Article 9 of the Stockholm Convention requests Parties to facilitate or undertake the exchange of information relevant to alternatives to POPs, including information relating to their risks and their economic and social costs. Article 10 also encourages parties, in providing information on POPs and their alternatives, to use a broad range of means of communication.
In order to enable Parties to take measures to reduce or eliminate releases of POPs from intentional production and use in conformity with Article 3, for which alternatives do not exist yet or are not readily available, the Convention allows Parties to register specific exemptions for a specific period of time pursuant to Article 4 of the Convention. Annexes A and B of the Convention describe the specific exemptions and acceptable purposes that are available with respect to the relevant POPs.
By its decision SC-4/3, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention (COP) encouraged those parties that might seek specific exemptions for future persistent organic pollutants to make efforts to introduce alternative measures as soon as possible.
In response to that decision and with a view to assisting parties to implement their obligations under Articles 9 and 10 of the Convention, the Secretariat launched at the end of 2010 activities on POPs-free products and processes.
At its fifth meeting in Geneva in April 2011, the COP took note of the POPs-free activities, which were integrated into the work programme of the secretariat in decision SC-5/28 with the understanding that that the Secretariat will provide the COP at its sixth meeting with results and outcomes of the implementation of the POPs-free programme.