Press Releases

    SG/SM/7812
    UNEP/90
    23 May 2001

    SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES SPEEDY SIGNATURE, RATIFICATION OF STOCKHOLM CONVENTION
    ON PERSISTENT ORGANIC POLLUTANTS

    NEW YORK, 22 May (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the statement by Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the opening for signature of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (Stockholm, 22-23 May), delivered by Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP):

    The Secretary-General is very pleased at the adoption of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), which was negotiated under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme. In setting out measures to ban, control or replace a dozen of the world’s most damaging pesticides, industrial chemicals and other persistent organic pollutants, the Convention will make the world a safer place. It will protect human health, since POPs cause innumerable birth defects, harm the nervous and immune systems and are known to build up in the breast milk of nursing mothers. It will help maintain biodiversity. It will strengthen the international legal machinery of environmental protection. And it will generate momentum towards next year’s World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg. The Secretary-General congratulates the more than 100 countries that have signed the agreement, and calls on all others to join in signing and then ratifying the treaty so it can enter into force at the earliest possible date.

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