DDT (Dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane)

DDT is an organo-chlorine, synthesized in 1874 but its insecticidal properties were discovered in 1939. DDT was first used during the World War II to combat malaria and typhus among civilians and troops. Subsequently it was used as an agricultural and household pesticide. 


DDT is currently listed in Annex B to the Stockholm Convention with its production and/or use restricted for disease vector control purposes when no equally effective and efficient alternative  is available, and in accordance with related World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations and guidelines.

Countries that are party to the Convention can produce and/or use DDT for disease vector control when locally safe, effective and affordable alternatives are not available. Parties are required to notify the Secretariat of such production or use or the intention to use DDT. The Secretariat maintains a DDT Register listing Parties producing and/or using DDT or intending to produce or use of it for the acceptable purposes stipulated under the Convention. Every three years, Parties that produce or use DDT are obliged to report the conditions of such use to the Secretariat using a DDT questionnaire that was adopted by the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Stockholm Convention. The COP, in consultation with WHO, evaluates the continued need for DDT for disease vector control during its regular meetings. The DDT Expert Group, established by the COP, undertakes an assessment of scientific, technical, environmental and economic information related to DDT and reports its recommendations to the COP for its consideration in the evaluation of continued need for DDT.

Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) and Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) remain the core vector control interventions for malaria and visceral leishmaniasis, the two vector borne diseases where DDT is currently used. Other vector control measures, both chemical and non-chemical, are complementary methods to be used under specific local conditions. In its report in 2020, the DDT Expert Group highlighted that the global vector control landscape and conditions for decision making on the use of DDT have recently changed, and concluded that, it is now appropriate for COP to take additional steps towards a focused phasing out of DDT.

At its fourth meeting held in 2009 the COP endorsed the establishment of a Global Alliance for the development and deployment of products, methods and strategies as alternatives to DDT for disease vector control. In 2011, the COP invited the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to lead its implementation. During its 6th meeting held in 2013,the COP invited the UNEP, in consultation with WHO, the DDT expert group and the Secretariat, to prepare a road map for the development of locally safe, effective, affordable and environmentally sound alternatives to DDT.