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The Stockholm Convention is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from persistent organic pollutants (POPs). POPs are chemicals that remain intact in the environment for long periods, become widely distributed geographically, accumulate in the fatty tissue of living organisms and are toxic to humans and wildlife. POPs circulate globally and can cause damage wherever they travel. In implementing the Convention, Governments will take measures to eliminate or reduce the release of POPs into the environment. Over 152 countries ratified the Convention and it entered into force, on 17 May 2004.

The Stockholm Convention focuses on eliminating or reducing releases of POPs. It sets up a system for tackling additional chemicals identified as unacceptably hazardous. Ultimately, the Convention points the way to a future free of dangerous POPs and promises to reshape our economy's reliance on toxic chemicals.

The Stockholm Convention is perhaps best understood as having five essential aims:

- Eliminate dangerous POPs, starting with the 12 worst

- Support the transition to safer alternatives

- Target additional POPs for action

- Cleanup old stockpiles and equipment containing POPs

- Work together for a POPs-free future

The Global Environmental Facility (GEF) is the designated interim financial mechanism for the Stockholm Convention.

UNIDO's Assistance

UNIDO is also responsible for supporting developing countries and countries with economies in transition to implement the Stockholm Convention. It has played a leading role in the implementation of the Convention since it opened for signature in 2001.

UNIDO’s strategic programmes focus on its mandate on Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development, ISID, as guided by the Sustainable Development Goal 9 on Infrastructure, Industry and Innovation. Main emphasis are on industrial sectors explicitly mentioned in the Convention, including, but not limited to, power utilities, metallurgical industries, pesticide manufacturers, recycling industries, as well as textile and leather industries,.

Working with industry, UNIDO helps to optimize production processes to avoid POPs emissions, set up new facilities and production lines utilizing POPs alternatives, as well as construct and operate facilities for the safe management of POPs-containing material.

UNIDO furthermore works to develop new industries without POPs releases and to establish recycling and waste management industries in a manner that minimizes the generation and release of POPs throughout industry.

In addition, it helps strengthen the capacity of public and private sector support institutions to assist industries and SMEs in implementing their countries’ POPs National Implementation Plans.

All projects are underpinned by collaboration with government and industry to create supportive framework conditions for the effective reduction and elimination of POPs in industrial production. Activities in this area include regulatory and policy guidance, technical guidelines development and capacity building in order to ensure sustainable industrial transformation in an economically and environmentally sound, lasting and replicable manner.

For more information, please read our booklet: Circularity and the Stockholm Convention Programme.

For more information, please check out our Stockholm Convention Division leaflet.