Vol. 15 No. 154
SUMMARY OF THE THIRD MEETING OF THE
STOCKHOLM CONVENTION ON PERSISTENT ORGANIC
The third meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-3) to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) was held from 30 April - 4 May 2007, in Dakar, Senegal. Over 450 participants, representing more than 180 governments, UN agencies, and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, attended the meeting. COP-3 considered several reports on activities within the Convention’s mandate and adopted 22 decisions on, inter alia: a revised process for the review of entries in the register of specific exemptions; DDT; measures to reduce or eliminate releases from wastes; guidelines on the standardized toolkit for identification and quantification of releases; guidelines on best available techniques (BAT) and draft guidance on best environmental practices (BEP); regional centers; listing chemicals in Annexes A, B or C of the Convention; reporting; effectiveness evaluation; national implementation plans; budget; financial resources; technical assistance; synergies; and non-compliance. Delegates also agreed that COP-4 will take place from 4-8 May 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE STOCKHOLM CONVENTION
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 BAT and BEP for replacing existing POPs while preventing the manufacturing 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. The Stockholm Convention entered into force on 17 May 2004 and currently has 144 parties.
BACKGROUND: POPs are chemical substances that persist, bioaccumulate in living organisms, and can cause 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 UNEP Governing Council (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. 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 (INC) 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 the World Health Organization 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. INC-2 was held from 25-29 January 1999, in Nairobi, Kenya, where participants discussed a Secretariat-prepared outline of a convention text. INC-3 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. INC-4 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 headway on language on unintentionally produced POPs. INC-5 met from 4-10 December 2000, in Johannesburg, South Africa, with delegates concluding negotiations on the Convention on 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; resolutions forwarded by the Preparatory Meeting; and the Final Act.
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 POPs 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: 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. Other matters scheduled for discussion included: the format for the DDT register and the register of specific exemptions; the process for developing guidelines to assist parties in preventing the formation and release of unintentionally produced POPs; and guidelines on BAT and BEP.
COP-2: COP-2 took place from 1-5 May 2006, in Geneva, Switzerland. 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; information exchange; BAT and BEP; identification and quantification of releases; measures to reduce or eliminate releases from wastes; implementation plans; listing chemicals in Annexes A, B or C of the Convention; reporting; technical assistance; synergies; effectiveness evaluation; and non-compliance.COP-3 REPORT
On Monday morning, 30 April, the President of the second meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-2) to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), Nik Kiddle (New Zealand), opened COP-3 and expressed appreciation to the Government of Senegal for hosting COP-3, and highlighted major developments relevant to the Convention since COP-2, including: the activities of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC) in receiving and analyzing information to make recommendations to the COP on new controls for additional chemicals that were determined to pose significant risk of contamination of people and the environment; the work of the effectiveness evaluation group on the Global Monitoring Plan and its required infrastructure; efforts made at the national level by many parties in elaborating and submitting national implementation plans (NIPs); and progress made on synergies among the chemicals conventions and on the Open-ended Working Group on Non-Compliance (OEWG NC). He concluded by thanking all parties for their work and for having elected him COP-2 President.
Bakary Kante, on behalf of Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), noted the challenges faced by the Convention, including the need to deal with issues related to food and health, and the use of DDT for combating malaria, especially in Africa. Highlighting the success of the Montreal Protocol, Kante urged parties to make further efforts on establishing the financial mechanism for the Convention. He stressed the importance of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), industry and other partners in implementing the Convention.
The President of Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade, welcomed participants and, recalling an incident of toxic waste dumping in Côte d’Ivoire, noted that there is no mechanism in place to guarantee that toxic waste will not enter the African Continent. He underscored the contradiction of using products to increase agricultural outputs and improve living conditions, while having adverse effects on the environment and human health. On DDT and agriculture, he reported on his country’s experience in using organic alternatives to chemical fertilizers. President Wade underscored the need for parties, especially donor countries, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and partners to commit and mobilize technical and financial resources to allow the action defined in the NIPs to be undertaken.
ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: Delegates elected Thierno Lô, Minister of the Environment of Senegal, as COP-3 President and Jan-Karel Kwisthout (Netherlands) as Rapporteur. Delegates later endorsed the nomination to the Bureau of Iran, India, Czech Republic, Moldova, Antigua and Barbuda, Uruguay, Norway, and the UK. The Secretariat noted that individual names would be presented at a later date.
Delegates adopted the agenda (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/1), without amendments.
On the COP rules of procedure (UNEP/ POPS/COP.3/3), in light of some parties’ objections, plenary agreed to keep in bracketed text a provision for COP decisions to be taken, as a last resort, by a two-thirds majority vote of the parties. The issue was deferred to COP-4.
On Friday in plenary, the Secretariat reported that 95 parties have submitted credentials, of which 89 met the requirements and are in order. Two parties have submitted credentials, but without signature of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and four countries have not submitted their credentials. These six countries participated in the meeting as observers.
