By International POPs Elimination Network
Global Day of Action in 30 countries to celebrate victory,
rally for active civil society participation in treaty implementation
Stockholm, Sweden - On May 17, 2004, the first-ever legally binding
international treaty to control toxic chemicals -- the Stockholm
Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) - enters into
force, providing an unprecedented legal framework to ban or severely
restrict the production and use of the some of the world’s
most toxic chemicals. Treaty provisions become law in nearly 60
countries that have ratified the Stockholm Convention. More than
150 governments have signed the POPs Treaty, which seeks global
elimination of chemicals such as PCBs, dioxins, and several pesticides
and places severe restrictions on production and use of DDT.
“The goal of the Stockholm Convention is to eliminate the
harm and suffering
of people who are exposed to toxic chemicals that are linked to
cancer, birth defects and other serious illnesses. This is a major
victory for public health,” said Bjorn Beeler, International
Coordinator of International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN).
But he cautioned that there is much work to be done to ensure
the Treaty is
effectively implemented. “It is up to all of us to make
sure that the words
on paper translate into actions on the ground to eliminate all
A Global Day of Action is underway in more than 30 countries
to mark this
historic occasion and to raise public awareness with press conferences,
rallies and public meetings. For details on actions in your country,
contact Bjorn Beeler.
The events are organized by IPEN, a global network of more than
public health, environmental, consumer, and other non-governmental
organizations in 65 countries.
NGOs in the IPEN network played a key role in the POPs Treaty
and will now actively participate in its implementation. The Treaty
is unique in that it incorporates the precautionary principle
and requires public participation as key components. It is also
a living document in that it establishes a science-based process
for identifying and adding chemicals to the initial list of 12
POPs. Top candidates to be added include lindane (already restricted
in the European Union) and brominated flame retardants such as
polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs).