada. INC-1 requested the Secretariat to prepare a document containing material for possible inclusion in an international legally binding instrument. The second session of the INC was held from 25-29 January 1999, in Nairobi, Kenya, where participants discussed a Secretariat-prepared outline of a convention text. The third session of the INC met from 6-11 September 1999, in Geneva, Switzerland, with delegates considering the revised draft text. They adopted a procedure establishing a review committee to apply screening criteria and to prepare a risk profile and risk management evaluation for proposed substances as a basis for further negotiation. The fourth session of the INC met from 20-25 March 2000, in Bonn, Germany. Delegates drafted articles on technical assistance and on financial resources and mechanisms, addressed control measures, and made some headway on language on unintentionally-produced POPs. The fifth session of the INC met from 4-10 December 2000, in Johannesburg, South Africa, with delegates concluding negotiations on the convention in the early morning hours of Saturday, 10 December.

CONFERENCE OF PLENIPOTENTIARIES ON THE STOCKHOLM CONVENTION: The Conference of the Plenipotentiaries convened from 22-23 May 2001, in Stockholm, Sweden. During the Diplomatic Conference, delegates adopted: the Stockholm Convention; resolutions adopted by INC-4 and INC-5 addressing interim financial arrangements and issues related to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal; resolutions forwarded by the Preparatory Meeting; and the Final Act.

The Stockholm Convention calls for international action on 12 POPs grouped into three categories: 1) pesticides: aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, mirex and toxaphene; 2) industrial chemicals: hexachlorobenzene (HCB) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); and 3) unintentionally produced POPs: dioxins and furans. Governments are to promote best available techniques (BAT) and best environmental practices (BEP) for replacing existing POPs while preventing the development of new POPs. Provision has also been made for a procedure identifying additional POPs and the criteria to be considered in doing so.

Key elements of the treaty include: the requirement that developed countries provide new and additional financial resources; measures to eliminate production and use of intentionally produced POPs, eliminate unintentionally produced POPs, where feasible, and manage and dispose of POPs wastes in an environmentally sound manner; and substitution involving the use of safer chemicals and processes to prevent unintentionally produced POPs. Precaution is operationalized throughout the Stockholm Convention, with specific references in the preamble, the objective and the provision on identifying new POPs.

INC-6: INC-6 met from 17-21 June 2002, in Geneva, Switzerland. Delegates adopted decisions on: DDT and the register of specific exemptions; the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC); a clearing-house mechanism; technical assistance; financial resources and mechanisms and the interim financial mechanism; regional and subregional centers for capacity building and technology transfer; effectiveness evaluation; and non-compliance. INC-6 also established an Expert Group on BAT and BEP.

INC-7: The seventh session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-7) was held from 14-18 July 2003, in Geneva, Switzerland. Delegates focused on addressing a number of “housekeeping” issues in preparation for the first COP. Decisions were adopted on, inter alia: offers to host the permanent Secretariat; technical assistance; national implementation plans; exempted use; party reporting; specific exemptions; DDT; interim financial arrangements; a standardized toolkit for the identification and quantification of dioxin and furan releases; measures to reduce or eliminate releases from stockpiles and wastes; effectiveness evaluation; the budget; and the financial mechanism.

COP-1: The first Conference of the Parties (COP-1) to the Stockholm Convention was held from 2-6 May 2005, in Punta del Este, Uruguay. To set the Convention’s implementation in motion, delegates adopted a broad range of decisions related to: providing for the evaluation of the continued need for DDT use for disease vector control; establishing a review process for entries in the register of specific exemptions; adopting guidance for the financial mechanism; establishing a schedule for reporting; establishing arrangements for monitoring data on POPs; adopting rules of procedure and financial rules; adopting the budget for the Secretariat; and establishing the POPRC.

COP-2 REPORT

On Monday morning, 1 May 2006, Fernando Lugris, Uruguay’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs, on behalf of Mariano Arana, Uruguay’s Minister of Housing, Territorial Planning and Environment, opened COP-2, and noted the urgency of working efficiently to strengthen the Convention, and the need for progress on issues related to the financial mechanism, technical assistance and regional centers.

Bruno Oberle, Swiss Agency for the Environment, highlighted the role of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in providing the necessary financial support to address POPs, and called for enhanced synergies among the Rotterdam, Basel and Stockholm Conventions.

Shafqat Kakahel, Deputy Executive Director of UNEP, underlined the need to strengthen national capacity, and the importance of regional centers in developing capacity-building and monitoring activities.

Leonard Good, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the GEF, reported on the GEF’s work with the Stockholm Convention. He called for integration of national chemicals programmes and mainstreaming of chemicals management in national development strategies. He underlined that a GEF modified resource allocation framework (RAF) could apply to other focal areas besides biodiversity and climate change in the future.

Delegates elected Nik Kiddle (New Zealand) as President of COP-2 and Fernando Lugris (Uruguay) as Vice-President. Delegates later elected the other eight officers to the Bureau: Naresh Dayal (India); Navaan-Yunden Oyndari (Mongolia); Deon Stewart (Bahamas); Anahit Aleksandryan (Armenia); Tarek El Ruby (Egypt); Désiré Ouedraogo (Burkina Faso); Katya Stanke Vasileva (Bulgaria); and Jan-Karel Kwisthout (the Netherlands).

Delegates adopted the agenda (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/1) without amendment.

COP-2 President Kiddle proposed, and delegates agreed, that contact group meetings be held in parallel with plenary, rather than establishing a Committee of the Whole, and introduced a draft meeting schedule (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/INF/1).

Delegates agreed to apply the rules of procedure (UNEP/POPs/COP.2/3) for the COP and its Subsidiary Bodies under Decision SC-1/1 (Rules of procedure), keeping in brackets a provision for decisions to be taken, as a last resort, by a two-thirds majority vote of the parties.

Plenary met throughout the week, and delegates also met in contact groups on financial resources, effectiveness evaluation, budget, technical assistance and synergies at various times throughout the week. The following summary is organized according to the order of the items on the agenda.

GENERAL STATEMENTS

Participants had the opportunity to deliver opening statements on Monday. Issues that were raised during these statements include: the need to finalize the non-compliance provisions; elaboration of national implementation plans (NIPs) and completion of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM); the importance of strengthening capacity and mobilizing financial resources for implementation of the Convention; the need to control illegal transboundary movement of pesticides; and lack of awareness of risks of exposure to dangerous pesticides. A summary of these discussions is available online at: http://www.iisd.ca/vol15/enb15131e.html.

MEASURES TO REDUCE OR ELIMINATE RELEASES FROM INTENTIONAL PRODUCTION AND USE

DDT: Discussions on the continued need for DDT for disease vector control (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/4) and alternative strategies to replace DDT (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/INF/3) were held on Tuesday and Thursday in plenary. On Thursday, an informal drafting group submitted a draft decision to plenary, and a revised version of this was amended and adopted on Friday.

Discussions centered on promotion and evaluation of effectiveness of DDT alternatives, and requests for financial resources to assess DDT alternatives. Delegates debated language on undertaking activities related to evaluating the continued need for DDT, with the European Union (EU), opposed by Tunisia, advocating that the Secretariat “facilitate” such activities. In the final revision, delegates agreed that the Secretariat would “support parties in undertaking” the activities. India, opposed by South Africa, preferred not to adopt the annexed reporting assessment process and evaluation of the continued use of DDT for disease vector control.