The plenary established the Committee of the Whole (COW), elected Karel Blaha (Czech Republic) as COW Chair, and also established a budget group, chaired by John Roberts (UK).
The COW convened throughout the week and established contact groups on technical assistance, non-compliance and effectiveness evaluation. On Thursday, informal consultations were held on POPs wastes and non-compliance, the latter issue was also taken up by a Friends of the Chair group. The following summary is organized according to the order of the items on the agenda.
DDT: On Tuesday morning in the COW, delegates discussed the: continued need for DDT for disease vector control (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/4); report of the expert group on the assessment of the production and use of DDT (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/24); and draft revised DDT questionnaire (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/INF.2). On Thursday and Friday afternoon, the Secretariat presented a draft decision on DDT (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.7), which was considered, revised and adopted by plenary on Friday afternoon.
Delegates addressed the need for: cost effective alternatives to DDT; financial and technical assistance for integrated vector management (IVM) in developing countries; and capacity building for minimizing risks associated with DDT use, reporting DDT use and production, and addressing illegal trade in DDT. Germany, on behalf of the European Union (EU), proposed additional language requesting collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) on various activities. India proposed several changes, including the need to give further importance to countries in malaria regions when nominating experts for the DDT expert group.
Final Decision: In the final decision on DDT (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.7/Rev.1), the COP, inter alia:
There are two annexes to this decision. Annex I includes a process for reporting, assessment, and evaluation of the continued need for DDT for disease vector control and Annex II contains the revised questionnaire for reporting on production and use of DDT for disease vector control.
EXEMPTIONS: Discussions on the review process for entries in the register for specific exemptions took place on Tuesday in the COW (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/5). On Friday, the Secretariat presented a draft decision which was accepted by the COW with amendments, and adopted by plenary with amendments.
Discussion focused on the bracketed text in the review process adopted by COP-1 (Annex I to UNEP/POPS/COP.3/5). Parties discussed whether to establish a separate subsidiary body to assess and make recommendations to the COP on extension requests for use of Annex A (Elimination) chemicals, or whether the COP should do this itself. The EU proposed that extensions only be granted in well-justified cases and that the Secretariat review extension request reports. Japan and Canada questioned the appropriateness of tasking the Secretariat with developing a recommendation on extension of exemptions, and proposed giving the task to the POPRC instead. Canada proposed requesting the Secretariat prepare a report instead of making a recommendation, and that the provision will “sunset” at the end of COP-4 unless the COP reviews and extends it.
Final Decision: In the final decision on a revised process for the review of entries in the register of specific exemptions (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.5/Rev.1), the COP: adopts the revised process for the review of entries contained in the annex to the decision and agreed to review paragraph 4 of the process at COP-4; requests the Secretariat undertake the review process regarding the exemptions that are due at COP-4; and reminds the parties seeking extensions to existing exemptions in the register to provide justification and the information requested in the review process at least twelve months prior to COP-4.
EVALUATION OF THE CONTINUED NEED FOR THE PROCEDURE UNDER PARAGRAPH 2(B) OF ARTICLE 3: Discussions on the need for the procedure under paragraph 2(b) of Article 3 of the Convention were held in the COW on Tuesday (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/6). The Secretariat noted that there is very little data and information in this area.
The Secretariat explained that paragraph 2(b) of Article 3 of the Convention specifies that an exporting party must provide annual certification on chemical characteristics and other related information and both the exporting and importing parties must comply with the Convention requirements.. COW Chair Blaha requested the Secretariat prepare a draft decision on the issue. The COW agreed on the draft decision and it was adopted in plenary on Friday.
Final Decision: In the final decision on the continued need for the procedure under paragraph 2(b) of Article 3 (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.6), the COP: concludes that the information gathered to date on the experience of using the procedure is insufficient to complete an evaluation of the continued need for the procedure; requests the Secretariat to provide a report based on relevant party submissions for consideration at COP-4; and decides to evaluate the procedure further at COP-4.
BEST AVAILABLE TECHNIQUES AND BEST ENVIRONMENTAL PRACTICES: The Secretariat introduced documents UNEP/POPS/COP.3/7, INF/4 and UNEP/POPS/EGBATBEP.2/4 on best available techniques (BAT) and best environmental practices (BEP) on Tuesday. On Thursday, the draft decision UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.10 was slightly amended and agreed upon by the COW. On Friday, plenary adopted the decision as revised by the COW. Many parties supported the adoption of the draft guidelines on BAT and provisional guidance on BEP, and provided written submissions for incorporation. The EU suggested deleting text referring to the GEF, preferring that all GEF-related items be compiled in a single decision, while Morocco, supported by China, emphasized the importance of referring to the GEF.
