Article 16 of the Rotterdam Convention states that:
"The Parties shall, taking into account the particular needs of developing countries and countries with economies in transition, cooperate in promoting technical assistance for the development of the infrastructure and the capacity necessary to manage chemicals to enable implementation of this Convention. Parties with more advanced programmes should provide technical assistance, including training, to other Parties in developing their infrastructure and capacity to manage chemicals throughout their life-cycle."
At all sessions of the Conference of Parties to the Rotterdam Convention, the need to provide assistance to developing countries and countries with economies in transition was concluded as a priority for attention by the secretariat. To date, much of the assistance has been provided through meetings facilitated by the secretariat and by a number of bilateral technical assistance projects. In meetings convened over the last 6 years, Parties identified a broad range of needs or activities necessary for them to benefit fully from the Convention. Some of the specific issues identified include:
Activities - Technical assistance:
The Technical assistance programme of the Rotterdam Convention is composed of a range of activities that are tailored to the specific needs of individual countries or small groups of countries, with a focus on those needs that are deemed necessary for Parties to fully implement the Convention.
Detailed information on schedule of events and type of activities are available at the Meetings Calendar.
Expressions of Interest
Technical Assistance under the Rotterdam Convention is demand driven and based on explicit interest. Parties who are interested in receiving support in implementing the Rotterdam Convention through the delivery of technical assistance activities can contact the Secretariat at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Development of a resource kit to promote ratification and implementation
The resource kit is a comprehensive source of information on the Convention intended to assist countries in the ratification and implementation process. It has been designed to be flexible and simple to use and to meet the needs of a broad range of end-users. The following activities will be carried out:
The toolkit will be regularly updated and reorganized to reflect experience in its use;
New documents will be developed and existing materials updated and reproduced;
As many documents as possible will be translated to make them available in the six official languages of the United Nations;
An electronic version of the resource kit will be prepared to facilitate access to the information and reduce the costs of reproduction;
Section E of the resource kit, on cross-cutting issues, will continue to be refined and expanded to reflect new information as it becomes available.
Awareness-raising and training
It is proposed that training and awareness-raising meetings be organized for new Parties that have recently ratified the Convention and for Parties that are experiencing difficulties in meeting their obligations under the Convention. The meetings will provide practical training on the Convention’s key operational elements and will highlight opportunities for an integrated approach to the implementation of the Basel and Stockholm conventions. At these meetings, small break-out groups will:
Review case studies and discuss the preparation and submission of notifications of final regulatory action;
Review decision guidance documents and study how to prepare and submit import responses;
Review and complete the environmental incident reporting form for severely hazardous pesticide formulations;
Undertake an exercise on export notification.
Participants will also be introduced to the Convention website and all the information available and how to use it to strengthen national decision-making processes on chemicals. The meetings will afford opportunities for countries to share experiences and improve cooperation between them. Key stakeholders from non-Parties to the Rotterdam Convention but Parties to Basel and Stockholm conventions will be invited to participate in these workshops to promote ratification.
It is proposed that two subregional meetings be convened each year involving up to 24 participants from a maximum of six countries. These meetings should be attended by, in particular, developing-country Parties that have changed their designated national authorities, have submitted few import responses and are experiencing difficulties in submitting notifications of final regulatory actions. There are now approximately 20 such countries.
Development of elements of national action plans and other strategies for the implementation of the Convention
National and sub-regional consultations to identify the elements of national action plans or strategies for the implementation of the Convention will continue as the first step in defining country needs. Currently, there are more than 34 developing-country Parties that have not yet developed elements of national action plans. These Parties will be offered the opportunity to participate in such meetings in 2012–2013. National focal points for the Basel and Stockholm conventions and the Strategic Approach will continue to be invited to participate in these meetings, since their participation is seen as a key step in promoting an integrated approach to the implementation of these conventions and related chemicals management activities at the national level.
It is proposed that four national and four subregional meetings (four countries per meeting) be convened each year.
In cooperation with the UNEP and FAO regional offices, national follow-up seminars will be convened for those Parties that participated in the subregional planning meetings. The national seminars provide an opportunity to seek broader support and further review of the national plans developed during the subregional meetings. Up to twenty-four national follow-up seminars are proposed.
Enhancing information exchange between trade partners
These activities consist of workshops focused on the trade aspects of the Convention. Each workshop will be convened for an exporting Party and up to six selected trade partners that are Parties to the Convention. These workshops serve to promote shared responsibility in the implementation and enforcement of the trade-related provisions of the Convention by facilitating a dialogue between exporting Parties and selected trade partners. These meetings will focus on developing-country Parties that produce and export chemicals. Four trade partner meetings will be convened in 2012–2013. The precise locations and countries to be involved will need to be determined by inviting countries to express interest in participating in these meetings.
