Arctic council launches initiative to phase-out Russian PCBs

Arctic Council countries have commenced an initiative to expedite the phase-out of the use of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the Russian Federation and to further develop environmentally sound disposal practices in Russia, and especially in the Russian Arctic.

The initiative consists of three phases, the collection of critical information, analysis of the information and demonstration projects for alternatives to PCB uses, ultimately aimed at reducing the sources of PCBs that are causing transboundary impacts on the Arctic environment and ecosystems, including its indigenous populations.

It is expected that this joint effort will further encourage the Russian Federation to become a party to the Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP), Protocol on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).

The first phase of the project was officially endorsed by the Arctic states in the “Iqaluit Declaration” at the first Arctic Council ministerial meeting in Iqaluit, Northwest Territories, Canada in September 1998. It will be coordinated by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), a working group of the Arctic Council.

The AMAP secretariat is based in Oslo, Norway. The chairmanship of the Arctic Council will reside with the United States until September 2000. Other members include: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, and Sweden.

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