Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 15 No. 79
Thursday, 17 July 2003
POPS INC-7 HIGHLIGHTS:
WEDNESDAY, 16 JULY 2003
On the third day of the Seventh Session of the
Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-7), delegates met in
morning and afternoon Plenary sessions to discuss issues regarding
non-compliance, reporting, the register of specific exemptions and
DDT. The Legal Drafting Group (LDG) met throughout the day to
discuss arbitration and conciliation rules and the draft terms of
reference (ToR) of the Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Review
LDG Chair Anne Daniel (Canada) reported on the
LDG’s progress. She announced the impending release of conference
room papers (CRPs) on Conference of the Parties (COP) rules of
procedures, financial rules, and arbitration and conciliation rules.
Daniel noted that it was planned that an open contact group on
non-compliance would convene in the afternoon, and that the LDG
would hold an evening session, if necessary.
Budget Group Chair Fernando Lugris (Uruguay)
reported to Plenary on Tuesday’s budget meeting. Noting the lack of
agreement on the budget format, he explained that the Secretariat is
preparing two possible alternatives. He said the first alternative
is based on a model stemming from the Montreal Protocol and Basel
Convention that compares budgets from 2003-2005, and the second
follows the INC-6 budget format presented to INC-6. He said the
Budget Group would meet again to consider these two options.
Regarding the POPRC, VENEZUELA, on behalf of the
Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC), supported by NIGERIA,
on behalf of the African Group, and others stated that, to be
legitimate, the discussion on geographic representation and managing
observer participation had to be carried out in Plenary, and not
within the LDG. INC Chair John Buccini (Canada) emphasized that the
LDG would not resolve policy issues and that the draft ToR on the
POPRC would be forwarded to Plenary for discussion.
On the creation of a non-compliance contact
group, GRULAC, with CHINA, requested that INC-7 concentrate instead
on issues such as the financial mechanism, technical assistance and
technology transfer. CHINA, with CUBA, EGYPT and others stressed
that discussing non-compliance prior to the Convention’s entry into
force would be premature and, with CHILE and others, drew attention
to the late start of non-compliance discussions under the Basel
SWITZERLAND, with ITALY, on behalf of the EU,
emphasized the benefit of exchanging views on non-compliance in an
open discussion. Reminding delegates of the agreement on Monday to
consider non-compliance if time allows, Chair Buccini explained that
the proposed contact group would be open and would serve as a forum
for exchange. He adjourned discussion until the afternoon Plenary,
when MOROCCO, on behalf of G-77/ China, stated that discussion of
non-compliance at INC-7 was linked to issues such as technical
assistance and should be postponed until COP-1. GEORGIA, on behalf
of Eastern European countries, stressed the importance of creating
compliance incentives. CANADA highlighted that non-compliance is
often due to a lack of capacity and is a priority issue for INC-7
and beyond. Noting the lack of consensus on this issue, INC Chair
Buccini suggested that individual delegations pursue an exchange of
views on non-compliance on an informal basis.
PREPARATIONS FOR THE COP: Reporting: The
Secretariat presented submissions received in response to requests
for information contained in a number of INC-6 decisions (UNEP/
POPS/INC.7/INF/16) and its note on the format and timing of Party
reporting (UNEP/POPS/INC.7/19). She explained that the note
contains, inter alia, a draft reporting format and field
testing of the format and proposes that Parties submit the first
report to COP-3 and every four years thereafter.
Several delegates supported the suggested
reporting format and timing, with some emphasizing the need to
ensure compatibility, efficiency, and conciseness in reporting. The
EU recommended that conducting the field tests should not have
significant financial implications. The GAMBIA stressed the need for
field testing. EGYPT highlighted the need for technical assistance
in measuring dioxin and furan releases. MOROCCO suggested addressing
the obligations related to Best Available Techniques (BAT) and Best
Environmental Practices (BEP). JAPAN expressed concern with the
reporting items pertaining to Article 5 (Measures to reduce or
eliminate releases from unintentional production). The Secretariat
clarified that these items do not create new reporting obligations,
but help measure progress toward the minimization of unintentionally
produced POPs, provided that the relevant information is available.
Chair Buccini noted general support for the
proposed timing and reporting format. He invited further submissions
on the Secretariat’s note, and clarified that the field test report
and the revisions to the draft format based on the field test
results will be submitted for consideration by COP-1.
Register of specific exemptions: The
Secretariat introduced its note on the register of specific
exemptions (UNEP/POPS/INC.7/5), with annexes containing: a possible
format for country reporting of requests for specific exemptions; a
possible review process for entries in the register of specific
exemptions; and a revised draft format of the register.
Regarding the draft format for country reporting,
SWITZERLAND and others supported the draft and agreed that it should
be used on an interim basis. JAPAN suggested, and delegates agreed,
that information on existing stockpiles should refer to industrial
chemicals as well as pesticides. Concerning information on POPs
production, he stressed the need to protect business
confidentiality. The US said he does not perceive a requirement to
report confidential business information in the proposed format.
Drawing attention to the Convention’s objectives,
the EU underscored that extensions of exemptions should only be
granted in exceptional cases. Stating that the proposed format
includes unnecessary elements, the US supported a minimal subset
instead, underscoring that the format should facilitate reporting.
The GAMBIA suggested giving more prominence to the section on
alternatives and substitutes to POPs, proposing that countries
explain in their exemption requests why substitutes are not
The EU and US suggested, and delegates agreed, to
amend the title to clarify that it is a format for country reporting
prior to requesting an extension. Chair Buccini said the reporting
format would be revised and distributed as a CRP.
Regarding the possible review process for entries
in the register, the EU suggested, and delegates agreed, that
Parties should submit extension request reports at least 12 months
before the COP, rather than 10 months, to allow a more thorough
review, and because bilateral cooperation may eliminate the need for
an extension. CHINA, supported by MEXICO and ECUADOR, said there is
no need to establish a new expert group to review information. The
EU proposed that the decision on whether to establish an expert
group should be deferred to COP-1.
AUSTRALIA proposed, and delegates agreed, to
delete text that states that decisions on extensions should be taken
by consensus or, if not possible, by a three–fourths majority vote.
IRAN said the Secretariat should circulate the
extension request reports to all Parties, but not observers. KENYA,
supported by MOROCCO, MEXICO, EGYPT and CHINA, asked for a
restriction on possible observers in the process. Responding to
Morocco’s concern regarding the status of non-Party members, Chair
Buccini clarified that they would be considered observers, along
with non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations, and
delegates agreed to include a footnote to this effect.
EGYPT and others opposed text that states that,
as far as possible, information should be submitted in English. The
Secretariat suggested, and delegates agreed, to retain brackets on
this text. Delegates also agreed that the Secretariat would assist
COP-1 in deciding on this matter by providing information on the
expected time and cost of translating submissions received in other
Chair Buccini indicated that a revised version of
the possible review process for entries in the register,
incorporating delegates´ comments, would be presented later in the
Regarding the draft format of the register of
specific exemptions, COLOMBIA proposed publishing the names of
companies authorized to produce substances. The Secretariat said
this information could be included in the "remarks" column.
Noting general agreement on the format of the
register, Chair Buccini said it would be submitted to COP-1 for
consideration, with minor amendments.
DDT: The Secretariat introduced a possible
format for reporting on DDT (UNEP/POPS/INC.7/3 and /4). SOUTH
AFRICA, on behalf of the African Group, noted the need for clarity
on, inter alia, training, management, compliance and
monitoring. IRAN and MEXICO raised concerns about the reporting
obligations of countries that do not currently use DDT but are
listed in the DDT Register.
Delegates agreed to amend language in the
documents to indicate the reporting duties that apply to all Parties
in the Register, not only those currently using or producing DDT.
Several delegates stressed the importance of
promoting affordable and effective alternatives to DDT, and CHINA
requested more proactive research on alternatives. COLOMBIA,
supported by the RUSSIAN FEDERATION, proposed that the Secretariat
provide information on the costs of alternatives.
Expressing general support for the proposed
reporting format, the content of the documents, and the field test,
delegates urged rapid completion of the field test and agreed that
Parties should provide information using the revised draft format
six months prior to COP-1.
IN THE CORRIDORS
As INC-7 passed its halfway mark, delegates’
progress slowed down as they turned their attention to
non-compliance and the register of specific exemptions. Many
delegates expressed surprise at the "sudden conviction" of
developing countries to postpone consideration on non-compliance.
Meanwhile, several developing country delegates said they were
unable to adequately prepare because insufficient notice was given
before the meeting that non-compliance would be discussed.
Some expressed concern that as a result of the
lengthy discussions on the register of specific exemptions, the time
available to discuss outstanding matters, and in particular the
financial resources and mechanisms, may have been curtailed. A few
suggested that a contact group might have been a better forum for
this time-consuming deliberation.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: Plenary will meet at 10:00 am in
Room 2 to discuss financial resources and mechanisms, interim
financial arrangements, guidelines on BAT and guidance on BEP,
evaluation of current and projected releases of chemicals listed in
Annex C, and information exchange.
LDG: The LDG may meet at a time and place to
be announced in Plenary to discuss any outstanding issues, including
arbitration and conciliation rules and/or the ToR for the POPRC.
BUDGET GROUP: The Group may meet at a time and
place to be announced after receipt of the Secretariatï¿½s draft