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Bodies, Commissions and Topics

The mission of Chile in Geneva is accredited to the Office of United Nations Office in this city (UNOG) and the international organizations of which Chile is a Member.

United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG)

UNOG (www.unog.ch) is located in the Palais des Nations and serves as a representative office of UN Secretary-General in Geneva, UNOG. A focal point for multilateral diplomacy, UNOG services more than 8,000 meetings every year, making it one of the largest conference centers in the world. With a staff of 1,600 staff, it is the main UN office from the headquarters in New York.

Providing infrastructure and logistical support, UNOG contributes significantly to the effort of the organization for maintaining peace and security, progress on disarmament, protect and promote human rights, eradicate poverty, implement sustainable development practices and to provide fast and effective humanitarian relief in emergencies, to mention only some of the tasks. A large number of dignitaries and high-level delegations come each year to participate in bilateral exchanges, intergovernmental meetings, conferences and other events.

UNOG performs representative and liaison functions with Permanent Missions, the Host State (Switzerland), other States and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, academic institutions at Geneva and other organizations of the UN system. UNOG also facilitates cooperation between agencies and with regional organizations.

The Office provides financial and administrative support for more than twenty organizations and departments based in Geneva. UNOG manages UN facilities in Geneva and provides conference services for the UN meetings that take place in the city. UNOG is also a center for the exchange among cultures through its Cultural Activities.

UNOG is chaired by Mr. Sergei Ordzhonikidze (Russian Federation), at the level of Under-Secretary-General who is accountable directly to the Secretary-General.

Human Rights Council

Human Rights Council

(www2.ohchr.org/spanish/bodies/hrcouncil/index.htm)

The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system and is composed of 47 Member States responsible for strengthening the promotion and the protection of human rights in the world. It was created by the General Assembly of the United Nations on March 15, 2006, with the main purpose of addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations thereon.

One year after holding its first meeting, on June 18 2007, the Council adopted its "Institution-building package" providing elements to guide it in its future work.

Among these, noteworthy is the new Universal Periodic Review Mechanism which will assess the human rights situations in all 192 UN Member States. Other features include a new Advisory Committee which serves as the Council's "think tank" providing it with expertise and advice on thematic human rights issues and the revised Complaints Procedure mechanism which allows individuals and organizations to bring complaints about human rights violations to the attention of the Council.

The Human Rights Council will continue to work closely with the UN Special Procedures established by the former commission and assumed by the Council.

United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR, www.ohchr.org / SP / Pages / WelcomePage.aspx) is mandated to promote and protect all human rights. The High Commissioner for Human Rights is the principal human rights officer of the United Nations. The High Commissioner heads the OHCHR and directs the efforts of the UN human rights issues. It provides leadership, education; takes steps to empower people and provides support to States in upholding human rights. The office is part of the United Nations Secretariat and its headquarters are in Geneva. The current High Commissioner for Human Rights is Ms. Navanethem Pillay (South Africa).

OHCHR supports the work of human rights mechanisms of the United Nations, such as the Human Rights Council and the major bodies created by virtue of treaties established to oversee that the High Contracting Parties comply with international treaties on human rights; promotes the right to development; coordinates the activities of United Nations related to education on human rights and public information, and strengthens human rights throughout the UN system. Its efforts are aimed at ensuring the enforcement of universally recognized human rights, including through the promotion of universal ratification and implementation of key human rights treaties, such as the respect for the rule of law.

OHCHR has an office at the UN headquarters in New York and offices in several countries and regions. In addition to the Executive Office of the High Commissioner and a number of units that rely on the Deputy High Commissioner, OHCHR has two main divisions, and four branches. To carry out its mandate, it employs over 850 staff (last update was in April 2007), with headquarters in Geneva and New York and offices in eleven countries and seven regional offices in the world, including about 240 international staff members working on human rights in peacekeeping missions of the UN.

The World Health Organization

WHO (www.who.int) is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is the responsible for providing leadership on global health maters, setting the research heath agenda and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring health trends worldwide.

