As Day 3 of the COP-5 at the Stockholm Convention proceeded, there were discussions on the alternatives and exemptions of endosulfan in the contact group of the convention. On day 2, the POPRC chair introduced POPRC's recommendation to list endosulfan in Annex A with specific exemptions as was recommended by consensus of the POPRC members in October last year.
India had said that data was needed on non-POPs alternatives to endosulfan. They also added that the decisions by POPRC on such substantive issue should be consensus-based and not vote based. They added that financial assistance for implementation of current obligations should be secured prior to listing new chemicals in the Annex.
The Indian delegation comprised of Gauri Kumar, additional secretary (MoEF), Rajiv Gauba, joint Secretary (MoEF) , Chanda Choudhary (MoEF) and Vandana Jain (MoA) and T Basu of Hindustan Insecticide Limited.
From the non- official delegations corner, there were extreme responses. The Indian chemical lobby represented through the Indian Chemical Council and a 'non profit' International Stewardship Centre opposed the listing of endosulfan. The former emphasized that there was insufficient scientific evidence to list endosulfan in Annex A. The International Stewardship Centre said that the proposed alternatives to endosulfan were not affordable and that its listing would be detrimental to farmers.
On the other hand organizations like Thanal, Inuit Circumpolar Council, Pesticide Action Network and FAO, welcomed the proposed listing of endosulfan in Annex A, noting the severe health effects on farmers and indigenous peoples.
On the sidelines, non profits from across the globe, including Kerala, have set up 'The Annex A cafe' that serves endosulfan-free organic coffee, cashew nuts and chocolate to the delegates of the Convention in Geneva. The ‘cafe' has on its menu organic coffee from Brazil, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Costa Rica, Mexico, India, and other countries; organic cashew nuts from India; chocolate made from organic cocoa from various Latin American nations and organic tea from China, India and Sri Lanka. The NGOs serving the delegates wear T-shirts made from organic cotton grown in India, provided by Pants2Poverty, a company which sources organic cotton from India and West Africa. Some of these produce come from ‘Sahaja Aharam' of the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture in Andhra Pradesh. Many other food items, such as soybean and sugarcane, grown without applying pesticides are also on display at the cafe.