In the spotlight

In 2011 endosulfan was listed by both the Rotterdam and the Stockholm conventions. The Rotterdam Convention Secretariat supported a project on growing coffee without endosulfan, initiated early 2013 and led by Pesticide Action Network (PAN UK) and other partners, which collected information on alternatives and best practices to control the coffee berry borer, one of the most harmful pests to coffee crops. Farmers in Colombia, Nicaragua and El Salvador, who have successfully moved away from endosulfan, were interviewed and alternative methodologies were validated. This resulted in a series of videos, which can be used for training and awareness raising.

Growing Coffee without Endosulfan

 

Announcements

Call for Applications by 15 August 2014.

Development of visual identity of modules for training and capacity building - Consultancy Announcement

Call for Applications by 15 August 2014.
The Technical Assistance Newsletter provides information on the past, current and upcoming technical assistance activities.

The July issue of the BRS Technical Assistance Newsletter is now available

The Technical Assistance Newsletter provides information on the past, current and upcoming technical assistance activities.

The deadline for submissions is extended until 30 June 2014.


Rotterdam Convention questionnaire on technical assistance needs assessment for 2014

The deadline for submissions is extended until 30 June 2014.

Calendar of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions

 
The Secretariat has decreased its carbon footprint by 50% from 2010 to 2012, and takes active steps towards becoming climate neutral.

Secretariat acts to promote Sustainability and Green Practices

Secretariat acts to promote Sustainability and Green Practices
The Secretariat has decreased its carbon footprint by 50% from 2010 to 2012, and takes active steps towards becoming climate neutral.

Introduction of the Visa Information System (VIS).

Swiss visas application procedure

Swiss visas application procedure

On 11 October 2011 the Schengen member states introduced the Visa Information System (VIS). The VIS is used to store the biometric data (10 fingerprints and the facial image) of the Schengen visa applicant. All Swiss embassies and consulates are gradually being connected to the VIS system.

A document in several languages explaining the implementation of the VIS system, registration of biometric data and the rollout timetable for Swiss embassies/consulates connected to the VIS system is available by clicking on the following web link: http://www.bfm.admin.ch/content/bfm/en/home/themen/einreise/einfuehrung_vis.html

The time needed to obtain a visa depends greatly on local circumstances. Please allow sufficient time for processing of the visa application as per the instructions in the following website: http://www.bfm.admin.ch/content/bfm/en/home/themen/einreise/merkblatt_einreise.html

If Switzerland does not have a consular office in your country you might be required to travel to a neighboring country to process your visa. It is therefore highly recommended to enquire directly with a Swiss embassy/consulate in the applicant’s country of residence or in a neighboring country or to check the appropriate website.

Switzerland has implemented necessary measures to facilitate the issuance of visas for official delegates invited to take part in conferences and international meetings with organizations having concluded a headquarters agreement as well as other persons invited in the framework of good offices.

We would like to remind you that it is the responsibility of each participant to obtain the required entry visa to Switzerland. Please note that at the moment of this writing a Schengen visa is required even for transiting through Schengen zone European Countries. More information on visa is available on the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs at the following link: http://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/en/home/reps.htm

In some exceptional circumstances Switzerland may issue visas with limited territorial validity (LTV). Please check the following website for details on this procedure and the conditions and limitations for a holder of LTV visas: http://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/en/home/topics/intorg/un/unge/gepri/manvis/manvi2.html

Letter sent by the Secretariat on 10 August 2013

Dispatch of Decision Guidance Documents and request for import responses

Dispatch of Decision Guidance Documents and request for submission of import responses on azinphos methyl; commercial pentabromodiphenyl ether; commercial octabromodiphenyl ether; and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, perfluorooctane sulfonates, perfluorooctane sulfonamides and perfluorooctane sulfonyls

Letter
Azinphos-methyl DGD
Pentabde DGD
Octabde DGD
PFOS DGD
Listing decisions
Import response form
Import response instructions

Staff members of the Secretariat have new standardized e-mail addresses.

Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions adopts standardized e-mail addresses

Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions adopts standardized e-mail addresses

As of 15 April 2013, each of our staff members have been assigned a new e-mail address in the standard format firstname.lastname@brsmeas.org. This new format applies to all members of the Secretariat, independently of whether staff are hosted by UNEP or FAO.

In addition to this standardized address, the UNEP staff will continue using e-mail addresses in the format firstname.lastname@unep.org and the FAO staff will continue using e-mail address in the FAO format firstname.lastname@fao.org.

The e-mail addresses in the pic.int and pops.int formats will continue to be functional for six months, to facilitate the transition to the new addresses. Rest assured that messages sent to our former addresses will still be delivered.

Rotterdam Convention Bureau discussed preparation for the seventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties

Rotterdam Convention Bureau discussed preparation for the seventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties

The report of the meeting, which took place on 4-5 June 2014 in Rome, Italy, is now available.

Rotterdam Convention Bureau discussed preparation for the seventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties

Rotterdam Convention Bureau discussed preparation for the seventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties
 
First e-learning tool launched to prevent illegal trade in hazardous chemicals and waste

First e-learning tool launched to prevent illegal trade in hazardous chemicals and waste

INTERPOL and the BRS Secretariat launch e-learning module to help law enforcement officers identify and prevent illegal trade in hazardous chemicals and wastes.

First e-learning tool launched to prevent illegal trade in hazardous chemicals and waste

First e-learning tool launched to prevent illegal trade in hazardous chemicals and waste
 
3 new interactive tools published

3 new interactive tools published

Interactive tools make reading of long documents online a breeze.

3 new interactive tools published

3 new interactive tools published

Interactive tools make reading of long documents online a breeze

Three interactive tools have been published to support Designated National Authorities (DNAs) and all key stakeholders in the implementation of the Rotterdam Convention. The information – available as desktop version and tablet version – has been developed in Html5, designed to facilitate the reading of long documents on a screen.

The interactive Guidance to Designated National Authorities on the Operation of the Convention  is an essential tool for DNAs describing in detail all key elements and obligations of the Convention.

Interactive Forms and Instructions will assist Parties to identify the necessary information to complete the forms and be compliant with the obligations pursuant to the Convention.

The Text of the Convention with its 30 articles and 6 annexes. This interactive version of the Text of the Convention facilitates the navigation through the different articles and annexes.

The three interactive tools were produced through the financial support of the European Union in the framework of the Rotterdam Convention technical assistance programme 2014-2015.
3rd Orientation workshop for members of the Chemical Review Committee attracts new members

3rd Orientation workshop for members of the Chemical Review Committee attracts new members

Orientation workshop attended by 24 CRC members took place from 19 to 21 May 2014 in Rome, Italy.

3rd Orientation workshop for members of the Chemical Review Committee attracts new members

3rd Orientation workshop for members of the Chemical Review Committee attracts new members

The new term for 17 members of the Chemical Review Committee (CRC) under the Rotterdam Convention started on 1 May 2014. To familiarize new members with the mandate and tasks of the Committee, an orientation workshop took place from 19 to 21 May in Rome, Italy. The workshop was attended by 24 of the 31 CRC members.

The participants reviewed working procedures and policy guidance developed to facilitate the work of the Committee, and examined in detail the work of the intersessional task groups for the preliminary review of candidate chemicals as well as that of the drafting groups established to prepare decision guidance documents. The meeting provided an opportunity to foster working relationships among the members and for the existing members to share their experience with the new members.

Participants expressed their appreciation and were optimistic that the orientation would contribute to the effective operation of the Committee.

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Rotterdam Convention News

Syndicate
The Rotterdam Convention joins in celebrating the International Year of SIDS 2014

Celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Rotterdam Convention’s Entry into Force and the International Year of Small Island Developing States 2014.

The Rotterdam Convention joins in celebrating the International Year of SIDS 2014

The Rotterdam Convention joins in celebrating the International Year of SIDS 2014
The Rotterdam Convention joins in celebrating the International Year of International Year of Small Island Developing States 2014.
Resource mobilization for the 2014-15 biennium takes off with concept notes for voluntary financial contributions

A list of concept notes for voluntary financial contributions for the biennium 2014/15 is now available.

 

Resource mobilization for the 2014-15 biennium takes off with concept notes for voluntary financial contributions

Resource mobilization for the 2014-15 biennium takes off with concept notes for voluntary financial contributions

A list of concept notes for voluntary financial contributions for the biennium 2014/15 is now available.

 

Protecting Human Health and the Environment - The Rotterdam Convention: 10 Years of Entry into Force

Featured Guest Article by Clayton Campanhola and Christine Fuell (FAO).

Protecting Human Health and the Environment - The Rotterdam Convention: 10 Years of Entry into Force

Protecting Human Health and the Environment - The Rotterdam Convention: 10 Years of Entry into Force

Clayton Campanhola, Executive Secretary Rotterdam Convention and Director of FAO's Plant Production and Protection Division, and Christine Fuell, Senior Technical Officer & Coordinator of FAO part of the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat on Tuesday, January 7th, 2014.

