Paying for POPs: Negotiating the Implementation of the Stockholm Convention in Developing Countries

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A key aspect of the negotiations for the 2001 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) related to provisions surrounding its financial mechanism to facilitate its implementation in developing countries. This article examines how financial aspects of the Convention were negotiated as the treaty was taking shape and how financial provisions have been implemented since the Convention’s entry into force in 2004. Regarding the design of the financial mechanism, developing countries stressed the need for new and additional financial resources and a tailored institution, while developed countries favored working with existing financial institutions, notably the Global Environment Facility (GEF). In the end, countries compromised by agreeing that GEF would serve as the Convention’s “interim” financial mechanism while also recognizing that financial and technical support is directly related to developing countries’ ability to comply with the treaty’s obligations. We discuss the implications of this outcome and then provide an overview of how this arrangement has played out in practice. We conclude by discussing the implications of recent developments, notably the expansion of the scope of the Convention from 12 to 21 chemicals in May 2009 and the finalization of the fifth replenishment of the GEF in May 2010.

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... The chemical industry was not strongly involved in the Convention negotiations, because the substances of concern were largely considered to be non-marketable. They were either no longer in widespread use or production, and had even been replaced in the market by more profitable alternatives (Kohler and Ashton 2010). The Convention negotiations were characterized by a strong participation of different NGOs. ...
... There are some strong differences between the "new POPs" in comparison to the initial twelve POPs. The new POPs are typically used for many different applications and as components of a variety of different products in many different industrial branches (Kohler and Ashton 2010). Due to this fact more industry branches are conflicted with the restrictions that inclusion of these substances in the Stockholm Convention would bring about. ...
... Due to this fact more industry branches are conflicted with the restrictions that inclusion of these substances in the Stockholm Convention would bring about. The participation of the chemical industry in the negotiations of inclusion of new chemicals in the convention has risen since the "dirty dozen", as the chemicals in question are still in widespread use (Kohler and Ashton 2010). ...
Technical Report
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The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) regulates highly persistent and toxic chemicals at the global level. Currently, 22 chemicals are regulated as POPs under the Convention. A key question for the future work of the Convention is how many additional POPs are to be expected, given the fact that there are tens of thousands of chemicals on the market globally. The Convention does not lay down any particular obligation concerning addition of chemicals to it but allows any Party to propose new chemicals for inclusion in the Convention. Against this background, the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) contracted Öko-Institut and ETH Zürich (ICB) to develop a strategy for identifying potential POP candidates and to evaluate the data, methods and procedures that were used in the identification of the 22 existing POPs. Established models for the calculation of relevant POPproperties, information on chemical databases and substance lists, and environmental monitoring programs related to the detection of POPs were assessed and evaluated. Most of the screening studies found in the literature searched for highly persistent and bioaccumulative chemicals, but did not include the long-range transport potential, which is a key criterion under the Stockholm Convention. The strategy is based on the findings of the status-quo evaluation and describes a stepwise approach to evaluating currently used chemicals in order to identify substances with POP characteristics for initial proposals of the Stockholm Convention process. The strategy includes two main steps, a screening of chemicals according to the Annex D criteria of the Stockholm Convention and the evaluation of additional information on uses, adverse effects and regulatory importance of potential POP candidates.
... Over 10 years on, it stated in its recent (second) NIP that nearly all of the action plans in the first NIPs were not implemented as a result of limited financial resources (EPA-SL, 2019). It is also reported that most small island developing states (SIDS) and low-income countries of Africa were not successful in obtaining the GEF funds to implement their first NIPs action plans (Kohler and Ashton, 2010). ...
