Trust fund set up to help developing countries deal with POPs

The World Bank and the Canadian Government are to set up a Can$20 million (US $14 million) trust fund to help developing countries reduce the release of persistent organic pollutants (POPs).

POPs are either used as pesticides, consumed by industry or generated as by-products of various industrial processes. POPs are highly toxic and have been linked with incidences of cancer, damage to the central and peripheral nervous systems, reproductive disorders, and disruption of the immune system in both humans and wildlife.

The primary objectives of the fund will be to:

  • help developing countries build their capacity to reduce the production and release of POPs, to switch to more sustainable alternatives and to dispose of stockpiles
  • gain the support of developing countries for an anticipated UNEP agreement on POPs
  • help key source countries to address domestic health, environment and sustainable development issues related to POPs

The trust fund will also support international negotiations to minimise emissions and releases of POPs. The negotiations address the accumulation of unwanted and obsolete stockpiles of pesticides and toxic chemicals, particularly in developing countries (see related story)

The World Bank hopes that other donors will contribute to similar POPs initiatives. Some of the funding will also be used to support UNEP and other multilateral organisations involved in assisting countries in areas associated with POPs.

The World Bank programme under the new POPs Trust Fund is expected to be launched in the next two months.

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