Overview

The Conference of the Parties (COP) was established pursuant to Article 18 of the Convention. It is the governing body of the Rotterdam Convention and is composed of governments of countries that have accepted, ratified or acceded to it. The implementation of the Convention is advanced through the decisions it takes at its meetings.

The Conference of the Parties reviews and evaluates the implementation of the Convention. It reviews chemicals brought forward for its consideration by the Chemical Review Committee. It also reviews and adopts the programme of work and budget of the Convention for each biennium.

At its first meeting, the Conference of the Parties established a subsidiary body, the Chemical Review Committee.

Meetings of the Conferences of the Parties are usually held every two years and are governed by the rules of procedure and financial rules.

Mandate

Article 18 of the Convention relates to the establishment of the Conference of the Parties. It states:

  1. A Conference of the Parties is hereby established.

  2. The first meeting of the Conference of the Parties shall be convened by the Executive Director of UNEP and the Director-General of FAO, acting jointly, no later than one year after the entry into force of this Convention. Thereafter, ordinary meetings of the Conference of the Parties shall be held at regular intervals to be determined by the Conference.

  3. Extraordinary meetings of the Conference of the Parties shall be held at such other times as may be deemed necessary by the Conference, or at the written request of any Party provided that it is supported by at least one third of the Parties.

  4. The Conference of the Parties shall by consensus agree upon and adopt at its first meeting rules of procedure and financial rules for itself and any subsidiary bodies, as well as financial provisions governing the functioning of the Secretariat.

  5. The Conference of the Parties shall keep under continuous review and evaluation the implementation of this Convention. It shall perform the functions assigned to it by the Convention and, to this end, shall:

    1. Establish, further to the requirements of paragraph 6 below, such subsidiary bodies as it considers necessary for the implementation of the Convention;

    2. Cooperate, where appropriate, with competent international organizations and intergovernmental and non-governmental bodies; and

    3. Consider and undertake any additional action that may be required for the achievement of the objectives of the Convention.

  6. The Conference of the Parties shall, at its first meeting, establish a subsidiary body, to be called the Chemical Review Committee, for the purposes of performing the functions assigned to that Committee by this Convention. In this regard:

    1. The members of the Chemical Review Committee shall be appointed by the Conference of the Parties. Membership of the Committee shall consist of a limited number of government-designated experts in chemicals management. The members of the Committee shall be appointed on the basis of equitable geographical distribution, including ensuring a balance between developed and developing Parties;

    2. The Conference of the Parties shall decide on the terms of reference, organization and operation of the Committee;

    3. The Committee shall make every effort to make its recommendations by consensus. If all efforts at consensus have been exhausted, and no consensus reached, such recommendation shall as a last resort be adopted by a two-thirds majority vote of the members present and voting.

  7. The United Nations, its specialized agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency, as well as any State not Party to this Convention, may be represented at meetings of the Conference of the Parties as observers. Any body or agency, whether national or international, governmental or non-governmental, qualified in matters covered by the Convention, and which has informed the Secretariat of its wish to be represented at a meeting of the Conference of the Parties as an observer may be admitted unless at least one third of the Parties present object. The admission and participation of observers shall be subject to the rules of procedure adopted by the Conference of the Parties.