Final Decision: In the decision on guidelines on BAT and draft guidance on BEP (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.10/Rev.1), the COP, inter alia:
IDENTIFICATION AND QUANTIFICATION OF DIOXIN AND FURAN RELEASES: On Tuesday and Thursday in the COW, delegates discussed UNEP/POPS/COP.3/8, INF/6 and INF/24 on the standardized toolkit for the identification and quantification of dioxin and furan releases. Plenary adopted a decision on the issue on Friday. Zambia and Jordan stressed the need to simplify technical language. Recognizing the importance of the toolkit on dioxin and furan releases, Benin, on behalf of the African Group, noted that improvements and assistance are still needed. China and Senegal underlined the insufficiency of data on emission factors. Subject to available resources, the EU supported updating the toolkit, but Japan said that funding for toolkit improvement is not as high a priority as BAT and BEP and preferred cost-effective ways of improvement. Kenya urged that the issue of “open burning” of waste be prioritized and that a country be identified to carry out a pilot project. The US noted the trade-off between funding availability and the amount of data collected, and suggested having only one meeting of the expert group that will update the toolkit before COP-4. The COW agreed to the draft decision on guidelines on the standardized toolkit for identification and quantification of releases (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.9) and plenary adopted it with minor amendments.
Final Decision: In the decision on the identification and quantification of releases (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.9/Rev.1), the COP, inter alia: adopts the process for the ongoing review and updating of the toolkit; requests the Secretariat to place adequate emphasis on the key sources for which limited monitoring data is available; and invites parties and other stakeholders to generate relevant data and information on Annex C chemicals, as identified in the toolkit review and updating process.
Measures to reduce or eliminate releases from wastes (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/9) were discussed in the COW and in an informal group on Thursday. The COW agreed on the draft decision (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.8), which was adopted in plenary on Friday.
The discussions concentrated on whether parties should, in implementing the waste-related provisions, and as suggested by the Secretariat, make use of the updated technical guidelines for the environmentally sound management of wastes consisting of, containing, or contaminated with POPs adopted by COP-8 of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal. The EU and Switzerland, supported by Japan and Togo, submitted a draft decision, which set up a separate set of guidelines on the levels of destruction and irreversible transformation of POPs (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.8). Canada, China and India favored the Secretariat’s draft. The International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN) and the International Trade Union Confederation expressed concern over the chemical concentrations set in both drafts, stressing they pose health risks. The Secretariat prepared a draft decision based on a compromised text proposed by Norway.
Final Decision: In the final decision (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.28), the COP:
This item (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/10, 11, 29 and INF/8) was addressed on Wednesday and Thursday in the COW. A draft decision (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.17) was considered in the COW on Thursday and adopted in plenary without amendment on Friday.
Argentina, Togo, Benin, Turkey and Tajikistan reported completion and submission of their countries’ NIPs, and Uganda noted that his country has not yet completed the NIP due to lack of experience and capacity. Some countries reported their activities to implement the Convention, including: testing POPs concentrations in the core media, organizing training programmes, conducting inventories, and developing regulations. Many developing countries stressed the need for financial and technical assistance and capacity building for the development and implementation of NIPs. Some developing countries requested a faster and simpler financial procedure for NIPs. China, supported by Norway, proposed that the Secretariat invite experts from developing countries, countries with economies in transition and international organizations to participate in drafting additional guidance for NIPs.
The EU encouraged parties to clearly identify national priorities in order to explore synergies with other international chemical regimes such as the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), and supported using the draft guidance on socioeconomic assessment for implementing NIPs in a flexible manner. Uruguay, for the Latin American and the Caribbean Group (GRULAC), noted that GRULAC countries are not able to fulfill the reporting requirement within the timeframe set forth in UNEP/POPS/COP.3/21 because it was not available early enough to do so, and requested it be translated into United Nations languages. The Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade highlighted the importance of synergies among the chemicals-related conventions in elaborating NIPs, and emphasized that revision of the NIP guidance document should take into account the linkages of the three conventions. The US supported developing the guidance document on socioeconomic cost assessment, but encouraged peer-reviewed cost-benefit models.
Final Decision: In the final decision (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.17), the COP, inter alia:
Discussion on listing chemicals in Annexes A, B or C of the Convention took place in the COW on Wednesday (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/12, INF/20 and POPRC.2/17 and POPRC.2/17/Add.1-Add.5). On Friday, the COW agreed on a draft decision with amendments, which was adopted by plenary.
POPRC-2 Chair Reiner Arndt (Germany) summarized the work of the POPs Review Committee and encouraged parties to submit comments on the draft risk profiles. Some interventions focused on issues related to confidentiality and the review process, while Japan and China expressed concerns about the POPRC technical review process, including elements relating to precursors, bioaccumulation and commercial products. India stressed that production data should not be confidential and said the POPRC should consider proposed chemicals specifically, and not all isomers. The African Group stressed the need to strengthen developing country participation in the POPRC.
POPRC-2 Chair Arndt, in response to Japan, proposed including application of bioaccumulation criteria on the POPRC-3 agenda. He noted perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and commercial mixtures would be addressed at POPRC-3 and reminded the COP to solve the confidentiality issue, noting that thus far, in dealing with eight chemicals, there had been no problems. COW Chair Blaha said that India’s concern about confidentiality would be noted in the meeting report.