Delegates agreed to adopt the process on an interim basis, and to request the Secretariat to review the adequacy of the process and propose any modifications deemed necessary to COP-3.

Final Decision: In the decision on DDT (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/CRP.2/Rev.1), the COP, inter alia:

  • notes the reports on possible mechanisms for active information collection to provide an adequate information base for the evaluation of the continued need for DDT, and on alternative vector control options;

  • encourages the GEF and other financial institutions to continue to support work on further evaluating the comparative efficacy and environmental and human health safety of alternative insecticides to DDT and other control measures and strategies, and on verifying their continued efficacy and cost-effectiveness;

  • adopts an interim process for reporting assessment and evaluation of the continued use of DDT for disease vector control;

  • requests the Secretariat, in collaboration with the WHO and subject to available funds, to undertake activities for strengthening the capacity of parties;

  • further requests the Secretariat, in collaboration with the WHO, to support parties in undertaking data collection and reporting activities, and activities related to the process for evaluating the continued need for DDT and to provide guidance for evaluation at COP-3; and

  • invites governments and others to support research and development of alternatives to DDT and encourages non-party states to participate in the data gathering activities.

A detailed process for the reporting, assessment and evaluation of the continued use of DDT for disease vector control is annexed to the decision, and describes evaluation and reporting cycles; a format and questionnaire for reporting, collation and validation of data; analysis of data; tasks of an expert group for assessment; an evaluation schedule and costs; and a reporting schedule.

EXEMPTIONS: Discussion on the review process for entries in the register of specific exemptions (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/5) was held on Tuesday in plenary. A draft decision was presented to plenary on Friday, and the decision was adopted, with minor amendments. Delegates debated language of the annexed criteria for granting extensions to a specific exemption. Tanzania proposed adding text on parties that have requested “financial assistance” as well as those that have requested technical assistance to phase out the production for which the extension is requested. The EU and Canada initially raised concerns about this, but later agreed to the addition. A few delegates also raised the need to clarify technical language in the Notes of Annexes A (Elimination) and B (Restriction) of the Convention.

Final Decision: In the decision on exemptions (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/CRP.5), the COP: adopts the annexed criteria to be applied in the review process for entries in the register of specific exemptions; decides to resume consideration of the unresolved issues in the review process for entries in the register; and notes that the annexed criteria shall be taken into account by the Conference when it considers this review process. The annex to the decision contains the criteria to be applied in the review process for entries in the register of specific exemptions for production and use.

MEASURES TO REDUCE OR ELIMINATE RELEASES FROM UNINTENTIONAL PRODUCTION

BEST AVAILABLE TECHNIQUES AND BEST ENVIRONMENTAL PRACTICES: The Secretariat introduced the guidelines on BAT and provisional guidance on BEP (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/7) and the Report of the first meeting of the Expert Group on BAT/BEP (UNEP/POPS/EGBATBEP.1/5) on Thursday in plenary. On Friday, a draft decision was presented to plenary and was adopted without amendment.

Discussion centered on ways to implement the BAT/BEP guidelines, with Nicaragua noting the need for economically-feasible techniques, Tanzania the need for financing, China and Guinea the need for technology transfer and the African Group the need for capacity building. Egypt stated the need to study the cost of implementing the guidelines, and assented to the COP-2 President’s suggestion that this be dealt with under the study on needs assessment. Switzerland encouraged periodic review of the guidelines, while the EU said that the guidelines should be living documents and suggested that the Special Trust Fund support regional awareness-raising workshops.

Final Decision: In the decision on BAT/BET (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/CRP.18), the COP, inter alia: welcomes the Report of the Expert Group on BAT/BEP; observes that the BAT/BEP guidelines together form a living document, which will be continually updated to take into consideration scientific and related changes; and invites parties and others to support awareness-raising activities and informal consultations on the BAT/BEP guidelines.

IDENTIFICATION AND QUANTIFICATION OF DIOXIN AND FURAN RELEASES: Discussions on the identification and quantification of dioxin and furan releases (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/8) and the second edition of the identification and quantification toolkit (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/INF/5 and UNEP/POPS/COP.2/INF/11) were held on Thursday in plenary. A draft decision was presented to plenary on Friday, and it was adopted with minor amendments. Many countries supported the toolkit and advocated its provisional adoption, with a view to amending it as additional data are made available. Several developing country delegates welcomed the toolkit, but called for refinement of emission factors for developing countries. Many also called for an open and transparent process for revision of the toolkit, and advocated development of a similar toolkit for PCBs and HCBs. Brazil, India and Venezuela also expressed concern with several other technical aspects of the toolkit, and consequently were not willing to adopt it at COP-2. The EU proposed, and delegates agreed, to “welcome” the toolkit rather than adopt it.

Final Decision: In the decision on identification and quantification of releases (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/CRP/15), the COP:

  • welcomes the second edition of the toolkit;

  • recognizes the potential of the toolkit as guidance for undertaking release inventories;

  • notes the request from parties and others to verify emission factors, address gaps and improve the usefulness of the toolkit, particularly regarding the situation in developing countries;

  • requests the Secretariat to initiate an open and transparent process to further develop the toolkit;

  • invites parties and others to provide funding and data to assist with this review process; and

  • invites parties and others to provide the Secretariat with information on measuring and monitoring PCB and HCB concentrations.

MEASURES TO REDUCE OR ELIMINATE RELEASES FROM WASTES

Discussion on measures to reduce or eliminate releases from wastes (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/INF/6 and UNEP/POPS/COP.2/INF/22/Rev.1) was held on Tuesday in plenary and a draft decision was adopted on Friday, with amendments. The Secretariat introduced information on the development of technical guidelines on the environmentally sound management of POPs as waste under the Basel Convention. The EU suggested that the Secretariat analyze the Basel Convention’s draft guidelines and forward the document for consideration by COP-3, and submitted a draft decision to this effect, which formed the basis for the decision.

Final Decision: In the decision on measures to reduce or eliminate releases from wastes (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/CRP.7/Rev.1), the COP:

  • welcomes the progress made by the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) of the Basel Convention in finalizing technical guidelines on the environmentally sound management of POPs wastes;

  • welcomes the strengthened cooperation between the Stockholm and Basel Convention Secretariats; and

  • requests that the Secretariat prepare a report on the guidelines relating to POPs if they are adopted by COP-8 of the Basel Convention.

IMPLEMENTATION PLANS

Discussions on guidance for NIPs and reviewing and updating the process for implementing NIPs (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/10 and UNEP/POPS/COP.2/11) were held on Wednesday in plenary. On Friday, a draft decision was presented to the plenary and adopted with minor amendments. Delegates discussed drawing on regional expertise and cooperation, and a Secretariat-prepared list of experts, for help with NIP implementation. Many called for additional guidelines on socioeconomic impact evaluations, risk assessment studies and assessing baseline costs. The EU requested that the Secretariat prepare an analysis of submitted NIPs for consideration at COP-3.

Final Decision: In the decision on implementation plans (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/CRP.6), the COP, inter alia:

  • requests the Secretariat to complete a draft of the additional guidance for consideration by COP-3, provided resources are made available for this;

  • invites parties and others to provide additional funding required for developing the additional guidance;

  • adopts the annexed process for the review and update of NIPs; and

  • requests the Secretariat to prepare an analysis of submitted NIPs, focusing on frequently identified national priority actions and best practices for controlling POPs, for COP-3’s consideration.

