It's been a real nail-biter, but at about 5 pm today, the committee decided to recommend a global ban on endosulfan! As predicted, India would not agree, so the committee was forced to a vote. In the end, there were 24 votes for a ban, 5 abstentions, and no votes against.
But the work is far from over. The POPRC has made this critical recommendation, but it's up to the 172 countries that have ratified the Convention to turn this recommendation into a reality when they meet in April for the Fifth Conference of the Parties (COP). India, and perhaps China (who abstained) and others may oppose a ban in the forum as well, so it's important for civil society and like minded goverments to keep the pressure on them in the meantime.
There's also the little detail of exemptions. PAN has always believed that all uses endosulfan can be replaced with alternatives like lower risk pesticides and — even better — non-chemical alternatives such as organic farming and agroecological methods. But many countries asserted that they had certain essential uses for which alternatives were not available or feasible, so in the end it was agreed to recommend that the ban allow for "specific exemptions." These exemptions would be good for only 5 years. Which uses will get exemptions was not determined — that's something that the COP will have to wrestle over in April.
That's all for now, but I intent to do a "post-game" wrap-up next week.
Karl Tupper has been posting from Geneva, Switzerland all week. Previous posts in this series: