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Volume 15 Number 201 - Wednesday, 1 May 2013
STOCKHOLM CONVENTION COP6 HIGHLIGHTS
Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The Ordinary and Extraordinary Meetings of the COPs to the BC, RC and SC convened for a third day on Tuesday, 30 April 2013. Delegates met throughout the day in plenary to consider issues under SC COP6.

Contact groups met throughout the day.

SC COP6

The session was chaired by SC COP6 President Álvarez.

ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: Election of Officers: The Joint Secretariat introduced the document (UNEP/POPS/COP.6/2) for the election of ten Bureau members and noted the budgets proposed (UNEP/FAO/CHW/RC/POPS/EXCOPS.2/3) provides for five SC Bureau members. President Álvarez invited regional groups to nominate a Bureau member by Wednesday.

Organization of work: The Joint Secretariat noted the organization of work is contained in ExCOPs2 documents (UNEP/FAO/CHW/RC/POPS/EXCOPS.2/INF/1/Rev.1 and INF/2/Rev.1), with updates posted online.

Credentials: The Joint Secretariat introduced the relevant documents (UNEP/POPS/COP.6/1/Add.1 and UNEP/FAO/CHW/RC/POPS/EXCOPS.2/INF/15) and asked parties to submit their credentials.

RULES OF PROCEDURE (RoP): The Joint Secretariat introduced the document (UNEP/POPS/COP.6/3), and the COP agreed to defer a formal decision on this matter to COP7, and to continue decision-making by consensus.

President Álvarez then introduced a proposal by the Executive Secretary contained in the 2014-2015 budget to amend rule 22 of the RoP to reduce the size of the SC Bureau, by reducing the number of Vice-Presidents from 9 to 4.

The EU, Poland on behalf of the CEE, and Morocco on behalf of the AFRICAN GROUP supported the proposal. Mexico on behalf of GRULAC, Qatar on behalf of the ASIA-PACIFIC GROUP and Iraq on behalf of the ARAB GROUP opposed the proposal.

SWITZERLAND supported the proposal and offered a compromise solution to address concerns, consisting of a five-member Bureau with the option, as occurs in the BC, of holding extended Bureau meetings.

President Álvarez suggested the Executive Secretary develop another “innovative solution” during the intersessional period and present a new proposal at the next COP.

PROGRAMME OF WORK AND BUDGET: The Joint Secretariat introduced the item (UNEP/FAO/CHW/RC/POPS/EXCOPS.2/3), noting the Budget and Synergies Contact Group will prepare budget decisions for each of the ordinary COPs.

MATTERS RELATED TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONVENTION: Listing of chemicals: The Joint Secretariat introduced the item, reviewing: POPRC8’s recommendation to list hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) in Annex A with specific exemptions for production and use in expanded and extruded polystyrene (EPS and XPS) in buildings (UNEP/POPS/COP.6/16 and 17); rotation of membership (UNEP/POPS/COP.6/16 and EXCOPS.2/INF/17); and cooperation with the RC Chemical Review Committee (CRC) (EXCOPS.2/INF/17).

POPRC Chair Reiner Arndt (Germany) reviewed POPRC’s work, noting, inter alia, its ongoing review of four substances, and that he will retire as Chair after POPRC9.    

President Álvarez thanked Arndt for his leadership of POPRC since its inception, and invited interventions on listing HBCD.  

NORWAY supported listing HBCD in Annex A without exemptions, noting that use of EPS and XPS in buildings constitutes 80-90% of global demand. The PHILIPPINES, and NIGERIA expressed support “in principle” for Norway’s proposal, highlighting the need for financial support.

AUSTRALIA and NEW ZEALAND supported listing HBCD in Annex A with exemptions, noting alternatives may not be available in sufficient quantities. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA, with JAPAN, the EU, SWITZERLAND and CANADA, supported listing HBCD in Annex A with specific five-year exemptions for XPS and EPS in buildings. The EU noted the need to identify wastes containing HBCD.

JORDAN said the exemption should not exceed COP8. UGANDA, SOUTH AFRICA and NIGERIA said new chemicals increase the compliance burden and need for financial and technical assistance.

Noting that it could not yet support listing, VENEZUELA said further information was needed from industry, and CUBA stated effective financial and technical assistance must be available. CHINA expressed concern that commercialized alternatives currently available are insufficient.

Morocco, for the AFRICAN GROUP, said the Group was still consulting on exemptions. NIGER added assistance is needed to evaluate heat-resistant materials for his country.

COSTA RICA supported the Annex A listing, but noted technical and financial assistance are needed to determine the scale of use in his country.