LISTING CHEMICALS IN ANNEXES A, B AND/OR C OF THE CONVENTION

Documents on the POPRC (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/12) and the Report of the first meeting of the POPRC (UNEP/POPS/POPRC.1/10) were presented in plenary on Thursday. On Friday, a draft decision on the listing of chemicals in Annexes A, B and/or C of the Convention was presented to plenary (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/16).

Discussion focused on how the POPRC should address isomers or groups of isomers proposed by parties for inclusion in Annexes A, B and/or C of the Convention. China stated that the POPRC should assess chemicals individually and not by group or category. Australia preferred that the POPRC prepare advice on the treatment of isomers in general, but was prepared to support a case-by-case approach, if necessary. Chile advocated a subcommittee to address isomers. China suggested that the POPRC should consider chemicals with pure POPs’ characteristics, rather than substances that degrade into POPs. Chair Arndt responded that the adverse human health and environmental effects are the same in either case, and noted that Annex D text refers both to chemicals and their transformation products. Chile sought clarification on information confidentiality arrangements.

Final Decision: In the decision on the listing of chemicals in Annexes A, B and/or C of the Convention (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/CRP.16), the COP, inter alia:

  • confirms the appointment of the POPRC members;

  • approves the POPRC work plan and criteria established by the POPRC to be taken into account when selecting experts;

  • instructs the POPRC to continue its deliberations of confidentiality issues and to provide its final proposal for confidentiality arrangements for consideration by COP-3; and

  • requests the POPRC to provide recommendations on how to consider isomers or groups of isomers of chemicals proposed by parties for inclusion in Annexes A, B and/or C of the Convention.

INFORMATION EXCHANGE

The Secretariat introduced documents on a clearing-house mechanism (CHM) for information on POPs (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/13) and the draft strategic plan for a CHM (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/INF/8) on Thursday in plenary. On Friday, a draft decision was presented to plenary and was adopted without amendment.

The Secretariat’s proposal described an internet-based CHM and outlined a phased approach to its establishment, based on needs and priorities. Switzerland advocated that the Convention’s website be given priority, while China called for quick agreement on the strategic plan.

Final Decision: In the decision on information exchange (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/CRP.11), the COP invites parties to support and collaborate with the Secretariat in developing a programme to serve as the CHM for information on POPs. The COP also: approves pilot-phase information exchange activities and allocates additional funding to the Secretariat for 2006 and 2007 to undertake those activities; invites parties and other stakeholders to provide comments to the Secretariat on the draft strategic plan for a CHM and on their information exchange needs and priorities; and requests the Secretariat to prepare a revised draft strategic plan for consideration at COP-3.

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

On Wednesday in plenary, the Secretariat introduced related documents on technical assistance guidance (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/14), regional centers for capacity building and technology transfers (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/15), term of reference (ToR) for regional and subregional centers, and criteria for evaluation (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/INF/7). A contact group on the matter, chaired by Frederik Sikabongo (Namibia) and Karel Blaha (Czech Republic), met on Wednesday and Thursday. A draft decision was presented and adopted in plenary on Friday.

The discussion focused on provisions for the regional and subregional centers, including: their funding; the centers’ ToR, mandate and institutional arrangements, including their relationship with the Secretariat; and information sharing. Ethiopia, supported by Morocco and Brazil, initially called for reference to information sharing regarding technical assistance for implementation of NIPs and Convention obligations. The EU and others preferred language on information sharing previously agreed at COP-1 in Decision SC-1/15 (Technical assistance), and delegates agreed.

Numerous parties, including Switzerland, the EU, Uruguay, Norway, Japan and New Zealand, advocated building on existing institutions, including the Basel Convention Centers. The EU further noted that this would facilitate a regional approach. Many of the proponents, including Morocco, suggested that this approach was especially important given the effort to move towards greater cooperation within the chemicals and waste cluster. Several developing countries opposed only building on existing institutions.

In matters related to the regional and subregional centers, Egypt, Switzerland, Norway, Brazil and others suggested that the Convention fund the needed institutions, with Switzerland and Norway specifying that this should be done as a line item in the core budget. While some countries initially proposed that the centers should work in one of the UN languages, Brazil and many other developing countries opposed this idea. The issue was resolved by noting in the text that the working language will be chosen after the establishment of the centers.

Final Decision: In the final decision on technical assistance (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/CRP.21), the COP:

  • invites participants to share information with the Secretariat on their experiences providing technical assistance and requests the Secretariat to submit a report based on this information;

  • adopts the annexed ToR for the centers and requests the Secretariat to draft a ToR for the process of selecting the centers to be considered at COP-3; and

  • adopts evaluation criteria for the selected centers.

FINANCIAL RESOURCES, MECHANISMS AND OTHER ARRANGEMENTS

The items on financial resources, mechanisms and other arrangements were taken up in plenary on Monday and Tuesday, and in a contact group chaired by Josef Buys (Belgium) from Tuesday to Friday. Decisions on financial resources and mechanism, additional guidance to the financial mechanism and ToR on modalities on the needs assessment were adopted in plenary on Friday afternoon.

Plenary discussion centered on the importance of financial assistance to developing countries, while the GEF provided an overview of the criteria it used for priority and eligibility, and welcomed further clarification on such criteria by the COP. The EU noted that the GEF should be confirmed as the principal financial mechanism on a permanent basis, and expressed disappointment with the lack of analytical methodology in the draft decision on the terms of reference for work on modalities on the needs assessment. Once adopted, the US expressed concern about language in the adopted decisions regarding requests to other intergovernmental institutions, noting that such requests should be made by governments to the governing bodies of those institutions, not by one secretariat to another.

FINANCIAL RESOURCES AND MECHANISM: The contact group discussed this item between Tuesday and Thursday, and developed a draft decision based on the proposed actions outlined by the Secretariat in its documents on this issue (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/16 and UNEP/POPS/COP.2/17). Discussions centered on: the tone of the COP’s reference to the work of the GEF; mobilization of resources, particularly language requesting the Secretariat to identify other possible sources of funding; the second review of the financial mechanism, including the statement that the review should also include an assessment of the GEF principles on incremental cost and global environmental benefits as they pertain to POPs; and an assessment of the adequacy, sustainability and predictability of the funding.

Final Decision: In the decision on Financial Resources and Mechanism (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/CRP.20), the COP, inter alia:

  • welcomes the report of the GEF Council on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the COP and the GEF Council;

  • requests the Secretariat, in consultation with the GEF, to report to the COP at its future meetings on the effectiveness of implementation of the MoU;

  • welcomes the report on the first review of the financial mechanism and notes its recommendations, the relevant ones of which are included, as appropriate, either in this decision or in the decision on additional guidance to the financial mechanism;

  • welcomes the achievements of the GEF in support of the Convention and notes that the report of the first review of the financial mechanism is generally appreciative of the role of the GEF as the principal financial mechanism of the Convention;

  • invites developed country parties, other parties and other sources, including relevant funding institutions, to provide information to the Secretariat on ways in which they can support the Convention;

  • requests the Secretariat to identify other possible sources of funding and/or entities to facilitate the adequacy and sustainability of funding for activities relevant to the Convention’s implementation and to propose arrangements with those entities for consideration by COP-3;

  • decides to undertake the second review of the financial mechanism at COP-4 in time to submit recommendations and guidance to the GEF Council and to invite it to take into account such recommendations during the GEF 5th replenishment; and

  • decides that the second review of the financial mechanism should also include an assessment of the GEF principles of incremental cost and global environmental benefits as they pertain to activities relating to POPs, and an assessment of the adequacy, sustainability and predictability of the funding.

