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Stockholm Convention on Persistant Organic Pollutants (POPs)

Stockholm Convention on Persistant Organic Pollutants (POPs)

1. Issued by / date / date of implementation

Adopted 22 May 2001

Entered into force 17 May 2004

The Convention text was amended in 2009, 2011 and 2013 to include new POPs to its Annexes A, B and C.

2. Type of legislation

Global Treaty hosted by United Nations Environmental Programme

3. General purpose

The Stockholm Convention requires parties to take action towards persistent organic pollutants. Persistent organic pollutants, POP’s, are per definition not easily degraded and remain intact in the environment for a long time. In addition they accumulate in fatty tissues of humans and other organisms, and cause adverse effects. Exposure to these compounds may result in cancer, birth defects, dysfunction of hormonal systems and other health problems. Given the persistence of these substances, they are also transported over large areas, and the problem with POP’s is recognized as a global problem. The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants is administered by the United Nations Environment Programme and is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

The convention lists persistent organic pollutants in the Annexes A, B and C corresponding to the categories / the action they will be subject to: elimination, restriction and measures to prevent unintentional production.

The Convention lays also down POPs screening criteria for assessing other chemicals (Annex D).

4. Substitution relevant paragraphs

In the preamble it is stated that the parties of this convention recognize the importance of developing and using environmentally sound alternative processes and chemicals.

Article 5 is about measures to reduce or eliminate releases of POP’s from unintentional production, which among other things require the use of substitute or modified materials, products and processes.

In article 9 it is stated that information exchange should be facilitated considering alternatives to POP’s, including information related to their risks and also to socio-economic costs.

In article 9 it is stated that parties should provide public information on POP’s and their alternatives, by different means of communication.

In article 11 is stated that parties, within their capabilities shall encourage and/or undertake appropriate research, development, monitoring and cooperation on POP’s and their alternatives.

5. Assessment of relevance for substitution

Substitution and development and use of alternatives to POP’s are mentioned several times in the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. The parties should recognise the need for development and usage of environmentally sound alternatives. Development and usage of substitutes or modified products and materials should be promoted. Appropriate research, development and monitoring of POP’s and there alternatives should be encouraged. Information on POP’s and their alternatives should be provided; exchange of information of alternatives should be facilitated. When considering alternatives to POP’s, also socio-economic factors should be taken into account.

6. Link to the legal text

Stockholm Convention - legal text

7. Further information

Official Website of the Stockholm Convention

List of POPs under the Stockholm Convention

7.1 Studies or publications about the legislation or its impact

Georg Karlaganis, Renato Marioni, Ivo Sieber and Andreas Weber. 2001.The elaboration of the ‘Stockholm Convention’ on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs): A negotiation process fraught with obstacles and opportunities ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND POLLUTION RESEARCH 8(3): 216-221. (Abstract)

Anna Godduhn and Lawrence K. Duffy. 2003. Multi-generation health risks of persistent organic pollution in the far north: use of the precautionary approach in the Stockholm Convention. Environmental Science & Policy 6(4): 341-353. (Abstract)

Kohler, Pia M; Ashton, Melanie. 2010. Paying for POPs: Negotiating the Implementation of the Stockholm Convention in Developing Countries. International Negotiation 15(3): 459-484. (Absract)

Secretariat of the Stockholm Convention. 2012. Success stories: Stockholm Convention 2001-2011. UNEP, Stockholm Convention.

7.2 Other relevant legislation

The Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions are multilateral environmental agreements, which share the common objective of protecting human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals and wastes:

Synergies Website

Rotterdam convention (Website)

Basel convention (Website)

Recommendations on improving cooperation and synergies prepared by the Secretariat of the Basel Convention (pdf)

Last update: 20.01.2016

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