The World Health Assembly (WHA) is the supreme decision-making body for WHO. It usually meets in Geneva in May each year and is attended by delegations from 193 Member States. Its main function is to determine the policies of the Organization. The Assembly appoints the Director-General, supervises the financial policies of the Organization, and reviews and approves the proposed program budget. It similarly reviews the reports of the Executive Board, when given instructions to it regarding matters that may require taking measures, study, investigation or report.

The Executive Board is composed of 34 members technically qualified in the field of health. Its members are elected for a three year-term. The main meeting of the Council, which decides the agenda for the next World Health Assembly adopts resolutions and submits them to the Health Assembly. This meeting is held in January and a second and shorter meeting in May, immediately after the Health Assembly, to discuss matters of a more administrative nature. The main functions of the Executive Board are to give effect to the decisions and policies of the WHA, in counseling and, in general, to facilitate its work.

The staff of the WHO Secretariat is composed of about 8000 people, particularly in health and other supporting staff and appointed for a fixed term, working at the Headquarters, the six regional offices and the Organization countries. The organization is headed by the Director-General who is appointed by the Health Assembly on the proposal of the Executive Council. The Director-General of WHO is Dr. Margaret Chan (China) who was appointed by the World Health Assembly on 9 November 2006.

International Labour Organization

(J. Maillard)

The International Labour Organization (ILO) (www.ilo.org) main objectives are to promote labor rights, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialog in handling work-related issues. The ILO is the global institution responsible for developing and monitoring international labor standards. By working together with the 178 member countries, the ILO seeks to ensure that labor standards are respected both in principle and in practice. The ILO was founded in 1919, after the First World War, based on a vision in which universal and lasting peace can only be achieved when it is based on the decent treatment of working people. The ILO became the first specialized agency of the UN in 1946.

The Member States of ILO meet every June in Geneva to participate in the International Labour Conference. Each member State is represented by two government delegates, an employer delegate and a worker delegate. The Conference establishes and adopts international labor standards, and is a forum in which issues are of great industrial and social relevance. It also adopts the budget of the Organization and elects the Governing Body.

The Governing Body is the executive council of the ILO and meets three times a year in Geneva. It takes decisions on the ILO policies and establishes the program and budget which are then submitted to the Conference for adoption. It also elects the Director- General. The Governing Body of the ILO is composed of 28 government members, 14 employers and 14 workers. The 10 chief industrialized countries occupy government seats on an ongoing basis. The employers and workers each elect their own representatives.

The Member States of the ILO meeting in June of each year in Geneva to participate in the International Labor Conference. Each state is represented by two government delegates, one of employers and of workers. The Conference establishes and adopts international labor standards, and is a forum in which issues are of great industrial and social relevance. It also adopts the budget and elects the Governing Body.

The Governing Body is the executive body of the ILO and meets three times annually in Geneva. It takes decisions on ILO policies and establishing the program and budget which are then presented to the Conference for approval. It also elects the Director General. The Governing Body of the ILO is composed of 28 government members, 14 employers and 14 workers. The 10 major industrialized countries occupy government posts on an ongoing basis. Employers and workers elect their own representatives.

The International Labor Office is the permanent secretariat of the International Labour Organization. It is responsible for all of the ILO activities, conducted under the supervision of the Governing Council and the direction of the Director-General who is elected for renewable periods of five years. The Office employs around 1,900 officers of over 110 nationalities who work in the headquarters in Geneva and offices in 40 different places in the world. In addition, there are around 600 experts undertaking missions in all regions of the world under the technical cooperation program. The Office also has a research and documentation center, and it publishes specialized studies, reports and newspapers. The current Director-General is Mr. Juan Somavía, in office since 1999.

International Organization for Migration

The IOM (www.iom.int) is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society.

In its capacity as the main international organization for migrants, the IOM works with its partners of the international community aimed at:

  • helping to face growing challenges set out by the management of migration at a an operative level,
  • fostering understanding of migratory matters,
  • encouraging social and economic development through migration and,
  • safeguarding the observance of human dignity and the well-being of migrants.