TOR FOR WORK ON MODALITIES ON NEEDS ASSESSMENT: Contact group discussion on ToR for work on modalities on the needs assessment for parties that are developing countries or parties with economies in transition to implement the provisions of the Convention over the period 2006-2010 began on Wednesday and continued throughout the rest of the week. After initial discussions, South Africa and Mexico prepared a proposal based on the draft ToR provided by the Secretariat (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/18), and presented it on Thursday in the contact group. Discussions centered on the respective roles of the COP and the GEF, and on the focus of the needs assessment, which was eventually described as “a preliminary assessment of funding needs,” thereby allowing for more information to be gathered and for refinement of the methodology prior to a full and comprehensive assessment.

Final Decision: In the decision on ToR for work on modalities on the needs assessment (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/CRP.25), the COP, inter alia:

  • adopts the ToR set forth in the annex to this decision;

  • requests the Secretariat to make the necessary arrangements to initiate the preliminary assessment of funding needs;

  • invites parties, other governments, the principal entity of the financial mechanism, other financial institutions, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations including the private sector, and secretariats of other multilateral environmental agreements to provide to the Secretariat by 31 December 2006, the information needed for the work on preliminary assessment of funding needs;

  • requests the Secretariat to provide the report of the preliminary assessment of funding needs for consideration by COP-3;

  • invites governments to submit views on the further elaboration of the ToR to the Secretariat by 31 October 2006; and

  • requests the Secretariat to prepare revised ToR to be considered by COP-3.

The ToR on modalities of the needs assessment annexed to the decision outline: the objectives of the work; two stages of work, beginning with the development of a preliminary assessment for COP-3 and then a full needs assessment for COP-4; sources of information; the scope of the preliminary assessment; and the process to be followed by parties in providing information to the Secretariat, and by the Secretariat when preparing the preliminary assessment for consideration by COP-3.

ADDITIONAL GUIDANCE TO THE FINANCIAL MECHANISM: The contact group discussed this issue throughout the week, using the summary of recommendations from the draft report on the first review of the financial mechanism (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/INF.9). Discussion centered on the insertion of language on the possible application of the GEF RAF during the GEF’s fifth replenishment, and language referencing the GEF’s use of co-financing in the POPs portfolio.

Final Decision: In the decision on additional guidance to the financial mechanism (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/CRP.24), the COP, inter alia:

  • requests the GEF to continue to work with the Secretariat to finalize Operational Programme 14 on POPs incorporating guidance by the COP as soon as possible;

  • requests the GEF to exercise any necessary flexibility in applying its criteria for access to ensure compatibility with country eligibility criteria established by the COP in Decision SC-1/9 (Guidelines on BAT and BEP), in accordance with the specific priorities and needs of eligible countries;

  • requests the GEF to include in its regular reports to the COP a more in-depth analysis of financing, including co-financing, in its POPs portfolio;

  • invites the GEF to use its network to identify other sources of finance for POPs activities and to continue to develop operational requirements that facilitate and guide the approach and actions of its implementing and executing agencies to proactively assist in mobilizing other sources of financing for POPs projects from multilateral and bilateral sources and non-governmental organizations, including the private sector; and

  • notes that the GEF RAF does not currently apply to the POPs focal area, and invites the GEF to consult with the Secretariat with regard to its future work on the RAF in relation to the POPs focal area, and to report on this issue to COP-3.

REPORTING

The Secretariat introduced documents outlining a cost estimate for developing an electronic reporting system (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/19), and a draft format for reporting on PCBs under the Convention (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/20) on Thursday in plenary. On Friday, a draft decision was presented to plenary and was adopted without amendment. The proposed electronic reporting system received broad support in plenary, and parties agreed that the hard-copy reporting system should also be retained. New Zealand and Australia jointly proposed a package of amendments to the draft reporting format for PCBs, which then formed the basis for the final format.

Final Decision: In the decision on reporting (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/CRP.23), the COP requests the Secretariat to develop an electronic system for reporting pursuant to Article 15 (Reporting) of the Convention, adopts the format for reporting on PCBs contained in the annex to the decision, and requests the Secretariat to make available to parties both electronic and hard copies of the PCB reporting format.

EFFECTIVENESS EVALUATION

The Secretariat introduced documents on effectiveness evaluation (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/21, UNEP/POPS/COP.2/INF/10 and UNEP/POPS/COP.2/15) on Tuesday in plenary. A contact group, co-chaired by Bo Wahlstrom (Sweden) and Tarek El Ruby (Egypt), met throughout the week. On Friday, a draft decision submitted to plenary was adopted following amendment. Discussions centered on: options for modalities for pulling together information for effectiveness evaluation; linking effectiveness evaluation with technical assistance; and a global monitoring plan.

Plenary discussion initially focused on options for modalities for pulling together information for the effectiveness evaluation. Norway, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Ghana and Tanzania preferred a global plan based on existing international and national programmes with initial elements to address priority gaps and to enable future enhancement of regional contributions. Chile supported a version of this option that draws elements from the other options.

Morocco, Brazil and China preferred a comprehensive and inclusive global monitoring programme. Tanzania and Ghana favored moving to a version of this option in the long term, while the EU noted concern with the resources required for this option.

Discussions on information gathering for the first evaluation included consideration of: minimum requirements for the first evaluation, including baseline monitoring data on air and human exposure; provision of financial resources for gathering information for the first effectiveness evaluation report; and approaches to setting up an evaluation body. Many developing countries stressed the importance of using globally-representative baseline data in the first evaluation, while most developed countries, noting the current shortage of data and monitoring capacity in many regions, suggested a phased approach to achieving full global coverage.

Delegates considered elements for a long-term global monitoring plan, including enhanced core regional data, possible additional monitoring elements, and capacity building to increase participation. Participants focused on how to design an inclusive global mechanism, given the significant regional differences in existing data and capacity.

The African Group called for linking effectiveness evaluation with technical assistance. Significant debate ensued on the connection between the adequacy of resources for technical assistance and capacity building, and the utility of the effectiveness evaluation mechanism. Most delegates recognized the need for long-term funding arrangements, including capacity building. Several developing countries favored language requesting “immediate” actions for long-term funding arrangements, while some developed countries said that the matter should be referred to the financial resources contact group. Canada observed that meaningful effectiveness evaluation procedures would underpin the success of the Convention and its credibility with the GEF and other donors. The contact group recognized that the elements on capacity building to increase participation in the plan through financial and technical assistance would need to be taken into account by the technical assistance contact group. However these elements were not finalized in time to be submitted to the technical assistance contact group for their consideration. The annex to the final decision contains a footnote stating that the elements should be taken into account during implementation of the COP-2 decision on technical assistance.

