Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 15 No. 94
Tuesday, 18 November 2003
PIC INC-10 HIGHLIGHTS:
MONDAY, 17 NOVEMBER 2003
The tenth session of the Intergovernmental
Negotiating Committee (INC-10) for an International Legally Binding
Instrument for the Application of the Prior Informed Consent (PIC)
Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in
International Trade opened on Monday morning, November 17, in
Geneva. Following opening statements, delegates addressed
organizational matters, activities of the secretariat and review of
the situation as regards extrabudgetary funds, implementation of the
interim PIC Procedure, and preparations for COP-1. An open-ended
working group on compliance convened in the afternoon.
INC Chair Maria Celina de Azevedo Rodrigues (Brazil)
welcomed delegates to INC-10 and introduced the opening speakers.
In his opening statement, Phillipe Roch, State
Secretary, Director, Swiss Agency for the Environment, Forests, and
Landscape, noted that INC-10 might be the last INC prior to the
Convention’s entry into force. Recognizing the Convention as one of
the three pillars of the multilateral system addressing chemicals,
he stressed the need for strategic coordination and coherence among
multilateral agreements and processes.
Shafqat Kakakhel, UNEP Deputy Executive Director,
described the Convention as the "first line" of defense against
chemical hazards and a vital part of the international toolkit for
protecting human health and the environment from harmful pesticides
and chemicals. He also noted the Convention’s role in contributing
to the WSSD’s goal of sound management of chemicals by 2020.
Louise Fresco, FAO Assistant Director-General,
highlighted the link between the regulation of international trade
in hazardous chemicals and pesticides and the need to increase food
production through agricultural intensification. She noted the need
for international, national and local action and coherent national
policies on agriculture, environment, water and land management.
ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA: On the provisional
agenda (UNEP/FAO/PIC/INC.10/1), CANADA requested that the INC
address cooperation between WTO and the Rotterdam Secretariat. The
INC adopted the provisional agenda as amended by Canada.
ORGANIZATION OF WORK: Chair de Azevedo Rodrigues
introduced the scenario note (UNEP/FAO/PIC/INC.10/ 2) and said that
the overall goal of INC-10 was to prepare for the Convention’s entry
into force. Among possible outcomes of INC-10, she highlighted the
adoption of the 2004 budget, a decision on inclusion of additional
chemicals and pesticides, a draft COP-1 decision on non-compliance,
and a mandate to the Secretariat to develop a technical assistance
strategy. She noted that Yuri Kundiev (Ukraine) will serve as INC-10
Rapporteur, and that new bureau members for Asia and Africa need to
ACTIVITIES OF THE SECRETARIAT AND REVIEW OF THE
SITUATION AS REGARDS EXTRABUDGETARY FUNDS
Jim Willis, Joint Executive Secretary for the
Interim Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention (UNEP), presented a
report on activities of the secretariat and review of the situation
as regards extrabudgetary funds (UNEP/FAO/PIC/INC.10/3). The
European Community (EC) requested that issues regarding
implementation and the trust fund, secretariat staffing and the
budget be discussed in an open-ended working group. JAPAN and FRANCE
requested further explanation on the budget increase. CHILE and CUBA
highlighted the importance of financing the participation of
non-Party developing countries. CANADA requested that Secretariat
staffing be prioritized, and suggested adding a footnote indicating
that participation and conference services costs for COP-1 and COP-2
would be borne by host countries.
Willis responded that the increase in expenditure
from 2003 to 2004 was largely due to changes in staff costs and
workshops. He said that while it would be possible to include the
proposed footnote with regard to COP-1, a decision on its inclusion
to cover COP-2 would have to be deferred to COP-1.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE INTERIM PIC PROCEDURE
STATUS OF IMPLEMENTATION: Yun Zhou, Interim
Secretariat, introduced a document detailing the rate of import
responses on various chemicals (UNEP/FAO/PIC/INC.10/4), drawing
attention to the relatively low rate of import responses. She
reported that the Secretariat had received notifications for four
candidate chemicals meeting the information requirements of Annex I,
and said that notifications have been verified for five additional
pesticides (UNEP/FAO/PIC/INC.10/INF/6) to be considered at ICRC-5.
Chair de Azevedo Rodrigues noted that providing responses will be
obligatory once the Convention is in force, and requested that
delegates explain the constraints they face in this area. CONGO
reported that it faces legal difficulties because it lacks a
national approval law for chemicals.
The DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO and UGANDA said the
correct national authorities in their countries have not received
communications from the secretariat. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION urged
the elaboration of criteria for including substances in the PIC
list. EGYPT identified limited resources as a problem, while GAMBIA
mentioned poor communication among focal points. Chair de Azevedo
Rodrigues requested that countries review the list of designated
national authorities (DNAs) and keep this information updated.
CONFIRMATION OF EXPERTS DESIGNATED FOR THE ICRC:
Elena Sobakina, Interim Secretariat, introduced a document (UNEP/FAO/PIC.10/5)
containing a draft decision regarding the confirmation of experts
designated for the ICRC. The plenary adopted the decision and
formally appointed the experts from Canada and the Philippines.
