On the opening day of INC-4, delegates met in a morning Plenary
session to hear opening remarks and address organizational matters. In
the afternoon, the Implementation Aspects Group (IAG) addressed
technical assistance (Article J) and financial resources and mechanisms
(Article K), and the Negotiating Group (NG) considered public
information, awareness and education (Article H) and research,
development and monitoring (Article I).
Jürgen Trittin, German Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature
Conservation and Nuclear Safety, noted sufficient evidence exists to
justify banning new POPs and urged the chemical industry to rethink its
product policy, noting the highest POPs emissions come from legally
produced chemical products. He emphasized a financial framework to
phase-out POPs, taking into account countries’ differing
Bärbel Dieckman, Mayor of Bonn, encouraged transparency and open
communication to guide the week’s discussions and reiterated Germany’s
offer to locate the future Secretariat in Bonn.
Klaus Töpfer, UNEP Executive Director, urged agreement on
eliminating the 12 POPs, said POPs are an example of exporting the
disadvantages of economic growth to developing countries, and
highlighted the importance of a precautionary approach. He emphasized
the importance of technical assistance, technology transfer and a
financial mechanism to enable active participation of developing
Chair John Buccini (Canada) introduced, and delegates adopted, the
provisional agenda (UNEP/POPS/INC.4/1). Jim Willis, UNEP Chemicals,
overviewed intersessional work undertaken by the Secretariat and related
meeting documents. With regard to ongoing international activities,
Willis overviewed the master list of actions on the reduction and/or
elimination of the releases of POPs (UNEP/POPS/INC.4/INF/5) and
highlighted UNEP actions on POPs, including training and
capacity-building workshops on, inter alia, managing PCB stocks
and addressing stocks of obsolete pesticides. Chair Buccini supported
treating the master list as an ongoing global POPs action plan to
expedite the implementation and ratification process. He reviewed the
decisions, milestones and meetings since 1995 in addressing POPs, and
noted that INC-4 needs to address all aspects of the convention.
COUNTRY STATEMENTS: PORTUGAL, on behalf of the EU, stressed the
future convention’s importance and called for caution as the guiding
principle. The US called for a strong and effective treaty with
meaningful controls and eliminations. He supported setting realistic
goals for byproducts and assisting developing countries through existing
bilateral and multilateral mechanisms. He announced a US$500,000 grant
to the GEF/UNEP regionally based assessment of persistent toxic
substances. CANADA underlined the importance of technology innovation,
pollution prevention, and a sound, science-based process that exercises
precaution in identifying additional POPs. He announced that CANADA will
provide CAN$20 million over the next five years for capacity-building
activities. INDIA called for assistance that accommodates the
differences in priorities and resources among developing countries.
JAPAN advocated a science-based risk assessment procedures for listing
substances in the treaty and announced a contribution of US$150,000 to
support INC-4 and INC-5.
CHINA underlined the importance of access to technology and financial
resources to ensure developing countries’ participation, and supported
a multilateral funding mechanism similar to that of the Montreal
Protocol. CHILE called for, inter alia, specific time limits and
targets depending on countries’ stages of development, exchange of
scientific and technical knowledge, and creation of regional centers and
certified laboratories. COLOMBIA supported inclusion of the
precautionary principle, a transparent financial mechanism and a
mechanism to deal with liability and compensation.
Noting many developing countries cannot afford existing alternatives
to POPs, THAILAND called for commitment to technical and financial
assistance, especially from exporting countries. SOUTH AFRICA, IRAN,
CHINA and VENEZUELA emphasized common but differentiated
responsibilities. Several countries, including ECUADOR, IRAN and
VENEZUELA, stressed the importance of technical and financial
assistance. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA supported using existing mechanisms
for technical and financial assistance. NIGERIA stressed integrating the
needs of developing countries and countries with economies in transition
in the future POPs treaty. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION called for a flexible
instrument to enable broad participation. CAMEROON supported a flexible
procedure for identifying POPs. NEPAL drew attention to the problem of
illegal entry of banned pesticides.
