Rome, Italy, 26 - 28 October 2015 Read more
Advance Report of the seventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention Read more
Report of the Chemical Review Committee on the work of its tenth meeting Read more
Regional Coordination and Cooperation
Maximizing safety and minimizing risk of industrial chemicals are important aims for sustainable development for countries Read more
The Rotterdam Convention assists Parties to reduce risks from certain hazardous pesticides in international trade Read more
A range of activities that are tailored to the specific needs of individual countries or small groups of countries Read more
The role of customs officers in the implementation of the Rotterdam Convention Read more
The PIC Circular is a key document in the implementation of the Rotterdam Convention Read more
Guidance to DNAs to complete the form “notification of final regulatory action” Read more
The Secretariat has been made aware that emails were recently sent using abusively for instance the name of the Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions or other staff as its author, a misleading sender’s name, or a misleading email address. Please read the Secretariat’s communication about this issue.
At its seventh meeting, the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention elected a new Bureau and nominated new members of the Chemical Review Committee (CRC). The list of new officers and members of CRC is now available. An overview of the elections of officers and members for the three conventions can be found on the synergies website.
An advance copy of the COP-7 meeting report is now available.
Meet the new ES of the FAO part of the Rotterdam Convention, William Murray, and discover his expectations for the upcoming Chemicals Review Committee (CRC) meeting in Rome.
Interview between William Murray, Deputy Director, Plant Production and Protection Division and Executive Secretary for the part of the Rotterdam Convention within the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome, Italy, and Charlie Avis, BRS Public Information Officer.
CA: Good morning, Bill, and my congratulations to you as the new Executive Secretary for the part of the Rotterdam Convention within the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome.
WM: Good morning, Charlie, and thank you for giving me the opportunity to introduce myself. I have a long history with the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, both as part of the Canadian Delegation that negotiated the text of the Conventions as well as with the Rotterdam Secretariat. I coordinated the work of the Rotterdam Secretariat here in Rome from 2000 to 2009, moving on to other tasks within FAO in the midst of the consultation process on synergies among the Rotterdam, Stockholm and Basel Conventions. I am looking forward to renewing my connection with the colleagues in member countries, in the Secretariat in Geneva and to working closely with my counterpart Rolph Payet in his role as Executive Secretary of the three Conventions in Geneva.
CA: What are your thoughts about progress made so far in the synergies process?
WM: Looking at the documents from the seventh COP in May this year and discussing with colleagues here in Rome, the progress that has been made towards greater synergies among the three Conventions is impressive. The fact that the last two COPs have featured simultaneous meetings of the three Conventions is itself a testament to the progress in greater synergy among the Secretariats. We will also be hosting back-to-back meetings of the Rotterdam Chemical Review Committee (CRC) and the Stockholm POP Review Committee here in Rome in October.
I look forward to the upcoming review of the synergies arrangements and the opportunity to identify what has worked best and to identify any gaps or opportunities to further enhance ways of working together.
I intend to use my knowledge and experience of the Conventions to continue strengthen cooperation and collaboration among the Conventions but also with FAO and other partners.
WM: There are a number of examples that come to mind. One area of continued concern to countries, in particular developing countries, concerns the risks associated with the use of pesticides. FAO is recognized as the lead international organization working on matters related to pesticide management including in its role within the Inter-Organizational Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC) and the Strategic Approach for Integrated Chemicals Management (SAICM). Countries have called for concerted action on “highly hazardous pesticides” and a proposal has been jointly developed by FAO, including the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat, WHO, UNEP and the SAICM Secretariat, to be considered by the 4th International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM4) this month in Geneva.
By solidifying the gains made through the synergies process over the last 10 years, we can look forward to opportunities for the Conventions to work with countries in different ways, for example in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals.
An example of this is Goal 12, which includes an explicit reference to “the environmentally sound management of chemicals and wastes through their lifecycle” – but particularly in the case of pesticides, there are also new opportunities within the framework of sustainable food production systems and the increased recognition of the critical roles of agrobiodiversity and ecosystem services such as pollination.
CA: What about cooperation with other parts of FAO ?
WM: The creation of the FAO/UNEP Joint Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention in 2004 was a unique example of cooperation among two international organizations. Since then the merging of the Secretariats in Geneva, and the appointment of a single Executive Secretary has enhanced the visibility of the Conventions whilst maintaining their status as independent entities. At the same time the housing in FAO of that portion of the Rotterdam Secretariat responsible for pesticides has created opportunities to leverage the work of the Convention.
The Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention has been identified as an FAO Corporate Technical Activity, a mandated area of work for which specific resources are allocated. The FAO Conference in June 2015 allocated 1.5 million USD to support the Secretariat in 2016-2017.