The discussions on the nature, size and inclusiveness of the effectiveness evaluation body divided delegates throughout the week, with some favoring a small technical experts group, and others advocating a larger panel. While most delegates agreed that the evaluation body should be regionally representative, developed countries called for a small, resource-efficient body of five or ten members. Developing countries suggested 15 or 31 members. Following lengthy negotiations in the contact group, delegates agreed to a 15-member provisional ad-hoc technical working group (AHTWG). COP-2 President Kiddle called for a note to be added to the COP-2 Meeting Report stating that each regional group would have the opportunity to nominate its provisional AHTWG representatives through its COP Bureau members.

Final Decision: In the decision on effectiveness evaluation (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/CRP.19/Rev.1), the COP, inter alia:

  • agrees to complete the first effectiveness evaluation at COP-4 in 2009, and requests the Secretariat to compile the elements for the first evaluation, including the global monitoring report, national reports and non-compliance information, and to submit a report to COP-4;

  • decides to implement the elements for a global monitoring plan, as proposed in the annex to the decision, and establishes a provisional ad-hoc technical working group of 15 representatives of parties from the five UN regions to coordinate and oversee implementation of the global monitoring plan;

  • requests the provisional AHTWG to report on progress of the implementation of the global monitoring plan at COP-3, and decides to review the progress of the provisional AHTWG at COP-3;

  • invites parties to contribute necessary resources to facilitate global coverage, generation of core data and capacity building to support the global monitoring programme;

  • agrees that immediate actions for long-term funding arrangements, including capacity building to implement the global monitoring plan, should be started, taking into account gaps in information between regions and their capabilities to implement monitoring activities; and

  • requests the Secretariat to identify further monitoring programmes to add to the list of existing programmes.

Annexed to the decision are elements for establishing and implementing a global monitoring plan, including: principles for the plan; minimum requirements for the first evaluation; monitoring for future evaluations; needs and opportunities for capacity building to increase participation in the plan through financial and technical assistance; and organizational arrangements. The annex contains a footnote stating that the elements should be taken into account during implementation of COP-2 decision on technical assistance.

NON-COMPLIANCE

The Secretariat introduced a document on non-compliance (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/27) on Monday in plenary. On Friday, a draft decision on non-compliance (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/CRP.17) was adopted by plenary with amendments.

Anne Daniel (Canada), Chair of the Open-ended Working Group on Non-Compliance (OEWG NC), summarized the major issues of the OEWG NC, including: establishment of the non-compliance committee and the basis for selection of members; trigger mechanisms; non-compliance measures; and the nature and principles of the non-compliance procedures. The plenary then took up discussion on when to reconvene the OEWG NC. Australia suggested an intersessional meeting, while India noted the budgetary implications of convening an intersessional OEWG NC. The EU noted the need for COP-2 to take a decision on any future work of the OEWG NC and Japan suggested COP-2 agree, at a minimum, to reconvene the OEWG NC at COP-3. Parties agreed to forward discussion on reconvening the OEWG NC to the Bureau. After informal consultation, delegates agreed to consider further procedures and institutional mechanisms on non-compliance at COP-3, if possible.

Final Decision: In the decision on non-compliance (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/CRP.17), the COP, inter alia, decides to convene a second meeting of the OEWG NC prior to COP-3 to consider procedures and mechanisms on non-compliance, and requests the OEWG NC to report on its work, including progress on a recommendation, at COP-3.

LIABILITY AND REDRESS

Discussions on liability and redress (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/23) were held in plenary on Friday. Several countries pointed to the complexity of the issue and the links to non-compliance, and noted their preference to postpone consideration of the item. Noting that further action on liability and redress is not mandated by the Convention and might detract from other Convention activities, Canada proposed resuming consideration of liability and redress following completion of a non-compliance mechanism. Delegates agreed to include Canada’s proposal in the report of the meeting.

ACTIVITIES OF THE SECRETARIAT AND ADOPTION OF THE BUDGET

The Secretariat introduced the documents on the activities undertaken by the Secretariat and the 2006 budget and 2007 indicative budget (UNEP/POPs/COP.2/24, UNEP/POPs/COP.2/INF/16 and UNEP/POPs/COP.2/INF/13) on Monday in plenary, when a contact group on budget was established. The contact group, chaired by Osvaldo Alvarez (Chile), met throughout the week and presented a draft decision to the plenary on Friday, which was adopted without amendment.

Discussions on the activities of the Secretariat highlighted the need to finalize the staffing of the Secretariat and establish its full functionality. The budget discussions focused on the revised operational budget for 2006-2007 and the budgetary implications of, inter alia: the CHM; future meetings of the OEWG NC; effectiveness evaluation; and the review of the toolkit for identification and quantification of dioxin and furan releases. Honduras, on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean Group, called for text requesting the Secretariat to develop a study on different options to the UN scale of assessments, bearing in mind the circumstances of developing countries. This text was inserted into the report of the meeting.

Final Decision: In the decision (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/CRP.26), the COP, inter alia, approves the operational budget of US$5,433,284 for 2007 and welcomes the annual contribution of 2 million Swiss francs pledged for 2007 by the host Government of the Convention Secretariat. Included in the decision are three tables on the revised operational budget for 2006 and 2007, the revised budget for activities under the Special Trust Fund, and the indicative 2007 scale of assessments for the apportionment of contributions.

OTHER MATTERS

ENHANCING SYNERGIES WITHIN THE CHEMICALS AND WASTE CLUSTER: The documents on synergies (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/25, UNEP/POPS/COP.2/INF/12 and UNEP/POPS/COP.2/INF/18) were discussed in plenary on Wednesday, when a contact group was established on the matter, and again on Friday. The contact group, co-chaired by Osvaldo Alvarez (Chile) and Anne Daniel (Canada), met on Wednesday and Thursday. A draft decision was submitted to plenary on Friday, and adopted without amendment.

Discussion focused on: ways that the Secretariats of the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions could collaborate to achieve administrative and management efficiencies; whether action was needed in the near-term or whether synergies should be a longer-term process; the extent to which the secretariats or the parties should steer the process; a proposed working group to consider the process; a supplementary report on, and other collaborative activities that could enhance, achievement of the objectives of the three conventions; and the financial and administrative arrangements that would be needed to enhance synergies and cooperation.

Numerous parties, including Senegal, emphasized the need for any action or decision to avoid weakening any of the three conventions. Morocco emphasized what it perceived to be the important difference between combining the conventions and cooperation among them.

A few parties supported swift action. Switzerland, supported by Norway, supported the need to move forward on this quickly, emphasizing that doing so would avoid other bodies imposing their decisions on parties to the Stockholm Convention. Canada concurred that the process should be accelerated. Norway further said that a common “figurehead” could better attract financial resources and promote common efforts and interest in the chemicals and wastes cluster. Ghana urged parties to be proactive, noting that the need to take advantage of synergies has been agreed to for some time.

In contrast, Chile questioned the necessity of an extreme reform of the three secretariats and India articulated doubts as to how a combined secretariat would better serve the conventions. Nigeria advocated a process for achieving synergy while cautioning against rushing to take decisions that would establish a common secretariat. Morocco, Namibia and Mexico raised concerns about the legal implications of combining secretariats, recalling that not all countries are party to all three conventions. South Africa added that establishing synergies should be a “step-wise” process.