UNITAR noted progress in the IFCS initiative to develop a global
capacity-building network for chemicals management and highlighted
available guidance and training packages on, inter alia, risk
management, financial resources and planning. The FAO overviewed ongoing
activities on pesticide management. The INUIT CIRCUMPOLAR CONFERENCE
called for financial support through a simple, effective mechanism.
IPEN'S WOMEN’S WORKING GROUP emphasized that POPs are affecting the
mental and physical development of children.
IMPLEMENTATION ASPECTS GROUP
Chair Maria Cristina Cardenas Fischer (Colombia) opened the IAG by
briefing delegates on the intersessional meeting of the IAG Bureau and
the resulting compilation text on technical assistance (Article J) and
financial resources and mechanisms (Article K) (UNEP/POPS/INC.4/3). She
then invited general comments.
CANADA announced it will submit a proposal for a "capacity
assistance network" housed in the Secretariat to coordinate
assistance from several agencies, including the GEF. Numerous
delegations, including NORWAY, the US, ICELAND and AUSTRALIA supported
such a network.
ARTICLE J: Delegates generally supported the compilation text,
with some delegations, including CANADA and BRAZIL, calling for more
precise language. URUGUAY said POPs alternatives should be given greater
consideration. VENEZUELA supported broader language on training. BRAZIL
proposed a provision for assistance in identifying and recovering
contaminated sites. ZAMBIA emphasized assistance at the regional level.
Regarding a paragraph recognizing technical assistance as essential
to successful implementation of the convention, and calling on parties
to cooperate to provide technical assistance, the EU specified technical
assistance "upon request." SOUTH AFRICA, on behalf of the
African Group, proposed alternative text emphasizing that developed
countries provide technical assistance to develop necessary
infrastructure and capacity.
On a paragraph listing types of assistance to be provided, the US,
supported by CANADA and MICRONESIA, said the list should be
illustrative, not exhaustive. CANADA preferred action-oriented text.
With regard to assistance to review available infrastructure, capacity
and institutions at the national and local level, the EU specified that
this be conducted with relevant international organizations.
On assistance to develop and implement programmes and/or national
action plans, CANADA proposed specifying assisting national
implementation plans as described in Article E, taking into account
national priorities. On assistance for training decision makers,
managers and personnel responsible for collecting data regarding the
effect of POPs, CANADA proposed amending the text to include data
collection and analysis required by its proposed harmonized global
monitoring programme to be established under Article I. The US suggested
including the effects of POPs alternatives. The EU proposed broadening
the text to include training for those responsible for meeting the
convention's reporting requirements and CANADA suggested this be
Regarding assistance for strengthening training and research capacity
at the national and regional level for introducing alternatives for POPs,
the EU preferred that this assistance be for "identifying and"
introducing alternatives. The US suggested it should be for monitoring
POPs releases, reducing the use of POPs, and identifying and developing
environmentally sound alternatives to POPs, such as integrated pest
management (IPM). INDIA, supported by CHINA, said the reference to IPM
was too specific. ZAMBIA proposed amending the US suggestion to provide
for continuous reduction of POPs. SOUTH AFRICA noted the African Group’s
proposal is for "assistance for training and research
capacity," not its "strengthening." CANADA proposed
"to develop and strengthen." Delegates will consider a revised
version of the article incorporating these and other proposals at its
ARTICLE K: Delegates considered two options for Article K:
policies to, inter alia, provide information on available sources
and strengthen existing funds and mechanisms; and establishment of an
independent multilateral fund. CANADA, NEW ZEALAND and ICELAND supported
the first option as the basis for discussion, while CHINA, CUBA, PAPUA
NEW GUINEA, MICRONESIA, ZAMBIA, the AFRICAN GROUP, and GRULAC preferred
the second. The US and AUSTRALIA supported an approach to address
country-specific needs. Cautioning that establishment of a new fund
could be time consuming and bureaucratic, the US supported a portfolio
approach. NORWAY supported the GEF as the major funding source.