The Secretariat works in close cooperation with more than 18 technical officers in the regional and subregional offices of FAO around the globe, part of a global network covering more than 180 countries, including 5 Regional Offices, 9 Subregional Offices, and 80 FAO Representations. These colleagues, with connections and in-depth knowledge of the regional and national conditions, are an invaluable resource.
CA: How do you integrate the work of the Rotterdam Convention into this?
WM: The programme of work mandated by the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention, is aligned with FAO’s overall strategic framework and as far as possible integrated within the organization’s work on pesticide risk reduction. One advantage is that we are able to avoid duplication of work, identify synergies in working at the regional and country levels, and leverage the effective use of the resources available through the Convention.
For example the Secretariat joined forces with the FAO Pesticide Management Team as well as international partners in convening a recent meeting of the Southern African Pesticide Regulators’ Forum (SAPReF) (Harare, 27 – 30 July 2015). The meeting, involved representatives of 14 countries (including Rotterdam Convention Designated National Authorities or DNAs), and developed a strategic action plan to reduce health and environmental risks associated with the use, trade and disposal of pesticides. One result was that the implementation of the Rotterdam Convention was identified as a priority in the SAPReF Action Plan for 2015-2016 while progress was also made in the submission of import responses, notifications or final regulatory action as well as a possible proposal for a severely hazardous pesticide formulation.
CA: One last question, please. What are your expectations for the forthcoming CRC meeting which you mentioned earlier, and which takes place at FAO headquarters in Rome from 26 to 28 October?
WM: Well, it is the highly professional work of the Chemical Review Committee that enables the achievement of the Convention’s goals. This Committee does tremendous scientific work and my hope is that based on the available information and documentation it would be able to agree that the criteria set out in Annex II to the Convention have been satisfied by each of the notifications of final regulatory action for atrazine, carbofuran and carbosulfan. These three pesticides could probably then become part of the PIC procedure in the future and information about their risk to human health and the environment would be exchanged in a structured way so that parties can take action to protect their people and their environment. I also hope that the proposal to consider dimethoate EC 400 g/L as a severely hazardous pesticide formulation will satisfy the criteria set out in part 3 of Annex IV to the Convention. This is a great opportunity for developing countries and countries with an economy in transition to raise their voices at the global level regarding problems they face with particular pesticide formulations. And of course I hope that the draft decision guidance documents for short-chained chlorinated paraffins and tributyltin compounds can be finalized and then submitted to the Conference of the Parties, with a view to their adoption in 2017.
CA: Thank you very much for your time and welcome on board!
WM: Thank you, Charlie, for this opportunity!
The amendment to list methamidophos enters into force on 15 September 2015. Parties are invited to provide import responses by 15 June 2016.
Call for information and follow-up to the seventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention: request letter now available.
Outcomes of the 4th International Conference on Chemicals Management, featuring governments, civil society, and private sector, 28 September to 2 October in Geneva.
The objective of this webinar is to inform Parties to the Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions, observers and other stakeholders in order to enable their full participation in the work of POPRC and CRC.
COP-7 decided to make the pesticide subject to the Prior Informed Consent Procedure, allowing for improved information exchanged and shared responsibility on the chemical.
COP-7 unanimously listed the pesticide methamidophos, which has been heavily used - and is still used in some countries - as insecticide and acaricide on pome fruit, stone fruit, tomato, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, cotton, soybean, potato, cereals, sugar beet, tobacco and other crops. According to the International Development Research Centre, methamidophos is used in great quantities in ricefields.
Methamidophos is an extremely toxic organophosphate which causes serious adverse effects to human health.
Furthermore acute and long-term risks were identified for aquatic invertebrates and for beneficial arthropods. A risk to birds and mammals from consumption of dead insects and possibly other routes of exposure were also identified.
It is classified as a WHO Toxicity Class 1b.
The World Health Organization names four toxicity classes:
The system is based on LD50 determination in rats, thus an oral solid agent with an LD50 at 5mg or less/kg bodyweight is Class I-a, at 5-50 mg/kg Class I-b, at 50-500 mg/kg Class II, and at more than 500 mg/kg Class III. Values may differ for liquid oral agents and dermal agents.
The draft decision guidance document for methamidophos that formed the basis for the decision during the 7th meeting of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention can be downloaded here.
A new summary video film captures the 2015 Triple COPs experience and summarises key data and outcomes.
Representatives from Cote d’Ivoire, Jamaica, Kenya, Phillipines and Nigeria receive practitioner awards at COPs.
More than 130 articles from more than 40 countries: view the articles online.
Finishing at 03:45 in the morning of Saturday, 16 May 2015, the Meetings of the Conferences of Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions are over, with several key decisions taken.
Geneva, Switzerland - 16 May, 2015
Significant steps were agreed upon early this morning by parties to the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions, as the 2015 Triple COPs drew to a close.
