UNDP assists 84 developing countries safely manage Persistent Organic Pollutants to protect human health, livelihoods and environment

May 3, 2015

Geneva - At the 7th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention (SC COP-7) in Geneva this week, UNDP will be reporting its contribution to the global effort to reduce the risks of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). As of May 2015, UNDP is supporting 84 countries implement POPs-related projects, amounting to US $156 million in Global Environment Facility (GEF) grants and US $392 million in co-financing. Consequently, 9,500 tonnes of POPs have been safely disposed and 335,000 tonnes of contaminated wastes have been safeguarded.

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are chemicals that negatively affect health and environment through air, water and soil, causing nervous system damage, immune system breakdown, reproductive system disorder and cancer. To help reduce the vulnerability, especially of the poor, to health and environmental hazards, UNDP helps countries meet the objectives of the Stockholm Convention with financial support from GEF and other co-financing partners. To ensure sustainability 300,000 people have been trained globally on POPs management and 65 national regulations on safe management of POPS have been adopted with UNDP support. These efforts have helped 220,000 people reduce their high-risk exposure to POPs.

The UNDP publication—Chemicals and Waste Management for Sustainable Development (in English, French, and Spanish) captures results and best practices of our support to reduce and eliminate POPs, featuring China, Georgia, Honduras, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Mauritius, Nigeria, and Viet Nam as well as a regional project in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

A side event—“A Song for You: Combating POPs – China’s Action Towards a POPs-free Future,” will be held by China on 8 May, with UNDP support, to roll out a month-long international campaign (May-June 2015) for raising public awareness on the danger that POPs pose. Simultaneously, as part of the campaign, efforts to deal with this problem in China and around the world will be introduced to the general public through a simple cartoon video and smartphone games.

Nik Sekhran, Director of UNDP’s Sustainable Development Cluster says, “In addition to eliminating pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, and other hazardous chemicals, UNDP has played a key role in introducing a South African state-of-the-art autoclave technology in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia that uses pressurized steam to sterilize infectious Ebola healthcare wastes.” He further stated, “GEF is one of UNDP’s flagship programmes, with chemicals and waste management as one of its key components. UNDP will continue to support developing countries and economies in transition comply with their commitments under the Stockholm Convention, thereby preventing the exposure of humans and environment to harmful chemicals and waste.”

This 7th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention (SC COP-7) will provide an opportunity to the governments to review progress on restricting and eliminating POPs and discuss ways of strengthening implementation of the Stockholm Convention. The new publication comes timely as it also describes the linkages between the Sound Management of Chemicals and Wastes and the proposed Sustainable Development Goals.

Contact information

Mr. Jacques Van Engel, Director, UNDP Montreal Protocol Unit/Chemicals.
e-mail: jacques.van.engel@undp.org

Sangita Khadka, Communications Specialist, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, e-mail: sangita.khadka@undp.org   Tel: +212 906 5043

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