Constitution and Governance

The Organization, created in December 1951, started operating in early 1952 as the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration. Its Constitution was adopted on 19 October of 1953 and entered into force on 30 November of 1954. Later on, amendments were made to the Constitution, which entered into force in November 14 of 1989, and the Organization was renamed the International Organization for Migration. The Organization possesses full juridical personality and was establishes its Headquarters in Geneva. It is currently composed of 125 Member States.

The Organization's main organs are the Council, the Executive Committee and the Administration.

The Council, on which each Member State has a representative and a vote, is the highest authority and determines IOM policies.

The Executive Committee, currently comprising 33 States Member elected for two-year periods, examines and reviews the policies, operations and administration. The Standing Committee on Programmes and Finances (SCPF), which is open to the entire membership, replaced the Subcommittee on Budget and Finance and will normally will meet twice a year to examine and review policies, programs and activities and to discuss financial and budgetary matters.

The Administration, which comprises a Director General, a Deputy Director General and such staff as the Council may determine, is responsible for administering and managing the Organization in accordance with the Constitution and the policies and decisions of the Council and the Executive Committee. The Director General, who is the Organization's highest executive official and the Deputy Director General are independently elected by the Council for a period of five (5) years.

The Director General of the IOM is Mr. William Lacy Swing, who was elected in June 18 of 2008 and assumed his post on October 1 of 2008.
Conference on Disarmament

The Conference on Disarmament (CD) is a multilateral disarmament-negotiating forum of the international community. It was founded in 1979 following the First Special Session on Disarmament of the General Assembly of the United Nations held in 1978.

It succeeded other negotiating fora with similar characteristics, including the Ten-Nation Committee on Disarmament (1960), the Eighteen-Nation committee on Disarmament (1962-1968) and the Conference on the Committee on Disarmament (1969-1978).

The CD is a forum established by the international community for the negotiation of multilateral arms control and disarmament agreements While the conference is not formally a United Nations (UN) organization, it is linked to the UN through a personal representative of the United Nations Secretary-General; this representative serves as the secretary general of the conference. Resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly often request the conference to consider specific disarmament matters. In turn, the conference annually reports its activities to the Assembly.
The CD operates by consensus and has successfully negotiated the Biological Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention, and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

Biological Weapons Convention (BWC)

This instrument was opened for signature in 1972 and entered into force in 1975. The BWC was the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning the production of an entire category of weapons. It is a key piece in the earnest efforts made by the international community in favor of the nonproliferation of massive destruction weapons. It currently has 159 High Contracting Parties (HCP) and 15 signatories.

Since 2003, the BWC's work has been structured regarding matters such as:

i) national measures of implementation;

ii) monitoring, detection and diagnosis mechanism;

iii) fighting infectious diseases affecting human beings, animals and plants ;

iv) capabilities to respond, investigate and mitigate the effects of the use of this kind of weapons;

v) codes of conduct for scientists;

vi) universalization of the Convention; and

vii) regional and subregional cooperation.

Although HCPs have traditionally organized their work through three main groups (Eastern Europe Group, Western Group and NAM), in 2006 and 2007 the European Union (EU), the Jackson and the group of Latin American countries played an important role. This last group has signed several joint statements and elaborated numerous work documents.

Over the last four years, our country – HCP in the Convention- , has participated in all the meetings within the framework of the Convention, namely the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE); meetings of the HCPs; and the VI Review Conference. In the NAM context, we have held different representational positions. Within the framework of the Group of countries of the Region, we contributed to the preparation of several work documents.

The main results of the Review Conference (that organizes work until 2010) are mainly the following:

i) it entrusted the President of the meetings of HCPs to coordinate the efforts of universalization;

ii) it established an Implementation Support Unit (ISU) for the Convention ;

iii) it decided on celebrating 4 annual meetings of the HCPs during the intersessional period 2007-2010; and

iv) it entrusted elaborating an electronic format of the confidence-building measures and centralizing the petitions and offering of assistance.

Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW)

The purpose of the Convention is to ban or restrict the use of specific types of weapons that are considered to cause unnecessary or unjustifiable suffering to combatants or to affect civilians indiscriminately.

The CCW, adopted on October 10 of 1980, is a framework convention comprising the general regulations assuring flexibility. To date, it has 103 State Parties (HCP) and 6 signatories.

During the II Review Conference (2001) the matters covered by the Convention was furthered to the non-international armed conflicts, amended article 1st (56 HCP).

The Convention has three original protocols and two new ones, namely:

i) no-detectable fragments (101 HCP);

ii) prohibition or restriction of the use of mines, booby-traps and other devices (89 HCP). This Protocol was amended in 1996 through the reinforcement of its regulations (88 HCP);

iii) prohibition or restriction of the use of incendiary weapons (96 HCP);

iv) blinding laser weapons (87 HCP);

v) explosive remnants of war (35 HCP).

Over the last four years within the CCW context of work, our country has actively participated in the meetings of the High Contracting Parties to the Convention, in its Review Conference (2007), in the several groups of governmental experts of the HCP (mines different from the anti-personnel kind, explosive remnants of war and recently in cluster munitions as well as in the meetings of the HCP in the protocol annexes II (amended) and V, the latter in the capacity of Observer State.

Besides the work carried out by the Groups of Governmental Experts (GGE) it is worth mentioning, likewise, the surrounding tasks aimed at:

i) promoting the universalization of the instrument;

ii) establishing a mechanism of applicable fulfillment of the Convention and its annexed protocols; and

iii) establishing a sponsoring program assuring wide participation in the CCW tasks and its protocols.

All these initiatives were materialized on the occasion of the III Review Conference, namely: an Action Plan was adopted to promote universalization, as well as a fulfillment mechanism and a sponsoring program. .

In brief, Chile is HCP of Article 1 amended; of protocols I, III, IV and from II amended, remaining V for ratification. Within the framework of the fulfillment mechanism, nominations for the Register of Experts were carried out and the information related to 2007 remained pending.

Mine Ban Treaty (Ottawa Treaty)

The Ban Mine Treaty (BMT) constitutes a landmark in the efforts to bring to and end to the suffering of victims from these weapons. The instrument comprises its complete prohibition, a frame of action to tackle its impact on human beings and the mechanisms to facilitate cooperation in the implementation of the BTM. The Convention was adopted on September 18 of 1997 and enters into force on March 1 of 1999. Do date, it has 156 High- Contracting Parties (HCP).

Since 1999, the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) has supported the implementation of the Convention, hosting the meetings of the permanent committees established by the HCPs. In September 2001, the HCPs entrusted the GICHD to support their work through the creation of an Implementation Support Unit (ISU). In addition, the Center provides technical advisory to the HCPs on clean up of mines, education on risk reduction and storage destruction.

The work within the framework of BTM, in which our country actively participates, has been structured fundamentally regarding the annual meeting of the HCPs at the end of the year, and at the mid-year meetings of the permanent committees. The annual meetings of the HCPs have become important strategic fora, favoring a more dynamic process of the mechanisms of implementation of the Convention.
The last annual meeting of the HCPs (VIII) was celebrated in the Dead Sea, Jordan, occasion in which our country held one of the Vice-Presidencies. This year the Meeting will take place in Geneva, under Swiss presidency (IX). It should be noted that the Convention foresees, likewise, the celebration of the Review Conferences every five years. The First Conference of this kind took place in December 2004, in Nairobi, Kenya, and the Second will be held next year (2009) in Colombia. The United Nations convenes both the meetings of the HCPs as well as the Review Conferences.

In their first annual meeting, the HCPs elaborated an intersessional work program aimed at a systematic and efficient implementation of the Convention. The so-called Permanent Committees were created for this purpose. The structure in committees of the intersessional work program clearly reflects the humanitarian objectives of the Convention upon raising matters such as: cooperation to assist victims, demining, destruction of mine storage, and general operating of the instrument, including the efforts made in order to raise the necessary funds for their fulfillment.

