Technical Assistance for the biennium 2009 - 2011

The Rotterdam Convention’s programme of work during the period 2009-2011 was adopted at the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties, as contained in decision RC-4/9. The approved programme of work (PoW) is contained section II of table 1 of decision RC-4/12   on the financing and budget for the triennium 2009-2011.

The programme of work addresses specific activities and needs identified by Parties and relevant to meeting the basic obligations of the Convention. It builds on previously-undertaken technical assistance activities, in particular on the development of national plans for the implementation of the Convention.

The overall goal of the programme of work for 2009-2011 was the development of activities tailored to the specific needs of individual countries or small groups of countries.

However, it also contained a number of new programmes and activities intended to further strengthen the sound management of chemicals. Some of the new areas of strategic direction included:

  • the implementation of the overarching UN principle of “Delivering as One”, which also tallies with the various calls to achieve synergies with relevant multilateral environmental agreements activities

  • development of a targeted programme to address the sound management of industrial chemicals

  • development of programmes of work for technical assistance on legal matters and public awareness

  • emphasis on regional participation and delivery through the increased use of existing regional capacities and networks, such as the FAO and UNEP regional offices and the regional centers of the Basel and Stockholm Conventions

Activities unique to the Rotterdam Convention continued to be reinforced. Cross-cutting key activities such as training of Customs officials, training in pesticides management, resource mobilization and industrial chemicals management will be delivered in cooperation with a range of partners.

Programme of Work and Priority Areas of the Technical Assistance for the Biennium 2009 - 2011

The programme of work for the delivery of technical assistance in 2009-2011 contains a series of activities organized in key categories. Amongst these categories and activities, the Conference Of Parties also agreed on priorities identified by countries for the delivery of technical assistance. These priorities are highlighted in the programme of work programme of work.

Key categories and priority areas for the delivery of technical assistance programme (2009-2011)

National and subregional meetings

   1. Subregional training and awareness-raising meetings (priority area)

   2. National and subregional planning meetings

   3. Thematic meetings   

a)  National and subregional meetings on specific issues

i) Trade-related issues (priority area)
ii) Develop monitoring programme on severely hazardous pesticide  formulation (SHPF) (priority area)
iii) Resource mobilization (priority area)
iv) Preparation of notifications of final regulatory action (FRA) (priority area)
v) Programme for Parties who wish to review their chemicals listings under the Convention
b) Joint delivery with the Secretariat of the Stockholm Convention

i) Public awareness meetings
ii) Customs training activities (priority area)
iii) Clearing-house mechanism (priority area)
iv) Joint legal support

    4. Fostering cooperation

a) Fostering cooperation among designated national authorities

b) Regional and subregional meetings of DNAs and focal points of the Stockholm Convention

c) Cooperation with SAICM, the Stockholm Convention, the Basel Convention and the Rotterdam Convention contact points

Working directly with individual countries on specific issues (priority area)
This link provides information on the programmes to assist Parties on specific issues 
Working on industrial chemicals (priority area)
This link provides information on the programme on industrial chemicals

Partners in the regional delivery of technical assistance
This link provides information on key partners that may work with the Secretariat in the regional delivery of technical assistance in 2009–2011.

1. Subregional training and awareness-raising meetings
(priority area)

Training and awareness-raising meetings are proposed for Parties that experience difficulties in meeting their basic obligations under the Convention, in order that they might fully benefit from the Convention and its activities.
The meetings provide practical training on the Convention’s key operational elements and highlight opportunities for an integrated approach to implementation, along with relevant international activities such as the Stockholm and Basel conventions and SAICM.

They include among others training in the use of notifications of final regulatory action, the use of decision guidance documents and import responses, a review and completion of the incident report form for severely hazardous pesticide formulations and they provide an opportunity for countries to share experiences.
A total of 4 sub regional meetings with 5 countries each will be considered looking at a number of 25 participants for each workshop.

2. National and subregional planning meetings:

A curriculum has been developed for meetings at the national and subregional levels to assist Parties in developing national action plans or strategies for the implementation of the Convention.
These plans and strategies define what needs to be done, by whom and when. They also serve to identify priorities for action and are a basis on which countries can develop requests for specific technical assistance activities.

