The fifth Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), which is to consider global ban on endosulfan, began in Geneva on Monday morning. The recommendation for ban on endosulfan will come up for discussion on Tuesday as per the tentative scheduled for the meeting. Initial reports from the conference indicate that India is working for a consensus in the Asia-Pacific group against the ban.

However, C. Jayakumar of Thanal, who is an observer to the convention, said in an email message from Geneva that this move might not succeed as there are countries who cannot agree to the same. “The African region is more or less talking about a common agreement of adding endosulfan to Annex A of the convention without exemptions. The same is the news from the Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC).” The GRULAC is asking for financial resources to implement the ban, he added.

The Persistent Organic Pollutant Review Committee of the Convention, which met in Geneva in October last year, had recommended adding endosulfan to Annex A of the Convention which means a global ban on the pesticide that caused the death of hundreds of people in Kerala and elsewhere. India had dropped out of discussion at the Review Committee meeting after opposing the proposal.

The conference is also to consider numerous other issues including a report on the reporting and reviewing requirements for the use of lindane as a human health pharmaceutical for the control of head lice and scabies and endorsement of Stockholm Convention regional Centres.

Besides, the conference is considering reference for the assessment of funding needs for parties that are developing countries or countries with economies in transition to implement the Convention over 2015–2019, IISD reporting services said.

The Stockholm Convention as adopted in 2001 called for international action on 12 POPs grouped into three categories: pesticides (aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, mirex and toxaphene), industrial chemicals (hexachlorobenzene and polychlorinated biphenyls) and unintentionally produced POPs: dioxins and furans.

Currently, 21 chemicals are slated for global phase-out. Governments are to promote best available techniques and best environmental practices for replacing existing POPs while preventing the development of new POPs.

Provision was also made for a procedure to identify additional POPs and the criteria to be considered in doing so. Endosulfan has been brought in for consideration under this clause. Key elements of the treaty include the requirement that developed countries should provide new and additional financial resources; take measures to eliminate production and use of intentionally produced POPs, eliminate unintentionally produced POPs, where feasible, and manage and dispose of POPs wastes in an environmentally sound manner; and substitute the use of safer chemicals and processes to prevent unintentionally produced POPs. The Stockholm Convention entered into force on May 17, 2004, and currently has 173 parties, including the European Community.