Work on the text for a new NOx protocol as well as on texts for draft protocols on heavy metals and on POPs continued in an intensified manner. The aim is to have these protocols ready by June 1998 and to have them adopted and signed on the occasion of the Third Paneuropean Ministerial Conference "Environment for Europe," to be held in Aarhus ( Denmark) in June 1998.
Growing global scientific and political consensus on the effects of POPs on the environment have further stimulated efforts to begin negotiations on a draft protocol on these substances under the 1979 Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP Convention). At its annual session, the Executive Body decided to initially subject 16 substances to the obligations of such a protocol. The preparations of texts for a draft protocol on POPs have clearly benefited from the recommendations on international action on POPs by the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS). These were made for consideration by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Governing Council and by the World Health Organization at their respective 1997 sessions. The recommendations, which propose, inter alia, the start of negotiations for a legally binding international instrument on (initially) 12 POPs, are based on the final report of the ad hoc Working Group on POPs of the IFCS, which met in Manila in June (UNEP/GC19/INF8). The ad hoc Working Group had reached substantial agreement on the need to address POPs internationally.
On the basis of the texts prepared for three draft protocols on NOx, heavy metals, and POPs respectively, the Executive Body decided at its annual session that the Working Group on Strategies should initiate formal negotiations to finalize the draft protocols in early 1998. A POPs protocol to the 1979 LRTAP Convention is likely to be ready before a global binding instrument might be finalized, and could serve as a model for a global approach.
Still lacking two ratifications, the expected entry into force of the 1991 Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution Concerning the Control of Emissions of Volatile Organic