National focal points for the Basel and Stockholm conventions and SAICM will participate in the meetings in order to promote an integrated approach to chemicals management at the national level. A total of 6 national meetings, 6 sub-regional meetings and 24 national follow-up meetings are planned.

i) Trade-related issues:
(priority area)

These are national training sessions focused on exporting countries and their export obligations. Up to 2 national trade meetings will be convened. Further 2 trade partner meetings involving 4 key trade partners of the exporting country.
ii) Severely hazardous pesticide formulation (SHPF):
(priority area)

Activities focus on the development of monitoring programmes on severely hazardous pesticide formulation (SHPF) and builds on the collaboration with the Pesticide Action Network in 2007-2008.  In total 4 monitoring progress meetings on SHPF and 4 programmes on SHPFs will be arranged.
iii) Resource mobilization:
(priority area)

A series of subregional meetings will be convened to assist countries to facilitate improved access to financial and other resources for cross-cutting issues relating to foundational chemicals management. These meetings will be held in cooperation with the Stockholm Convention. Up to 4 subregional meetings on project proposal development are foreseen in cooperation with Basel and Stockholm Conventions.
iv) Preparation of notifications of final regulatory action (FRA):
(priority area)

These activities are intended to build the capacity of developing country Parties to prepare and submit complete notifications of final regulatory action that pass the scrutiny of the Chemical Review Committee. A total of 3 subregional meetings to support the preparation of notifications, each including 3 countries and 15 participants, will be convened.
v) Review chemicals listings under the Convention:

This programme has been developed for Parties who wish to review their chemicals listings under the Convention and to maximize their benefits at the national level. A total of 3 meetings will be convened, each including 10 countries and 20 participants.
i) Public awareness meetings:

The activities address the specific issue of public awareness; meetings will focus on health and environment issues relevant to the chemicals covered by the two conventions, stressing the life-cycle approach and involving a broader audience, i.e., the public and private sectors. Up to 4 meetings, each including 5 countries are foreseen.
ii) Customs training activities:
(priority area)

In addition to the continuing work that the secretariats undertake within the overall context of the Green Customs initiative, the Secretariat envisages working with the Stockholm Convention and WCO in providing support to Parties on facilitating the implementation of Harmonized System codes. In addition, cooperative or collaborative activities with Customs officials through the Green Customs initiative, the secretariats of other multilateral environmental agreements and other relevant organizations will continue through 2009–2011. Up to 4 meetings each including 5 countries are foreseen.
iii) Clearing-house mechanism:
(priority area)

A clearing-house mechanism for the Convention –that considers actual and future possibilities for linking to both the Stockholm and Basel Convention’s systems of information exchange and Clearing House Mechanisms - will be established to provide specific support to Parties on increasing access to the PIC database and other relevant information resources available to Parties. Particular stress will be laid on ways to reduce some Parties’ technical and logistical constraints in gaining access to the online information. Four meetings are foreseen each including 5 countries.
iv) Joint legal support:

Joint activities with the Stockholm Convention will focus on providing legal support and information to Parties to facilitate national implementation of both Conventions. Up to four meetings in this area are envisaged, each including 5 countries.
a) Fostering cooperation among designated national authorities (DNAs):

Meetings between designated national authorities in a subregion provide an opportunity for them to review progress in the implementation of the Convention, identify common problems and share experience in finding solutions. Up to 8 subregional meetings for DNAs are foreseen each including 10 countries and 25 participants.
b) Regional and subregional meetings of designated national authorities (DNAs) and focal points of the Stockholm Convention:

To promote integrated implementation of the Stockholm and Rotterdam conventions at the national level, a series of regional and subregional meetings between DNAs and Stockholm Convention focal points are envisaged. In total 4 subregional meetings are foreseen, each including 10 countries and 25 participants.
c) Cooperation with SAICM, the Stockholm, the Basel and the Rotterdam Conventions:

To further enhance coherence and promote synergies within the chemicals and waste cluster and among the chemicals Conventions, meetings will be convened back-to-back with meetings of SAICM and the Basel and Stockholm conventions in the regions. Whenever possible, the Secretariat will seek opportunities to participate in the 10 planned regional meetings for the triennium 2009–2011.