The adoption of The Future We Want at Rio+20 and its endorsement by the UN General Assembly has reaffirmed the target, set in 2002 at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, to by 2020 ensure that "chemicals are produced and used in ways that minimize significant adverse impacts on human health and the environment".

As early as 1989, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN (FAO) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) introduced a voluntary Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure from two earlier instruments, namely the International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides, which FAO launched in 1985 (and revised in 2013), and the London Guidelines for the Exchange of Information on Chemicals in International Trade, established by UNEP in 1987 to ensure that governments had the necessary information to assess the risks of hazardous chemicals and to take informed decisions on their future import.

In 1998, an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee convened by FAO and UNEP concluded its negotiations for a legally binding instrument to apply the PIC procedure, and the text of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade was adopted and opened for signature at the Conference of Plenipotentiaries held in Rotterdam on 10 September the same year.

The Convention entered into force on 24 February 2004 after the 90th day of deposit of the 50th instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession. As of January 2014, the Convention is legally binding for 154 Parties.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between UNEP and FAO [ 1 ] was approved by the second Conference of the Parties in decision RC-2/5, and signed by the Director-General of FAO and the Executive Director of UNEP in December 2005. This MoU sets out the arrangements to perform jointly the Secretariat functions of the Rotterdam Convention. It states that “Each organization will assume the responsibilities as described in this MoU on the basis of their areas of competence, comparative strengths and experience, FAO having primary responsibility for pesticides and UNEP taking primary responsibility for other chemicals, in order to facilitate the mobilization by the Secretariat of the full range of scientific, technical and economic expertise required by the Convention” (General Principles, 1.3).

The joint FAO/UNEP Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention is an almost unique example of excellent co-operation between two UN agencies.

The Rotterdam Convention shares its ultimate objective of protecting human health and the environment from hazardous substances with the Basel and the Stockholm Conventions. In order to enhance cooperation and coordination among these three multilateral environmental agreements, in 2011, the Conferences of the Parties of the three Conventions decided in three nearly identical synergy decisions to establish a joint head function of the Basel Convention Secretariat, the Stockholm Convention Secretariat and the UNEP part of the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat.

Since 2012 Jim Willis has been Executive Secretary of the Basel, Stockholm and the UNEP part of the Rotterdam Convention, while FAO provides the Executive Secretary for the FAO part of the Rotterdam Convention.

Currently, around 70% of the Annex III listed chemicals, for which the PIC procedure is mandatory, are pesticides. In 2015, the parties to the Rotterdam Convention will consider listing two more pesticides and one severely hazardous pesticide formulation to ensure informed actions can be taken to protect human health and the environment against their harmful effects.

Nine out of the 12 initially recognized persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and six out of ten new POPs of the Stockholm Convention are pesticides, making pesticides also approximately 70% of all listed POPs.

The Basel Convention addresses pesticides in terms of hazardous waste and offers technical guidelines on the environmentally sound management of waste consisting of, containing or contaminated with POP pesticides.

The FAO part of the Rotterdam Secretariat continuously explores opportunities to enhance effectiveness and increase efficiency, in particular in the scientific and technical assistance area, through closer cooperation with the UNEP part and the Secretariat of the Basel and Stockholm Conventions. A first overview of opportunities [ 2 ] for further synergies among the Conventions' Secretariats and the FAO's Pesticide Programme was submitted in 2013 to the Conferences of the Parties. In 2014 the Conventions' Secretariats will continue putting these synergies in place.

Examples of synergies activities include ongoing technical assistance and capacity-building activities at the national and regional levels to identify alternatives, in particular for newly listed POPs pesticides and Annex III pesticides. Work is also underway to better include on a national level social dimensions into pesticide risk reduction strategies that could be applicable for all three Conventions. The FAO part of the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat also aims to improve communication and promotion of national synergies among key stakeholders in the implementation of the three conventions via the FAO regional offices.

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[ 1 ] Memorandum of Understanding between the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) concerning the arrangements to perform jointly the Secretariat functions for the Rotterdam Convention оn the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade.

[ 2 ] UNEP/FAO/CHW/RC/POPS/EXCOPS.2/INF/9

UN chemical experts recommend adding three pesticides to the PIC global watch list

Rotterdam Convention’s Chemical Review Committee held its 9th meeting in Rome from 22 to 24 October 2013, back to back with the joint meeting of the conventions’ scientific review committees.

UN chemical experts recommend adding three pesticides to the PIC global watch list

UN chemical experts recommend adding three pesticides to the PIC global watch list

Geneva and Rome, 25 October 2013 –The Chemical Review Committee, the scientific subsidiary body of the Rotterdam Convention, recommended this week that methamidophos (pesticide) and fenthion 640 ULV* (a severely hazardous pesticide formulation) be subject to the Convention’s Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure. The Committee also adopted the draft Decision Guidance Document (DGD) for trichlorfon, a pesticide recommended for inclusion in the Committee’s eighth meeting held in March 2012.