Since 2006, Chile participates (co-rapporteur of the Permanent Committee for Demining, 2007 Co-President of the mentioned Committee, and this year co-rapporteur of the Permanent Committee of General State and Operating) in the work carried out by the permanent committees. As from late November of the current year, we will assume the co-presidency of the latter Committee. The election of the HCPs in order for them to act as co-presidents or co-rapporteurs of the permanent committees has always been carried out trying to respect balance, on the one hand, between the countries more affected by the mine problem and the donating States and on the other, between the different regions of the world. This, in order to remain faithful to the spirit of collaboration of the Convention and respect the tradition of association between developed and developing countries. Thus, Chile worked with Norway in the reporting and presidency of the Committee for Demining and currently and does it with Japan in the taking of minutes of the Committee of General State and Operating. After creating the intersessional work program, the HCPs created a Coordination Committee composed of the 16 co-presidents and co-rapporteurs of the permanent committees and chaired by the President of the last meeting of the HCPs. Consequently, our country takes part in this Committee since 2006.

Through our participation in the work carried out by the Permanent Committee for Demining and the Coordination Committee, Chile mainly collaborated in the most important formulation and materialization of the process of applications of extension of the fulfillment deadlines pursuant to the 5th article of the Convention. For this purpose, besides celebrating bilateral meetings with all the affected HCPs, sending letters to each of these States and transferring questionnaires that will guide its participation at the meetings of the permanent committees, we took part in, among others, the elaboration of:

 

i) a document, submitted by the Jordanian Presidency to the VIII Meeting of the HCPs, describing the four stages of the process in question;

ii) the inherent chapter of the activities of the Committee for Demining of the Progress Report of the Dead Sea;

iii) a voluntary format to assist the HCPs in their petitions for extension of deadlines under the mentioned 5th article; and

iv) a calendar identifying the deadlines and steps according to the situation of each of the HCPs affected by anti-personnel mines.

Finally, in this context we must highlight the setting up of the Regional Supporting Unit of the International Centre for Humanitarian Demining in Santiago, Chile. This was materialized through a joint declaration signed in Geneva, Switzerland, by H.E. Dr. Michelle Bachelet, President of the Republic of Chile and the President of the referred Center, Mr. Cornelio Sommaruga as well as the celebration in our country – in August last year- of a Regional Seminary on the application of the 5th Article of the Ottawa Treaty. The event was inaugurated by the Ministry of Defense, Mr. José Goñi and by the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Alberto Van Klaveren. The results of the mentioned Seminary were published and presented on occasion of the VIII Meeting of High-Contracting Parties.

Other matters

Besides the main and regular activities of the work regarding disarmament, the proliferation and control of weapons that this Mission gives consideration to, that we address at an earlier stage, it should be noted that in this multilateral seat numerous meetings linked to matters in question are held, among others:

i) Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters established in 1978, aimed at, among other functions, assisting the UN Secretary-General within the area of arms limitation and disarmament;

ii) at least one of the preparatory meetings of the review conferences of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NTP). Specifically, the II Preparatory Meeting Hill of the mentioned instrument will take place this year (2008);

iii) seminars and conferences organized by NGOs, the academic world and governmental organizations, among others, Women's League, Quakers, International Campaign to Ban Landmines, Geneva's Graduate Institute of International Studies (HEI),Geneva Center for Security Policy (GCSP); International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); and

iv) Small weapons, topic initially addressed at the UN Forum on the subject in 1995, which continuity was maintained through the establishment of two groups of experts by the UN Secretary- General in 1997 and 1999, that finally resulted in the UN Conference on Illicit Trafficking in Small Arms in 2001, celebrated in New York. On such occasion , an Action Program was adopted for its fighting, prevention and eradication; and

v) groups of experts and specific meetings on matters such as: cluster munitions (Oslo Process), impoverished uranium, portable missiles, sensitive infrastructure, radiological weapons, treaty project on trade of weapons, missile state of alert, etc.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) United Nations Environment Programme -UNEP

