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Action Urged On Pact Banning Hazardous Chemicals

UN Official Urges Action On Pact Banning Hazardous Chemicals

New York, Apr 27 2006

As governments prepare to gather in Geneva to review progress on a major treaty banning hazardous chemicals, a United Nations official urged them to take concrete action to eliminate the dangerous substances.

Next week’s annual conference brings together parties to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (<"">POPs), which targets 12 pesticides and industrial chemicals that can kill people, damage the nervous and immune systems, cause cancer and reproductive disorders and interfere with normal infant and child development.

“The promises made by the Stockholm Convention must now be realized through specific activities, policies and investments at the national and community levels,” said Shafqat Kakakhel, Deputy Executive Director and Officer-in-Charge of the UN Environment Programme (<" rticleID=5264&l=en">UNEP), under whose auspices the treaty was negotiated.

“This Conference will allow us to examine the first real evidence of how the Convention is leading to actual reductions in POPs,” he said.

Mr. Kakakhel called on the governments meeting in Geneva to underline their support for a “full and sufficient replenishment of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) given its importance for the Stockholm Convention and for other international agreements.”

Another issue on the conference agenda is the development of a reporting system on the use of and continued need for DDT to combat malarial mosquitoes. While DDT is targeted for eventual elimination, the Convention recognizes that a number of countries will need to continue using this pesticide for some years in order to protect the health of their citizens.

Other issues on the conference agenda include the strengthening of a global monitoring network to track the levels of POPs in the environment, technical assistance, financial resources, the first review of the financial mechanism, approaches to minimizing releases of dioxins and furans, non-compliance and liability and redress.

The 12 initial POPs covered by the Convention include nine pesticides (aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, hexachlorobenzene, mirex and toxaphene); two industrial chemicals (PCBs as well as hexachlorobenzene, also used as a pesticide); and unintentional by-products, most importantly dioxins and furans. Governments are expected to add more chemicals to this list over the coming years.


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