Some parties pushed for cooperation at the regional rather than the global level. Uruguay drew attention to existing regional networks, and South Africa said that synergies would be better implemented by regional centers.

Given these concerns, numerous parties called for additional consultative meetings and research prior to a decision being taken regarding the need for joint administrative bodies. The African Group requested an evaluation of the negative aspects of synergies. The EU stressed the importance of transparency, inclusiveness, and the sovereignty of the respective COPs, and, supported by Ethiopia and Chile, called for a more extensive process beginning with a joint meeting among the bureaus of the three conventions. Canada called for further analysis of the effectiveness and efficiency of programme delivery under common leadership. Given the general consensus that operationalizing cooperation would need to be a consultative process, the EU proposal became the basis of negotiations.

Delegates discussed a proposed joint working group among the three conventions, tasked with further discussing synergies. India expressed concerns about the proposed working group’s inclusiveness, and Egypt and Iran called for language ensuring a consultative process. Iran proposed an inter-secretariat mechanism through which the three secretariats could objectively develop joint proposals for the three COPs to consider. Japan suggested that the first step should be to streamline any common functions of the three Conventions. Switzerland, Senegal, and others called for language tasking the President of the COP, rather than the Secretariat, with the supplementary report. Many parties, including China, stated that the parties, not the Secretariat, should drive the process.

Final Decision: In the final decision on synergies (UNEP/POPS/COP/CRP.22), preambular language refers to Decision SC-1/18, Rotterdam Convention Decision RC-2/6, and various decisions of the OEWG of the Basel Convention (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/INF/19). The preamble further notes the adoption of SAICM, as well as parties’ belief regarding the need for transparency, inclusivity, and the autonomy of each COP. In the decision, the COP:

  • calls for improved cooperation between the Conventions;

  • suggests the establishment of an ad hoc joint working group to, inter alia, develop joint recommendations;

  • decides that 15 representatives from the COP will be nominated for participation in the ad hoc working group if it is established, and invites the nomination of 15 representatives by each of the Basel and Rotterdam COPs;

  • requests the COP President to supplement the existing reports on cooperation with, inter alia, analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of each area of cooperation, and of administrative improvements required to ensure efficiency;

  • requests that the supplementary report be submitted to the ad hoc joint working group;

  • encourages the Secretariat to continue to enhance synergies; and

  • requests UNEP to staff the joint head of the Rotterdam and Stockholm Convention, and other relevant positions in the Convention.

OFFICIAL COMMUNICATION WITH PARTIES AND OBSERVERS: The Secretariat introduced an overview of its proposals on official communication with parties and observers (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/26) in plenary on Thursday. The draft decision was adopted on Friday. Several parties cited their own difficulties in receiving official communications that are sent to other parts of their government. The United States requested that plans for official contacts be the same for non-parties as for parties.

Final Decision: In the decision on official communication with parties and observers (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/CRP.14), the COP, inter alia:

  • invites parties to nominate official contact points for the performance of administrative functions and all formal communications under the Convention through their UNEP official contact points or their diplomatic missions;

  • invites non-party states to nominate, should they wish to do so, contact points for communications concerning matters pertaining to the Convention; and

  • invites non-governmental organizations that are not included in the list contained in Part 2 of Annex III of document UNEP/POPS/COP.2/26 and that wish to be accredited to meetings of the Conference to submit the information listed in Annex IV of that document to the Secretariat for consideration by the COP at its next ordinary meeting.

CLOSING PLENARY

On Friday afternoon, Jan-Karel Kwisthout (the Netherlands) spoke on behalf of the Bureau and indicated that credentials had been received from 68 parties. COP-2 President Kiddle announced that COP-3 will be held from 30 April to 4 May 2007 in Dakar, Senegal.

The report of the meeting (UNEP/POPS/COP.2/L.1 and UNEP/POPS/COP.2/L.1/Add.1) was then adopted with minor amendments. This was followed by adoption of several decisions with budgetary implications. Plenary then adjourned to allow the budget contact group to conclude their deliberations. At 10:00 pm plenary reconvened, adopted the budget and heard closing statements. Regional groups thanked the COP-2 President and the Government of Switzerland. COP-2 President Kiddle thanked delegates and gaveled the meeting to a close at 10:39 pm.

A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF COP-2

One year ago in 2005, the seaside resort town of Punta del Este, Uruguay, offered delegates a location that mirrored the exciting and groundbreaking work they undertook at the first Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention (COP-1). In much the same manner, the location of COP-2, Geneva, a city renowned for hard work and diligence, was a metaphor for the need to attend to the nuts and bolts of implementing the Convention. While the first COP of any convention is a cause for celebration since it marks its successful entry into force, the second COP has to embark on the challenging task of implementation. Thus, COP-2 was faced with developing the processes and mechanisms that will adequately support progress towards effective implementation of the Stockholm Convention.

Decisions taken at COP-1 identified two decisions as essential for success at COP-2: the first review of the financial mechanism of the Convention and a process to enable evaluation of the effectiveness of the Convention at COP-4 in 2009. However, some parties’ disproportionate focus on their own priorities rather than those of the COP as a whole, specifically synergies and technical assistance, threatened to endanger resolution of the key issues. This problem was compounded by some smaller delegations’ insistence that no more than two contact group meetings be held simultaneously, which limited the time available for negotiations on financial resources and effectiveness evaluation.

By the time COP-2 President Nik Kiddle gaveled the meeting to a close, the COP had managed to make progress on its priority issues. Thus, COP-2 can be seen as a success, at least insofar as it moved the Convention forward in the near-term. The following analysis looks at these two priority issues and the topics that diverted parties’ attention, and considers what COP-2 may suggest about the future of the Convention.

DEADLINES: ISSUES REQUIRING RESOLUTION

FINANCIAL RESOURCES: Decisions on the management and criteria relevant to funding are perennially contentious across multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), and COP-2 was no exception. However, given the Convention’s relative youth and the uncertainty surrounding its financial needs and how they will be met, discussions on financial resources were particularly critical at COP-2. Since substantial financing will be needed to implement the Convention, and due to the magnitude of concern about the GEF’s operational criteria for funding, realization of the Convention’s goals will be dependent on a successful outcome with regard to financing. Moreover, the financial resources discussions at COP-2 were made more difficult due to the lack of time allotted to hold the necessary contact group meetings. Nonetheless, a successful outcome on the review of the financial mechanism was never seriously doubted by most contact group participants, if only because they were realistic about what could be achieved, what the points of commonality were, and the implications of not reaching a decision.

One of the key issues affecting COP-2’s financial deliberations was the current unease surrounding the GEF. As the financial mechanism for several MEAs, the GEF and its funding criteria are often at the center of MEA funding debates. In recent months, the difficult negotiations over the fourth replenishment of the GEF Trust Fund and concerns about future application of the GEF’s new resource allocation framework (RAF) have greatly influenced funding discussions in meetings of the various MEAs, including the other conventions in the chemicals and waste cluster.

This was also true for COP-2, as many parties were concerned about developing dependence on what, at this point in time, appears to be an uncertain foundation. However, despite the evident criticisms of the GEF’s eligibility and financing criteria, and its RAF, this issue did not side-track the negotiations because everyone was well aware that this was not a forum where these issues could be resolved. The future role of the GEF in the Convention was never really doubted, and time was instead spent focusing on providing additional guidance to the GEF, and in particular clarifying its funding criteria and identifying other sources of finance.