The UNEP with headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, is a program of the United Nations that coordinates the environmental activities, assisting countries on the implementation of adequate environmental policies as well as fostering sustainable development. It was created by recommendation of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm – 1972).
Its mission is to provide leadership and promote joint efforts for environmental care, inspiring, informing and training countries and peoples so as to improve their life quality without jeopardizing future generations.
Its activities cover a wide range of topics, from the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems, the promotion of environmental sciences and the dissemination of related information to the issuing of warnings and the ability to respond to emergencies related to environmental disasters.
The UNEP is the leading world authority in the environmental area. This program:

  • Assesses the state of global environment and identifies issues that need to be subject international cooperation
  • Helps to frame legislation on the environment and incorporates the environmental considerations into policies and social and economic programs of the United Nations system.
  • Directs and encourages partnerships to protect the environment.
  • Promotes scientific knowledge and information on environmental issues.
  • Develops and promotes regional and national reports on the state of the environment and its prospects.
  • Promotes the development of international environmental treaties and contributes to increasing national capacities to address these problems.

UNEP has developed guidelines and treaties on issues such as international transportation of potentially hazardous chemicals, transboundary air pollution and pollution of international waterways.
Basel Convention Basel Convention
It is a global environmental treaty that strictly regulates the transboundary movement of hazardous wastes and determines obligations of Parties to ensure the environmentally sound management of them, particularly its provision.

The Basel Convention was adopted on March 22, 1989 and entered into force on May 5, 1992. The Convention is the response of the international community to the problems caused by the annual production of 400 million tons of waste considered dangerous to
human beings or the environment, given its toxic, poisonous, explosive, reactive, corrosive, flammable or infectious characteristics.

The Basel Convention recognizes that the most effective way of protecting human health and the environment from potential damage caused by hazardous wastes is based on minimizing their generation and / or dangerousness.

Thus, the basic principles of the Basel Convention are:

  • Transboundary movements of hazardous wastes should be reduced to the minimum consistent with their environmentally sound management;
  • Hazardous wastes should be treated and disposed as close as possible to the source of generation;
  • Hazardous waste generation should be reduced and minimized at source.

To achieve these goals, the Convention aims through its Secretariat to control transboundary movements of hazardous wastes, monitor and prevent trafficking, provide assistance in the environmentally sound management of wastes, promote cooperation between the parties and develop technical guidelines for management of hazardous wastes.

Stockholm Convention Stockholm Convention

It is the international instrument that regulates the handling of toxic substances, sponsored by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). This agreement was the result of long years of negotiation to obtain legal commitments of countries in order to demand the urgent elimination of all Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).
The Convention establishes a dozen compounds on which action should be taken as a priority, it is the so-called "dirty dozen", which includes intentionally produced chemicals such as pesticides, PCBs, dioxins and furans.

Rotterdam Convention Rotterdam Convention

The text of the Convention was adopted on September 10, 1998 by a Conference of
Plenipotentiaries in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
The Convention entered into force on February 24, 2004.
The objectives of the Convention are:

  • • to promote shared responsibility and cooperative efforts among Parties in the international trade of certain hazardous chemicals to protect human health and the environment from potential harm and
  • to contribute to the environmentally sound use of those hazardous chemicals, by facilitating information exchange about their characteristics, by providing a national decision-making process on the import and export and by disseminating these decisions to Parties.

The Convention creates legally binding obligations for the application of Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure. It is based on the voluntary PIC procedure already implemented by UNEP and FAO in 1989.

Main provisions:
The Convention also contains provisions for the exchange of information among Parties about potentially hazardous chemicals that can be exported and imported.
The Convention covers pesticides and industrial chemicals that have been banned or severely restricted for health or environmental reasons by Parties and which have been notified by Parties for inclusion in the PIC procedure.

