TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE ROTTERDAM CONVENTION
STRENGTHENING CAPACITIES THROUGH GLOBAL INFORMATION SHARING
The Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade is a legally binding, multilateral environmental agreement with the objectives:
• To promote shared responsibility and cooperative efforts among Parties in the international trade of certain hazardous chemicals in order to protect human health and the environment from potential harm.
• To contribute to the environmentally sound use of those hazardous chemicals, by facilitating information exchange about their characteristics, by providing for a national decision-making process on their import and export and by disseminating these decisions to Parties.
The Rotterdam Convention works through the involvement of different key players which specific functions and roles:
The Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention is jointly hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), with FAO having primarily responsibility for all technical matters related to pesticides and severely hazardous pesticide formulations and UNEP for other chemicals. The Secretariat provides technical assistance for countries to increase their capacity in managing the risk of chemicals and pesticides. The Rotterdam Convention also works in synergy with the Stockholm and the Basel Conventions.
The Conference of the Parties (COP) oversees the operation of the Convention and makes decisions regarding amendments to the Convention, including the addition of chemicals to Annex III.
The Chemical Review Committee (CRC) is a subsidiary body of the COP. Its members are government-designated experts in chemicals management. Its responsibilities include reviewing notifications and proposals from Parties, and making recommendations to the COP on the addition of chemicals to Annex III.
The Designated National Authorities in each Party are the key contact points for matters related to the operation of the Convention and are authorized to perform the administrative functions required by the Convention.
The work under the Rotterdam Convention is divided in three main core areas:
The Convention creates legally binding obligations for the implementation of the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure, a mechanism for formally obtaining and disseminating the decisions of importing Parties as to whether they wish to receive future shipments of those chemicals listed in Annex III of the Convention and for ensuring compliance with these decisions by exporting Parties.
The Convention covers pesticides and industrial chemicals that have been banned or severely restricted for health or environmental reasons by Parties and which have been notified by Parties for inclusion in the PIC procedure. Each Party that has adopted a final regulatory action shall notify the Secretariat in writing of such action, the so-called “notifications of final regulatory action”. One notification for the same chemical received from each of two PIC regions triggers consideration of addition of that chemical to Annex III of the Convention. In addition, Parties that are developing countries and countries with economies in transition can make proposals for so-called “Severely hazardous pesticide formulations” that present a risk under conditions of use to human health and environment. In this case, a proposal from one country is sufficient to trigger discussions for inclusion in Annex III.
For each of the chemicals listed in Annex III and subject to the PIC procedure a decision guidance document (DGD) is prepared and sent to all Parties. All Parties are required to take a decision as to whether or not they will allow future import of each of the chemicals in Annex III of the Convention. These decisions are known as import responses.
All exporting Parties are required to ensure that exports of chemicals subject to the PIC procedure do not occur contrary to the decision of each importing Party. They should ensure that import responses published in the PIC Circular are immediately communicated to their exporters, industry and any other relevant authorities, such as the customs, chemical and pesticide regulatory authorities.
The Rotterdam Convention provides a legally binding framework for information exchange on hazardous chemicals and pesticides on a global level in order to protect human health and the environment.
For the Rotterdam Convention, public awareness and outreach activities are focused on the “Right to know”, a legal principle that supports right of individuals to know about the risks to human health and the environment from exposure to certain hazardous chemicals.
Public awareness and outreach activities conducted are based on the need for information exchange between Parties of the Convention, which is the building block of the Prior Informed Consent Procedure (PIC procedure) of the Convention.
A PIC Circular is a key document in the implementation of the Rotterdam Convention, both for the operation of the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure and as a mechanism for the exchange of information on hazardous chemicals. It is published twice per year, in June and December in English, French and Spanish and sent to all the Designated National Authorities.
Awareness is also raised through webinars carried out by the Secretariat on the main provisions of the Convention. Moreover, a “Resource Kit” including a comprehensive source of information on the Rotterdam Convention, such as publications, guidance, case studies, was designed to assist countries in the ratification process and in the implementation of the Convention. It is regularly reviewed and updated, easy to use and access for meeting the needs of a broad range of stakeholders.
Technical assistance is provided under the Rotterdam Convention to developing country Parties and Parties with economies in transition in order to assist them in building and strengthening their capacity in terms of human resources, technical capacities, and policy, legal and institutional frameworks. It includes for instance the dissemination of information, training workshops ,and practical tools such as guidance documents. In short, it serves as a catalyzer for Parties to fulfill their obligations under the Convention with a view to protect human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals.
Capacity building is an essential component of the Convention that supports countries in the seven Prior Informed Consent ( PIC ) Regions under the Rotterdam Convention, namely Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and Caribbean, Near East, North America and Southwest Pacific in strengthening their capacities in chemical and pesticide management. The Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention provides technical assistance in response to the needs expressed by Parties and is delivered at national, regional and global level, both with direct physical presence in the countries as well as through online platforms.
Cooperation with regional and national partners is an important element for delivering technical assistance in particular in field interventions and the Rotterdam Convention has established effective and strong collaborations through a multi-stakeholder approach.
With the continuous support of FAO, and with contributions from donor countries and other partners, the benefits and positive impacts of technical assistance have been a major input to strengthen national legislation frameworks for pesticides and industrial chemicals, particularly in developing countries and countries with economies in transition.
The success of the technical assistance program calls for the constant support from FAO. Its network of technical staff in five Regional Offices and nine Sub-regional Offices and other partners to further strengthen Parties’ capacities to effectively implement the Convention and to advance in their national efforts to protect human health and the environment in a sustainable way.
KEY HIGHLIGHTS AND OUTCOMES
OF TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE (2017-2022)
GOVERNANCE AND NORMATIVE WORK
FINAL REGULATORY ACTIONS (FRAs) SUBMITTED NOTIFICATIONS SUBMITTED BY PARTIES
RATIFICATION OF NEW PARTIES
- State of Palestine on 29 December 2017
- Turkey on 21 September 2017
- Vanuatu on 14 January 2019
- Algeria in July 2020,
- Tuvalu in November 2020
- Barbados in October 2020
- Grenada on January 2022
IMPORT RESPONSES (IRs)
New or revised import responses for chemicals listed in Annex III of the Convention.
INFORMATION EXCHANGE AND AWARENESS RAISING
Regularly published twice per year
(June and December):
PUBLICATIONS, GUIDANCES AND TOOLS
in multiple languages available
in Resource Kit:
COUNTRIES BENEFITED FROM
CAPACITY BUILDING ACTIVITIES
AMONG THEM 2260 WERE FEMALE
AND 2729 WERE MALE
Letter of agreements (LoAs)