29 April 2019: The ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 9) to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) is addressing, among other things, proposed listing of new chemicals to Annex A, and technical work on DDT use and its alternatives, and eliminating polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

The Conference is meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, from 29 April to 10 May 2019, jointly and back-to-back with Basel Convention COP 14 and Rotterdam Convention COP 9. The “Triple COPs” convene under the theme, ‘Clean Planet, Healthy People: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste.’ The COPs include joint sessions covering matters of relevance to at least two Conventions as well as separate sessions under each of the three COPs.

Regarding issues related to the Stockholm Convention’s implementation, the COP is addressing measures to reduce or eliminate releases from intentional production and use, unintentional production, and wastes. It is also addressing: implementation plans; listing of chemicals in Annexes A, B or C to the Convention; technical assistance; financial resources and mechanisms; reporting; effectiveness evaluation; and compliance.

On enhancing cooperation and coordination among the three Conventions, the COPs are jointly discussing: a clearing house mechanism for information exchange; mainstreaming gender; and synergies in preventing and combating illegal traffic and trade in hazardous chemicals and wastes.

More specifically, the COP, inter alia, is considering recommendations of the POPs Review Committee (POPRC) to list two new chemicals in Annex A, which obliges Parties to eliminate the listed chemicals from use. The proposed listings are for the pesticide Dicofol and Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), its salts and PFOA-related compounds. Dicofol is used to control mites on field crops, fruits, vegetables, ornamentals, and tea and coffee. It causes skin irritation and hyperstimulation of nerve transmissions in humans, and is highly toxic to fish, aquatic invertebrates, algae and birds. PFOA is an industrial chemical used in the production of non-stick cookware and food processing equipment, and as a surfactant in textiles, carpets, paper, paints and fire-fighting foams. It is linked to kidney cancer, testicular cancer, thyroid disease and hypertension in pregnancy, among others.

In addition, the COP is considering technical work on a report on progress towards eliminating PCBs. The report emphasizes the need to ramp up Parties’ efforts to eliminate PCB use and ensure the environmentally sound management of PCB wastes.

On DDT, the COP is considering a report prepared by an expert group on the assessment of scientific, technical, environmental and economic information on the production and use of DDT and its alternatives for disease vector control. The group recommends, inter alia, improving DDT reporting to help undertake assessments, and increasing national capacity for research and resistance monitoring and implementation of pilot testing and scaling up of DDT alternatives.

The Stockholm Convention seeks to protect human health and the environment from chemicals that remain intact for long periods of time, become widely distributed geographically, and accumulate in the fatty tissue of humans and wildlife. The Convention entered into force in 2004. It requires that Parties take measures to eliminate or reduce the release of POPs into the environment. It currently has 182 Parties and lists 28 chemicals of global concern. [Stockholm Convention Website] [BRS Blog on Stockholm Convention] [BRS Conventions Website] [IISD RS Coverage of 2019 Triple COPs] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on 2017 COPs] [GEF News Article] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Basel Convention COP 14] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Rotterdam Convention COP 9]