Outcomes of the effectiveness evaluation of the Stockholm Convention (2023)


At its sixth meeting, the Conference of the Parties adopted the framework for effectiveness evaluation of the Stockholm Convention pursuant to Article 16, including terms of reference for the effectiveness evaluation committee. At its eighth meeting, the Conference of the Parties, among other things, welcomed the first report on the effectiveness evaluation of the Convention prepared in accordance with the framework adopted at the sixth meeting, including the conclusions and recommendations of the effectiveness evaluation committee. At its ninth meeting, the Conference of the Parties adopted the revised framework for effectiveness evaluation, and at its tenth meeting, the Conference of the Parties elected 10 members to serve on the effectiveness evaluation committee until the closure of the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties. The second six-year evaluation cycle, using the adopted revised framework, took place between 2017 and 2023.

The effectiveness evaluation committee met from 12 to 14 April 2022 and from 1 to 4 November 2022, in Geneva, Switzerland, to conduct the effectiveness evaluation according to the adopted revised framework and to develop conclusions and recommendations as to the second effectiveness of the Stockholm Convention. 

The executive summary of the effectiveness evaluation report is available here.

Overall outcomes of the second effectiveness evaluation

The committee concluded among other things, that the Convention provides an effective and dynamic framework to regulate POPs throughout their lifecycle, addressing the production, use, import, export, releases and disposal of these chemicals worldwide. The report of the second effectiveness evaluation notes progress that has occurred since the first evaluation but highlights that there continues to be ongoing issues that hinder the full implementation of the Convention. Mechanisms and processes required by the Convention to support Parties in meeting their obligations have all been put in place, with the exception of procedures and mechanisms on compliance. As for the first evaluation, a major challenge to the evaluation continues to be the limited data available from national reports and national implementation plans (NIPs), and recommendations have been made to address those and other implementation issues. Monitoring results indicate that regulations targeting POPs have succeeded in reducing levels of POPs in humans and the environment. For the initial POPs, concentrations measured in air and in human populations have declined and continue to decline or remain at low levels due to restrictions on POPs, some of which predated the Stockholm Convention and are now incorporated in it. For the newly listed POPs, concentrations are beginning to show decreases, although in a few instances, increasing and/or stable levels are observed. The priority areas for action to address implementation challenges identified in the second effectiveness evaluation include the following:

  1. Strengthening legal, administrative and other measures to control POPs;
  2. Addressing compliance, by establishing compliance procedures and mechanisms;
  3. Strengthening information collection;
  4. Strengthening environmentally sound management of POPs waste;
  5. Strengthening awareness-raising and information exchange;
  6. Strengthening the provision of technical assistance;
  7. Strengthening the provision of financial assistance;
  8. Improving effectiveness evaluation.

The report of the second effectiveness evaluation is available here, and the executive summary of the report can be accessed here.

Highlights of the 2023 effectiveness evaluation

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) Stockholm Convention Effectiveness Evaluation 2023 Highlights

Hexabromodiphenyl ether and heptabromodiphenyl ether (hexa- and heptaBDE), and tetrabromodiphenyl ether and pentabromodiphenyl ether (tetra- and pentaBDE), collectively referred to as PBDEs or BDEs, are listed in Annex A of the Stockholm Convention with specific exemptions for use for recycling of articles that contain or may contain these chemicals.

PBDEs are a group of industrial aromatic organobromine chemicals that have been used since the 1970s as additive flame retardants in a wide range of mainly consumer products.

Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), its salts and perfluorooctane sulfonyl fluoride (PFOSF)
Stockholm Convention Effectiveness Evaluation 2023 Highlights

Historically, PFOS has been used for a variety of products due to its surface-active properties, surface resistance/repellency to oil, water, grease or soil. PFOS can be found in electric and electronic parts, fire fighting foam, photo imaging, hydraulic fluids, leather, paper and textiles.

In 2009, PFOS, its salts, and PFOSF were listed in Annex B to the Stockholm Convention with eight acceptable purposes and 12 specific exemptions.

DDT Stockholm Convention Effectiveness Evaluation 2023 Highlights

DDT is an organochlorine insecticide initially used to combat malaria, typhus, and other insect-borne human diseases. Subsequently it was used as an agricultural and household pesticide.

The best-known toxic effect of DDT is egg-shell thinning among birds, especially birds of prey. The short-term acute effects of DDT on humans are limited, but long-term exposures have been associated with chronic health effects. DDT has been detected in breast milk, raising serious concerns about infant health.

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB) Stockholm Convention Effectiveness Evaluation 2023 Highlights

The group of chemicals known as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) is one of the original twelve POPs covered by the Stockholm Convention. They possess properties including longevity, heat absorbance and form an oily liquid at room temperature that was useful for electrical utilities and in other industrial applications.

Due to their physico-chemical properties, PCB were used in a wide range of applications, most importantly as insulating fluids in transformers. PCB were also used in other types of closed and semi-closed applications, such as capacitors, as well as in so-called ‘open applications such as paints, sealants and carbon paper.

Dioxins and Furans Stockholm Convention Effectiveness Evaluation 2023 Highlights

Polychlorinated dibenzo‐p‐dioxins (PCDD) are produced unintentionally due to incomplete combustion, as well as during the manufacture of pesticides and other chlorinated substances. They are emitted mostly from the burning of hospital waste, municipal waste, and hazardous waste, and also from automobile emissions, peat, coal, and wood. There are 75 difference dioxins, of which seven are considered to be of concern. Dioxins have been associated with a number of adverse effects in humans, including immune and enzyme disorders and chloracne, and they are classified as possible human carcinogens.