Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 15 No. 78
Wednesday, 16 July 2003
POPS INC-7 HIGHLIGHTS:
TUESDAY, 15 JULY 2003
On the second day of the Seventh Session of the
Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-7), delegates met in
morning and afternoon Plenary sessions and in a morning Budget
Group. In Plenary, delegates heard presentations on the location of
the Secretariat, discussed terms of reference (ToR) for the
persistent organic pollutants (POPs) Review Committee (POPRC),
deliberated on national implementation plan (NIP) interim guidance
and updating and review, and considered technical assistance issues.
The Legal Drafting Group (LDG) met throughout the day to discuss
issues forwarded to it by Plenary.
Stockholm Convention Executive Secretary Jim
Willis presented certificates to contributors to the POPs Club (UNEP/
OTHER ISSUES FOR CONSIDERATION BY COP-1: Location
of the Secretariat: On the location of the permanent Secretariat
(UNEP/POPS/INC.7/23), delegates heard presentations from those
countries offering to host the Secretariat, namely: Germany (UNEP/POPS/INC.7/INF/3
and CRP.7); Italy (UNEP/ POPS/INC.7/INF/5); and Switzerland (UNEP/POPS/INC.7/INF/4
and CRP.4). Delegates agreed to forward this issue to the first
Conference of the Parties (COP-1) and requested the Secretariat to
prepare a table comparing the offers.
PREPARATIONS FOR THE COP: POPRC: The
Secretariat reported on the POPRC draft ToR (UNEP/POPS/INC.7/11) and
on the work of the INC-6 POPRC contact group (UNEP/ POPS/INC.6/22),
noting outstanding issues relating to the Committee’s composition,
officers, and finances. Regarding the composition of the POPRC, the
US recommended, and ARGENTINA and IRAN opposed, using the Food and
Agriculture Organization’s model of regional representation. While
numerous delegates stressed the importance of equitable geographic
representation, ARGENTINA, AUSTRALIA, CHINA, KENYA, MOLDOVA, and
others specifically emphasized the need for equitable representation
from developing countries and countries with economies in transition
CANADA underscored the importance of clear
language on conflict-of-interest provisions and GERMANY highlighted
the need to prepare conflict-of-interest rules prior to COP-1.
ITALY, on behalf of the EU, requested additional detail on POPRC
meeting costs and recommended that the LDG review discrepancies
between the ToR and draft Rules of Procedure. JAPAN noted the need
to consider participation by relevant experts, and AUSTRALIA
stressed the role of chemical management experts. EGYPT called for
industrial expertise, in addition to health and environmental
expertise, while KENYA recommended not specifying the expertise
type. INDIA suggested that the POPRC consider inviting experts from
countries producing the pollutant under review.
CHINA stressed the need to agree on the method of
determining representation and called attention to models from
intergovernmental organizations. The CZECH REPUBLIC noted
difficulties in defining CEITs. GERMANY reminded delegates that
Parties attending COP-1 should be prepared to nominate experts.
The Secretariat emphasized that the draft ToR
approved at INC-6 has yet to be reviewed by the LDG. On POPRC
composition, he suggested using text from Article 19 of the
Convention, stating that members of the POPRC "be appointed on the
basis of equitable geographical representation."
After a small working group discussion, CANADA
introduced a revised draft at the afternoon Plenary (UNEP/POPS/INC.7/
CRP.11), which, inter alia, clarifies the distinction between
"designated experts" and "invited experts" of the POPRC.
CANADA emphasized the need to: prepare draft
guidelines on conflict-of-interest procedures to be considered at
COP-1; develop a procedure for replacement of POPRC members unable
to attend meetings; and ensure that Parties at COP-1 provide
curricula vitae of nominated experts. IRAN suggested learning
from the Rotterdam Convention’s conflict-of-interest procedure.
CHILE, with SOUTH AFRICA, expressed concern at the number of
observers that could take part in POPRC meetings and suggested that
a limit be set. MOROCCO called for geographical distribution in the
selection of POPRC co-chairs and stressed the importance of
simultaneous translation at POPRC meetings. Chair Buccini reminded
delegates of their agreement at INC-6 that English be the working
language of the POPRC. Delegates agreed to forward their questions
and the revised draft ToR to the LDG.
Interim NIP guidance: The Secretariat
outlined the development of interim guidance on preparing NIPs (UNEP/POPS/INC.7/
9 and INF/20). The US noted that certain aspects of the present
guidance mischaracterize Convention obligations and supported
revision to the guidance. The EU, CHINA, NIGERIA, on behalf of the
African Group, and others stressed the need for flexibility in
implementing NIPs. SWITZERLAND, the AFRICAN GROUP, and others
underlined that the guidance should be a "living document" subject
to revision. VENEZUELA, on behalf of Latin American and Caribbean
Countries Group, stressed the need for more time to review the
guidance. GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL stressed the need to include in
NIPs the prevention of unintentional POPs, and the PESTICIDE ACTION
NETWORK OF LATIN AMERICA urged transparency and civil society
participation at all stages of NIP development. Delegates agreed
that comments on the guidance must be submitted to the Secretariat
by 30 September 2003.
The Review and Updating of NIPs: The
Secretariat requested guidance on the trigger for the review and
updating of NIPs (UNEP/POPS/INC.7/10), noting periodic and "as
needed" review and update options. AUSTRALIA, CHINA, BRAZIL and
others stressed that updating and review should be done on an "as
needed" basis. CHILE and NEW ZEALAND emphasized that NIP timetables
should dictate when reviews are necessary. The EU said changes in
obligations under the Convention should be a trigger. ARGENTINA
called for further analysis of the need to revise NIPs and
SWITZERLAND encouraged the Secretariat to revisit the issue once
practical experience is gained. The Secretariat will prepare a draft
decision for consideration by INC-7.
Technical Assistance: The Secretariat
introduced its notes on guidance on technical assistance (UNEP/POPS/INC.7/13),
the feasibility and case studies on regional and subregional centers
(UNEP/POPS/INC.7/14 and 15), and submissions in response to INC-6
decisions relating to technical assistance (UNEP/POPS/ INC.7/16).
She noted that recently pledged funds will activate postponed work
on feasibility and case studies of regional and subregional centers.
Many delegates reiterated the high priority of technical assistance
and commended Canada, Italy, and Switzerland for their
ARGENTINA, EGYPT, ITALY, SWITZERLAND, SENEGAL and
others stressed the need for synergies with the Basel Convention
Regional Centers. CANADA recommended, inter alia: consulting
with the Global Environment Facility on guidance for technical
assistance; considering possible cooperation with not only the Basel
Convention’s but also other relevant centers; and exploring the
feasibility of the Capacity Assistance Network and its links to
ITALY, CHILE and EGYPT stressed the role of NIPs
in identifying priorities for technical assistance. CHILE, supported
by MOROCCO and others, highlighted the need to identify mechanisms
for providing technical assistance, underscoring that regional
centers are only one of many possible mechanisms for technical
assistance. INC Chair Buccini said Chile’s concern would be
reflected in the report of the meeting.
The AFRICAN GROUP said that the means of
implementation are not properly addressed in the Secretariat’s note
on guidance on technical assistance and suggested creating a working
group to commence immediately and continue intersessionally.
ARGENTINA, supported by VENEZUELA, noted the difficulties for small
delegations to attend additional meetings at INC-7 and recommended
holding informal discussions, while JAMAICA raised funding issues
regarding the creation of a new working group. SAINT LUCIA,
supported by ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA, noted the need for more detailed
directions on technical assistance to the Caribbean region and
called for synergies with UN Industrial Development Organization
Cleaner Production Centres. SAMOA noted the importance of
subregional centers. CAMEROON called for a new partnership on
technology transfer in Sub-Saharan Africa. MEXICO called for a focus
on capacity building.
COLOMBIA and others recommended using existing
regional centers, whereas BRAZIL suggested expanding the feasibility
study to include new centers. CHINA proposed adding the
identification of barriers to technology transfer to the list of
"some common elements of technical assistance needs and priorities",
contained in the Annex to the report on guidance on technical
assistance. VENEZUELA suggested identifying the means for
eliminating such barriers. CHINA proposed that there should be one
case study for each region. GHANA and ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA called for
the strengthening of regional centers. CHILE requested a transparent
evaluation of the role of the centers, including their limitations
INC Chair Buccini clarified that the feasibility
study will assess whether the centers meet technical assistance
needs and evaluate how to meet unfulfilled needs. He also underlined
that the "common elements" are only examples and do not represent a
limited or fixed list. He suggested requesting the Secretariat to
prepare draft guidance on technical assistance, pursuant to
Convention Article 12, taking into account delegates’ comments and
relevant documents. Chair Buccini explained that the draft guidance
and the findings of the feasibility and case studies would be
submitted to COP-1.
The Budget Group, chaired by Fernando Lugris
(Uruguay), discussed the budget’s reporting format and the 2004
budget. On the reporting format, delegates underscored the need for
transparency, clarity, flexibility, greater levels of detail, and
prioritization in budgeting. Several delegates noted the importance
of budgeting as a planning tool. Executive Secretary Willis stressed
the need to maintain flexibility in the reporting format to reflect
the budgetary uncertainties of the interim period and suggested
discussing the reporting timeframe. Delegates also addressed,
inter alia: the merits of a biennial versus an annual budget; an
option of listing priorities in an annex to the budget; and the
possibility of having separate budgets for core and other
Citing the relevant experiences of other
multilateral environmental agreements, delegates discussed whether
the budget report should list expenditure lines ("line-based"
approach) or break the expenditures down by priority areas ("programmic"
approach). The Group agreed that the Secretariat would draft both a
line-based budget report for 2004 and one modeled on the INC-6
format with a more detailed breakdown of the main cost categories,
taking into account LDG outcomes on financial rules.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Perceiving limited progress on technical
assistance issues, some developing country delegates felt that a
working group would be helpful in advancing the issue prior to
COP-1. Other delegates were enthusiastic about the progress made in
Plenary, but several feared that momentum might slow when issues
discussed by the LDG are returned to Plenary. On a lighter note,
Germany was shocked when it was mistakenly reported that it was
offering 500,000 million Euros to host the Secretariat in Geneva!
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: Plenary will meet at 10:00 am in
Room 2 to discuss the financial resources and mechanisms, interim
financial arrangements, DDT, the register of specific exemptions,
and possibly some outcomes of the LDG.
LDG: The LDG will convene in Room 17 after
LDG Chair Anne Danielï¿½s (Canada) report to Plenary.
BUDGET GROUP: The Budget Group will meet
today at a time and place to be announced.