Thank you Mr. Facilitator,
With regard to Article 35 We agree with the G 77 and China, EU, Seychelles, African Group, Senegal, US, Indonesia, Australia, Canada and others that the elements of paragraph 2 should be mandatory and therefore support the use of “shall” not “may” in para 2. We further support the removal of all of the brackets in subparagraphs (a)-(d), (f), and (i)-(p). In subparagraph (e), the evaluation of reasonable alternatives and an assessment of their impacts is a basic requirement of modern EIA practice and should not be subject to the modifier “where appropriate” as suggested by Indonesia and others.
Similarly we support the PSIDS recommendation to drop the words “where necessary and possible” in subparagraph (g), and we suggest removing the qualifier “any” in the three places it appears in subparagraph (h), and the words “where scientifically justified” from that subparagraph.
As a possible streamlining step, paragraph 3 could become a separate Article that simply States, and I quote, “Further guidance regarding the required content of an environmental impact assessment report, as well as on assessment of cumulative impacts and the conduct of SEAs or any other topic, MAY be developed and periodically reviewed by the Scientific Body established under Part xxx”
Regardless, we support the proposal of the G77, CLAM, CARICOM, PSIDS and EU with respect to the use of the term MAY, not shall, in Paragraph 3.
Finally we believe it must be made clear that the obligation to conduct EIA consistent with the provisions of the Agreement or its annex must apply when the agreement enters into force, and must not be delayed to some future process.
On Article 36, we recommend including the text in brackets regarding publication through clearing house mechanism, and adding to the end of the sentence “and ensure that full reports are communicated to all States Parties and stakeholders.” “Publication” is not sufficient, as it would require all States and other stakeholders to continuously monitor the federal registers of 197 countries.
This is an essential paragraph in our view, and we strongly support CARICOM, Phillipines, and PSIDS in their view that EIAs prepared pursuant to this agreement be considered and reviewed by the Scientific and Technical body of the COP.
If review of all EIAs prepared under this agreement by the STB is not deemed possible, then it essential to provide some kind of backstop to prevent substandard, inadequate or flag of convenience EIAs. Under such a backstop, a State or group of States should be able to request the Scientific Body to review:
a). A decision by a State not to conduct and EIA:
b). Whether and EIA was conducted in accordance with the requirements of this Agreement, or,
c). The decision to proceed with a proposed activity and the conditions attached to that decision.
Based on the Scientific Body’s review, the COP could then take appropriate action.
Thank you Mr. Facilitator