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Rotterdam Convention

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Title: Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade

1.Issued by/date/date of implementation

The text of the Convention was adopted on 10 September 1998 by a Conference of Plenipotentiaries in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The Convention entered into force on 24 February 2004.

2. Type of legislation

United Nations multilateral treaty

3. General purpose

The Rotterdam Convention promotes shared responsibility among international trade parties considering certain hazardous chemicals. Forty hazardous chemicals are listed in Annex III. These are pesticides or industrial chemicals that have been banned or severely restricted by parties of the convention. They are all subject to the Prior Informed Consent Procedure (the so called PIC Procedure).

According to PIC Procedure, when a chemical is included in the Annex III, a “decision guidance document”, including information on the hazardous properties of the substance, is circulated to all parties. Within 9 months the parties should give a response considering future import of the chemical (to allow import or not, or allow given certain conditions).

Through the convention parties are also obliged to inform each other on national bans or restrictions of chemicals, or if a party is facing environmental or health problems because of a specific substance. The partners are also obliged to use up-to-date safety sheets and labelling of chemicals, and to inform importing parties if there is a planned export of any of the chemicals in Annex III.

4. Substitution relevant paragraphs

In article 15 it is stated that each party shall ensure that the public has appropriate access to information on alternatives that are safer for human health and the environment than the listed chemicals in Annex III.

Annex I includes information requirements for the notification of substances subject to PIC procedure. Relevant information is among others information on alternatives and their relative risks, alternatives meaning for example integrated pest management strategies and industrial practices and processes, including cleaner technology.

5. Assessment of relevance for substitution

An important part of the Rotterdam convention is the opportunity to take informed risk-based decisions supported by measures to facilitate information exchange regarding hazardous chemicals. This also includes information on safer alternatives and information on alternatives and their relative risks.

6. Link to the legal text

7. Further information

The official website can be found here

7.1 Studies or publications about the legislation or its impact

  • Ted L. McDorman. 2004. The Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade: Some Legal Notes. Review of European Community & International Environmental Law 13(2):187–200. An abstract can be found here
  • Katharina Kummer. 1999. Prior Informed Consent for Chemicals In International Trade: The 1998 Rotterdam Convention. Review of European Community & International Environmental Law 8(3):323–329. An abstract can be found here
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 2010, A regional approach to the implementation of the Rotterdam Convention, can be found here

7.2 Other relevant legislation

The Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions are multilateral environmental agreements, which share the common objective of protecting human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals and wastes:

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Last update: 11.02.2011

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