Two reports, each arising from a different region of the regions determined by the Conference of the Parties at its first meeting lead to considering the possibility of a chemical in the PIC procedure.

You can also propose the inclusion in the process of severely hazardous pesticide formulations that present a danger under the conditions of use in developing countries or countries with economies in transition.
The Convention applies to 39 chemicals listed in Annex III, (including 24 pesticides, 4 severely hazardous pesticide formulations) and 11 industrial chemicals, but is expected to include many more in the future. The Conference of the Parties shall decide on the inclusion of chemicals.

Once a chemical is included in Annex III, a "decision guidance document" (DGD) containing information concerning the chemical and the regulatory decisions to ban or severely restrict the chemical for health or environmental reasons, is circulated to all Parties.

Parties have a nine-month period to prepare a response regarding future import of the chemical in question. The response can consist of either a final decision (to allow import of the chemical, not to allow import, or to allow import subject to specified conditions) or an interim response. Decisions by importing countries should dispense with any consideration of trade (that is applied equally to domestic production and imports).

The import decisions are circulated and exporting country Parties are obligated under the Convention to take appropriate measure to ensure that exporters within its jurisdiction comply with the decisions.

With regard to information exchange, the Convention provides:

  • the requirement for a Party to inform other Parties on each national ban or severe restriction of a chemical;
  • the possibility for a Party which is a developing country or country with an economy in transition to inform other Parties that it is experiencing problems caused by a severely hazardous pesticide formulation under conditions of use in its territory;
  • the requirement for a Party that plans to export a chemical that is banned or severely restricted for use within its territory, to inform to the importing Party that such export will take place, before the first shipment and annually thereafter;
  • the requirement for an exporting Party, when exporting chemicals that are to be used for occupational purposes, to ensure that an up-to-date safety data sheet is sent to the importer; and
  • labeling requirements for exports of chemicals included in the PIC procedure, as well as for other chemicals that are banned or severely restricted in the exporting country.

Strategic approach to chemicals management at the international level, in February 2002, the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) decided that it was necessary to develop a Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management of Chemicals (SAICM). This initiative was endorsed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, so that by 2020 chemicals are produced and used so that the adverse effects on human health and the environment are minimized significantly.

To this end, from February 4 to 6 2006, the International Conference on Chemicals Management was held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which completed negotiations for the adoption of a High-Level Declaration, an Overarching Policy Strategy and a Global Plan of Action. It also stresses the acceptance of a Quick Start Program.

Ramsar Convention Ramsar Convention

The Convention on Wetlands is an intergovernmental treaty adopted on 2 February 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar, situated on the shores of the Caspian Sea. So even today when the name usually used to describe the Convention is "Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)," it has commonly become known as the "Ramsar Convention" has. Ramsar is the first of the modern intergovernmental treaties on conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, but compared with the latest, its provisions are relatively straightforward and general. Over the years, the Conference of the Contracting Parties has interpreted and further developed the basic principles of the treaty text and succeeded in keeping the work of the Convention abreast of changing world perceptions, priorities and trends in environmental thinking.

The official name of the treaty, Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat, reflects the emphasis initially on the conservation and wise use of wetlands primarily as habitat for such birds. However, over the years the Convention has broadened its scope to include the conservation and wise use of wetlands in all their aspects, recognizing wetlands as ecosystems that are extremely important for biodiversity conservation and well-being of human communities and thus fulfilling the full scope of the Convention. Hence, the increasingly frequent use of the short version of the treaty's title, the "Convention on Wetlands", is entirely appropriate.

The Convention entered into force in 1975 and today (August 2007) has 155 Contracting Parties.

World Meteorological Organization World Meteorological Organization

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It is its authoritative voice on the state and behavior of Earth's atmosphere, its interaction with the oceans, the climate it produces and the resulting distribution of water resources.

The WMO has 188 Member States and Territories (since January 24, 2007). Its predecessor, the International Meteorological Organization (IMO) was founded in 1873. The WMO was established in 1950 and became the specialized agency of the United Nations for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences in 1951.

