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GEO 2017-2019 Work Programme


Global Observation System for Persistent Organic Pollutants (GOS4POPS)

Activity ID: 124


The Global Observation System for Persistent Organic Pollutants (GOS4POPs) Initiative originates from the former GEO 2012-2015 Work Plan Task HE-02 "Tracking Pollutants", established as a part of a coordinated global observation network for mercury and POPs. The Task was meant to support the international conventions on toxic compounds (i.e. Stockholm Convention (SC), UNECE Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP) and on-going international programmes (e.g. UNEP Mercury Program, Global Monitoring Plan (GMP) of SC on POPs, European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (EMEP)).

Thus  GOS4POPs has strong foundation in the outcomes of the previous GEO Task HE-02 C2 and aims to further develop and provide new services for stakeholder engagement, and alignment with the GEO priorities and objectives. In particular, the need for an Initiative on persistent organic pollutants is timely as the updating of the Stockholm Convention to list additional POPs has created a need for the scientific community to foster the sharing of monitoring data and modelling tools so that they are available to support implementation of the Convention. Long term and high precision observations and analysis of cycles of such pollutants in the different domains of the Earth system (atmosphere, ocean), considering also anthropogenic emissions, are furthermore required to better quantify sources and sinks; understand the impact on environment and human health and address their minimization/elimination.

Activities for the period

  • Task 1: Establishment of a governance structure to facilitate the involvement of the ROGs, GCG, and institutions supporting the collection of POPs monitoring information to guide the work of this effort and report on the process and deliverables;
  • Task 2: Analysis of current monitoring programmes, data infrastructures and archived information on POPs, with a special attention to newly listed POPs;
  • Task 3: Increasing availability and quality of data by supporting further development of monitoring programmes, harmonization of applied sensors, standardization of the analytical procedures, join interpretation of available information and production of metadata following standards;
  • Task 4: Upgrading the GMP DWH to include new POPs;
  • Task 5: Design, development and implementation of core services supporting adopted procedures of the 3rd Global Monitoring Report (harmonized data collection);
  • Task 6: Design, development and implementation of tools supporting data accessibility, presentation and interpretation;
  • Task 7: Testing, updating of services/tools to allow for release of Third Monitoring Report in 2021;
  • Task 8: Progress reporting and stakeholder engagement.

User engagement

Engagement with relevant user communities and other stakeholders is crucial for this Initiative, making sure its objectives are in tune with the real-world problems and its results provide adapted solutions. The GCG and ROGs responsible for the whole data collection process and communication with data owners and the GMP Expert Panel providing a scientific and policy guidance will be the crucial players. GOS4POPs will share the outcomes, lessons learned and conclusions from a series of roundtable meetings designed to identify stakeholder needs and promote collaboration between science and policy.

Future plans

This Initiative is expected to continue to contribute in different steps of the policy implementation and evaluation process of the Stockholm and LRTAP Conventions, pending the requests of Parties to the Convention. Main potential contributions are:

  • Provide up-to-date information on POPs concentrations and trends in the atmosphere, aquatic ecosystems and in humans for science and policy use;
  • Support regions in developing and/or improving capacities for POPs monitoring and assessment;
  • Facilitate capacity building and transfer of knowledge to developing countries;
  • Facilitate cooperation with UNEP, GCG, ROGs, governments, monitoring programmes, NGOs and other stakeholders to provide scientific and technical information useful in effectiveness evaluation of measures adopted to achieve the goals set by the Stockholm Convention.


Secured and expected resources (cash and in-kind)

  • Resources for implementing GOS4POPs derive from The European network for observing our changing planet (ERA-PLANET) project recently launched and aimed to strengthen the European Research Area in the domain of Earth Observation in coherence with the European participation to Group on Earth Observation (GEO) and the Copernicus. ERA-PLANET will support GOS4POPs implementation through in-kind and cash resources. Around 9 M€ (33% of EU top-up fund and 66% of in-kind) are expected to be mobilized within the project on Global change and Environmental treaties (ERA/PLANET network) which will be partially used in support of GOS4POPs activities;
  • Other contributions stem from GEF medium sized projects on building capacity for implementation of the Global Monitoring Plan on POPs in the UN regions of Africa, Asia, Latin America and Pacific Islands. UNEP projects funded by US, Japan, China as well as other nationally funded projects provide resources necessary to operate the contributing POPs monitoring programmes (i.e. Canada, Czech Republic, Japan, Norway). All expected global resources for implementation of GI-XX are near 15 M€. Furthermore, in-kind resources also represent staff time of the BRS secretariat, members of GMP Regional Organization Groups and Global Coordination Group.

Sources of data and services.

Existing data infrastructure on POPs (GPM DWH: will be the base on which new services will be developed.

Annual budget allocation

Considering expected resources, appx. 1 M€ can be considered as annual budget allocation until 2021.



Members: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, EC, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Russian Federation, Slovenia, Sweden, UK, USA.

Participating Organizations: UNEP, WHO, World Bank (Global Environmental Facility - GEF).

Others: Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP); European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (EMEP); Global Atmospheric Passive Sampling (GAPS) Programme; Monitoring Network (MONET) Programme.

Linkages across the Work Programme

Flagships: GOS4M.

Initiatives: AirNow International.

Leadership & Contributors (this list is being populated)




Implementing Entity



Jana Klanova

Czech Republic



Katarina Magulova

UN Environment