Staged under the theme “From Science to Action: Working for a Safer Tomorrow” from 4 to 15 May 2015, almost 1,200 participants from 171 countries converged on Geneva to push forward the chemicals and waste agenda at this biennial event.
A number of technical guidelines for the management of waste under the Basel Convention, four new listings (three under the Stockholm and one under the Rotterdam Conventions - polychlorinated napthalenes, hexachlorobutadiene, and pentachlorophenol and its salts and esters; and methamidophos respectively), and continued and strengthened synergies and implementation arrangements were the highlights of the decisions adopted on the final day. Meanwhile several chemicals considered were not listed, but instead deferred or made subject to special inter-sessional working group focus.
Basel Convention technical guidelines, aimed at assisting Parties to better manage crucial waste streams and move towards environmentally sound management (ESM), were adopted covering mercury waste and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) waste (one general and 6 specific waste-streams). Of high significance is the adoption on an interim basis of the technical guidelines concerning the transboundary movement of e-waste and used electronic and electrical products.
The BC technical guidelines on electronic, or e-waste provide much-needed guidance on how to identify e-waste and used equipment moving between countries, with the aim of controlling illegal traffic. Adoption came just days after UNEP released new data suggesting that as much as 90% of e-waste is dumped illegally, costing countries as much as US 18.8 $ billion annually and posing severe hazards to human health and the environment, particularly in Africa. Designed to provide a level playing field for all parties to the Convention, the guidelines will support and also encourage genuine recovery, repair, recycling and re-use of non-hazardous electronic components and equipment.
Regarding those pesticides where consensus could not be reached for listing, including paraquat and fenthion formulations, and trichlorfon, Clayton Campanhola, FAO Executive Secretary of the Rotterdam Convention, commented that “hazardous pesticides are not helping countries to produce more food with less, on the contrary: if badly managed, they cause negative impacts on natural resources and the health of rural communities and consumers.” In this respect, Parties requested additional technical assistance and support to identify alternatives to the use of hazardous pesticides which – if combined with integrated pest management (IPM) and agro-ecological approaches – form the basis for sustainable agricultural and rural development.
Whilst many Parties expressed their disappointment at the inability to reach consensus required for listing more of the chemicals proposed to be listed under the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, the BRS Executive Secretary Rolph Payet stressed the significance of the steps taken in noting that “our Conventions’ joint and mutually reinforcing objective is the protection of human health and the environment, and the Guidelines and additional listings decided upon by Parties during these two weeks continue to move us in this crucial direction. We have to place the sustainable management of chemicals and waste in the context of peoples’ lives, especially the more than 1 billion people on our planet who continue to live in absolute poverty and who strive to better themselves in whatever ways they can. We will never waver in our moral and political responsibilities towards the most vulnerable people in this world, and I believe strongly that the three conventions continue to offer the best framework for moving jointly towards a greener, more inclusive economy, and a safer tomorrow for all”.
Notes for editors:
The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal is the most comprehensive international environmental agreement on hazardous and other wastes and has 183 parties.
The Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade promotes shared responsibility and cooperative efforts among its 154 Parties.
The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from chemicals that remain intact in the environment for long periods, become widely distributed geographically, accumulate in the fatty tissue of humans and wildlife, and have harmful impacts on human health or on the environment. It has 179 Parties.
Polychlorinated napthalenes, Hexachlorobutadiene, and Pentachlorophenol and its salts and esters, are persistent organic pollutants (POPs) posing serious threats to human health and the environment.
Methamidophos is an extremely toxic organophosphate insecticide, causing serious adverse effects to human health, particularly to neural, immunity and reproductive systems.
E-waste data from the UNEP report “Waste Crime – Waste Risks: Gaps in Meeting the Global Waste Challenge” UNEP and GRID-Arendhal/Nairobi (2015), 67pp, ISBN: 978-82-7701-148-6
For more information, please refer to:
Kei Ohno Woodall, Programme Officer,
email@example.com tel: +41-79-2333218
Charlie Avis, Public Information Officer
Charles.firstname.lastname@example.org tel: +41-79-7304495
Christine Fuell, Senior Technical Officer, Rotterdam Secretariat, Rome:
Christine.email@example.com tel: +39-06-57053765
George Kourous, Information Officer, FAO Rome:
George.firstname.lastname@example.org tel: +39-06-57053168
The second week of the Triple COPs is underway as parties respond to calls, including from UNEP Chief Achim Steiner, for action on urgent waste and chemicals issues
Dozens of events, hundreds of partners, and thousands of conversations: the Science Fair was closed by donor partner Finland on saturday having underlined the scientific basis for the three conventions
Stakeholders and partners highlight the range of relevant issues throughout the two-week COPs, as debates and ideas flourish for sustainable management of chemicals and waste