Final Decision: In the final decision on listing chemicals in annex A, B or C of the Convention (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.14/Rev.1) the COP, inter alia:
On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced documents on information exchange and the clearing-house mechanism (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/13, INF/9 and INF/10). Discussions were held on Tuesday and Thursday in the COW. A final decision on information exchange was adopted in plenary on Friday.
The EU recommended extending the pilot phase of the clearing-house mechanism and deferring a decision on the strategic plan until COP-4. India disagreed and suggested the clearing-house mechanism be considered an enabling activity. On Thursday, the EU cautioned against establishing a clearing-house mechanism on POPs and taking a decision that may jeopardize the effectiveness of the work of the Ad Hoc Joint Working Group on Enhancing Cooperation and Coordination (AHJWG), but supported a decision taking into account AHJWG work.
Final Decision: In the final decision on information exchange (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.20), the COP, inter alia:
On Monday in the COW, the Secretariat introduced documents on: guidance for technical assistance (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/14); draft terms of reference (ToRs) for selecting regional and subregional centers for capacity building and transfer of technology (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/15 and INF/5); and compilation of submissions on technical assistance and transfer of technology to assist developing countries in implementing their implementation plans and other obligations under the Convention (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/INF/11). The COW established a contact group on technical assistance, co-chaired by Jozef Buys (Belgium) and Angelina Madete (Tanzania), which met throughout the week.
Delegates focused on the selection of regional centers and on Decision SC-1/15 (technical assistance). GRULAC questioned the project-based selection of regional centers. He said the ToRs failed to incorporate previous recommendations and that the priority areas designated were not reflective of GRULAC’s needs. China, supported by Iran, Benin, Trinidad and Tobago, the African Group, Uruguay, Jordan and the US, suggested making use of the existing Basel Convention Regional and Coordinating Centres (BCRCCs) as regional centers for the Stockholm Convention to avoid duplication, and improve efficiency, cooperation and coordination between the two Conventions. Uruguay introduced UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.2 prepared by countries currently hosting BCRCCs and stressed that compliance rests on adequate technical assistance and effective regional centers. Supporting the use of existing BCRCCs, Germany, for the EU, said regional and subregional centers should be existing centers or institutions and that selection should be based on method and purpose.
Morocco stressed the need for a clear and tangible system for technical assistance. Jordan emphasized that technical assistance forms the backbone of the Convention. India and Venezuela lamented lack of support from developed to developing counties in technical assistance and technology transfer, and urged for more to be provided. IPEN suggested that observers be encouraged to submit case studies to support the Convention’s work.
China urged COP-3 to propose to the GEF that it allocate adequate resources and requested the Secretariat review the status of technical assistance and funding and report to COP-4. India proposed that the GEF consider developing a fast-track mechanism for funding the Convention’s implementation.
Discussions focused on regional centers and participants negotiated extensively on two contentious issues, namely: hosting regional and subregional centers, in which China proposed language stipulating only developing countries and countries with economies in transition could host such centers, with which the EU and Japan disagreed; and inclusion of a criterion for candidate Stockholm centers to submit a programme of work or project proposal.
Final Decisions: In the final decision on terms of reference for the process of selecting regional and subregional centers under the Stockholm Convention (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.32), the COP, inter alia:
In the final decision on technical assistance (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.23), the COP, inter alia:
Delegates discussed financial resources (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/16, 17, 18, 19 and 20.Rev.1) on Wednesday morning in the COW and agreed to task the technical assistance contact group to address draft reports on the implementation of the MoU, the ToRs for the second review of the financial mechanism, and the assessment of funding needs. On Friday in plenary, delegates adopted five draft decisions on the issue, with minor amendments.
In the technical assistance contact group, delegates considered the GEF report, mobilization of resources, ToRs for the second review of the financial mechanism, needs assessment and its ToRs. The GEF Secretariat outlined the GEF report on the effectiveness of implementation of the MoU between the Stockholm Convention and the GEF (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/INF/3), underscoring that the GEF fourth replenishment allocated US$300 million to the POPs focal area for the 2006-2010 period.
Switzerland said more resources are necessary for implementing chemical conventions, especially the Stockholm Convention and SAICM, and suggested regular review of developing country needs. The EU underscored that the GEF should continue to be the financial mechanism of the Convention, and encouraged parties to link their POPs policy to their national environmental plans and achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The African Group supported mobilization of funds to implement Convention objectives and reduce poverty. Canada noted that parties should consider all sources of funding, including NGOs and the private sector. China, supported by Namibia, stressed the importance of streamlining the GEF project cycle to ensure funds can be accessed by developing countries in a timely manner.
The United Nations University offered to share its experience in private sector partnerships. IPEN noted funding concerns for implementing the Convention and the need to engage parties in the intersessional period to prepare for the fifth GEF replenishment.
