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INTERGOVERNMENTAL NEGOTIATING COMMITTEE FOR AN
INTERNATIONAL LEGALLY BINDING INSTRUMENT FOR
IMPLEMENTING INTERNATIONAL ACTION ON
CERTAIN PERSISTENT ORGANIC POLLUTANTS
Montreal, 29 June-3 July 1998
PREPARATION OF AN INTERNATIONAL LEGALLY BINDING INSTRUMENT
FOR IMPLEMENTING INTERNATIONAL ACTION ON CERTAIN
PERSISTENT ORGANIC POLLUTANTS
Final report of the meeting of the Intergovernmental Forum on
Chemical Safety Ad Hoc Working Group on Persistent Organic
Pollutants, held on 21 and 22 June 1996 in Manila
Note by the Secretariat
1. By its decision 19/13 C, the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) welcomed and endorsed the conclusions and recommendations contained in the final report of the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS) Ad Hoc Working Group on Persistent Organic Pollutants and requested that the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee take these recommendations and conclusions into account in preparing an international legally binding instrument.
2. By its resolution WHA50.13, the World Health Assembly endorsed the recommendations of IFCS on persistent organic pollutants (POPS), as included in the attached report.
3. The Secretariat has the honour to transmit to the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee, in the annex to the present note, the text of the final report of the IFCS Ad Hoc Working Group on Persistent Organic Pollutants. The report is attached as submitted by the IFCS secretariat and has not been formally edited.
1 July 1996
IFCSINTERGOVERNMENTAL FORUM ON CHEMICAL SAFETY
IFCS AD HOC WORKING GROUP ON
PERSISTENT ORGANIC POLLUTANTS MEETING
21-22 June 1996
Decision 18/32 on Persistent Organic Pollutants adopted by the UNEP Governing Council at its May 1995 meeting invited the Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals, working with the International Programme on Chemical Safety, and the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS) to initiate an assessment process on persistent organic pollutants, starting with a list of twelve substances. It further invited the IFCS to develop, based on the results of the assessment process and the outcome of the Washington Conference to Adopt a Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities, "recommendations and information on international action, including such information as would be needed for a possible decision regarding an appropriate international legal mechanism".
In response to the invitation in Decision 18/32, the IFCS established an ad hoc Working Group on POPs (Working Group). This report presents the outcome of the work of the IFCS Working Group that met in an open forum in which representatives from 32 countries, 7 non-governmental organizations and 7 intergovernmental organizations participated. Sections 1 to 3 of the report provide information on the background, mandate and work programme undertaken, section 4 presents the conclusions and recommendations of the IFCS Working Group, and section 5 contains specific recommendations of the IFCS to the UNEP
Table of Contents
3. Work programme to implement UNEP GC Decision 18/32
4. Conclusions and recommendations of the IFCS ad hoc Working Group on POPs
4.2 Production, use and sources of POPs
4.3 Alternatives to pesticides and other POPs
4.4 Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
4.5 Unintentionally produced by-products and contaminants
4.5 Other proposed actions
5 IFCS recommendations to UNEP GC and WHA
"a) consolidate existing information available from IPCS, UN ECE and other relevant sources, on the chemistry and toxicology of the substances concerned (particularly the impact on human, plant and animal health);
b) analyze the relevant transport pathways and the origin, transport and deposition of these substances on a global scale;
c) examine the sources, benefits, risks and other considerations relevant to production and use;
d) evaluate the availability, including costs and effectiveness, of preferable substitutes, where applicable; and
e) assess realistic response strategies, policies and mechanisms for reducing and/or eliminating emissions, discharges and losses of POPs."
"17. Acting to develop, in accordance with the provisions of the Global Programme of Action, a global, legally binding instrument for the reduction and/or elimination of emissions, discharges and, where appropriate, the elimination of the manufacture and use of the persistent organic pollutants identified in decision 18/32 of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme. The nature of the obligations undertaken must be developed recognizing the special circumstances of countries in need of assistance. Particular attention should be devoted to the potential need for the continued use of certain persistent organic pollutants to safeguard human health, sustain food production and to alleviate poverty in the absence of alternatives and the difficulty of acquiring substitutes and transferring of technology for the development and/or production of those substitutes;"
3. WORK PROGRAMME TO IMPLEMENT UNEP GC DECISION 18/32:
9. Following its formation on 28 October 1995, the Working Group:
(a) developed a work plan and identified resource needs to implement the requirements of Decision 18/32;
(b) took note of the outcome of the UNEP Intergovernmental Conference to Adopt a Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (Washington, D.C., 23 October - 3 November 1995);
(c) secured agreement on the proposed work plan at the second meeting of the Inter-Sessional Group of the IFCS (ISG-2, Canberra, Australia, 5-8 March 1996);
(d) submitted for consideration at ISG-2, a report developed by a consultant to the IPCS (ISG/96.5B) that summarized the available scientific information on the chemistry, toxicology, transport pathways, origin, transport and deposition of the 12 specified POPs on a global scale, in addition to some information on the socio-economic issues associated with the production, use and preferable substitutes for POPs;
(e) was adopted as an IFCS ad hoc Working Group on POPs (Working Group) by the ISG-2 to continue the assessment process and develop recommendations and information on international action, including any information that would be needed for a possible decision on an appropriate international legal mechanism on POPs;
(f) met as the IFCS Working Group in Canberra (9 March 1996) to make practical arrangements to implement the work plan accepted by ISG-2;
(g) coordinated an IFCS experts meeting in Manila (17-19 June 1996), co-hosted by the Republic of the Philippines and Canada, to address tasks c) and d) of UNEP GC 18/32 as well as socio-economic issues associated with production and use of POPs and with preferable substitute products and technologies;
(h) met, in an open forum, in Manila (21-22 June 1996) to review the results of the experts meeting, to assess realistic response strategies, policies and mechanisms for reducing and/or eliminating emissions, discharges and losses of POPs, and to develop a report containing information and recommendations on international action, to be considered at the 1997 sessions of the UNEP GC (January) and the World Health Assembly (WHA, May);
(i) distributed the report of the Working Group to all IFCS contact points for comments with a request for response by 31 July 1996;
(j) submitted the report to UNEP and WHA, together with a summary of the comments provided by IFCS participants; and
(k) will have completed its work following consideration of the POPs issue at the 1997 sessions of UNEP GC and WHA.
10. The Working Group was supported in its efforts by UNEP and the IFCS Secretariat. Additionally, UNEP established an information clearing house on POPs including an "open file" in the form of an electronic POPs data base on the INTERNET in response to conclusions at ISG-2 that there was a requirement for improved access to existing and future information on issues that were being addressed by the Working Group. 11. In the assessment process required by Decision 18/32, the Working Group took into account related initiatives including:
(a) UNEP GC Decision 18/12, which concerns the development of a legally binding instrument for the application of the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure for certain hazardous chemicals in international trade, taking into account the activities undertaken in accordance with Decision 18/32 and recognizing that some of the POPs specified in Decision 18/32 are covered by the present voluntary PIC procedures;
(b) UNEP GC Decision 18/31 which encouraged support for the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (wherein specific reference was made to POPs) that was subsequently accepted at the UNEP Intergovernmental Conference, as reflected in the Washington Declaration on Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities, and that will involve countries in implementing national, regional and international activities to implement the Programme;
(c) the negotiations on a possible POPs protocol under the UN ECE Convention on LRTAP, initiated in 1996, as approved by the Executive Body at its meeting of 28 November to 1 December 1995; and
(d) the regional seas agreements, including conventions and protocols.
12. During the 21-22 June 1996 meeting of the Working Group, some participants met to consider the issue of an integrated mechanism or structure covering the various international instruments on chemical safety with the aim of ensuring coherence and avoiding duplicated effort. This group noted the issue needs further consideration.
4. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE IFCS ad hoc WORKING GROUP ON POPs13. Based on the documentation and the discussions that took place during the meetings of the UNEP sponsored IOMC ad hoc Working Group on POPs (28 October 1995), the ISG-2 (5-8 March 1996), the IFCS ad hoc Working Group on POPs (9 March and 21-22 June 1996), and the IFCS Manila experts meeting (17-19 June 1996), the following conclusions and recommendations are provided to the UNEP Governing Council and the World Health Assembly by the IFCS ad hoc Working Group on POPs on behalf of the IFCS.
