Persistent Organic Pollutants
The Stockholm Convention targets PCBs as one of 12 POPs initially included in the Convention; it sets a goal of 2025 for phasing out the use of equipment containing PCBs (e.g. transformers, capacitors or other receptacles containing liquid stocks), and the treatment and elimination of the recovered PCBs by 2028.
At the country level, a PCB elimination implementation project may require: updating the preliminary PCB inventory developed as part of the NIP to increase its comprehensiveness; developing PCB user phase-out plans in relevant organisations/institutions (including establishment of a permitting system and consequent regulations); training relevant personnel in the safe handling of PCBs and PCB-containing equipment, including for their temporary storage; developing criteria for, and determining possible PCB storage facilities, and completing training and implementation on upgrading of/developing such facilities (followed by the collection and secure storage of PCB-containing equipment); regular inspection of equipment in use and out of service; developing criteria for, and selection of a permanent PCB management facility, followed by developing or upgrading of the facilities; and replacement of PCB fluids with a less harmful alternative(s).
Ghana: UNITAR assisted the Ghana Environmental Protection Agency with the GEF PDF-B project, “Ghana: Capacity Building for PCB Elimination”. UNITAR executed the key international aspects of the project, such as:
- Overall coordination and provision of international technical assistance, including expert consultants/trainers
- Participation in key project meetings and workshops
- Provision of action plan “refresher” training
- Assistance with the development of a situation analysis/needs assessment for the project and drafts of the overall project document
UNITAR is presently serving as the international executing agency for the GEF Full Size Project "PCB Management in Ghana, from Capacity Building to Elimination". This project is aimed at strengthening the capacities and capabilities of government officials and stakeholders outside of government to address PCB identification, and manage existing sources of PCBs as well as their elimination/destruction, as identified as a priority in the National Implementation Plan for Persistent Organic Pollutants for the Republic of Ghana.
The project develops and implements a strategy, and the required steps, from the current unsustainable management of PCB-containing equipment to sound management and disposal practices. The strategy commences by strengthening the legal framework and the management capacity both within government institutions and among PCB holders. The project will also eliminate, as a first step, the PCB-containing equipment, mainly transformers, and in a second step start phasing out PCB-contaminated equipment. The project is the first major step to meet the obligations of Ghana under the Stockholm Convention.
Ghana is the first country in the sub-region that has developed a Full Size Project (FSP) of this nature to eliminate PCBs as required under the Stockholm Convention. The experiences obtained during the implementation of the project will be shared with the other countries in the sub-region that are currently developing concrete phase-out activities. The project is part of the general strategy of Ghana to significantly improve power production and distribution and to strengthen the management of the sector.
Upon request, and resources permitting, UNITAR, in cooperation with GEF Implementing Agencies and other partners, is available to assist countries with PCB elimination projects as part of their Stockholm Convention implementation efforts. For more information on how to access assistance in this area, please contact UNITAR. For further details, also see the Country Application Opportunities page.
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