In much the same manner, the contact group was able to deal with a number other issues that were assigned to it, despite some participants’ initial fears that the lack of time for discussions was jeopardizing the possibility of progress. The issue of needs assessment was one such issue, resolved by tasking the Secretariat with completing a preliminary assessment of funding prior to a full assessment. This preliminary assessment was less than some developing countries had hoped for, but as much as many could reasonably expect.

In the end, while enough was done to keep the financial process moving, it seems inevitable that further fundamental debates on financing will be necessary given that the demands for financing greatly exceed the what appears to be available. “The needs are there,” noted one developing country delegate, “we just need to find the money.” The confluence of increasing funding demands, in large part due to the development of national implementation plans (NIPs), and the possibility that the funding pool could decrease if GEF replenishment continues to be uncertain, could pave the way for a much more difficult financial resources discussion at COP-3.

EFFECTIVENESS EVALUATION: The other major issue on which the parties needed to make progress at COP-2 was a mechanism for evaluating the effectiveness of the Convention. Many country positions on the issue have shifted since COP-1, where delegates agreed to rely on existing monitoring programmes and databases for the baseline evaluation, where possible, fearing that extending the existing network would divert resources away from meeting the Convention’s main goals. However the subsequent scoping work of the Secretariat revealed the critical under-representation of developing regions in existing POPs data sets and monitoring programmes. Developing country positions at COP-2 therefore reflected a view that the effectiveness evaluation, and possibly the Convention itself, would not be effective unless a more representative and inclusive global evaluation mechanism could be designed.

At the conclusion of COP-2, the route to effectiveness evaluation had changed from the comparatively simple model agreed at COP-1 to a comprehensive global plan that parties recognize will be more resource-intensive and demanding, but which should lead to a more meaningful long-term outcome. Central to the global monitoring plan is the need for resources and long-term funding to facilitate global coverage and capacity building to support the programme.

Parties face a significant challenge in meeting the first evaluation deadline of 2009. Much of the pressure will fall upon the newly-created provisional ad hoc technical working group (AHTWG) on effectiveness evaluation, which is tasked with implementing minimum requirements including obtaining comparable and representative data from all five global regions, and commencing implementation of an ambitious plan for future evaluations. The challenge for COP-3 will be to assess the provisional AHTWG’s progress and to determine its future.

Further complicating the provisional AHTWG’s task is the uncertain status of financial and technical assistance for capacity building to increase participation in the global monitoring plan. While parties recognized the importance of such assistance, the need for this to be taken into account when implementing the decision on technical assistance is not prominent in the decision on effectiveness evaluation, but instead is tucked away in a footnote to the annex. Given that the overall success of the evaluation is likely to be influenced by the degree to which technical assistance is provided, future COPs will almost certainly need to consider the interrelationship between these two issues.

HEADLINES: PARTIES’ PRIORITIES FOR COP-2

While the mandate for COP-2 centered on decisions on financial resources and effectiveness evaluation, various parties pushed hard on other issues, particularly on synergies and technical assistance. The intensity of efforts on these issues gives a strong indication of what lies ahead for COP-3 and beyond.

The question of synergies between the Stockholm Convention and the Rotterdam and Basel Conventions occupied a significant portion of the time available at COP-2. The strongest push for immediate progress on this issue came from Switzerland and Norway, which sought to capitalize on the COPs of all three relevant chemicals conventions in 2006, as lack of decisive action at this time could delay meaningful coordination for several years.

Many parties sought to delay a decision that would result in action, fearing that a decision at COP-2 could have left secretariats, rather than parties, in a position to drive decisions on what form such cooperation may take. Moreover, some were concerned the full implications of taking immediate action on synergies are unclear, and that deciding on near-term administrative cooperation could stifle debate on the substantive implications of such administrative cooperation.

While the final decision delayed a decision on action in the short term, in favor of initiating an inclusive consultative process to analyze the appropriate degree of integration within the chemicals and waste cluster, it is clear that pressure to progress on this issue will continue to mount as the linkages with other issues become more evident. This is especially salient with regard to technical assistance, given that many see parties’ needs for assistance in implementing the chemicals conventions to be complementary. The key question in the future will be how to allay the fears of developing countries that synergies could reduce the technical and financial assistance available to them.

The other dominant issue on the COP-2 agenda was technical assistance. The close links between technical assistance, synergies and effectiveness evaluation complicated discussions on all three issues; decisions on the much-debated regional and subregional centers are inextricably intertwined with those on cooperation with the Basel Convention, and without functioning technical assistance centers, effectiveness evaluation is likely to be incomplete. It appeared that many developing countries viewed the subject to be their opportunity to ensure that the implementation of their NIPs had adequate financial backing. Developed countries, however, indicated that they saw the issue from a very different viewpoint, noting repeatedly their preference to provide technical assistance in a way that capitalizes on existing institutions and mechanisms, thereby ensuring that the available funds stretch as far as possible.

LOOKING AHEAD

While COP-2 may have lacked the distinctiveness – both in location and substance – of COP-1, it was no less a success in that both COP-1 and COP-2 succeeded in taking the decisions required to move the Convention forward. COP-2 needed to take decisions on effectiveness evaluation and financial resources, and ultimately did so. The ongoing focus on other, related, issues by some countries may have diverted attention from these central tasks, but enough was ultimately accomplished to move the process forward.

Significantly, however, COP-2 also indicated what the dominant issues may be as the process moves forward. Resource issues had, and will undoubtedly continue to have, a large influence as the GEF replenishment negotiations and the outcomes of the work on needs assessments are concluded. Developing countries are adamant that greater resources will be required, and that implementation will be difficult if the funding pool shrinks.

But financial issues cannot be considered on their own. As the process moves forward and issues of synergies with other chemicals conventions and technical assistance to developing countries also grow in importance, the linkages among them and finding the funds to address these issues, will likely demand more time and attention. Thus, the headlines from COP-2 will almost certainly become deadlines at future COPs.

UPCOMING MEETINGS

WORKSHOP ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE “GLOBALLY HARMONIZED SYSTEM OF CLASSIFICATION AND LABELLING OF CHEMICALS” (GHS): The Ministry of Health of Thailand, the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) are organizing a Workshop on the GHS from 15-17 May 2006, in Bangkok, Thailand. For more information, contact: Jonathan Krueger, UNITAR; tel: +41-22-917-8166; fax: +41-22-917-8047; e-mail: jonathan.krueger@unitar.org; internet: http://www.unitar.org/cwg/ghs_partnership/events/index.aspx

NEAR EAST SUBREGIONAL MEETING OF THE ROTTERDAM CONVENTION: The Rotterdam Convention Secretariat is organizing a subregional meeting for the Near East Region, scheduled for 21-24 May 2006, in Muscat Sultanate, Oman. Participating countries will include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar. For more information, contact: Rotterdam Convention Secretariat; tel: +41-22-917-8296; fax: +41-22-917-8082; e-mail: pic@pic.int; internet: http://www.pic.int/en/ViewPage.asp?id=405