Final Decisions: In the final decision on the second review of the financial mechanism (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.25), the COP, inter alia:
In the final decision on needs assessment (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.27), the COP, inter alia:
In the final decision on additional guidance to the financial mechanism (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.31), the COP, inter alia:
In the decision on implementation of the MoU between the GEF and the Stockholm Convention (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.21), the COP: welcomes the GEF report and takes note of its information; and requests the Secretariat, in consultation with the GEF, to prepare a report on the effectiveness of MOU implementation to be considered at COP-4.
In the decision on resource mobilization (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.22), the COP, inter alia: invites developing countries and other stakeholders to provide information to the Secretariat on ways that they can support the Convention; and requests the Secretariat to further report on possible sources of funding and to submit the information to COP-4.
On Wednesday, the Secretariat introduced UNEP/POPS/COP.3/21 on reporting. On Thursday, COW Chair Blaha presented UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.15 which was adopted by plenary on Friday.
Discussions revolved around the need to improve the reporting system and make it more user-friendly. Cambodia and many others noted their difficulty in using it and asked for training. Several delegates also called for its translation into UN languages while others drew attention to new focal point nominations..
Final Decision: In the decision on reporting (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.15/Rev.1), the COP, inter alia:
Effectiveness evaluation (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/22) was discussed throughout the week in the COW and in a contact group co-chaired by Ivan Holoubek (Czech Republic) and Thérèse Yarde (Barbados). On Thursday, the COW submitted the amended draft to plenary, which subsequently adopted the decision.
Co-Chair of the Ad Hoc Technical Working Group on the Global Monitoring Plan (TWG) Ivan Holoubek presented the group’s work over the intersessional period, underscoring key issues, such as: the drafting of work plans and schedules; responses to capacity needs questionnaires; financial implications; and the interpretation and assessment of data pertaining to human health. Many countries complimented the work of the TWG, and emphasized the importance of evaluating effectiveness in the implementation of the Global Monitoring Plan (GMP), and the need for capacity building, technical and financial assistance for developing countries and countries with economies in transition. Regarding the regional groupings, many countries supported use of the existing five UN regions rather than the six regions suggested by the TWG in its report. New Zealand noted the importance of cooperation with the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting in implementing the GMP.
Regarding a global oversight body as proposed by the TWG, countries agreed to establish a coordination group. There were differences of opinions on the group’s tasks and size. Developing countries suggested tasking it with coordinating GMP implementation, while developed country parties held that it is to assess regional work to ensure consistency between regions, promote experience sharing, and facilitate the preparation of the global monitoring report. Regarding the size of the body, GRULAC, the Asian Group and African Group insisted on a total of 19 members with at least three representatives per region, taking into account the importance of this group, and diversity of their regions. The developed country parties disagreed, saying that the major work of evaluating effectiveness of the GMP should be done at the regional level through regional organization groups, and taking into consideration financial constraints, it should be a small and effective body with one representative from each region.
A draft decision was discussed in the COW as well as in an informal group on Friday. Delegates reached an agreement on the two issues: the task of the coordination group in coordinating the GMP implementation was removed from the draft; and the coordination group will consist of three representatives from each of the five UN regions with the understanding that it will meet only with COP meetings, and will conduct its business through electronic communications.
Final Decision: In the final decision (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.16), the COP, inter alia:
On Monday in the COW, OEWG NC Chair Anne Daniel (Canada) reported on the outcomes of its work prior to the COP (UNEP/POPS/OEWG-NC.2/2). The COW established a contact group on the issue, chaired by Anne Daniel. The group met on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Bilateral meetings and a Friends of the Chair group met on Thursday to craft a compromise decision, which was presented to plenary and adopted on Friday.
Discussions centered on procedures for submissions, mainly on facilitation by a committee on non-compliance and possible action by the COP. Delegates debated how to invoke procedures (triggers); measures to take in response to compliance difficulties; the need for technical and financial assistance and the committee’s composition. The text was eventually remodeled into a clear sequence of actions and inserted into a compromise package, backed by the EU, Switzerland, Australia and others for consideration. India and China, backed by Iran, opposed the package. After regional consultations, the African Group was open to accept the package.
After further consultations at a Friends of the Chair’s meeting, Contact Group Chair Daniel reported to the COW that the group was unable to reach agreement on a draft decision on non-compliance. She introduced UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.26/Rev.1 which includes the Chair’s proposal, noting the group had managed to reduce about 25% of the original brackets. Underscoring that disagreement remained on the principles and the size of the Committee, she noted the various options to be discussed at COP-4 on identifying who would be able to make submissions to the committee regarding non-compliant parties, including a party-to-party trigger and/or a Secretariat trigger.
Chair Daniel urged parties to come prepared to COP-4. Iran asked for a text change and for the option to re-open clean text at COP-4. Japan underscored the importance of the issues at hand, noting that he and others had compromised and urged for the draft to be used for future negotiations.
Final Decision: In the decision on non-compliance (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.26/Rev.1), the COP, inter alia:
The COW discussed synergies on Thursday morning (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/28, INF/13, INF/19 and INF/19/Add.1). On Friday morning the COW agreed to the draft decision on synergies, which was adopted by plenary on Friday afternoon.
Discussions focused on the first meeting of the AHJWG, which took place in Helsinki, Finland, on 26-28 March 2007 (UNEP/FAO/CHW/RC/POPS/JWG.1/4). AHJWG Co-Chair Kerstin Stendahl-Rechardt (Finland) summarized their work and many parties, including the EU, India, Switzerland, the African Group, Sudan, GRULAC, Finland, Japan and Jordan, stressed the importance of synergies for the Convention. Some countries, including Norway, the African Group, Kiribati, and GRULAC, further supported using Basel regional centers as Stockholm regional centers to promote practical synergies at the regional level. The US supported cost-saving synergies as opposed to substantive and institutional consolidation synergies, and IPEN highlighted the closed nature of AHJWG and the need for stakeholder involvement in future meetings.
Final Decision: In the final decision on synergies (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.18), the COP: takes note of the supplementary report on cooperation and coordination among the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions; welcomes the establishment of the AHJWG; and notes that the AHJWG will make joint recommendations to the COPs of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.
On Monday morning in plenary, delegates addressed the budget, and established a contact group to further discuss the issues. On Monday afternoon in the COW, the Secretariat presented documents UNEP/POPS/COP.3/27 on the Secretariat’s activities and INF/16, INF/17, INF/18 and INF/25 on budget issues, and deferred discussions to the budget contact group, chaired by John Roberts (UK). The group met throughout the week to discuss the elements of the 2008-2009 budget. On Friday evening, plenary adopted the budget decision with amendments.
Delegates addressed the 2006-2007 budget expenditure, Special Trust Fund and General Trust Fund contributions for 2007, and proposed operational budget for 2008-2009. One participant stressed the importance of a zero nominal growth budget, while others questioned: the use of savings and surplus; parties in arrears; and expenditures on consultants, subcontractors and permanent staff. Delegates also discussed: the proposed 2008-2009 UN scale of assessments for the apportionment of contributions to the General Trust Fund; the projected expenditure for 2007; outstanding contributions; and the elements of a draft decision on financing and the 2008-2009 budget. The contact group draft decision UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.24 and its tables in UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.24/Add.1 were discussed in plenary. Budget Chair John Roberts said the group struck a balance between making effective and fast progress in carrying out the Convention and budgetary constraints. He noted that provisions were made for non-compliance meetings in 2008 and 2009, which will not occur.
Final Decision: In the final decision on the funding and 2008-2009 budget (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/CRP.24), the COP, inter alia:
STATUS OF RATIFICATION: On Monday afternoon, the Secretariat informed plenary that there are currently 143 states and one regional economic integration organization that have ratified, accepted, approved or acceded to the Convention (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/INF/22). Plenary took note of the information.
OFFICIAL AND NATIONAL FOCAL POINTS: On Friday afternoon in plenary, the Secretariat noted UNEP/POPS/COP.3/25, underlined the importance of having official focal points for communication between parties and the Secretariat, and asked parties to review and update the list of official contact points and national focal points (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/INF/26). Plenary took note of the information.
The report of the meeting (UNEP/POPS/COP.3/L.1 and L.1/Add.1) was adopted with minor amendments. COP-3 President Lô announced that COP-4 will take place from 4-8 May 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland, and thanked all participants and the Secretariat for their efforts. Regional groups thanked the Government of Senegal for its hospitality and the meeting was gaveled to a close at 8:55 pm.
The Stockholm Convention entered into force nearly three years ago. While COP-1 set the Convention in motion and COP-2 developed the nuts and bolts of implementation, COP-3 represented the last annual COP, after which, the Stockholm Convention parties will convene only every two years. At COP-3 parties faced perhaps their most challenging task yet: they had to set the Convention rolling with sufficient direction and resources to implement its provisions until COP-4 in 2009.
To achieve this, participants knew at the outset of COP-3 that progress in three priority areas was crucial, namely: technical assistance, to adequately enable developing countries; a non-compliance mechanism, to provide incentive for compliance with Convention obligations; and a method to evaluate the effectiveness of implementation. While these were dealt with in separate contact groups throughout the week, the interconnection between them was widely acknowledged, and decisions by each group were clearly contingent on the other groups’ progress. By the time COP-3 was gaveled to a close, much progress had been made on effectiveness evaluation and technical assistance, but non-compliance could not be resolved and will be considered again at COP-4.
The following analysis looks at COP-3’s priorities in greater detail and discusses how the decisions taken in Senegal will affect the intersessional period until the next COP.
Effectiveness evaluation of the Convention is to be undertaken by a group of experts reviewing, at least initially, current data on POPs concentrations. In particular, delegates extensively debated the terms of reference of the coordination group of a global oversight body. Developing countries felt strongly about the composition and size of this coordination group, fearing their voice would not be heard if the group was too small.