REPORT OF ICRC-4: Reiner Arndt, ICRC Chair,
presented the report of ICRC-4 (UNEP/FAO/PIC.10/6) and noted that
intersessional work had begun on DGDs for parathion and tetraethyl
lead and tetramethyl lead. He said that the notifications for
tributyltin had been received from the EC and Japan, but that
Japan’s notification lacked documentation of a risk evaluation under
prevailing national conditions. He said that ICRC-4 had requested
INC-10 to invite the WHO’s International Programme on Chemical
Safety to undertake an investigation into the chrysotile form of
asbestos and potential substitutes. The WHO indicated its
willingness to assist with technical work and requested that the INC
specify substitutes for investigation. JAPAN noted that tributyltin
has been assessed under the International Maritime Organization’s
International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-Fouling
Systems on Ships and asked whether this could be used in its
INCLUSION OF CHEMICALS: Issues related to inclusion
of other chemicals: With reference to the document on the
inclusion of chemicals after the entry into force of the Convention
(UNEP/FAO/PIC.10/10), Willis noted the need to address
inconsistencies between Article 8 of the Convention (Chemicals in
the Voluntary PIC Procedure) and text in the Resolution on Interim
Arrangements. He outlined two possible courses of action. The first
envisages an INC-11 just prior to COP-1, where the chemicals could
be added to the interim PIC Procedure; the second entails
circulating DGDs among Parties and forwarding the decision directly
to COP-1. JAPAN stressed the need for adequate time to consider the
draft DGDs, and Willis responded that at least six months would be
left for their review. The EC cautioned against a procedure
incompatible with the Convention and encouraged consultation with
legal experts. Willis agreed to draft a decision with both options
for Parties’ consideration.
Inclusion of chemicals in the interim PIC Procedure:
Bill Murray, Interim Secretariat, presented proposed amendments
to the introduction to the DGDs, including: noting that the
definition of chemical is as stated in the Convention under Article
2a (Definitions); deleting the reference to two notifications of
regulatory action from two regions; noting that Parties include
regional economic organizations; and proposing that DGDs be
communicated to DNAs in accordance with both Articles 7 (Listing of
Chemicals in Annex III) and 10 (Obligations in relation to Imports
of Chemicals in Annex III).
DNOC and its salts: Niek van der Graaff,
Joint Executive Secretary (FAO), introduced the ICRC’s communication
on DNOC and its salts and the draft DGD (UNEP/FAO/PIC/INC.10/8). The
INC agreed with the ICRC’s recommendation to make the chemical DNOC
and its salts subject to the interim PIC Procedure and to approve
the draft DGD.
Severely hazardous pesticide formulation, dustable
powder formulations of benomyl, carbofuran, and thiram: Joint
Executive Secretary van der Graaff introduced the recommendations of
ICRC-4 regarding the inclusion of the substances in the interim PIC
Procedure and the draft DGD (UNEP/FAO/PIC/INC.10/9). He noted that
ICRC-4 had decided that the substances under consideration (Granox
TBC and Spinox T) were more accurately referred to as dustable
powder formulations containing benomyl at or above 7%, carbofuran at
or above 10%, and thiram at or above 15%.
PREPARATIONS FOR COP-1
NON-COMPLIANCE: Masa Nagai, Interim Secretariat,
introduced a document (UNEP/FAO/PIC/INC.10/19), highlighting issues
relevant to non-compliance. Alistair McGlone (UK), Chair of the
open-ended working group on compliance, introduced a Chair’s draft
text on procedures and mechanisms for handling non-compliance (UNEP/FAO/PIC.10/20),
noting that the document would be a basis for negotiations at
WORKING GROUP ON COMPLIANCE
The open-ended working group on compliance met in
the afternoon to discuss the draft COP-1 decision on procedures and
institutional mechanisms for handling cases of non-compliance.
Delegates deliberated on the facilitative nature of the Convention
and additional measures that may be taken under it. Regarding
additional measures that the Convention’s Compliance Committee may
recommend to the COP, the NETHERLANDS noted that the criteria listed
for identifying compliance difficulties allow the Committee
flexibility in the choice of measures it could propose. SOUTH
AFRICA, the US and others argued that the reference to the COP
taking measures in accordance with international law to attain
compliance exceeded the facilitative nature of the Convention, and
suggested its deletion.
NIGERIA, LESOTHO, the EC and JAMAICA supported the
inclusion of measures additional to facilitative ones. Delegates
discussed measures including issuance of "caution" and "statement,"
without agreement. AUSTRALIA objected to reference to "caution"
because it is a punitive measure, NIGERIA and GERMANY argued that
"caution" and "statement" were not punitive, while JAMAICA, the EC,
the NETHERLANDS and NIGERIA supported these measures as going beyond
facilitation. CANADA warned against the proliferation of vague
terminology. Disagreement remains concerning the use of these terms.
EGYPT and NIGERIA opposed issuance of a statement on possible future
non-compliance as a measure, while the NETHERLANDS and GERMANY
highlighted the role of prevention in ensuring compliance. Delegates
discussed text calling for the suspension of rights and privileges
under the Convention, without agreement.
IN THE CORRIDORS
In what is likely to be the concluding chapter of
the INCï¿½s work, the role of the INC Chair, Brazilï¿½s Maria Celina de
Azevedo Rodrigues, received the most attention, with several
speakers suggesting changing the Conventionï¿½s name to the "Rodrigues
Talk amongst delegates yesterday concerned the race
to become the fiftieth State to ratify the Convention, thus
triggering its entry into force. On the race to become "Number 50,"
expectations remain high that at least one instrument of
ratification will be deposited in New York this week. The current
leader is Ecuador, who announced yesterday it had recently received
legislative approval to ratify. However, given that Ecuador has yet
to deposit an instrument of ratification, the race to ratify remains
open. Rumor has it that Greece or other hopeful candidates may beat
Ecuador to New York.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: The Plenary will convene from 10:00 am
to 1:00 pm and from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm to continue its consideration
of issues related to the inclusion of chemicals and issues arising
out of ICRC-4.
COMPLIANCE WORKING GROUP: The open-ended
compliance working group will reconvene at 10:00 am in Room 17, to
continue deliberations on the Chairï¿½s draft text.