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Featured Guest Article by Clayton Campanhola and Christine Fuell (FAO).
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.
[ 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
Progress on sound chemicals management advanced at well-attended strategic meeting, 17 to 19 September 2013 in Mbabane.
The Swaziland Environmental Authority hosted a National workshop to identify elements of National Action Plans or strategies for the implementation of the Rotterdam Convention in Swaziland, from 17 to 19 September 2013. The workshop, which took place in the capital city of Mbabane, was attended by 31 representatives, including ones from the Ministries of Agriculture, Health, Labour and Social Services, Justice and Constitutional Affairs, and Commerce, Industry and Trade; and academia, media, private sector and nongovernmental organizations. The World Health Organization and United Nations Development Programme and Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions Secretariat were also represented.
Swaziland ratified the Rotterdam Convention on 24 September 2012 and became a contracting Party with effect from 24 of December 2012. The designated national authority for this convention is the Swaziland Environment Authority. Currently Swaziland has ratified the Basel and Stockholm and Vienna conventions. The Basel Convention was also domesticated in form of the Waste Regulations of 2010.
Under the Stockholm Convention a National Implementation Plan (NIP) and Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) inventory have so far been completed. The POPs NIP is to be updated to include the nine new POPs.
The country has also benefitted from the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) Quick Start Programme Trust Fund for creating enabling environment for the implementation of sound management of chemicals. The major output of this exercise has been the compilation of the National Chemicals Profile and the Capacity Assessment Document. Among stakeholders this exercise raised awareness on chemicals management issues.
As a new Party to the Rotterdam Convention, Swaziland is seeking to meet its obligations. There is as yet no chemicals registry for imported chemicals and no information system is in place as far as chemical imports are concerned. Chemical imports are not regulated except for Ozone Depleting Substances.
Current challenges for implementation of the Rotterdam Convention are financial and technical resources to raise awareness to stakeholders, especially, farmers, agricultural, health and customs officers on the obligations of this Convention. A national legal instrument, information exchange and inter-ministerial co-ordinating mechanisms have to be put in place for effective implementation.
There will be need for the development of reporting mechanisms for chemical poisoning incidences to assess exposure risks. Health facilities will have to be capacitated to serve as poison centres. However, there are chemicals management activities currently running in the country synergies could be drawn from projects such as SAICM Quick Start Programme, Stockholm Convention and the Basel Convention.
The ninth meeting of the Chemical Review Committee (CRC 9) will be held from 22 to 25 October 2013 at FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy.
At its sixth meeting, the Conferences of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention elected a new Bureau and nominated new members of the Chemical Review Committee (CRC). An update on the election of officers and new CRC members is now available.
Elections that took place during the sixth meeting of the Conferences of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention.
At its sixth meeting, the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention elected a new Bureau and nominated new members of the Chemical Review Committee.
Officers / members elected at RC COP 6
Further information on the Bureau and subsidiary bodies under the Convention can be found under other sections of the Convention’ website.
The number of Parties to the Convention has increased to 153.
Sao Tome and Principe has acceded to the Rotterdam Convention, depositing its instrument of accession with the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 23 May 2013. The Convention will enter into force for Sao Tome and Principe on 21 August 2013 in accordance with article 26 (2) of the Convention.
Sao Tome and Principe's action increases the total number of Parties to the Rotterdam Convention to 153.
More information is available from Status of ratifications.
For the first time in the history of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions, the ordinary and extraordinary meetings of the conferences of the parties were held back-to-back from 28 April to 10 May 2013, in Geneva at the International Conference Centre. These meetings were held together to strengthen the implementation of the three conventions at the national, regional and global levels. Also, having convened these meetings back-to-back allowed for a more effective and coherent decision-making on policy, technical and budget matters, including on joint activities among the conventions and other specific matters. This included the identification of new concrete areas where synergies could be achieved.
