Cablegate: Imo: London Convention Report On Marine


DE RUEHC #5725 0211019
R 202113Z JAN 10





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) The annual meetings of Contracting Parties to the
London Convention (LC) and the London Protocol (LP) on ocean
dumping were held concurrently 26-30 October at the
International Maritime Organization in London (LC31/LP4). The
U.S. delegation consisted of representatives from seven USG
agencies. An amendment to Article 6 of the LP was adopted
that will allow the export of carbon dioxide streams for
sub-seabed sequestration under certain circumstances.
Progress was made on the draft Assessment Framework for
Scientific Research Involving Ocean Fertilization, and
Parties agreed that work should continue at the next meeting
of the Scientific Groups (April 19-23, 2010). Mechanisms for
potential binding regulation of ocean fertilization were
briefly reviewed and debated. The Parties did not reach
consensus on the best approach to addressing ocean
fertilization activities under the LC and LP, resulting in a
recommendation that an intersessional ocean fertilization
working group be formed, with an intersessional meeting to be
held 1-5 March 2010. The Meetings approved expenditure of
over $300K from voluntary contributions for proposed national
and regional ocean dumping management capacity building
workshops, including a $75K grant from the United States.
The Meetings also made progress on compliance issues and on
cooperation with IMO,s Marine Environment Protection
Committee on ship hull paint removal, in-water hull cleaning,
and handling of spoiled cargoes. Parties were pleased to
note that the London Protocol is currently on the Obama
Administration,s Treaty Priority List for Senate action.

2. (SBU) LC31/LP4 discussed at length Norway,s proposed
amendment to Article 6 (which bans the export of wastes and
other matter to other countries for dumping or incineration
at sea) to create a limited exception allowing the export of
carbon dioxide streams for the purposes of sub-seabed
sequestration. As a non-Party to the Protocol, the ability
of the United States to influence the outcome was somewhat
limited. Nevertheless, we successfully steered the amendment
away from a focus on &prior informed consent8 (which would
be duplicative of the permitting scheme already applicable)
and towards greater clarity in the allocation of permitting
responsibilities between the exporting and importing states.
Ultimately, the Protocol Parties adopted text amending
Article 6 that as a preliminary matter seems acceptable to
the United States, although regrettably it was done without
consensus. Although the reasons for opposition were unclear,
the main concern that was expressed (most vocally by China
and South Africa, with support from other developing states)
involved the amendment,s failure to prohibit carbon dioxide
exports from one global region to another. The Cook Islands
gave a passionate intervention declaring that, as a non-Party
to the LC and LP, adopting an amendment by vote rather than
consensus would greatly reduce its faith that a small
country,s voice would be heeded if it acceded. The United
States also expressed its support for consensus. But after
continued deadlock in the corridors, Norway insisted on a
roll call vote, resulting in 15 in favor of the resolution
(Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy,
Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Korea,
Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom); 1 (China) against the
resolution; and 6 abstaining (Kenya, Marshall Islands,
Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Vanuatu). Despite
its vote against the amendment, China did acknowledge after
the vote that it had made every effort at reaching consensus.

3. (U) The adopted amendment to Article 6 of the LP will
allow the export of carbon dioxide streams for sub-seabed
sequestration if certain criteria are met. Criteria include a
requirement that the exporting and receiving (importing)
countries enter into an agreement or arrangement that
&confirms and allocates8 permitting responsibilities
consistent with their obligations under the Protocol and
other applicable international law. In the case of export to
non-Parties to the Protocol, the agreement or arrangement
also needs to contain &provisions at a minimum equivalent to
those contained in the Protocol . . . to ensure that the
agreement or arrangement does not derogate from the
obligations of Contracting Parties under this Protocol to
protect and preserve the marine environment.8

4. (U) Ocean fertilization is the addition of iron or other
nutrients to ocean surface water to enhance photosynthetic
fixation of carbon dioxide by phytoplankton. Although fewer
than half of the ocean fertilization, experiments to date
have resulted in any measurable increase in carbon export to
the deep ocean (where it may remain out of contact with
atmosphere for decades to centuries), the experiments have
sparked commercial interest in developing ocean fertilization
as a technology to sequester carbon dioxide and to enhance
fish populations.

5. (U) In dealing with this topic, the United States has
consistently tried to balance the concerns about the
potential adverse side effects of ocean fertilization as a
climate change mitigation measure with support for scientific
research into the global climate system, including research
into the marine carbon cycle and its role in the global
carbon cycle. The London Convention and Protocol have emerged
as the primary international fora for addressing the
potential impact of ocean fertilization on the marine
environment. At last year,s meeting, Convention and
Protocol parties approved a non-binding resolution on ocean
fertilization aimed at allowing &legitimate scientific
research8 while discouraging other ocean fertilization
activities (LC-LP.1 (2008)). The resolution also stated that
scientific research proposals should be assessed on a
case-by-case basis using an assessment framework being
developed by the LC/LP Scientific Groups, and that this
resolution should be reviewed at appropriate intervals in
light of new and relevant scientific information and
knowledge. In 2009, progress was made on the Assessment
Framework at the February Meeting of the Intersessional
Technical Working Group on Ocean Fertilization in London
(LC/SG-CO2 3/5) and the May Meeting of the Scientific Groups
in Rome (LC/LP SG32). The Parties agreed that work on the
Framework will continue at the next meeting of the Scientific
Groups in London in April 2010 (LC/LP SG33).

