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The elaboration of the ‘Stockholm Convention’ on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs): A negotiation process fraught with obstacles and opportunities


The conclusion in December 2000 of the negotiations for the ‘Stockholm Convention’ can clearly be labeled as a success. The Convention text was negotiated in merely five sessions of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) and accomplished after its fifth session despite the fact that numerous controversial issues, such as the inclusion of new substances under the ambit of the Convention, the acknowledgement of the precautionary principle or — clearly most controversial the financing mechanisms, remained to be resolved. This paper attempts to provide a somewhat impressionistic account of the negotiations leading to the conclusion of the ‘Stockholm Convention’ as experienced by the members of the Swiss delegation participating in the negotiations of the INC. Besides a brief overview on the ‘history’ of the negotiations, it will focus on some issues of special interest — and controversy — to the negotiators, and finally attempt to provide an outlook on the future of the work performed by the INC and the implementation of the Convention. Issues of special interest are environmental policy issues, capacity building and financing, trade-related issues, precautionary principles, and technical and scientific issues.

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  1. For references, see e.g. Pascale Martin-Bidou, Le principe de précaution en droit international de l’environnement, in R.G.D.I.P 1999–3, p 631 ff. and Peter H. Sand; The precautionary principle: Coping with risk; in Indian Journal of International Law, Vol 40/No1, p 1 ff

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Correspondence to Georg Karlaganis.

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according to earth negotiations bulletin

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Karlaganis, G., Marioni, R., Sieber, I. et al. The elaboration of the ‘Stockholm Convention’ on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs): A negotiation process fraught with obstacles and opportunities. Environ Sci & Pollut Res 8, 216–221 (2001).

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  • Capacity building
  • capacity financing
  • dangerous substances
  • environmental policy
  • persistent organic pollutants (POPs)
  • POPs
  • precautionary principles
  • Stockholm Convention
  • trade-related issues