Yearbook of International Environmental Law - Vol. 7

By Günther Handl; Jutta Brunnée et al. | Go to book overview

VI. HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES AND WASTE, OTHER THAN NUCLEAR

1. INTERNATIONAL TRANSFER OF RESTRICTED OR PROHIBITED SUBSTANCES

(1) United Nations Environment Programme/Food and Agricultural Organization (UNEP/FAO) Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee

The first two meetings of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) for an International Legally Binding Instrument for the Application of the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals in International Trade, convened jointly by UNEP and FAO, were held respectively in Brussels and in Nairobi in March and September. Both meetings were attended by representatives of some 80 countries, as well as by observers from many intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations.

Disagreement about the desirable scope of the PIC instrument mobilized most of the negotiators' attention during the first meeting of the INC. However, the debate took on a somewhat different form than might have been expected based on the earlier discussions in the Commission on Sustainable Development and the UNEP Governing Council (see 6 YbIEL 279-80 ( 1995)). There was no coordinated Group of 77 (G77) position and none of the countries that had supported the call for an export ban on previous occasions argued that the legally binding instrument should contain provisions banning the export of domestically prohibited chemicals from Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to non- OECD countries. Instead, the debate focused on the issue of whether the instrument under negotiation should be a framework convention broader in scope than the current voluntary PIC scheme, contained in the London Guidelines for the Exchange of Information on Chemicals in International Trade and the FAO Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides. More specifically, the focus was on the desirability of including in the instrument provisions on export notification for banned or severely restricted chemicals, and a mechanism for adopting further control measures, including possible provisions for eventually phasing out or banning the production, rather than the export, of certain hazardous chemicals.

In his opening speech, the Belgian Secretary of State for Environment, Jan Peeters, supported the broader approach, arguing that the instrument resulting from the negotiations "should be forward-looking and provide a dynamic

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