India is seeking a postponement of the decision on a global ban on Endosulfan to the next meeting of the conference of parties to the Stockholm Convention in 2013, according to observers.

C. Jayakumar and Dr. Mohammed Asheel, observers from Kerala to the ongoing conference of parties to the Convention in Geneva, said in an email message that India had distributed a draft of its proposal among the Asia Pacific group of countries seeking their support for the postponement.

In the draft statement, a copy of which has been made available to The Hindu, India says that significant adverse health and environmental effects of Endosulfan have not been established. However, the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee of the Convention chose to rely on selective use of data to recommend a ban. Contrary evidence from other studies, including those of World Health Organisation and Food and Agriculture Organisation, was disregarded.

Apparently anticipating division, it further says that decisions of the conference of parties and its subsidiary bodies must be by consensus and not by voting. Taking decisions on substantive matters by vote is clearly inconsistent with the Convention's text. Further this would set a bad precedent, undermining the cooperative character of the Convention.

The draft adds that the decisions taken under the Convention should be within the overarching framework of sustainable development. Principles such as transparency have not been adhered to and there have been serious procedural violations in the deliberations of the Review Committee recommending listing of Endosulfan (for ban). Substantive issues raised by several parties were ignored at different stages.

The Committee is required to suggest alternatives, taking into consideration technical feasibility, costs and socio-economic considerations. However, adequate data for a large number of proposed alternatives was not provided.

The last meeting of conference of parties has decided to list nine new chemicals (for ban). However, a concrete solution to the issue of adequate financial assistance is yet to be found. “It is important to resolve the issue before adding new chemicals.”

It goes on to say that the conference may decide to comprehensively address the issues regarding the decision-making process and issues of technical and financial assistance. “An inter-sessional mechanism may be established for this purpose which can report to the next conference enabling it to take a decision on the issue of listing Endosulfan and other related matters.”

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