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U.S. Statement on Financial Resources At COP

U.S. Statement on Financial Resources at the Second Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP)

Daniel A. Reifsnyder, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environment, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
Remarks at the Second Meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the Stockholm
Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants
Geneva, Switzerland
May 2, 2006

The United States remains firmly committed to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and to its mission of achieving global environmental benefits. As with all international financial institutions (IFIs), the U.S. is seeking reforms designed to ensure that scarce taxpayer funds are put to the most effective, transparent and accountable use. We are concerned that the GEF has not yet measured up to the standards of other IFIs. It was very slow to implement the reforms agreed in 2002 as part of the last replenishment (GEF-3), and a number of those reforms remain uncompleted. Delegates should recognize that this is not an appropriate forum for discussions on GEF replenishment. Those negotiations are ongoing among our ministries (in the U.S. case, our Treasury Department) empowered by our capitals to negotiate on this matter.

The GEF has continued to commit resources to useful Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) projects. In addition, projects in other GEF focal areas, such as biodiversity, land degradation and climate change often have indirect and direct benefits to the POPs portfolio, including, for example, through capacity-building or integrated pest management. For these reasons, we do not support a separate entity to operate this Convention's financial mechanism. We do support an exploration of additional sources of co-financing for the POPs focal area, particularly from the private sector. We also do not support calling upon other international organizations to support POPs implementation. Those organizations each have their own governing bodies where we, as governments, are represented. It is in those bodies that requests for support should be made.

Regarding the draft review of the financial mechanism, it is inappropriate for the Conference of the Parties (COP) to send the draft review to the GEF Assembly for possible action. In its current form we do not believe that it is ready to be forwarded to the GEF council, or at least not with our endorsement of its findings. We do not endorse the recommendations in the draft review of the financial mechanism:

* It is not appropriate for the COP2 to contribute input into the GEF4 replenishment negotiations because the replenishment is not being negotiated through the COP. * Assessing incremental costs is an operational activity within the GEF's purview. If countries are concerned abut how this is being applied, they should raise it in the GEF. * Determining an appropriate budget in GEF-4 for national implementation plans is premature because the GEF-4 replenishment negotiations are still ongoing.

Regarding terms of reference for the Needs Assessment, we would like to ensure an unbiased and rigorous estimate of the funds necessary to implement the Convention. We feel that hiring an independent contractor to do the work would be the best alternative. We are concerned about the request to ask the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) to provide information on assistance in Section (c). This section should either be eliminated or modified as we do not believe it is appropriate for the COP to ask the IFIs to divert resources from their current missions. It would be useful to provide information about where stockpiles are and where the capacity for incineration is by country. Further, the needs assessment should be focused on determining priorities for funding. The National Implementation Plans (NIPS) could provide a useful basis for determining those priorities.

Released on May 2, 2006

ENDS


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