The result of the ninth meeting of the Chemical Review Committee meeting is that three new Decision Guidance Documents will be forwarded to the Conference of the Parties in May 2015 for its consideration for inclusion in Annex III to the Convention and be subject to the PIC procedure.

The Prior Informed Consent procedure of the Convention is a key tool for developing countries to take informed and responsible decisions on the import and on the use of chemicals that represent a danger for the environment and for the human health. It enables member governments to alert each other to potential dangers by exchanging information on banned or severely restricted chemicals and to take informed decisions on them.  This provision prevents unwanted trade in the chemicals listed in Annex III of the Convention and constitutes an early warning system.

The Committee reviewed notifications of final regulatory actions taken by parties for five chemicals: cyhexatin, lead arsenate, lead carbonate, methamidophos, pentachlorobenzene, and one severely hazardous pesticide formulation, fenthion 640 ULV.

On four other chemicals – cyhexatin, lead arsenate, lead carbonate and pentachlorobenzene – the Committee agreed that criteria were not met and no further decisions will be taken for these chemicals at the moment.

“This is the second time since the Convention entered into force in 2004 that the Committee has recommended adding a severely hazardous pesticide formulation to the Prior Informed Consent list, using the ‘fast track’ mechanism that ensures developing countries’ rights to know and trade chemicals safely are respected,” said Clayton Campanhola, Executive Secretary of the Rotterdam Convention for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

“Putting these pesticides under the Rotterdam Convention’s PIC procedure would continue to strengthen the hands of governments and support informed decision-making about the import and use of chemicals known to harm human health and the environment,” said Kerstin Stendahl, Deputy Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

The Committee’s recommendations will be sent to the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention for consideration at the seventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties, scheduled to be held from 4 to 15 May 2015 in Geneva.

The tenth meeting of the Chemical Review Committee will be held in Rome, Italy, from 20 to 24 October 2014 followed immediately by the POPs Review Committee of the Stockholm Convention, scheduled for 27 to 31 October 2014.

Note for Editors:

The objective of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade is 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. The Convention contributes to the environmentally sound use of such 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.

Together, the Rotterdam, Basel and Stockholm conventions, the three leading global treaties governing hazardous chemicals, pesticide formulations and wastes, can help countries to manage hazardous chemicals throughout their life-cycle:

  • Rotterdam Convention provides early warning on dangerous chemicals and prevents the unwanted international trade on certain chemicals.
  • Stockholm Convention controls and eliminates production and use of  persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
  • Basel Convention limits “toxic trade” in hazardous wastes and ensures proper disposal of wastes.

The Chemical Review Committee is the scientific subsidiary body of the Rotterdam Convention.  The Committee consists of thirty-one scientific experts appointed by the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention charged with undertaking scientific review of chemicals proposed for listing.

Trichlorfon is an insecticide used on a number of crops, including fruits and vegetables. The recommendation by the Chemical Review Committee to list trichlorfon in Annex III to the Rotterdam Convention was based on final regulatory actions submitted by Brazil and the European Union.

Fenthion 640 ULV, among wide range use, it is also used for birds control against grain-eating birds. The proposal has been submitted by Chad, which experienced problems for human health caused by the formulation under conditions of use in its territory. The Committee decided at its ninth meeting to recommend listing it in Annex III to the Rotterdam Convention as a Severely Hazardous Pesticide Formulation (SHPF), based on the proposal of Chad.

Methamidiphos is an insecticide used on many crops, it is already present in Annex III to the Convention and subject to the PIC procedure as severely hazardous pesticide formulation (soluble liquid formulations of substance that exceed 600 g active ingredient/L) and it is classified as highly hazardous (I b oral toxicity) by the World Health Organization. The Committee decided at its ninth meeting to recommend listing it in Annex III to the Rotterdam Convention as a pesticide, based on final regulatory actions submitted by Brazil and the European Union.

Contact:

Elisabetta TAGLIATI, Programme Officer, Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention (FAO), Rome, Tel. +39-06-5705-6420, elisabetta.tagliati@fao.org

Michael S. JONES, Public Information Officer, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (UNEP), Geneva,  mobile/text message: +41-79-730-4495, michael.jones@brsmeas.org 

For more information, see  www.pic.int

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*fenthion (ultra low volume formulations (ULV) at or above 640 g active ingredient/L)