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INDIA'S POSITION AT COP5 & ENDOSULFAN

Written By krishna on Thursday, April 28, 2011 | 10:53 AM

The Fifth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP5) to the Stockholm Convention is underway from 25 to 29 April 2011 in Geneva, Switzerland.

As of 27 April, the Contact Group on endosulfan and new POPs met. After review of CRP.10, submitted by Norway, on further activities for POPRC, the group divided into two sub-groups, one working on endosulfan and the other on POPRC’s recommendations on elimination of BDEs from the waste stream and risk reduction for PFOS. The group on endosulfan discussed how to: list endosulfan sulfate; list crop-pest complexes; and assess alternatives to endosulfan. In the afternoon, a drafting group convened to prepare draft decisions on listing endosulfan, a work programme to address alternatives to endosulfan, and work programmes on new POPs.

The GLOBAL INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ CAUCUS stressed the adverse impacts of endosulfan and other POPs on indigenous people due to lack of information.

On 26th April, POPRC Chair Reiner Arndt (Germany) introduced POPRC’s recommendation to list endosulfan in Annex A with specific exemptions, noting the recommendation was taken by consensus by all POPRC members present and voting at POPRC-6.

Many countries commended the POPRC and POPRC Chair Arndt’s work.

SWITZERLAND supported adding endosulfan to Annex A with “restrained” allowance of exemptions, and emphasized that voting is an option for listing. SOUTH KOREA supported listing endosulfan and said decisions could be taken by general agreement.

The EU emphasized POPRC’s rigorous scientific analysis, noted that more than 80 alternatives were assessed, and, with NORWAY and GABON, supported listing in Annex A with no exemptions.

The AFRICAN GROUP supported listing in Annex A with specific exemptions for certain crop-pest complexes. BENIN underscored challenges arising from the illegal use of endosulfan and, with MOZAMBIQUE, underscored the need for alternatives. INDONESIA supported listing in Annex A with specific exemptions.

LEBANON, OMAN, ARGENTINA, MOROCCO, JORDAN and QATAR expressed support for listing in Annex A.

GRULAC supported listing in Annex A and emphasized that financial and technical assistance are essential for implementation. CUBA said the financial implications of listing must be clarified before it could support listing.

JAPAN supported listing, noting future POPRC decisions should be consensus-based. OMAN emphasized the importance of consensus. SAUDI ARABIA and the US welcomed the listing of endosulfan in Annex A, with the US expressing hope that future proposals will be brought forward by consensus. CHINA called for consensus-based decision-making in POPRC, warning that doing otherwise could damage the credibility of POPRC and even the COP.

INDIA said data are needed on non-POPs alternatives to endosulfan, substantive decisions by POPRC should be consensus-based, and financial assistance for implementation of current obligations should be secured prior to listing new chemicals.

SAMOA called for suspending the proposal to list endosulfan until further cost-effective and sustainable alternatives are identified by consensus.

The INTERNATIONAL STEWARDSHIP CENTER emphasized that the proposed alternatives to endosulfan are not affordable and that its listing will be detrimental to farmers.

THANAL, the INUIT CIRCUMPOLAR COUNCIL, PAN and FAO, welcomed the proposed listing of endosulfan in Annex A, noting the severe health effects on farmers and indigenous peoples. The INDIAN CHEMICAL COUNCIL emphasized that there was insufficient scientific evidence to list endosulfan in Annex A.

President Blaha established a contact group chaired by Hala Saif Al-Easa (Qatar) to further discuss this issue.

COP5 President Blaha clarified that the endosulfan contact group will address text on POPRC’s recommendations on work programme on new POPs. He also requested that the Secretariat prepare a draft decision on possible action by COP5 on POPRC’s terms of reference, other developments of its technical work, and effective participation in the work of the Committee.

The Contact Group on ENDOSULFAN AND NEW POPS began its work in the evening by considering possible exemptions associated with listing endosulfan under Annex A, notably those crop-pest complexes of particular concern to parties. A minority of participants questioned the mandate of the group, but after confirmation from the legal advisor, continued work. IN THE CORRIDORS
On 26th morning’s plenary was full and tense as COP5 turned its attention to endosulfan, the chemical that has hamstrung Stockholm’s sister convention, the Rotterdam Convention, for years. This unfortunate precedent had many interpreting consideration of endosulfan as a significant test for the Stockholm.

