Annan hails anticipated adoption of major treaty banning world's worst pesticides

Annan hails anticipated adoption of major treaty banning world's worst pesticides

As delegates from over 100 countries gathered in Stockholm, Sweden, today to prepare for the adoption of a treaty banning the world's worst pesticides, Secretary-General Kofi Annan hailed the effort, saying it would "make the world a safer place."

Mr. Annan's message to the participants of the Stockholm meeting was delivered by Klaus Toepfer, the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) -- the agency which oversaw negotiations on the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, known as POPs. The treaty sets out measures to ban, control or replace a dozen of the world's most dangerous pesticides, industrial chemicals and other persistent organic pollutants. These substances -- which can kill, cause birth defects or generate diseases such as cancer -- travel through the environment far beyond their original source and endure for years or even decades.

The treaty will help maintain biodiversity, strengthen the international legal machinery of environmental protection, and "will generate momentum towards next year's World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg," the Secretary-General said.

Mr. Annan congratulated the more than 100 countries that will sign the Convention before the Stockholm meeting concludes tomorrow, and called on all others to join in endorsing and ratifying the treaty "so it can enter into force at the earliest possible date."