27 Jul 2021
Organization: Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions
2021 marks the 20 year anniversary of the Stockholm Convention, the global treaty protecting human health and the environment from persistent organic pollutants (POPs). This side event to the online segment of the 2021 Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions is part of a series of events to commemorate the adoption of the Convention and celebrate its contribution to the achievement of the Agenda 2030.
The Stockholm Convention
The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) was adopted at a Conference of Plenipotentiaries on 22 May 2001 in Stockholm, Sweden. This is the achievement of a process which one of the first steps was a decision adopted at the UNEP governing council, back in 1995. The Convention entered into force on 17 May 2004, ninety days after the submission of the fiftieth instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession in respect of the Convention. As of 20 October, 2020 there are 184 Parties to the Convention.
The Stockholm Convention protects human health and the environment from persistent organic pollutants through a range of measures aimed at reducing and ultimately eliminating their releases. Initially addressing 12 POPs, today it covers 30 POPS.
The past two decades have seen the convention grow and evolve from laying down a solid base to facilitate the implementation of the Convention at the national, regional and global levels to its actual implementation. Achievements include the establishment and operationalisation of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee, the endorsement, subsequent review and evaluation of institutions to serve as regional and sub-regional centres for capacity-building and the transfer of technology, the development of relevant guidance called by the Convention, the adoption of the global monitoring plan as well as arrangements for evaluating the effectiveness of the Convention, the first review of the effectiveness of the Convention, the listing of 18 new POPs in the Annexes A, B and C to the Convention, to mention a few. Over this period the Convention has also demonstrated that it’s science-based approach for identifying and addressing new POPs make it a flexible instrument that can adapt to the changing needs over time.
Commemorating the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention provides an opportunity to raise awareness on the Convention by showcasing its contribution towards the protection of human health and the environment as well as to the SDGs and the implementation of the Agenda 2030.
Persistent Organic Pollutants
POPs are extremely toxic chemicals that are sometimes called ‘forever chemicals’ as they remain in our bodies and the environment for decades and can disperse over thousands of miles on land, our atmosphere and oceans. Exposure to POPs has been proven to lead to serious health effects including certain cancers, birth defects, dysfunctional immune and reproductive systems, greater susceptibility to disease, and damages to the central and peripheral nervous systems.
In addition to the original 12 POPs listed upon adoption – the so-called “Dirty Dozen” including DDT – a further 18 toxic chemicals or chemical groups have been listed, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is common in many household items such as furniture and non-stick cooking pans, totalling some 4,000 chemicals in all. PFOA, like many other POPs, is known to be linked to major health problems including kidney cancer, testicular cancer, thyroid disease and hypertension in pregnancy.
The Convention’s Global Monitoring Programme shows that for those initial 12 POPs, concentrations measured in air and in human populations have declined and continue to decline or remain at low levels, proving beyond any doubt that international legally binding treaties do work in addressing global environmental issues.
Executive Secretary, Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions
Silvija Nora Kalnins
Stockholm Convention COP10 President (Latvia)
Senior Advisor, International Unit, Swedish Chemicals Agency
Director, Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Ecology and Environment, China
Elham Refaat Abdel Aziz
General Director, Hazardous Substances and Waste Department, Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency
Director, Waste Management and Standard Section, Ministry of Environment, Seychelles
Director, Basel and Stockholm Conventions Regional Centre, Uruguay
Co-Chair, International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN)
The event will take place online. Kindly register directly on the Webex platform.
The video will be available on this webpage.
- Rolph Payet | Executive Secretary, Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions
- Silvija Nora Kalnins | Stockholm Convention COP10 President (Latvia)
Introduction to Video Series “Twenty Voices for Twenty Years”
Overview of the Achievements of the Stockholm Convention Over the Last 20 Years
Interactive Panel Discussion on the Achievements of the Stockholm Convention & What Needs to Be Done for a World Free of Pops
- Maria Delvin | Senior Advisor, International Unit, Swedish Chemicals Agency
- Haijun Chen | Director, Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Ecology and Environment, China
- Elham Refaat Abdel Aziz | General Director, Hazardous Substances and Waste Department, Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency
- Frederick Kinloch | Director, Waste Management and Standard Section, Ministry of Environment, Seychelles
- Gabriela Medina | Director, Basel and Stockholm Conventions Regional Centre, Uruguay
- Tadesse Amera | Co-Chair, International Pollutants Elimination Network
- Stockholm Convention
- 2021 Meetings of the conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions
- Side-Events to the 2021 BRS COPs
- Twenty years after the Stockholm Convention was adopted, new monitoring reports confirm decreasing levels of certain POPs worldwide
- BRS Secretariat launches video series to celebrate Stockholm Convention’s 20th anniversary
- Happy Birthday: The Stockholm Convention is 20 years young!