By Romeo Quijano,
IPEN Southern Co-Chair
Thank you, Mr. President, for giving us this opportunity.
I speak as Co-chair of the International POPs Elimination
Network or IPEN.
We view the Stockholm Convention as a promise to take
actions needed to protect global health and the environment.
We celebrate this First Conference of the Parties as one
more significant step towards keeping that promise.
Our network sincerely offers cooperation in working out
implementation measures leading to a toxics free future.
Such cooperation will certainly be ensured by keeping the
Convention’s promise of full access to information
and transparency and public participation in implementation
activities, including the design and application of National
We stand ready to help develop and undertake speedy and
effective measures to reduce or eliminate releases from
intentional production and use of POPs as promised by the
Convention, to consider wholistic alternatives and to promote
substitutes that are not harmful to human health and the
The Convention’s promise of “continuing minimization
and, when feasible, ultimate elimination” of unintentional
POPs is a critical guiding principle that needs to be considered
in reviewing the proposed technical guidelines.We are ready
to cooperate in further developing these guidelines to make
them more responsive to developing country needs and to
take more into account considerations of potential harm
to public health and the environment. We believe parties
and stakeholders need better opportunities to provide input
and to review the results.
The Convention also promises to identify new POPs. We
view this promise as an urgent matter and we congratulate
countries who have already taken the first steps in fulfilling
this promise. The inclusion of several substances widely
used and known to have POPs characteristics, such as lindane,
PCP, endosulfan, and PBDEs, among others, should be expedited,
using the precautionary approach as a guiding principle
in the review process. It would be highly desirable to add
additional chemicals to the treaty, where applicable, in
groups of chemicals with similar properties.
We appreciate the opportunities for capacity building
made available to us and we look forward to the full realization
of the Convention’s promise of financial and technical
assistance to developing countries and countries with economies
Finally, I believe that the ultimate test is whether this
Convention could help improve the lives of the most vulnerable
communities. Benefits are hardly felt at the grassroots
level where fundamental human rights are minimally, if at
all, enjoyed, such as, the right to health and a healthful
environment, the right to land and food, and the right to
life itself. Unjust social structures that severely limit
efforts to address specific problems like POPs remain. Power
structures have hardly been tilted in favour of health and
If we ever hope to make a difference, I believe we need
to go beyond the technicalities of the Convention. We need
to transcend our formal representations and be just fellow
human beings concerned about our common future. Promises
cannot be kept just within the formal structures of power.
The Stockholm Convention gives us a unique opportunity to
make a difference. Let’s keep the promise and eliminate
Thank you very much.