On the other hand, many developed nations were concerned about the budgetary implications of a larger group. In the end, participation and funding issues were balanced out and COP-3 decided that the coordination group will consist of three representatives from each of the five UN regions. This solution was satisfactory to both sides since they will meet back-to-back with COP meetings, and will conduct ongoing business via electronic means.
This is significant because now there is a mechanism in place to evaluate the effectiveness of the Convention’s implementation through the Global Monitoring Programme (GMP). However, the mechanism does not clearly specify how the coordination group will function through electronic means during its two-year intersessional period, and hence there is a risk that the group’s objectives may not be met.
As many delegates made clear, financing for implementation is a perennial issue across multilateral environment agreements. COP-2’s financial deliberations were informed by unease over the nature of the fourth replenishment of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the uncertainty about the nature of the new resource allocation framework (RAF), which the POPs regime managed to temporarily escape.
Meanwhile, at COP-3 the financial focus was on providing guidance to GEF on the COP’s priorities. Many delegates complained that the funding from GEF allocated in the current replenishment period to the POPs focal area is far from being adequate for successful implementation of the Convention, and that it takes at least two years to mobilize funding through the current GEF cycle. They called for more funding and suggested a fast track funding arrangement be set up so as to begin implementation before COP-4.
Stockholm Convention regional centers have been identified as a potential effective means of implementing the Convention through regional level projects, such as for POPs disposal or for building capacity on alternatives for DDT. Discussions also focused on how to select these centers.
As such technical assistance remains alive, with renewed focus on regional centers, but perhaps undernourished, due to delays in funding. As a few delegates projected, in 2009 with the fifth replenishment of the GEF, COP-4 may face the same uncertainties as at COP-2 regarding funding. If, as anticipated, this results in POPs being included in the RAF, then parties will be constrained by more rules in accessing GEF funds, which could slow implementation even further.
The procedures and institutional mechanisms for determining non-compliance with the provisions of the Convention and for the treatment of parties found to be in non-compliance were a major challenge for the delegates at COP-3. Notwithstanding a week of deliberations of the Open-ended Working Group on Non-compliance immediately prior to the COP in Dakar, heated debates on the principles of compliance raged.
Some developing countries were quite wary about giving the Secretariat or other parties the authority to initiate non-compliance procedures. Therefore party-to-party triggers and Secretariat triggers were the most contentious issues discussed on this agenda item. While some parties stretched their positions to the breaking point, others were seemingly entrenched in their positions and unable to budge. Irreconcilable differences – especially on the objective, nature and underlying principles of compliance, and on the details of a compliance committee, notably its composition, decision-making process and procedures for submission, meant that the issue will have to be taken up again at COP-4.
Parties came to COP-3 eager to reach resolution on the three factors described above, seen by many as equally important to the success of the Stockholm Convention. Much as a tripod must rely on its legs being equally solid and balanced to provide the necessary stability, COP-3 participants realized the importance of crafting agreements in all three areas as they dashed between the many contact group meetings on these issues. The impact of this tenuous balance was perhaps best expressed by the blunt words of Karel Blaha, Chair of the Committee of the Whole, who highlighted that “a treaty without a compliance mechanism is a weak treaty.”
LOOKING TOWARDS 2009
After the Senegal meeting, non-compliance remains the short leg of the Convention’s tripod. The other two legs, however, technical assistance and finance and effectiveness evaluation, appear to be stabilizing nicely. There were other positive outcomes including on the issue of synergies between the chemicals conventions and the POPs Review Committee (POPRC).
The importance of synergies between the three chemicals-related Conventions again featured prominently on the COP-3 agenda, as was reflected in the unwavering support for the decision taken on this agenda item. All intervening parties stressed the importance of synergies and noted their commitment to moving ahead in this area. This was in contrast to hesitation at COP-2 on the part of some developing countries that were concerned that directing more resources towards synergies may divert resources available to them for technical and financial assistance. Largely due to the intersessional work of the Ad Hoc Joint Working Group (AHJWG) on synergies, the concept of synergies has evolved from a nebulous norm into a series of practical actions, such as adopting a streamlined reporting system, that parties may see as being beneficial. As such, for now at least, synergies represent a common ground for developed and developing countries alike within the Convention.
The POPRC emerged from COP-3 with a clear mandate to continue its work. At its second meeting, the POPRC had stressed the need for a code of practice for the treatment of confidential information and for guidance from the COP on the consideration of isomers. COP-3 adopted decisions on both these matters, thus paving a way for a productive intersessional period for the POPRC.
GETTING THE PICTURE IN FOCUS
While teething problems are to be expected with any new convention, the next COP will mark the Stockholm Convention’s fifth anniversary, and delegates had expected the growing pains to be over and done with by the Dakar meeting. While most of the nuts and bolts such as effectiveness evaluation and financial and technical assistance are making good progress, the Convention is not yet fully mature, with significant growth still needed, particularly in the area of non-compliance. This issue, along with expected progress in the AHJWG on synergies and the POPRC, will certainly feature prominently on the agenda at COP-4 in 2009.