The Stockholm convention aims to protect the environment and human health by eliminating or restricting the production, use, and distribution of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). With an initial focus on twelve POPs, the list has been expanding over the years, with 28 POPs listed in the annexes of the convention as of December 2019. Currently, there are new substances under assessment for enlistment as POPs in the Stockholm convention. The addition of new POPs has, however, not kept its pace with monitoring capacity, management of stockpiles and wastes, remediation of contaminated sites, and financial resources disbursed to implement POPs related activities, especially in developing countries. Here, the authors suggest strengthening the capacity of laboratories in developing countries to enable them to test for legacy and new POPs. Most developing countries lack the infrastructure and know-how to manage POPs stockpiles and wastes. It is, therefore, necessary to establish regional POPs decontamination and destruction facilities to help some of those developing countries manage their POP stockpiles and wastes. It is also important to improve the capacity and competence in managing and remediating POPs contaminated sites, since most of them are poorly managed across developing countries. Besides, there is a need for more POPs mitigation and abatement funding schemes in developing countries, as most cannot generate enough domestic funds to implement POPs projects and as such are struggling to meet their obligations under the convention.
... This is especially problematic for poorer nations that rely primarily on GEF funding that, amongst multiple projects, do not prioritize POP reduction. Additionally, the GEF does not have the capacity to assess whether funds allocated for POP removal are appropriately or effectively used (Ashton and Kohler 2010). ...
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Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are toxic synthetic chemicals prevalent in the environment that have been linked to serious health effects including various cancers, hypertension, and diabetes. Owing to their unique physicochemical properties, POP accumulation in the environment poses a serious risk to public health. Over the last few decades global climate change (GCC) has exacerbated increasing temperature and extreme weather events, which reduce the storage capacity of POPs in the environment and precipitate their global remobilization. If we remain unprepared to block GCC-associated release of POPs globally, our adaptation and resilience to climate change will be jeopardized. The Stockholm Convention, an international treaty that aims to reduce and eliminate POPs, is not fully enforceable due to a lack of environmental funds for governments of developing countries. One way to circumnavigate these financial hurdles is to create new markets for POP removal through the private sector. We recommend the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank, reform its institutional regulations to consistently guarantee funding for proactive measures against POPs. We additionally recommend investing in local POP removal infrastructure projects that encourage economic growth.
... The issue of POPs begun to be addressed in the 1980s; Canada has brought it onto the international agenda [10][11][12]. In Canada, research found out and heightened the sensitivity of concerns of its northern indigenous populations. ...
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Many changes like increment of the population and demanded services, expansion of industries, increasing of transportation demand, etc., have increased the emission of dioxin and furan. There was no indicative research conducted on the quantification and management practices of the unintentionally produced persistent organic pollutants like dioxin and Furan. A UNEP model for dioxin- and furan-related POPs management was commonly used to assess the main anthropogenic sources of dioxin and furan. In this book chapter, UNEP toolkit that was developed in 2013 is used to identify and quantify the sector-based emission of dioxin and furan. About nine main groups of anthropogenic POPs sources such as waste incineration, open burning process, ferrous and nonferrous metal production, etc., explicitly discussed in the report were identified. The case study in Addis Ababa showed that all organizations have no awareness about the dioxin and furan emission issues and follow very weak management styles. Finally, the book chapter suggests the reformulation of the national legal management framework, adaptation of best available technology with less POPs footprint, increasing public and stakeholder’s awareness and participation and capacitating the concerned government organization.
... Several scholars provide overviews and analyses of the creation and content of the individual BRS conventions (e.g., Mason and VanderZwaag 2015;Downie and Templeton 2014;Selin 2010;O'Neill 2010;Downie and Fenge 2003). Other studies examine operational details or policy issues (e.g., Hung et al. 2016;Kummer 2014;Lucier and Gareau 2014;Templeton 2011;Kohler and Ashton 2010;Kohler 2006;Karlsson 2004;Eckley and Selin 2003). To date, there has been no systematic analysis of the operation and impact of the TripleCOPs by scholars or the BRS Secretariat. ...