In the opening statement on 25th April, INDIA underscored the need for strong scientific evidence and rigorous analysis of data, and said that new obligations should occur in tandem with provision of adequate financial resources. The EU prioritized the listing of endosulfan, the work programme on new POPs, synergies, and the compliance mechanism as key issues for discussion at COP5, and expressed concern over the number of requests for financial assistance for various issues given the global financial crisis. SWITZERLAND prioritized the listing of endosulfan based on the extensive work of the POPRC and noted the need to make every effort to reach agreement on all matters of substance by consensus, and to adopt decisions by general agreement. The INTERNATIONAL POPS ELIMINATION NETWORK (IPEN), PESTICIDE ACTION NETWORK (PAN) and the GLOBAL INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ CAUCUS called for listing endosulfan in Annex A, with no exemptions.

This is based on Reporting Service for Environment and Development Negotiations
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Find below India's position as of February 2011 which is there in the Compilation of comments for consideration by the Conference of the Parties on the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee’s recommendation to list endosulfan in Annex A to the Convention. This compilation reveals the stated positions of different countries prior to the conference underway.

India’s stance:

Background: Article 8 of Stockholm Convention specifies step by step procedure for assessing a proposed chemical for possible listing as a Persistent Organic Pollutant (POP) under the Convention. Its initial paragraphs describe the procedure for:

• Submission of a proposal by a Party.
• Verification of the proposal by the Secretariat.
• Examination of the proposal by POP review committee (POPRC) for conformity to Annex-D criteria.

Article 8 Listing of chemicals in Annexes A, B and C


Paragraph 1 A Party may submit a proposal to the Secretariat for listing a chemical in Annexes A, B and/or C. The proposal shall contain the information specified in Annex D. In developing a proposal, a Party may be assisted by other Parties and/or by the Secretariat.

Paragraph 2 The Secretariat shall verify whether the proposal contains the information specified in Annex D. If the Secretariat is satisfied that the proposal contains the information so specified it shall forward the proposal to the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee.

Paragraph 3 The Committee shall examine the proposal and apply the screening criteria specified in Annex D in a flexible and transparent way, taking all information provided into account in an integrative and balanced manner.

Paragraph 4 (a) If the Committee decides that :
It is satisfied that the screening criteria have been fulfilled, it shall through the Secretariat, make the proposal and the evaluation of the Committee available to all Parties and observers and invite them to submit the information specified in Annex E; or

Paragraph 4 (b) It is not satisfied that the screening criteria have been fulfilled, it shall through the Secretariat inform all Parties and observers and make the proposal and evaluation of the Committee available to all Parties and the proposal shall be set aside.

Submission of a Proposal by a Party: Paragraph1 of Article 8 allows a Party to submit a proposal to the Convention’s Secretariat for listing a new chemical. The proposal shall contain the information specified in Annex D. In developing a proposal (i.e prior to its submission to the Secretariat), a party may be assisted by other Parties and/or by the Secretariat. Submitting party or others cannot amend the proposal after its submission to the Secretariat.

Verification of the proposal by the Secretariat: Paragraph 2 of Article 8 says that upon receipt of the proposal from a Party “The Secretariat shall verify whether the proposal contains information specified in Annex D”. Oxford dictionary defines the term “verify” as to test the truth or accuracy. The received proposal shall be forwarded to POPRC only after the Secretariat is satisfied that the proposal contains all information specified in Annex D. The multiple use of term “shall” in this paragraph is significant. It reinforces the obligatory role of the Secretariat in initial verification of the submitted proposal ahead of a detailed examination by the POPRC. It also means that if the Secretariat is not satisfied that the proposal contains the Annex D information, it shall not forward the proposal to the POPRC.

Examination of the proposal by the POPRC: Paragraph 3 of Article 8 says that the committee shall examine the proposal [as forwarded to it by the Secretariat] and “apply the screening criteria specified in Annex D in a flexible and transparent way taking all information provided into account in an integrative and balanced manner” . The phrase “taking all information provided into account” as used here refers to all information contained in the proposal forwarded to POPRC by the Secretariat. The phrase “all information” cannot be interpreted to refer to information extraneous to the information content of the proposal under evaluation as it would then open a Pandora’s Box. In other words, the phrase “all information provided” cannot be misinterpreted as “information provided by all”. Accordingly, the phrase “all information provided” as it appears in paragraph 3 must be taken to mean all information provided to the Secretariat in the original proposal, and duly forwarded to the POPRC.
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