ASIAN REGION CONSULTATION ON THE RATIFICATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ROTTERDAM CONVENTION: The Rotterdam Convention Secretariat is organizing a meeting for the Asian Region, scheduled for 23-26 May 2006, in Hanoi, Vietnam. Participating countries will include Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga and Viet Nam. For more information, contact: Rotterdam Convention Secretariat; tel: +41-22-917-8296; +41-22-917-8082; e-mail: pic@pic.int; internet: http://www.pic.int/en/ViewPage.asp?id=405

WORKSHOP ON PESTICIDE USER COMPLIANCE: The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is organizing a Workshop on Pesticide User Compliance from 6-8 June 2006, in Ottawa, Canada. For more information, contact: OECD; tel: +33-1-4524-9316; fax: +33-1-4524-1675; e-mail: EHS.contact@oecd.org; internet: http://www2.oecd.org/iomc/reports/EventReport.aspx?reports=true

LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN CONSULTATION ON THE ROTTERDAM CONVENTION:  The Rotterdam Convention Secretariat is organizing a subregional meeting for the Latin American and Caribbean Regions, scheduled for 19-22 June 2006, in Havana, Cuba. For more information, contact: Rotterdam Convention Secretariat; tel: +41-22- 917-8296; fax: +41-22-917-8082; e-mail: pic@pic.int; internet: http://www.pic.int/en/ViewPage.asp?id=405

THEMATIC WORKSHOP ON CHEMICALS AND WASTE MANAGEMENT AND SAICM IMPLEMENTATION: The Thematic Workshop on Governance, Civil Society Participation and Strengthening Partnerships for Chemicals and Waste Management and the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) is being organized by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and is scheduled for 20-22 June 2006, in Geneva, Switzerland. The workshop is intended as a preparatory activity for country pilot projects linked to SAICM implementation, and has a registration deadline of 10 May 2006. For more information, contact: Jonathan Krueger, UNITAR; tel: +41-22-917-8166; fax: +41-22-917-8047; e-mail: jonathan.krueger@unitar.org; internet: http://www.unitar.org/cwg/tw/tw10.html

IFCS FORUM V: The fifth session of the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety is scheduled to take place from 25-29 September 2006, in Budapest, Hungary. For more information, contact: IFCS Secretariat; tel: +41-22-791-3873; fax: +41-22-791-4875; e-mail: ifcs@who.ch; internet: http://www.who.int/ifcs/forums/five/en/index.html

JOINT FAO/WHO MEETING ON PESTICIDE RESIDUES: The Joint Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) Meeting on Pesticide Residues is scheduled for 3-12 October 2006, in Rome, Italy. For more information, contact: WHO International Programme on Chemical Safety (WHO-IPCS); tel: +41-22-791-4348; fax: +41-22-791-4848; e-mail: mereditht@who.int; internet: http://www.who.int/ipcs/events/2006/en/index.html

THIRD CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE ROTTERDAM CONVENTION (PIC COP-3): PIC COP-3 will be held from 9-13 October 2006, in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, contact: Rotterdam Convention Secretariat; tel: +41-22-917-8296; fax:+41-22-917-8082; e-mail: pic@unep.ch; internet: http://www.pic.int

SECOND MEETING OF THE PERSISTENT ORGANIC POLLUTANTS REVIEW COMMITTEE (POPRC): The Second Meeting of the Stockholm Convention POPs Review Committee (POPRC) is scheduled to be held from 6-10 November 2006, in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, contact: Stockholm Convention Secretariat; tel: +41-22-917-8191; fax: +41-22-797-3460; e-mail: ssc@pops.int; internet: http://www.pops.int

20TH MEETING OF THE WORKING GROUP ON PESTICIDES: The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is planning to hold the 20th Meeting of the Working Group on Pesticides on 13-14 November 2006, in Bonn, Germany. For more information, contact: OECD; tel: +33-1-4524-9316; fax: +33-1-4524-1675; e-mail: EHS.contact@oecd.org; internet: http://www2.oecd.org/iomc/reports/EventReport.aspx?reports=true and http://www.oecd.org/ehs/

40TH JOINT MEETING OF THE CHEMICALS COMMITTEE AND WORKING PARTY ON CHEMICALS, PESTICIDES AND BIOTECHNOLOGY: The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is planning to hold the 40th Joint Meeting of the Chemicals Committee and Working Party on Chemicals, Pesticides and Biotechnology on 14-15 November 2006, in Bonn, Germany. For more information, contact: OECD; tel: +33-1-4524-9316; fax: +33-1-4524-1675; e-mail: EHS.contact@oecd.org; internet: http://www2.oecd.org/iomc/reports/EventReport.aspx?reports=true

EIGHTH MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE BASEL CONVENTION: Basel COP-8 is scheduled to take place from 27 November to 1 December 2006, in Nairobi, Kenya. For more information, contact: Basel Convention Secretariat; tel: +41-22-917-8218; fax: +41-22-797-3454; e-mail: sbc@unep.ch; internet: http://www.basel.int

SECOND MEETING OF THE EXPERT GROUP ON BEST AVAILABLE TECHNOLOGIES AND BEST ENVIRONMENTAL PRACTICES (BAT/BEP): The second meeting of the Stockholm Convention Expert Group on Best Available Technologies and Best Environmental Practices is scheduled to take place from 4-9 December 2006, in Beijing, China. For more information, contact: Stockholm Convention Secretariat; tel: +41-22-917-8191; fax: +41-22-797-3460; e-mail: ssc@pops.int; internet: http://www.pops.int

STOCKHOLM CONVENTION COP-3: The third meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants is scheduled to take place from 30 April - 4 May 2007, in Dakar, Senegal. For more information, contact: Stockholm Convention Secretariat; tel: +41-22-917-8191; fax: +41-22-797-3460; e-mail: ssc@pops.int; internet: http://www.pops.int

GLOSSARY
 

AHTWG
BAT
BEP
NIPs
OEWG NC
POPs
POPRC
RAF
SAICM
Ad-hoc technical working group
Best available techniques
Best environmental practices
National implementation plans
Open-ended Working Group on Non-Compliance
Persistent organic pollutants
Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee
Resource allocation framework
Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management

This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <enb@iisd.org> is written and edited by Karen Alvarenga, Ph.D., Andrew Brooke, Alexis Conrad, Reem Hajjar, and Amber Moreen. The Digital Editor is Anders Gonçalves da Silva. The Editor is Pamela S. Chasek, Ph.D. <pam@iisd.org> and the Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James "Kimo" Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the Government of the United States of America (through the Department of State Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs), the Government of Canada (through CIDA), the Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape (SAEFL), the United Kingdom (through the Department for International Development - DFID), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Germany (through the German Federal Ministry of Environment - BMU, and the German Federal Ministry of Development Cooperation - BMZ), the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Commission (DG-ENV) and the Italian Ministry for the Environment and Territory General Directorate for Nature Protection. General Support for the Bulletin during 2006 is provided by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Government of Australia, the Austrian Federal Ministry for the Environment, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, SWAN International, the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES) and the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (through the Global Industrial and Social Progress Research Institute - GISPRI). Funding for translation of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin into French has been provided by the International Organization of the Francophonie (IOF) and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Funding for the translation of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin into Spanish has been provided by the Ministry of Environment of Spain. The opinions expressed in the Earth Negotiations Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD or other donors. Excerpts from the Earth Negotiations Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications with appropriate academic citation. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>, +1-646-536-7556 or 212 East 47th St. #21F, New York, NY 10017, USA.