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The Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions are engaged in a path-breaking “synergies” initiative that coordinates and even integrates parts of their administration, operation, and implementation. This includes holding TripleCOPs during which their Conference of the Parties meet together in sequential and simultaneous sessions. This article provides a preliminary analysis of this unprecedented experimentation. We find several important positive and negative procedural, political, and policy consequences of the new format, including: countries with large delegations hold a variety of advantages; developing countries can potentially leverage negotiating strength in one convention to advance concerns in another; it is easier to address the environmentally sound management of chemicals and wastes holistically as well as specific technical issues that involve two or more of the treaties; and new opportunities exist for brinkmanship, obstruction, and cross-treaty negotiating that can make reaching agreement on some issues more difficult.
What contributed to the consensus to establish an implementation and compliance mechanism during the negotiations of the 2013 Minamata Convention on Mercury? This outcome was inextricably linked to consensus on establishing a financial mechanism that was satisfactory to both developed and developing country parties. However, given the complex interlinkages between these issues, the history of discussions of compliance in closely related multilateral environmental agreements, and the wide range of interests and preferences among parties to the negotiations, the path to consensus was not clear until late in the negotiating process. While the compatibility between the proposed mechanism and States' interests was crucial to the outcome, the role of individuals in crafting the treaty text and facilitating negotiations was also essential. Thus, a complete analysis of the path to that agreement must consider the role of individual leaders in strategically guiding delegates to identify the points at which their interests converged.
Multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) often have close relationships with scientific and technical advisors, and as international policy makers negotiate the post-Rio generation of MEAs, there has been an increased emphasis on establishing science advisory bodies (SABs) as part of the institutional design of MEAs. This article will examine the negotiations of the design, membership and roles of the science advisory bodies to two of the most recent additions to the MEA landscape: the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade; and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. A particular emphasis will be placed on concerns over membership, examining how policy makers have sought to achieve representative membership by ensuring that the limited number of experts on a SAB reflect the national, economic and geographic diversity of stakeholders (capturing interests of those benefiting and suffering from the problem or its solution), while also maintaining an institutional and disciplinary diversity suitable to the nature of the problem (including those directly or traditionally implicated in the study or management of the problem, whilst still allowing input from other experts more tangentially related, who are likely to identify inter-problem linkages).
This article reviews the international legal framework on hazardous substances, with an emphasis on the Arctic and the roles of indigenous peoples. Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and heavy metals pose significant risks to Arctic indigenous populations, mainly through the consumption of traditional foods. Treaties of particular relevance include the Protocols on Heavy Metals and POPs to the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (1998) and the Stockholm Convention on POPs (2001). Arctic indigenous groups have exerted considerable influence on hazardous substance management through lobbying of national governments, participation in domestic and international scientific assessments, and direct advocacy in regional and global political fora. Their engagement on environmental issues has also helped to shape circumpolar consciousness and political activism among different indigenous groups. At the same time, there remain important limitations on the independent authority and ability to act of indigenous groups. Challenges for Arctic indigenous groups and States include continuing collaborative abatement work targeting many POPs and heavy metals, as well as addressing linkages between hazardous substances and climate change, which is another issue of great Arctic concern.
Today's fragmented world demands creative institutional arrangements to allow governments, international organizations and civil society actors to address transboundary and international problems. This article examines if and how the Global Environment Facility (GEF) can serve as a testing ground to find new ways to address such global problems in multilateral cooperation. After outlining the GEF's history, institutional setting and participatory elements, the paper points out some of its crucial weaknesses and flaws, such as insufficient private sector involvement, and the problem of power asymmetries. At the same time, however, the GEF can serve as a role model for international cooperation in many ways. More than any other international agency, the GEF is able to adapt to a constantly changing environment. The governance system of the GEF brings together advantages of both the UN and the Bretton Woods institutional rules and cultures. And it has a strong participatory element that includes close cooperation with nongovernmental actors. Copyright (c) 2001 Massachusetts Institute of Technology.