MICRONESIA said INC-4 should establish an idea of what the mechanism
will be like.
The NG, chaired by Buccini, based discussion on the working text of
the convention as contained in the report of INC-3 (UNEP/ POPS/INC.3/4).
ARTICLE H: On public information, awareness and education,
POLAND, with the RUSSIAN FEDERATION and INDIA, supported deleting
chapeau language stating that parties actions be carried out consistent
with parties’ capabilities, and the GAMBIA, the REPUBLIC OF KOREA and
BRAZIL opposed. SOUTH AFRICA suggested alternative chapeau language on
taking into account common but differentiated responsibilities,
respective capabilities, and specific national and regional development
priorities and circumstances.
JAPAN, with CANADA, the RUSSIAN FEDERATION, the US, CHINA, INDIA and
BRAZIL, supported promotion and facilitation of the article’s
provisions in accordance with national laws and regulations. The US,
supported by URUGUAY, suggested that information be provided if
"available," and proposed removing bracketed text referring to
specific types of information. The EU proposed a streamlined version of
the article, which includes reference to providing information relevant
to the convention, deletes subsections referencing specific types of
information, and deletes reference to "in accordance with national
laws and regulations."
IRAN, with ETHIOPIA, ECUADOR and THAILAND, expressed concern over the
EU’s proposed removal of the subsections. URUGUAY opposed the EU’s
proposed removal of a subsection relating to the provision of
information on POPs by industry and professional users. CANADA, with
ARGENTINA, BRAZIL, ECUADOR, CHILE, VENEZUELA and THAILAND, called for
retention of the subsection, as well as "in accordance with
national laws and regulations."
The GAMBIA suggested governments should "ensure" rather
than "encourage" industry to fulfill the specified
obligations. She also proposed including specific reference to women and
children, and workers. ARGENTINA recommended retaining reference to
alternative methods and to IPM. VENEZUELA emphasized the need for civil
society’s participation and for POPs substitutes. Chair Buccini said a
revised version of Article H would be available the following afternoon.
ARTICLE I: On research, development and monitoring, the EU
proposed streamlining the articleï¿½s text to emphasize key elements,
retaining language on, inter alia: chemical and non-chemical
alternatives, monitoring levels in the environment, effects on human
health and environment, and social, cultural and economic factors.
POLAND, JAPAN and the RUSSIAN FEDERATION supported retaining the
provision on monitoring and assessing releases, persistence, and long
range transport based on modeling, and harmonizing or standardizing
The US proposed that Parties shall "encourage" research,
development and monitoring, and that brackets be lifted from references
to IPM, non-chemical alternatives, and harmonization of methodologies
and techniques. The US said research and monitoring results be publicly
available where appropriate. IRAN supported making results publicly
accessible. CANADA proposed developing a harmonized global monitoring
programme, to be implemented on a regional basis, to detect changes in
POPs concentrations in the environment, utilizing existing programmes as
much as possible. COLOMBIA, INDONESIA and POLAND, JAMAICA and the US
generally supported such a programme. COLOMBIA, supported by JAMAICA,
proposed adding language on implementing such a programme in accordance
with technical and financial capabilities. The EU questioned the need to
establish a formal mechanism, noting the Canadian proposal would be
costly. CANADA said the programme constituted a legitimate activity for
capacity-building resource allocation. The Secretariat will produce a
compilation text based on the various proposals.
IN THE CORRIDORS
As various major groups consulted informally on their game plan in
preparation for discussions on control measures, a number of observers
speculated on the nature of alliances being formed. Speculation was rife
on the stance to be adopted by developing countries, and on the impact
this may have on agreement on financial mechanisms. While some speculate
debates at INC-4 will heat up, others suggested the real showdown will
not occur until INC-5.