In leaving Dakar, delegates had mixed feelings about whether the Convention has enough momentum to continue progressing during the intersessional period, and whether the two strong legs of the Convention (effectiveness evaluation and financial and technical assistance), coupled with the reassuring continuity of synergies and POPRC decisions, will be enough to stabilize the tripod until the next COP in 2009.
UNEP WORKSHOP TO REDUCE MERCURY USE AND RELEASE IN PRODUCTS FOR THE ASIA PACIFIC: This workshop will convene from 17-19 May 2007, in Bangkok, Thailand, and aims to: strengthen awareness on mercury toxicology, exposure pathways, use and release in products and processes; gain an understanding of mercury flow in trade and on mercury inventories and databases; promote the exchange of information on mercury product substitution and best management practices to reduce mercury from products; promote the global partnership on mercury, particularly on products; and develop action plans aimed at reducing mercury use and release from products. For more information, contact: Desiree M. Narvaez, Programme Officer, Mercury and other Metals Programme, UNEP Chemicals; tel: +41-22-917-8865; fax: +41-22-797-3460; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.chem.unep.ch/mercury/AP Hg products worksheet 16Mar07 .pdf
SAICM ASIA PACIFIC REGIONAL MEETING: This meeting will convene from 21-23 May 2007, in Bangkok, Thailand. Following the adoption of SAICM in February 2006, the regional meetings called for in the SAICM Overarching Policy Strategy to become a key element in the collective efforts to commence implementation of SAICM. The Asia-Pacific Meeting is being organized by UNEP in collaboration with the Pollution Control Department of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Thailand, and the Japanese Institute for Global Environmental Strategies. For more information, contact: UNEP Chemicals; tel: +41-22-917-8334; fax: +41-22-797-3460; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.chem.unep.ch/saicm/meeting/asiapacific/may 07/default.htm
SIXTH FAO/WHO JOINT MEETING ON PESTICIDE SPECIFICATIONS AND 51ST-CIPAC-MEETING: This meeting will convene from 6-14 June 2007, in Durban, South Africa. The FAO/WHO Joint Meeting on Pesticide Specifications (JMPS) and the 51st Collaborative International Pesticides Analytical Council (CIPAC) will include: an FAO/WHO JMPS Closed Meeting (attendance by formal invitation from FAO and WHO only); the 4th Joint CIPAC/FAO/WHO Open Meeting; and a CIPAC Symposium and Technical Meetings. For more information, contact: CIPAC; tel: +27-12-808-8000; fax: +27-12-808-8299; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.cipac.org/datepla.htm
SECOND EU-JUSSCANNZ MEETING ON SAICM: This meeting will convene on 12 June 2007, in Paris, France. EU-JUSSCANNZ countries will hold a second meeting in conjunction with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Joint Meeting of the Chemicals Committee and Working Party on Chemicals, Pesticides and Biotechnology on SAICM. The meeting is intended to address: preparations for the second session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management; financial considerations of the SAICM Quick Start programme; and activities of the SAICM Secretariat. For more information, contact: UNEP Chemicals; tel: +41-22-917-1234; fax: +41-22-797-3460; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.chem.unep.ch/saicm/meeting/EU_Jusscanz/june_07/default.htm
JOINT MEETING OF THE FAO PANEL OF EXPERTS ON PESTICIDE RESIDUES IN FOOD AND THE ENVIRONMENT AND THE WHO CORE ASSESSMENT GROUP ON PESTICIDE RESIDUES: This meeting will convene from 18-27 September 2007, in Geneva, Switzerland. This meeting will consider a list of substances scheduled for evaluation. The list has been prepared by the Joint FAO/WHO Secretariat of the Meeting and is based on recommendations of the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR), previous Expert Meetings, and direct requests from governments, other interested organizations, and producers of substances that have been evaluated previously. For more information, contact: Gero Vaagt, FAO; tel: +39-06-570-56347; fax: +39-6-570-55757; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.fao.org/ag/AGP/AGPP/Pesticid/JMPR/DOWNLOAD/2007JMPRcallfinall.pdf
STOCKHOLM CONVENTION POPRC-3: The third meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC-3) will convene from 19-23 November 2007, in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, contact: the Stockholm Convention Secretariat; tel: +41-22-917-8191; fax: +41-22-917-8098; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.pops.int
FOURTH MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE ROTTERDAM CONVENTION: The fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention will take place in Rome, Italy, from 20-25 October 2008. For more information, contact: the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat; tel: +41-22-917-8296; fax: +41-22-917-8082; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.pic.int
FOURTH MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE STOCKHOLM CONVENTION ON PERSISTENT ORGANIC POLLUTANTS: This meeting will convene from 4-8 May 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, contact: the Stockholm Convention Secretariat; tel: +41-22-917-8191; fax: +41-22-917-8098; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.pops.int/