6. (U) This year again ocean fertilization was one of the
most controversial and time-consuming topics on the London
Convention/Protocol annual meeting agenda. An ocean
fertilization working group, co-chaired by Netherlands and
the Chair of the Scientific Groups, primarily considered and
addressed several policy questions raised during the
development of the Assessment Framework. The ocean
fertilization working group also was tasked with discussing
various legally binding and non-binding options for
addressing ocean fertilization developed by the
Intersessional Legal and Related Issues Working Group on
Ocean Fertilization in February 2009 (LP CO2 2/5), taking
into account the interventions made during plenary. The
eight options range from the status quo (last year,s
non-binding resolution), to an interpretative resolution, to
various amendments to the Protocol and Annex I.

7. (SBU) It was quickly apparent during the working group
discussions that there was no consensus on options for
regulating ocean fertilization at this meeting. Saudi Arabia
joined the United States in advocating no change from the
current resolution. This status quo allows time for the
Assessment Framework to be developed and conforms with our
position that ocean fertilization should be analyzed in the
first instance as &placement of matter for a purpose other
than the mere disposal thereof8 under Article We
also favor addressing this issue by resolution rather than
amendment because a resolution is operative instantly and
universally for all Parties to both the LC and LP, and is a
product of consensus. Several delegations felt there was
inadequate time to address the intersessional legal working
group,s options and a paper from Australia and New Zealand
exploring the possibility of a future amendment to the
Protocol to allow ( (LC 31/4/1). Australia and New Zealand
promoted their idea of a possible future amendment and sought
to limit discussion only to legally binding approaches.
Canada tried to present an interpretative resolution (one
seen as potentially binding by some States) as a middle
ground approach.

8. (U) Instead of discussing the merits of the options at
length, the ocean fertilization working group developed, and
the meetings adopted, terms of reference for an
intersessional working group to further consider the options.
A meeting of the intersessional Working Group was proposed
for 1-5 March2010, in London. The United States expressed
budgetary concerns about an intersessional working group, to
no avail. Our primary substantive concern in the discussions
going forward is that non-legally binding options remain open
to discussion, notwithstanding others, claims that
consideration must be limited to only binding approaches.

9. (SBU) An additional item that was raised during the
Meeting under ocean fertilization was in respect to the term
&marine geo-engineering.8 The paper from Australia and New
Zealand asked the Meetings to consider whether the Convention
and Protocol should address all &marine geo-engineering8 as
opposed to just ocean fertilization. Several delegations,
including that of the United States, indicated a strong
desire to continue to focus efforts on ocean fertilization at
this time, as much work has already been done on this and as
there is no clear understanding of what &marine
geo-engineering8 encompasses. The U.S. view prevailed,
resulting in deferral of discussions on marine
geo-engineering. The Science Groups, however, agreed to
consider the topic for SG Science Day in 2011

10. (SBU) The International Emissions Trading Association
(IETA), represented by Dan Whaley from Climos (one of the
U.S. firms hoping to pursue ocean fertilization as a
commercial climate mitigation technique), attended the
meeting as a "non-governmental organization observer" on an
interim basis. Rather than reach a final decision on IETA,s
status, Parties again agreed to invite IETA on an interim
basis for one additional year.

11. (U) The London Convention has a Scientific Group that
meets each spring and works intersessionally on the technical
issues of ocean dumping. The London Protocol has a similar
Scientific Group. The two Scientific Groups meet
concurrently under an arrangement in which the shared offices
of Chair and Vice-Chairs consist of members representing
Parties to both the Protocol and the Convention. The Chair of
the London Convention and London Protocol Scientific Groups
provided an overview of their 32nd session held in May 2009
in Rome, Italy. The meetings endorsed the recommendations of
the 32nd Scientific Groups session and noted the ongoing work
on guidelines for bulky items and fish wastes. The next
meeting will be 19-23 April 2010 in London.

12. (U) In his opening address to the Meetings, the IMO
Secretary General highlighted &the need to accelerate
ratification of the London Protocol and, for that purpose, to
carry out successful outreach activities.8 The Meetings
again gave high priority to technical cooperation and
assistance activities this year, especially regarding the
&Barriers to Compliance8 (B2C) Project, which forms the
basis for LC/LP outreach program to Contracting Parties and
non-Contracting States. The LC/LP,s B2C Project Steering
Group discussed the B2C Implementation Plan and associated
reports. The U.S. delegation is a member of the B2C Steering
Group. The B2C Steering Group recommended that the
Contracting Parties approve proposed national or regional
capacity building workshops for a cost of about $300,000 from
voluntary contributions during the 2010-2011 biennium. A
capacity building workshop is tentatively planned for the
Wider Caribbean Region in May 2009 using a portion of the
$75,000 contributed to the B2C Project by the U.S. in 2009.
The Steering Group will assist the LC/LP Secretariat in
improving reporting documents and continuing to develop the
valuable outreach program. In addition, the B2C Steering
Group agreed that coordination with the LC/LP Compliance
Group would be beneficial for outreach on significant
technical and compliance issues.

13. (U) The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
representative gave a progress report on IAEA,s efforts to
update the two inventory documents for radioactive waste
disposals and accidents at sea (IAEA TECDOCs 1105 and 1242
respectively). IAEA has received reports from all parties
with relevant information and is proceeding to combine both
inventories into a single report. This report will include,
for perspective, radioactivity introduced into the ocean from
other sources such as past nuclear weapons testing, the
Chernobyl accident, and naturally occurring radioactivity.
The IAEA representative reviewed in detail International
Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) efforts to
develop a new international framework for protection of flora
and fauna in the environment from ionizing radiation. Due to
the complexity of the ICRP approach, IAEA considers that it
could be impractical. The IAEA representative outlined a
proposal for developing a more generic, practical, and widely
applicable method for assessing and judging the radiological
impact to flora and fauna. If supported by the LC/LP and
approved by the IAEA Board of Governors, this method might be
completed in time for consideration at the next LC/LP
Consultative meeting. The governing bodies noted the
information provided by IAEA and expressed support for the
IAEA proposal to develop a more practical method for
assessing the radiological impact to flora and fauna.

14. (U) The 2nd Meeting of the Compliance Group was held from
26-28 October, 2009. Ms. Pan Kun of China was elected to
serve as a substitute member for this meeting only to ensure
the group had the required quorum. The U.S. participated as
an observer along with Kenya, Korea, Netherlands, and
Nigeria. The group recommended against producing model
national legislation for prospective parties and instead
encouraged parties to post examples of legislation from
various systems for prospective parties to draw upon. The
group also recommended posting previously developed guidance
on national implementation of the Protocol on the LC webpage.
They intend to explore the possibility of developing
commentaries or explanatory reports concerning the Protocol
during the intersessional period. This is an effort that
warrants substantial monitoring to ensure the results do not
exceed the underlying authority of the group. Finally, the
group dedicated a large block of time to examining potential
reasons for decreases in reporting under both the Convention
and Protocol, making a number of suggestions to improve
contacts with parties. Notably the group decided not to try
to define "effective measures" in the reporting requirements
of Article 9.4.3 to the London Protocol.

15. (U) On hull cleaning, it was agreed that the Secretariat
would distribute the &Guidance on Best Management Practices
for Removal of Anti-Fouling Coatings from Ships, including
TBT hull paints,8 as contained in AFS.3/Circ. 3 (MEPC 59/24
paragraph 13.4). There was also a discussion of Invasive
Aquatic Species (IAS) with regard to in-water hull cleaning
and dredged material disposal. It was agreed that, while IAS
are of significant concern, the governing bodies would not
address the role of the LC/LP, if any, in regulating in-water
hull cleaning at this time, in light of the ongoing efforts
in MEPC in this area. The issue will be discussed at next
year,s meeting (LC32/LP5), with a view to reviewing the work
undertaken at MEPC at that time.

16. (U) With respect to spoilt cargoes, a small ad hoc group
met informally on the margins of the LC/LP meeting.
Interested parties will collaborate intersessionally, under
Canada,s lead, on development of a new IMO &training course
module8 and a plain language brochure that summarize the
formal guidance on management of spoilt cargoes that the
governing bodies adopted in 2008. The governing bodies
agreed that these and perhaps other outreach materials on
spoilt cargoes would be provided to the LC/LP Scientific
Groups for further collaborative work with MEPC.

17. (U) Also discussed was collaboration with UNEP-GPA on
areas of common interest. These include sub-sea disposal of
tailings and other wastes associated with mining; physical
alteration and destruction of habitat; and marine litter
(marine debris). The governing bodies endorsed the
Scientific Groups agreement that a review of sub-sea disposal
through outfalls of tailings and associated wastes from
mining operations be a new priority element of implementing
the 2006 partnership between the Office for the London
Convention and Protocol, UNEP-GPA and the UNEP Regional Seas
Program. It was agreed that the Secretariat would move
quickly to hire a consultant and distribute a circular with a
questionnaire, to seek information regarding existing
controls on such sub-sea disposal operations.

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