The objective of the webinar is to provide parties, observers and other stakeholders with an overview of the main decisions adopted during the ordinary and extraordinary meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Stockholm, Basel and Rotterdam Conventions that closed their respective meetings on 10 May 2013. In addition, the webinar will introduce the outcome of the high-level segment that took place on 9 and 10 May 2013, where Ministries of the Environment, Agriculture, Health and/or Foreign Affairs joined to discuss synergies among the chemicals and wastes conventions.
The present webinar will target:
The time indicated is based on Geneva local time (UTC/GMT +2 hours).
Selection of branch chiefs to fill the technical assistance, convention operations and scientific support branches has been announced by the Secretariat.
The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions is pleased to announce the selection of Branch Chiefs for three of its four branches.
Ms. Olanipekun has been heavily involved in the conventions, and has had a leadership role in its meetings for many years. Ms. Olanipekun worked for the Federal Ministry of Environment Nigeria (1987 to 2013) in the Chemicals Management Division of the Department of Pollution Control & Environmental Health and has coordinated the African region for over a decade in major international negotiations, policies and programmes on sound management of chemicals. She holds a Bachelors of Science and Masters Degree in Biochemistry and Environmental Science and Technology respectively from University of Benin, Nigeria and UNESCO-IHE, Delft, The Netherlands.
Ms. Olanipekun will officially join the Secretariat on 25 April 2013.
Ms. Cárdenas-Fischer has served as acting chief of the Technical Assistance Branch of the Secretariat since February 2012. She joined the Stockholm Convention Secretariat in October 2001 as a policy advisor, and over the years she has been responsible for managing the areas of work of the Secretariat pertaining to technical assistance (including the regional centres for capacity building and transfer of technology), the financial mechanism under the Convention, the national implementation plans, the reporting obligations and the expert group on BAT and BEP. From October 2009-February 2012 she was the coordinator for the technical assistance programme of the secretariat of the Stockholm Convention.
Prior to joining the Stockholm Convention Secretariat, Ms. Cárdenas-Fischer, worked for the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1993 to 2001) as special advisor for environmental issues. Ms. Cárdenas-Fischer is a Colombian national and holds a BA in Philosophy from Bristol University in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Ogden has served as the acting chief of the Convention Operations Branch of the Secretariat since February 2012. He joined the United Nations Environment Programme in March 1997 and served as the coordinator of the Stockholm Convention through its negotiation and following its entry into force. He chaired the coordinators group that was responsible for the organization and conduct of the first simultaneous extraordinary meetings of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions in February 2010.
Mr. Ogden worked for the United States Environment Protection Agency from 1987 to March 1997 mostly within the Office of International Affairs where he served as the lead analyst for international chemicals management issues. Mr. Ogden holds a Master of Science degree in Environmental Science, a Master of Arts degree in International Affairs, a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and a certificate to teach social studies at the secondary level. He is an American.
The Secretariat has received a proposal for the inclusion in Annex III of the Convention of a severely hazardous pesticide formulation containing fenthion.
The Secretariat has verified that the proposal contains the information required by Part 1 of Annex IV of the Convention and a summary of the proposal was published in PIC Circular XXXVI of December 2012.
According to paragraph 3 of Article 6, the Secretariat shall collect additional information as set out in Part 2 of Annex IV of the Convention regarding the proposal, which includes:
The Secretariat will forward the information received to the next meeting of the Chemical Review Committee, scheduled to be held from 21-25 October 2013.
The working language of the Committee is English, so information in English, or a focused summary in English of the information provided, would facilitate the work of the Committee.
Information is requested by 30 April 2013.
Information may be provided by e-mail, fax or mail to:
Afghanistan has acceded to the Rotterdam Convention, depositing its instrument of accession with the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 6 March 2013. The Convention will enter into force for Afghanistan on 30 May 2013 in accordance with article 26 (2) of the Convention.
Afghanistan’s action increases the total number of Parties to the Rotterdam Convention to 152.