Support for submissions of proposals for severely hazardous pesticide formulations
Severely hazardous pesticide formulations continue to pose problems under the conditions of use in many countries. The overall objective of the activities in 2012–2013 is to establish appropriate links between designated national authorities and community health monitoring activities and to develop a process for the preparation and submission of proposals for severely hazardous pesticide formulations under Article 6 of the Convention. The work will build on the results of the 2007 collaboration with the Pesticide Action Network and the World Health Organization and other pilot projects carried out between 2008 and 2010. After the development of a methodology and a tool kit these will be applied in an additional six pilot countries. A similar programme of community health monitoring involving input from the relevant designated national authorities will be initiated in other countries in the region. The programme will increase developing countries’ capacity to determine the extent of pesticide poisoning. The experiences acquired and feedback received will be taken into account when expanding the activity to provide for six pilot programmes in countries in African, Asia, the Near East and Latin America in 2012–2013.
It is also proposed to follow up with selected countries in which pilot projects were carried out between 2007 and 2011.
With a view to ensuring the sustainability and expansion of the programme, cooperation with other partners such as the World Health Organization, FAO, donors, regional organizations and non-governmental organizations with field programmes on monitoring and reporting pesticide incidents will be strengthened. An international expert consultation will bring together experts and representatives of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to explore ways of formally cooperating and further developing a field programme.
Strengthening capacity for industrial chemicals management
During the triennium 2009-2011, the Secretariat developed a strategic approach to providing technical assistance on the sound management of industrial chemicals to developing countries and countries with economies in transition. The strategy deals with the lack or weakness of infrastructure for the regulation or management of this group of chemicals. The programme will involve countries examining their national status in respect of industrial chemicals management through coordinated discussions and deliberations involving all relevant stakeholders. Elements of a toolkit developed by an international consultant expert in industrial chemicals management will be used to guide the process and the consultant will also assist the pilot countries. This analysis will involve countries building on information received to establish their status within a tiered structure to ensure that fundamental structures are examined and in place and capacity is increased in a logical step-by-step manner.
The proposed approach emphasizes the strengthening of Parties’ capacity to perform the two basic functions that are required to meet their obligations under the Convention (i.e., risk evaluation and risk management). It would be implemented as part of a comprehensive programme tackling all aspects of managing the life cycle of industrial chemicals and would be sufficiently broad to provide synergistic benefits for Parties in their activities to implement other international chemical-related agreements and programmes (e.g., the Basel and Stockholm conventions, regional agreements and the Strategic Approach).
This programme would complement the agricultural chemicals management programmes in effect for most Parties and aim to achieve programmatic synergies with other relevant international organizations, including the Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals, that undertake activities to support countries in managing chemicals.
Technical assistance activities will include four pilot projects on industrial chemicals in four regions and the introduction of a global forum on industrial chemicals management to be held in connection with the meetings of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention. This global forum would include the participation of all Parties and representatives of relevant international organizations, non-governmental organizations and industry and other interest groups. The forum would raise awareness of current initiatives being undertaken by various international organizations and improve collaboration between international partners and Parties with a view to enhancing support for the sound management of industrial chemicals within the framework of the submission of import responses and the preparation of notifications of final regulatory action.
Facilitating the preparation of notifications of final regulatory action
Subject to the guidance of the Conference of the Parties at its fifth meeting, the Secretariat will develop an activity to support developing countries in preparing notifications of final regulatory action. Specific activities will be arranged for Parties that enjoy sufficient capacity to take regulatory actions but require guidance and support to establish processes for submitting notifications that they have done so. The use of existing risk and hazard evaluations will be emphasized as tools to support the preparation and submission of complete notifications of final regulatory action that are likely to pass the scrutiny of the Chemical Review Committee.
There are, however, many Parties from developing countries and, especially, from least developed countries that lack the capacity to undertake detailed risk assessments. Activities will be tailored to guide these countries through the steps necessary to take a final regulatory action within the capacities available, even though such actions may not pass the scrutiny of the Chemical Review Committee. Concurrently, plans will be made for these countries to increase their capacity to the point where their final regulatory actions meet the criteria of Annex II to the Convention.
Building the capacity of Parties to gain access and use of the Rotterdam Convention components of the joint clearing-house mechanism
The implementation of capacity-building to gain access and use of the Rotterdam Convention components of the joint clearing-house mechanism will, in the main, be performed by the secretariats of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions as part of joint capacity-building activities. These activities will include the conduct of training workshops and technical capacity-building activities for Parties to all three conventions. During these meetings, feedback will be sought to inform the future development of the joint clearing-house mechanism.
In addition, and where relevant, specific training on the Rotterdam Convention components and other relevant components of the joint clearing-house mechanism will be incorporated into the training activities described above.