(a) comprehensive reporting and information exchange, within and between countries and intergovernmental organizations, for:
(i) peer reviewed scientific information on the chemistry, toxicology, transport pathways, origin, transport and deposition of the 12 specified POPs on a global scale, in order to provide current baseline and future trend data for commercial activity, release rates, and levels in environmental and biological media, and to ensure that response strategies are realistic and appropriate, and to provide a basis for assessing progress;
(ii) information on the sources, benefits, risks and other considerations relevant to production, use, and release of the 12 specified POPs; and
(iii) information on evaluation of the availability, costs, risks and effectiveness of preferable alternatives for the 12 specified POPs, where applicable;
(b) improved access to national information on POPs, as well as improved access to information by all countries, especially developing nations; and
(c) improved access to existing and future information on POPs issues by maintaining the UNEP clearing house for information on POPs, including the electronic data base on the INTERNET; and further recommended that UNEP initiate action on these measures, in collaboration with other international and regional organizations to avoid duplication.22. IFCS noted that regional and sub-regional networking could play an important role in assisting developing countries to address various issues on POPs. 23. IFCS concluded that participation of developing countries in responding to international action on POPs is essential. The appropriate international and regional mechanisms should be developed or better used in order to assist in meeting their needs, including:
(a) training trainers and training workers;
(b) information exchange;
(c) institutional infrastructure; strengthening legislation and enforcement capabilities, and development of adequate domestic regulation and standards to control and eliminate adverse health and environmental impacts of POPs pesticides;
(d) strengthening of regional and sub-regional co-operation;
(e) disposal capability;
(f) research facilities;
(g) capacity building;
(h) public awareness of alternatives and alternative technologies; and
(i) public awareness of hazards of POPs.
Technical assistance, capacity building and funding to address these needs were determined to be of practical consideration. All developing countries and some other countries recommended making direct reference to "shared responsibilities" among countries, industry and appropriate international organizations. Other countries supported referencing the relevant principles of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and related Chapters of Agenda 21.
24. With respect to assistance to developing countries and countries with economies in transition, IFCS:
(a) recommended that bilateral and multilateral technical and financial assistance organizations give high priority to programmes to address POPs;
(b) invited the Council of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to take into consideration the global significance of POPs in order to investigate the relationship between the need to develop capacity to address POPs and the four existing windows of the GEF operation strategy; and
(c) supported the action under way within the OECD and multilateral development banks to develop new or revise existing guidelines to ensure that investments involving any remaining manufacture, use, management and disposal of POPs are made in an manner that would discourage activities that result in increased releases of POPs and encourage the incorporation of pollution prevention approaches that avoid or limit POPs discharges in the projects they finance.
4.2 Production, Use and Sources of POPs:
(a) aldrin, dieldrin, endrin, and toxaphene are no longer produced, mirex and HCB appear to be out of production, and no efforts are warranted to gain more production and use information;
(b) DDT is still produced for disease vector control, although it is misused for other purposes;
(c) chlordane and heptachlor are still produced for ant and termite control; and
(d) PCBs and HCB are not currently manufactured but are produced as unintended by-products.28. IFCS concluded that more accurate information on the production and use of the pesticide POPs, especially those still in production, as well as baseline levels of environmental and biological media, should be obtained to understand better the magnitude of the problem, to establish a baseline with which to measure future progress, and to ensure selected response measures are appropriate. The collection of data should not delay action on the specified list of POPs.
29. IFCS recommended that UNEP, in concert with other relevant intergovernmental organisations, establish practical measures to evaluate and monitor the success of any implemented strategies where appropriate, including:
(a) baseline and trend data on the production, use and release of the 12 specified POPs; and
(b) monitoring networks to establish baseline and trend levels of the 12 specified POPs in environmental and biological media in all regions.
30. IFCS concluded that there are no stocks of dioxins/furans, but there are materials which may contain dioxins/furans as micro-contaminants. Other chlorine- and bromine-containing compounds may be a potential source of dioxin/furan release to the environment through their improper combustion and/or disposal. Soils and sediments in certain highly contaminated sites may also be significant sources.
4.3 Alternatives to pesticides and other POPs
4.4 Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
(a) identification of where PCBs are found;
(b) inventories of PCBs in use, stockpiles of PCBs, as well as PCB-containing waste; and
(c) an inventory of available destruction capacity for PCBs world-wide in order to get a better understanding of regional availability and the need, if any, for increasing the capacity in the coming years.39. IFCS recommended that appropriate international organizations, in particular members of the IOMC in close consultation with the IFCS and national governments, develop a check list or simple guidelines on how to identify PCB-containing materials that would be useful for countries who have not yet made such an identification, especially developing countries or countries with economies in transition. IFCS noted that the setting up of such a check list or guidelines should not in any way hinder or delay the dissemination of information or ongoing national inventories.
4.5 Unintentionally Produced By-products and Contaminants:
(a) ensuring the application of appropriate techniques and/or materials policies that minimize and/or eliminate releases of dioxins/furans;
(b) the benefits provided by the material compared to the availability and practicality (particularly in developing countries) of alternative materials and manufacturing processes; and
(c) safe disposal facilities and appropriate waste management facilities.
4.6 Other Proposed Actions
(a) for the listed POP pesticides, measures should be taken to rapidly phase out remaining production and subsequent remaining use as alternatives are made available for the small number of remaining recognised uses; and
(b) for the listed POP industrial chemicals there is a need to phase out, over time, PCBs and HCB on a global scale and, in the transition to complete elimination of use, there is a need for managing remaining use, storage and disposal.47. IFCS recommended that, for POPs10 that are generated as unwanted by-products, currently available measures that can achieve a realistic and meaningful level of release reduction and/or source elimination should be pursued expeditiously, and this should be done by actions that are feasible and practical and additional measures should be explored and implemented. 48. IFCS recommended that realistic action be taken to destroy obsolete stocks of the listed POPs10 and remediate environmental reservoirs. Manufacturers and exporting and importing countries should work together to solve the problem on a priority basis, taking into account the following considerations:
(a) destruction technologies are available that may be appropriate and practical in some cases;
(b) in many regions, particularly in the developing countries, society still lacks appropriate and adequate destruction facilities and the costs associated with providing them may be greater than what the region can afford without technical and other assistance;
(c) in many cases, full remediation of environmental reservoirs may not be technically or economically feasible or practical; and
(d) better information on the amount of obsolete stocks is required.49. IFCS concluded that there is need to develop new cost-effective small-scale technologies for destruction and remediation of wastes associated with obsolete chemical stocks of POPs. Where no immediate permanent solutions are available, urgent action needs to be taken to ensure that these stocks are not available for use and that they are stored in a manner that prevents immediate risks to public health and the environment.
5. IFCS RECOMMENDATIONS TO UNEP GC AND WHA:
(a) use of separate differentiated approaches to take action on pesticides, industrial chemicals, and unintentionally produced by-products and contaminants;
(b) use of transition periods, with phased implementation for various proposed actions;
(c) careful and efficient management of existing stocks of the specified POPs and, where necessary and feasible, their elimination;
(d) training in enforcement and monitoring of use to discourage the misuse of POPs pesticides; and
(e) remediation of contaminated sites and environmental reservoirs, where feasible and practicable.53. UNEP GC and WHA recognize that international action should incorporate such practical measures as:
(a) the expeditious development of a global, legally binding instrument. The instrument should be developed in such a manner as to recognize ongoing activities on POPs and other related issues and institutions, as well as differing regional and national conditions and taking into account the special concerns of developing countries and countries with economies in transition. In addition, provision should be made for commitments at a national and regional level allowing for a higher level of protection than that afforded through the global instrument.
(b) voluntary measures, which may be implemented as a complement to, or independently of, a legally binding instrument;
(c) action at the national, regional and global levels, reflecting possible needs for different regional and sub-regional approaches and the need to find, at the national level, the most effective and appropriate mix of policy instruments and measures to implement agreed international commitments;
(d) consideration of unique customs codes for POPs chemicals, and labelling in compliance with guidelines under the FAO Code of Conduct;
(e) coordination among different regional and international initiatives on POPs to ensure harmonized environmental and health outcomes from mutually supportive and effective programs that result in the development of policies with complementary, and non-conflicting, objectives and that avoid overlap and duplication with other international and regional conventions and programmes; and
(f) input of scientific, technical and economic expertise and consideration of the ability of existing institutions and organisations to provide this input.54. UNEP GC and WHA note that socio-economic factors should be addressed in developing and implementing international action including the following:
(a) possible impacts on food production;
(b) possible impacts on human health (e.g. for vector control agents);
(c) need for capacity building in countries and regions;
(d) financing concerns and opportunities; and
(e) possible trade impacts.