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The Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Adoption and Signing of the Stockholm Convention
on Persistent Organic Pollutants


Stockholm, Sweden, 21– 23 May 2001
 
Daily coverage: | Monday 21 May |  |Wednesday 23 May|
 

UNEP Executive Director, Klaus Töpfer
 

 

 

On Tuesday, 22 May 2001, Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director, UNEP, called the Conference of Plenipotentiaries to order, and welcomed and introduced the Adolf Fredriks Music School Class Four Choir. The Choir gave a short performance.

On behalf of Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General, Töpfer said the Stockholm Convention sets out measures to ban, control or replace the most damaging chemicals, and it will protect human health, help maintain biodiversity, and strengthen the international legal machinery of environmental protection. In addition, he said the Convention will generate momentum toward next year’s World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg, and called on countries to sign and ratify the treaty so it can enter into force at the earliest possible date.
Töpfer noted that the provisions of the Convention were balanced with provisions to enable the full participation of developing countries and countries with economies in transition, including through new and additional financial resources to enable these countries to meet the agreed full incremental costs of implementing measures. He stressed that the Convention is part of a larger framework of legal instruments and organizations that are together trying to solve the growing toxic chemical and hazardous waste threats that face our planet.


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Choir from Adolf Fredrik's school

 


Swedish Prime Minister, Göran Persson

 

Prime Minister Persson welcomed participants to Stockholm, and reminded delegates that their task is to help make the planet healthier and stronger, by stopping the use of poisons that threaten plants, animals and the environment. He emphasized that the fight for ecological, economic and social development is one of the most important issues for humankind, and it is an everyday battle that must be fought in the international political arena, and in every country, company and household. He stressed that if we fail with environmental issues, then all other political work will be pointless. He stated that we must learn to satisfy our daily needs without destroying the living environment of coming generations, which involves increased recycling, use of alternative energy sources, protection of biodiversity, and phase-out of the most dangerous chemicals.

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Mohamed El-Ashry

Mohamed El-Ashry, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Global Environment Facility, celebrated the signing of the Convention, yet noted that it is just a first step in addressing the threat of POPs. He said that the GEF, honoured to be a designated interim financial mechanism of the treaty, is prepared to play a valuable role in its implementation in an effective, timely, and cost effective manner.

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Bureau President, Kjell Larsson,thanked delegates for his election. He spoke on the genealogy to the Stockholm Convention before taking up the items on the agenda


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Kjell Larsson, Minister for the Environment, Sweden

Romeo Quijano, International POPs Elimination Network, stated that POPs are an urgent problem requiring urgent action, and called of countries to expedite the implementation and ratification of the Stockholm Convention and related conventions. He emphasized that action against the initial 12 POPs is only a starting point, and that expansion of the list, taking into account the precautionary approach, is critical to success of the Convention.

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Romeo Quijano


Sheila Watt-Cloutier

Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Inuit Circumpolar Conference, Canada, spoke on behalf of all indigenous people who have been part of the process leading to the Stockholm Convention. She said the Inuit were the global early warning system for POPs, and were on the frontlines. She highlighted the relationships nurtured during the process with through the IPEN and industry, and said only through dialogue, will we understand each others perspectives. She said that action on POPs was not only a matter an environmental question, but that is was a question of public health and cultural survival.

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Michael Walls, representing the International Council of Chemical Associations, the World Chlorine Council and the Global Crop Protection Federation (GCPF), said industry has provided scientific and technical expertise. He used the work of the GCPF in assisting in the disposal of obsolete pesticides as an example. He said the Convention constituted a balanced and workable approach, based on science, and urged all governments to sign and ratify the Convention as soon as possible.

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Mike Walls


Nikolaus Scherk, Austria


Monzurul Alam, Ambassador of Bangladesh (left) with Syrda Sajeda Chowdhury, Minister for Forest and Environment, Bangladesh



Michel Kouka-Mapengo, Ministry of the Environment, Republic of Congo


Siv Fridleifsdottir, Iceland



Atle Fretheim, Deputy Director General, Ministry of the Environment, Norway


Jan Pronk, Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning, and the Environment, The Netherlands


Reiner Arndt, Germany


Panoramic view of the conference


Security prior to the arrival of the Ministers




ENB Coverage of POPS INC-4 and Summary of POPS-5
Linkages Chemical Management page
ENB's "Introduction to chemical management"
UNEP POPs page with official documents and information for participants
Joint UNEP Chemicals / WHO-GEENET web site and the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety web site

 

� 2001, Earth Negotiations Bulletin. All rights reserved.

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