Iraq, on behalf of the ARAB GROUP, supported the proposal to include HBCD in Annex A, but called for further information on its use.

ALASKA COMMUNITY ACTION ON TOXICS, with the GLOBAL INDIGENOUS PEOPLES CAUCUS, supported listing HBCD in Annex A with no exemptions, underscoring the “severe and lasting impacts” on indigenous and northern communities of POPs. Also supporting the listing with no exemptions, IPEN added that exemptions for recycling of POPs is “dangerous” and “violates” the SC.

Noting general agreement on the listing, President Álvarez proposed establishing a contact group to work on the draft HBCD decision, taking into consideration additional proposals submitted by Norway and the EU (UNEP/FAO/CHW/RC/POPS/EXCOPS.2/CRP.2 and CRP.3). CUBA, with BRAZIL, raised concerns about the number of simultaneous contact groups.

On a question of decision-making procedures, President Álvarez clarified the SC allows voting, and Executive Secretary Willis outlined two options in the Convention for parties with reservations to specific listings to not be bound by the Annex amendments. CUBA, with VENEZUELA, said the listing is a matter of “substance” and thus the decision must be taken by consensus.

President Álvarez then introduced the draft decision on POPRC developments (UNEP/POPS/COP.6/16).

Noting no nominations for the POPRC Chair were received, President Álvarez suggested asking the POPRC to identify an interim chair for POPRC10, to be confirmed at COP7.

On collaboration between the committees, the EU supported back-to-back meetings. GRULAC stated that collaboration should involve information exchange. CHINA suggested a one-day joint session.

NORWAY and the EU suggested the committees discuss procedural issues and synergies, while CHINA cautioned that this is beyond their mandates.

SC COP6 then “virtually” adopted the decision in UNEP/POPS/COP.6/16 with two amendments: the POPRC would elect an interim chair for confirmation at COP7, and collaboration in a possible joint session would consist of a one-day scientific information exchange with outcomes reported to SC COP7.

IMPLEMENTATION PLANS: The Joint Secretariat introduced information documents on NIPs (UNEP/POPS/COP.6/INF/13, INF/14 and INF/15). The EU highlighted the importance of developing and updating NIPs.

Noting that large numbers of countries had not completed or updated NIPs, Morocco for the AFRICAN GROUP, with BAHRAIN, LEBANON, OMAN, PARAGUAY, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, MOLDOVA, GUINEA, TOGO, BANGLADESH and PAKISTAN, requested financial support and technical assistance to enable them to do so.

LIBERIA noted that not a single project from its NIP action plan has been implemented, expressing hope that updating NIPs will lead to technical assistance.  PAPUA NEW GUINEA highlighted the capacity challenges in implementing action plans.  

CANADA, supported by AUSTRALIA, highlighted the need to develop new guidance, and suggested some amendments to the document on NIPs (UNEP/POPS/COP.6/15). NORWAY supported the proposed action for an expert group under the SC to update the existing BAT/BEP guidance on PBDEs that includes recycling.

VENEZUELA reported that his country is in the final stage of NIPs development. The FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA, KAZAKHSTAN, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO and TOGO reported they had completed their NIP.

SWAZILAND and SUDAN noted they have received GEF funding to update their NIPs, and BARBADOS said it would seek GEF funding.

The SEYCHELLES urged the Secretariat to address the issue of high co-financing ratios. Lebanon, for the ARAB GROUP, said GEF quotas assigned to countries must be reconsidered. MEXICO noted NIP-submission deadlines are unrealistic.

President Álvarez invited Canada and Australia to submit their amendments in a CRP, and suggested parties’ financing concerns be relayed to the contact group on Technical Assistance and Financial Resources.

MEASURES TO REDUCE OR ELIMINATE RELEASES FROM INTENTIONAL PRODUCTION AND USE: Exemptions: The Joint Secretariat introduced documents on exemptions (UNEP/POPS/COP.6/5, 6, 7, INF/4.Rev.1 and INF/7).

The EU, NORWAY, JAPAN and CANADA supported the proposed processes and formats, but had additional suggestions and requested further work.

MEXICO supported the proposals related to exemptions. The PHILIPPINES requested financial and technical assistance to fulfill obligations on PFOS. Iraq, for the ARAB GROUP, emphasized the need for financial resources for BDE identification and elimination.

IPEN and the ALASKA COMMUNITY ACTION ON TOXICS urged the elimination of exemptions.

This issue will be taken up by the contact group on Listing of Chemicals, and on New POPs, co-chaired by Bjorn Hansen (EU) and Azhari Abdelbagi (Sudan).

BDEs and PFOS, its salts and PFOSF: The Joint Secretariat introduced the work programme on BDEs and PFOS, its salts and PFOSF (UNEP/POPS/COP.6/10 and INF/7).

NORWAY urged parties to take a “stronger decision” including to stop using PFOS for several applications. JAPAN raised concern over identifying a possible POP before a detailed review.

The EU encouraged parties to submit information on their experiences implementing PFOS decisions.

MEXICO requested more information on, inter alia, the consumer sectors, volume consumed and emissions.

Parties agreed to continue discussion in the Listing of Chemicals, and on New POPs Contact Group.

Alternatives to Endosulfan: The Joint Secretariat introduced the work programme on endosulfan (UNEP/POPS/COP.6/11, INF/14/Rev.1, INF/15, INF/28 and INF/29).

INDIA, with CANADA and CHINA, raised concerns that the draft decision encourages parties to avoid using dicofol prior to review, and requests the POPRC to assess nine additional chemicals that “might meet” Annex D criteria prior to nomination by a party. The EU noted that, of the over 100 chemicals assessed, the majority did not meet criteria for persistence or bioaccumulation.

BENIN, UGANDA, KENYA, MOROCCO, VENEZUELA and TOGO reported that they banned endosulfan use and import, and are using alternatives.

Chair Arndt clarified that the POPRC “did what we were tasked to do” in COP decision 5/4 and that the report does not say that these alternatives are POPs.

CONTACT GROUPS

COMPLIANCE AND LEGAL MATTERS: Co-chaired by Anne Daniel (Canada) and Jimena Nieto (Colombia), the contact group began negotiations on draft decisions on compliance related to the BC (UNEP/CHW.11/10), SC (UNEP/POPS/COP.6/29), and RC (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.6/13). The group first discussed the draft decision on BC compliance based on the draft text contained in paragraph 14 of the document. Delegates discussed the text paragraph by paragraph, and some proposals for amendments were made on issues such as financing and national reporting.

BUDGET AND SYNERGIES: The group, co-chaired by Gregor Filyk (Canada) and Karel Blaha (Czech Republic), discussed synergies in the morning and the budget in the afternoon. On synergies, the group discussed all elements of the draft omnibus decision, except the MOU. On holding back-to-back meetings, some parties with small delegations expressed concerns and several said it was too early to decide. On collaboration with the Minamata Convention on Mercury, parties discussed to what extent to offer collaboration and cooperation.

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND FINANCIAL RESOURCES: The group, co-chaired by Mohammed Khashashneh (Jordan) and Reginald Hernaus (the Netherlands), resumed Tuesday morning.

Participants first heard a summary by the Joint Secretariat on the discussions in plenary on HBCD, noting concerns from some parties on technical and financial assistance needs related to the proposed listing. The group then considered the draft decisions, commenting on changes to the original text and proposing new amendments.

IN THE CORRIDORS

Tempers frayed as it became apparent on Tuesday that Italy had not, as previously suggested by the Joint Secretariat on Monday, settled its long-standing arrears to the conventions. It seems UNEP Nairobi did indeed receive funds from the Italian Government, but they were intended for another convention. This left some participants upset and many asked questions about the implications for the RC budget, parties’ contributions and Rome-based operations. These issues are pressing as the SC budget, linked to the RC budget, must be completed by Thursday.

On Tuesday, synergies took a backseat to the Stockholm Convention’s core work of listing POPs. Many were pleased to see the Inuit sculpture of a mother and child on the dais. Presented to Klaus Topfer at the second intergovernmental negotiating committee meeting by the Inuit Circumpolar Council, this sculpture serves as a powerful reminder of the raison d’être of the Convention: the impact of POPs pollution on human health and the environment.

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This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <enb@iisd.org> is written and edited by Jennifer Allan, Melanie Ashton, Kate Neville, Ph.D., Jessica Templeton, Ph.D., and Kunbao Xia. The Digital Editor is Kate Harris. The Editor is Pamela S. Chasek, Ph.D. <pam@iisd.org>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the European Commission (DG-ENV), the Government of Canada (through CIDA), the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), and the Government of Australia. General Support for the Bulletin during 2013 is provided by the Ministry of Environment of Sweden, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, SWAN International, the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Funding for translation of the Bulletin into French has been provided by the Government of France, the Belgium Walloon Region, Québec, and the International Organization of the Francophone (OIF and IEPF). The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD or other donors. Excerpts from the 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 300 East 56th St., 11D, New York, NY 10022 USA. The ENB team at the 2013 COPs and ExCOPs can be contacted by e-mail at <melanie@iisd.org>.
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