The GEF Small Grant Programme

POPs Awareness Training Module

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Chapter IV: Global Institutions and Policies to Reduce and Eliminate POPs

A. The Stockholm Convention
The Stockholm Convention on POPs is a global treaty that was adopted in 2001 and entered into force in 2004.1 The Convention’s primary objective is to protect human health and the environment from persistent organic pollutants. One hundred and fifty-five countries have ratified or acceded to the Convention, and become Parties to the Convention.

The Stockholm Convention requires its Parties to ban the production and use of listed POPs pesticides and industrial chemicals, but it allows Parties who file requests to continue certain, time-limited exempted POPs pesticide uses. It allows Parties to register their intent to produce or use DDT, but it strictly restricts the use of DDT by these Parties to disease vector control in accordance with World Health Organization guidelines, and only when locally safe, effective and affordable alternatives are not available.2 The Convention requires Parties to take measures to reduce releases of dioxins and other unintentional POPs with the goal of their continuing minimization, and where feasible, ultimate elimination.3 The Convention further requires Parties to take measures that will reduce or eliminate POPs releases from existing stockpiles or from wastes. Key Convention provisions include:

  • Article 3: measures to reduce or eliminate POPs releases from intentional production and use;4
  • Article 5: measures to reduce or eliminate POPs releases from unintentional sources;5
  • Article 6: measures to reduce or eliminate POPs releases from stockpiles and wastes;
  • Article 8: procedures to list additional POPs for control by the Convention;
  • Article 10: measures to promote and facilitate public information, awareness and education about POPs;
  • Article 11: measures relating to POPs-related research, development and monitoring

NGOs, civil society organizations and local communities have already begun working on projects that contribute directly to the implementation of the above Convention articles.

B. The Global Environment Facility
In May 2001, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) was designated as interim financial mechanism for implementation of the Stockholm Convention. In December 2002, the GEF Council created a new focal area on persistent organic pollutants and established Operational Program 14 (OP 14). The GEF’s mandate on POPs is to support the sound management of chemicals by serving as a financial mechanism for the Stockholm Convention and by supporting projects and programs that contribute to achieving the Convention’s objectives.

The GEF’s goal in the POPs focal area is to protect human health and the environment by assisting countries to reduce and eliminate production, use, and releases of POPs, and consequently contribute generally to capacity development for the sound management of chemicals. For the period of GEF-4, this goal will be met through:

  • Strengthening capacities for National Implementation Plans (NIPs) implementation, including assisting those countries that lag farthest behind to establish basic, foundational capacities for sound management of chemicals
  • Partnering in investments needed for NIP implementation to achieve impacts in POPs reduction and elimination
  • Partnering in the demonstration of feasible, innovative technologies and best practices for POPs reduction and substitution

Specifically, the expected outcomes and main indicators include6:

Table 1. Strategic Objective, Expected Impacts and Main Indicators of POPs Focal Area for GEF-4

Strategic Objective Expected Impacts Main Indicators
To reduce and eliminate production, use and releases of POPs GEF-supported countries have strengthened capacity for POPs management and consequently strengthened capacity for the general sound management of chemicals Regulatory and enforcement capacity in place
  Dangerous obsolete pesticides that pose a threat to human health and to the environment are disposed of in an environmentally sound manner Obsolete pesticides disposed of
  PCBs, some of the most widespread toxics, are no longer a source of contamination of the local and global environment because they are phased out and disposed of PCBs phased out and disposed of
  The risk of adverse health effects from POPs is decreased for those local communities living in close proximity to POPs wastes that have been disposed of or contained Reduced risk of exposure to POPs of project-affected people
  The basis for the future implementation of the Stockholm Convention is established through the demonstration of innovative alternative products, best practices, and environmentally sound processes to the generation, use, or release of POPs Knowledge management packages developed; the viability and cost-effectiveness of alternatives to POPs, in particular DDT, are demonstrated in a number of settings

Recognizing the importance of reducing and eliminating POPs, the GEF is supporting large, medium and small size projects that contribute to the goals of the Stockholm Convention, thereby reducing and eliminating POPs.

C. The GEF Small Grants Programme
The Small Grants Programme (SGP) is a corporate programme of the GEF that is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on behalf of all GEF Implementing Agencies. It is executed by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). The SGP is committed to providing funds to NGOs and community-based organizations (CBOs) for POPs projects in eligible Stockholm Convention Party countries. SGP contributes to the effective implementation of the Stockholm Convention and helps advance the Convention’s objective through community-based approaches, in accordance with the GEF strategies and operational programs of its POPs Focal Area.

Since the addition of the POPs focal area in 2002, the SGP has supported community and NGO POPs projects in SGP POPs-funding eligible countries at an increasing rate. To date, the SGP has funded more than 100 POPs reduction and elimination projects around the world.7

The SGP and International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN) are cooperating in a partnership whose aim is to promote the active participation of NGOs, CBOs and other civil society organizations in the implementation of the Stockholm Convention8. IPEN is a global network of NGOs that work to support POPs Elimination and other chemical safety objectives.9 IPEN also executed a GEF medium-sized project, the International POPS Elimination Project (IPEP), which focused on raising awareness, and building capacity among NGOs and CBOs for implementation of the Stockholm Convention. The project supported a total of 290 project activities in 65 countries in all regions. The common theme of the project activities was Fostering Active and Effective Civil Society Participation in Preparations for Implementation of the Stockholm Convention.10

1Center for International Environmental Law; Stockholm Convention on POPs, available at:
2See Stockholm Convention Articles 3 and 4; and Annexes A and B;
3See Stockholm Convention Article 5 and Annex C;
4Refer to Annex A and B of the Convention for further measures that are applicable to Article 3;
5Refer also to Annex C of the Convention for further measures applicable to Article 5;
6For more information, see GEF. 2007. Persistent Organic Pollutants Focal Area Strategy and Strategic Programming for GEF-4 (
7The Global Environmental Facility Small Grants Programme, Persistent Organic Pollutants page, available at:
8Joint Communique on IPEN and SGP Partnership, available at:
9The International POPs Elimination Network web site:
10International POPs Elimination Network and Participating Organizations, POPs Handbook for the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, 2001, available at:

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IV Review Quiz:

  1. Governments adopted what Global Treaty to reduce and eliminate persistent organic pollutants:
    1.   The Rotterdam Convention on POPs
    2.   The Basel Convention
    3.   The Stockholm Convention
    4.   The Montreal Protocol
  2. POPs has always been a GEF Focal Area?
    1.   True
    2.   False
  3. Article 5 of the Stockholm Convention addresses what category of POPs?
    1.   POPs pesticides
    2.   unintentionally produced POPs
    3.   POPs industrial chemicals
    4.   All of the above
 Chapter 1: ‘The Dirty Dozen’ and their Characteristics
 Chapter 2: Sources and Uses of POPs
 Chapter 3: Impacts of POPs on Health and Environment
 Chapter 4: Global Institutions and Policies to Reduce and Eliminate POPs
 Chapter 5: Harnessing the Power of NGOs and Communities
 Chapter 6: Case Studies: Local Actions; Global Results
 Chapter 7: Opportunity for National Coordinators and National Steering Committees to Facilitate Results in POPs Focal Area
 Final Quiz: POPs Awareness Self-Test
Quick Reference and Additional Information