As weather, climate and water cycle know no national boundaries, international cooperation at global level is essential for the development of meteorology and operational hydrology as well as to reap the benefits from their application. WMO provides the framework to develop this cooperation.

International Telecommunication Union 

The ITU is the leading United Nations organization for information and communication technology. In its capacity as global coordinator of governments and the private sector, ITU's role encompasses three key areas, namely radiocommunication, standardization and development. ITU also organizes events and Telecom was the main entity sponsor for the World Summit on the Information Society.

ITU is based in Geneva, Switzerland and its membership includes 191 Member States and over 700 Sector Members and Associates.

Commission on Science and Technology for Development Commission on Science and Technology for Development ( ECOSOC-UNCTAD)

Since 1960, the United Nations has been responsible for promoting the application of science and technology for development of its Member States. To improve work in this area, the UN established the Commission on Science and Technology for Development, which is a functional commission of the Economic and Social Council that is dedicated to:

  • Examining issues related to science and technology and their implications for development
  • Promoting awareness of science and technology policies with regard to developing countries
  • Making recommendations on scientific and technological issues within the United Nations system

The Commission was established in 1992 as a functional commission of the Economic and Social Council and was recently restructured by resolutions 1998/46 and 1998/47 of the ECOSOC. It comprises 33 Member States and meets every two years, choosing a theme for its work between sessions and their deliberations.

The theme chosen for 1999-2000 was the creation of national capacity in biotechnology, with special emphasis on agriculture, industry, health and the environment.

UNCTAD also provides substantive and secretariat support to the Commission and promotes policies that support the development of technological capabilities, innovation and access of developing countries to technology. It also provides technical assistance in the field of information technologies and promotes the creation of technological capability in companies through collaborative arrangements such as partnerships and business networks.

Furthermore, FAO, IAEA, ILO, WMO, UNIDO and UNDP are concerned with issues of science and technology in their respective areas.

Group of 15 Group of Fifteen

This is a high-level forum, composed of developing countries, which aims to promote South-South cooperation and North-South dialogue.

It was created in the IX Non-Aligned Summit celebrated in September 1989 in the city of Belgrade, capital of the then Yugoslavia, at the initiative of that country, besides Egypt, India and Peru. Its objectives were to bring together major emerging economies to build a forum for dialogue and consultation, to be a valid interlocutor with the G-8 to promote economic, technical and scientific cooperation among member countries to stimulate growth.

The G-15 countries are rich in natural resources. Some members have relatively developed economies with solid and diversified industries, a developed infrastructure and advanced technological capabilities. The G-15 countries represent 30 percent of world population, 39 percent of the total GDP of developing countries (more than 2 billion U.S. dollars), and 30 percent of imports and exports of developing countries.

Main decision-making body. It is the annual Summit of Head of States and Government, which is hosted by the country chairing the Group. To prepare the annual Summit and coordinate the work group, the Foreign Ministers G-15 meet biannually. The daily work of the Group is overseen by the Personal Representatives of the Heads of State and Governments, who meet at least four times a year. At the same time, the Troika of the G-15 supervises the work of the Personal Representatives.

The Group has established a Business Investment forum and a Committee on Investment, Trade and Technology aimed at facilitating the interaction between the public and private sectors, and among the business communities of the member countries.

Membership. To date, the G-15 comprises 19 countries: Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. Colombia and Iran participated for the first time as members of the Group in the XI Summit, celebrated in 2001.

Objectives. The Group of Fifteen specific objectives are:

  • Exploiting the potential of cooperation and consultation between member countries.
  • Regularly review the status of the global economic situation and agree to the extent possible, concerted action to respond to situations of interest.
  • Serve as a permanent consultation forum among the member countries to coordinate policies and actions.
  • Identify and implement programs of economic, scientific, technological cooperation. Seek resources for their implementation.
  • Develop a positive and productive North-South dialog, as well as finding new mechanisms to solve the current in a constructive manner.