Intervenor: vol. 26, no. 4 September - December 2001

IPEN Activities Focus on Ratification of the Stockholm Convention on POPs

Since the signing of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in June 2001, the International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN) has been working at a frenzied pace. The new office in Toronto is now operating as reported in the last issue of the Intervenor and efforts are now focused on a global campaign for early ratification and entry into force of the Convention as well as monitoring ongoing activities surrounding the implementation of the Convention in several key countries including Canada.

IPEN views the ratification and implementation of the Stockholm Convention as its principal objectives for the upcoming year. In support of these objectives, IPEN has undertaken several key activities over the past few months:

  • sponsoring events that promote the elimination of POPs especially in developing countries and countries with economies in transition. These activities include capacity development workshops and skillshares focused on developing and understanding Clean Production techniques; developing skills in GIS mapping and understanding databases; hosting ratification workshops and understanding the gaps between the obligations of the Stockholm Convention and gaps in domestic law and policy;
  • establishing three Work Groups (i.e., dioxins wastes and stockpiles, pesticides, and community monitoring); and
  • initiating activities among its members towards the next intergovernmental negotiating committee session scheduled for Geneva, Switzerland in June 2002.

Through some successful fundraising efforts over the past few months, IPEN was able to initiate and support several key activities to further its objectives.

In September 2001, IPEN sponsored an event in India that focused on India and the Stockholm Convention. The event was well attended by NGOs, government representatives from India, representatives from the Indian Chemical Manufacturing Association, the World Bank, United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the United Nations Development Program.

In the summer of 2002, IPEN is co-hosting with African NGOs an African Skillshare Workshop. This workshop, funded by a U.S. foundation, will be held in East Africa.

Funds were also directed to the three Working Groups of IPEN. These Working Groups are focused on implementing key obligations of the Stockholm Convention. Each of the Working Groups are at different stages of development but initial funding have been used to hire coordination support in the host NGO. Recently Working Group Co-Chairs from Senegal, the Czech Republic, the Philippines and the U.S. met at CELA's office in Toronto to develop workplans and identify priorities for 2002/3.

The three Working Groups are:

  • Dioxins Wastes and Stockpiles;
  • Pesticides; and
  • Community Monitoring (a focus on human and environmental protection).

Lastly, the funding secured over the past few months have enabled the IPEN to identify members for participation in key international meetings related to the management of POPs. Such was the case for a meeting in Mexico City in October 2001 sponsored by the Commission on Environmental Cooperation. This meeting was focused on the development of North American Regional Action Plans on dioxins and furans and hexachlorobenzene. One highlight of this meeting was a presentation made by a senior U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) spokesman William Farland who highlighted the findings from the U.S. EPA Dioxin Reassessment. A major conclusion of this reassessment is that the U.S. EPA have agreed that dioxin is "indeed a carcinogen."

These efforts have clearly signalled the international community of IPEN's commitment towards the effective ratification and implementation of the Stockholm Convention. IPEN's steering committee has established a strong foundation for IPEN activities in the upcoming year. Highlights of IPEN's activities will be monitored and reported in future issues of the Intervenor.

Fe de Leon is a researcher at CELA, Morag Carter is the Coordinator of IPEN

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