Thursday, 23 June 2011

Africa Group Statement on candidate chemicals asks for reasons of Canadas position

The Africa Group wishes to thank the Co-Chairs of the Candidate chemicals contact group for their skillful leadership and their efforts to resolve the issue of listing of Chrysotile asbestos in Annex III. We also thank India for their spirit of compromise and for their efforts to provide additional information to the countries who were still unable to agree to the listing of Chrysotile asbestos in an effort to move forward. The Africa Group also thanks Switzerland for their compromise text in efforts to ensure that consensus is reached. The Africa Group believes that this text accommodated the concerns of the apposing countries while achieving the objectives of the convention which are to protect the vulnerable populations. We also thank the EU for their document, but note that the African regions is not supportive of parallel voluntary mechanisms as these may render the Convention ineffective, and hamper our efforts to move towards listing.

Recalling what transpired at the contract on candidate chemicals, the Africa group must register its extreme disappointment in the manner in which Canada has acted with respect to the listing of this chemical. Their eleventh hour revelation that they were not able to concede to the listing of Chrysotile Asbestos in Annex III took the contact group meeting by surprise. Only after there appeared to be significant movement of the other opposing countries to consider the Swiss proposal, did they express themselves on the matter. The actions of Canada have in the view of the Africa Group set back the progress made by the contact group, as they did not make themselves available to have further discussion in the smaller group, and did not express to the group a willingness to debate the issue of the listing. The other countries opposed to the listing which joined the smaller discussion group, identified the issues which caused them difficulties in agreeing to the listing and the contact group were able to consider these concerns and propose options to address them through the Switzerland compromise decision. Canada by their actions have not allowed the group to understand the issues which do not allow them to reach consensus on the listing decision. The Africa Group hereby calls on Canada to put forward to the Conference the reasons for their opposition to the listing, that the parities can assist them in an attempt to negotiate and find solutions which allow COP 5 to be able to list and meet the objectives of the Convention.

It is at significant cost both in terms of resources and physical costs that the Africa Region sends representatives to these meeting, the African Region is encouraged by the listing of the other candidate chemicals but would be extremely disappointed if opposing countries cannot find it in themselves to negotiate to a successful outcome which is a listing of all four candidate chemicals.

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