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Tackling threats posed by chemicals (Stockholm Convention)

Tackling threats posed by chemicals (Stockholm Convention)

 

SUMMARY OF:

Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants

Decision 2006/507/EC — conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the Stockholm Convention

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE CONVENTION AND THE DECISION?

  • The global treaty aims to protect human health and the environment from the harmful effects of persistent organic pollutants* (POPs). It restricts, and ultimately eliminates, their intentional or unintentional production, use, trade, release and storage.
  • The Council decision gives the EU’s legal approval for the convention.

KEY POINTS

The convention requires signatories to:

  • tackle intentional production and use of POPs by:
    • eliminating the production, use, import and export of chemicals listed in Annex A;
    • restricting the production and use of chemicals listed in Annex B;
    • ensuring that chemicals listed in Annexes A and B are only imported for approved use and can be disposed of in an environmentally sound manner;
    • keeping a publicly accessible register containing all the national exemptions to the general bans and restrictions listed in the 2 annexes;
  • address unintentional production and use of POPs by:
    • adopting a detailed action plan, within 2 years of the convention coming into force, to minimise use of, and ultimately eliminate, chemicals listed in Annex C;
  • reduce or eliminate stocks and waste by:
    • developing strategies to identify stockpiles containing chemicals in annexes A or B, and products and articles in use containing or contaminated by chemicals listed in all 3 (A, B and C) annexes;
    • managing stockpiles in a safe, efficient and environmentally sound manner;
    • ensuring all waste is properly handled, collected, transported and stored;
    • disposing of waste so that all pollutants are either destroyed or cannot be reused or, failing that, in the most environmentally friendly way;
  • draw up implementation plans (updated as appropriate), within 2 years of the convention entering into force. These set out how they will honour their commitments, cooperate with partners, including global, national, regional and sub-regional organisations, and consult with national stakeholders;
  • exchange relevant information, via the convention’s secretariat, on reducing or eliminating POPs and on possible viable alternatives;
  • promote public information, awareness and education among decision makers and the public, especially women and children, and facilitate training for key personnel;
  • encourage or carry out appropriate national and international research, development, monitoring and cooperation on POPs;
  • give timely and appropriate technical assistance, and if necessary financial support, to developing countries and economies in transition;
  • allocate the necessary finance and incentives to achieve national commitments;
  • report to all other signatories (the Conference of the Parties — see below) on the measures taken, and their impact, to implement convention commitments;
  • provide the convention secretariat periodically with:
    • data, or a reasonable estimate, on the total quantities of production, import and export of each chemical in annexes A and B;
    • a list of the countries from or to which each substance has been imported or exported.

The convention establishes:

  • the Conference of the Parties, which includes all the signatories. This:
    • meets regularly and in extraordinary session when necessary;
    • reviews the convention’s implementation continuously;
    • may establish subgroups it considers necessary;
    • cooperates with international organisations and intergovernmental and non-governmental bodies;
    • establishes a Persistant Organic Pollutants Review Committee of government nominated experts;
    • decides whether to accept a proposal for a chemical to be added to the lists in annexes A, B or C;
    • assesses, for the first time 4 years after it enters into force, and periodically thereafter, the convention’s effectiveness;
    • adopts measures to determine and handle cases of non-compliance and any proposed amendments to the convention;
  • a secretariat, whose administrative functions are carried out by the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme.

Any signatory may withdraw from the convention, 3 years after it has entered into force, by giving 1 year’s written notice.

The EU is meeting its convention commitments by adopting:

DATE OF ENTRY INTO FORCE

The convention entered into force on 17 May 2004.

BACKGROUND

KEY TERMS

Persistent organic pollutants: chemical substances, used in pesticides and industrial processes. They remain active for many years, disperse widely, bioaccumulate* and are a danger to human health and the environment.
Bioaccumulate: become concentrated inside the bodies of living things.

MAIN DOCUMENTS

Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (OJ L 209, 31.7.2006, pp. 3-29)

Council Decision 2006/507/EC of 14 October 2004 concerning the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (OJ L 209, 31.7.2006, pp. 1-2)

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Regulation (EU) 2019/1021 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on persistent organic pollutants (recast) (OJ L 169, 25.6.2019, pp. 45-77)

Successive amendments to Regulation (EU) 2019/1021 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions — On the review and update of the second European Union Implementation Plan in accordance with Article 8 (4) of Regulation No 850/2004 on persistent organic pollutants (COM(2018) 848 final, 4.1.2019)

Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution on Persistent Organic Pollutants (OJ L 81, 19.3.2004, pp. 37-71)

Council Decision 2004/259/EC of 19 February 2004 concerning the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution on Persistent Organic Pollutants (OJ L 81, 19.3.2004, pp. 35-36)

last update 04.09.2020

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