Global negotiations this autumn
The EU intends to act as a mediator at December’s UN conference on climate change in Bali. The bloc’s chief negotiator, Portuguese environment minister Francisco Nunes Correia, says Europe should use its “global legitimacy” to build alliances and “bring other countries along”. Europe’s negotiating strategy will be agreed by EU environment ministers on 30 October.
The UN climate conference in Bali should establish
a road map with a timetable for negotiations on a new
climate framework to replace the Kyoto protocol when it expires in 2012.
Several meetings will be held in the run-up to Bali to address important differences between industrialised and developing countries, and to build political momentum for a post-Kyoto framework.
Energy and environment ministers from 20 major energy-intensive economies will meet on 9-11 September in Berlin for the third “Gleneagles” dialogue, a process launched in 2005 to support progress in UN climate negotiations.
On 19 September the European commission will publish a communication aimed at building a climate alliance between the EU and developing countries.
UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon will convene a
high-level meeting in New York on 24 September.
This meeting will be followed by an international conference on energy security and climate change in the US on 27-28 September. The meeting was called in August by US president George Bush.
Governments will meet in Canada in September to discuss the 1987 Montreal protocol on ozone depleters. A seminar will be held on 16 September to celebrate the protocol’s 20th anniversary and discuss its future. It will be followed by a
high-level meeting of parties to the protocol.
The content of the meeting’s agenda is yet unclear. But Achim Steiner, head of the UN’s environment programme, seems to have high expectations. In a recent Reuters news report he called on governments to agree an accelerated phase-out of ozone-depleting HCFCs on the grounds this would also help the battle against climate change. It is one of many “quick wins” for governments, he said.
PERSISTENT ORGANIC POLLUTANTS
The third meeting of the review committee of the UN Stockholm convention on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) will be held on 19-23 November. This technical meeting will consider adding two chemicals – the pesticide endosulfan and herbicide trifluralin – to a global list of 12 banned substances. Additions to the list must be backed by the convention’s parties, a process that usually takes two to three years.
The EU backed the inclusion of endosulfan in the list in June but does seem to have done so yet for trifluralin. Both chemicals will be banned under the 1991 plant protection directive; endosulfan from December and trifluralin a year later.
On 3-7 September the UN will host a meeting of the “open-ended working group” of the Basel convention, which governs the transborder movement of hazardous waste. Delegates will discuss technical issues including a review of waste listed in the convention. Other issues will include revised guidelines
on environmentally sound management of used tyres and
end-of-life mobile phones.
TRANSBOUNDARY AIR POLLUTION
The working group of strategies and review of the 1979 convention on long-range transboundary air pollution (CLRTAP) will meet on 17-20 September. The agenda will include a review of the pan-European 1999 Gothenburg air pollution protocol and the revision or replacement of CLRTAP’s protocol on POPs, one of the convention’s eight protocols. Delegates will continue to discuss a review of the heavy metal protocol.
Other international meetings will include the eighth session of the parties to the UN desertification convention in Madrid on 3-14 September. In conclusions adopted for the meeting the EU called for further global action in this area. This meeting will run alongside two technical meetings: the sixth session of the convention’s committee for reviewing its implementation and the eighth session of its science and technology committee.
There will also be a meeting of the Cartagena biosafety protocol’s ad hoc working group on liability and redress on 22-26 October.
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