Working directly with individual countries on specific issues:
(priority area)

The way in which the specific needs of individual Parties will be addressed depends on the issue of concern and the Parties involved.

In some instances, a national or subregional meeting may not be an effective way of responding to the identified need.
In such cases, a more efficient means of assistance could include having a regional expert or international consultant work directly with the designated national authority in a country; alternatively, it may be possible to address the issue through integration with activities under way in the country or at the regional level through bilateral aid projects, work on related multilateral environmental agreements, such as the Stockholm or Basel conventions, SAICM or the work of other regional or subregional organizations.

Working on industrial chemicals:
(priority area)

A new area of work includes the development of a comprehensive programme on the sound management of industrial chemicals to address the lack of, or weak, infrastructure for the regulation or management of this group of chemicals, encountered in most developing countries and countries with economies in transition.  This work will focus on the legal, regulatory and administrative infrastructural framework required to support national multisectoral industrial chemicals management programmes.
In addition, the programme will address the need to mobilize a number of stakeholders and resources at the international, regional and national levels.

This work complements the agricultural chemicals management programmes in effect in most Parties and would address the initial steps that would need to be taken by Parties to manage this group of chemicals soundly.
The use of tools available within the Rotterdam Convention, the involvement of relevant sectors and the associated legal requirements, the need for awareness-raising and access to information on the Rotterdam Convention are some of the initial steps to be taken by Parties in conjunction with the Rotterdam Convention and other partners.

This programme area aims to achieve programmatic synergies with other relevant chemicals management agreements, particularly the Stockholm Convention Secretariat, and will be implemented in close collaboration with the Basel Convention and the Chemicals Branch of the UNEP Division of Industry, Trade and Economics. Technical assistance activities in the form of up to six meetings on industrial chemicals will also be organized.

Partners in the regional delivery of technical assistance:

1.      FAO and UNEP regional offices 

Annual meetings with representatives of FAO and UNEP regional and subregional offices will be considered in 2009-2011. Such meetings provide an opportunity to obtain feedback on experience with the delivery of technical assistance activities in the regions and will provide valuable input to planning activities during the biennium and in developing further ideas for meeting the technical assistance needs of countries in preparation for the next meeting of the Conference of the Parties.

2.      Stockholm and Basel Regional Centres 

Integration with activities under the Basel and Stockholm conventions will be explored further with a view to strengthening the links between national implementation plans and associated action plans under the Stockholm Convention and the obligations of countries under the Rotterdam Convention. Efforts will be made, whenever relevant and feasible, to cooperate and use Stockholm and Basel regional centres.

Regional experts

An informal group of regional experts was created in 2005 to work with the secretariat in the delivery of the national and subregional meetings on the implementation of the Convention. This group is seen as a means of promoting cooperation among Parties within and between subregions. Annual meetings of this group are proposed in order to follow up on the experience gained, to provide an opportunity to include new experts in the group and to expand the range of expertise available within the group.

Asia Pacific Plant Protection Commission (APPPC) 

The APPPC meets every two years with the next session scheduled for September 2009. In follow-up to the work initiated in 2005, participation in the meeting of regional experts or a limited number of designated national authorities from representative member countries would be sponsored to promote the inclusion of the Rotterdam Convention in the work programme of the Commission.

Other partners

The nature of the technical assistance activity will, in many instances, determine the choice of partners by the Secretariat. There will be opportunities to work with the relevant UNEP programmes such as SAICM, the UNEP Division of Global Environment Facility Coordination and the Chemicals Branch of the UNEP Division of Industry, Trade and Economics, in addition to the FAO programme on pesticides, joint activities such as the European Union-funded activities of multilateral environmental agreements in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific countries through the regional hubs, the Caribbean Community secretariat, the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, the African Union and the Africa Stockpiles Programme.