Cambodia has acceded to the Rotterdam Convention, depositing its instrument of accession with the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 1 March 2013. The Convention will enter into force for Cambodia on 30 May 2013 in accordance with article 26 (2) of the Convention.
Cambodia’s action increases the total number of Parties to the Rotterdam Convention to 151.
Albania has recently submitted import responses for all the 43 chemicals listed in Annex III of the convention. These import responses provide Albania with a first line of defence on the import the hazardous chemicals listed under the Rotterdam Convention.
Albania acceded to and became a Party to the Convention on 9 August 2010.
This submission follows on from the 43 submitted by the Democratic Republic of Congo in May 2012 and continues the trend by Parties that participated in the successful “Regional Workshop for the Central and Eastern European Region on Fostering Cooperation among Designated National Authorities (DNAs)”, which took place in Moscow, Russian Federation, in December 2011.
Albania, even though being the first to send 43 import responses at once, does join a growing list of countries in the Central and Eastern European Region that have submitted decisions on consent to import for all the chemicals listed in Annex III of the convention.
“This is a meaningful step by Albania in satisfying its obligations under the Rotterdam Convention and we encourage other Parties that have not done so, to submit import responses and to notify the secretariat of final regulatory actions taken against other chemicals assessed as being too risky for production or use under local conditions” said Jim Willis, Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.
The chemicals listed in Annex III of the convention have been banned or severely restricted by at least two countries from two different regions of the globe and these final regulatory actions have been based on a risk evaluation of the chemicals under local conditions of use. The information provided by these countries through the notifications of final regulatory action is available to other Parties through Decision Guidance Documents. This gives all Parties the information needed to make informed decisions on importation by assessing the benefits and risks of using these chemicals under their own local conditions of use.
Exporting Parties shall take appropriate legislative or administrative measures to ensure that exporters within their territories comply with the decisions in each import response provided by Albania. They shall also advise and assist importing Parties, upon request and as appropriate to obtain further information to help them to take action and to strengthen their capacities and capabilities to manage chemicals safely during their life-cycle.
Mr. Willis said that other Parties from this region and from other regions that have not yet submitted import responses may wish to contact the secretariat or communicate with other Designated National Authorities from countries like Albania for guidance. Information relevant to import responses including the form for submission can be found on the website of the convention.
Bamako, Mali – 11-15 November 2012. Three regional consultants, three national coordinators of Integrated Pest Management projects from Mali, Mauritania and Niger and two FAO staff from the Rotterdam Secretariat and the Pesticides Management Team participated in a meeting to prepare the GEF project proposal GCP/RAF/468/GEF: “Disposal of obsolete pesticides including POPs and strengthening pesticide management in the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS: Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chad, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal)”.
The objective of the meeting was to coordinate the work of the group of consultants and to contribute to the drafting of the project document according to the GEF logframe and template, taking into account the process of extending the registration committee to all 15 Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) members, as well as Chad and Mauritania.
Key outcome of the meeting: The draft project document will be available by 31 December 2012 with four components supporting the implementation of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions. The draft document will be validated at a workshop scheduled to be held in Dakar, Senegal from 16 to 18 January 2013, before submission to the GEF committee for final approval.
For more information please contact Mohamedelhady.Sidatt@fao.org or Mohamed.Ammati@fao.org.
Pretoria, South Africa, 26 – 30 November 2012. The meeting will have participants from Eritrea, Mauritius, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Pretoria, South Africa, 26 – 30 November 2012. The meeting will have 20 participants comprising 4 participants each from Eritrea, Mauritius, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Swaziland, a new Party will also be invited to attend since the workshop is taking place in their region. An important component of this sub-regional workshop aimed at helping countries to review the status of the implementation of the Convention is the bringing together of a range of stakeholders involved in the implementation of the Rotterdam Convention, including Ministries of Agriculture, Health, Environment, Industry and Commerce, Customs authorities, NGOs and Industry representatives.
The overall objectives of the workshop are: