The Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure

The PIC procedure, along with information exchange, is one of the key provisions of the Rotterdam Convention. The PIC procedure applies to all the chemicals listed in Annex III of the Convention.

The PIC procedure is a mechanism for formally obtaining and disseminating the decisions of importing Parties as to whether they wish to receive future shipments of those chemicals listed in Annex III of the Convention and for ensuring compliance with these decisions by exporting Parties.

  • For each chemical listed in Annex III of the Convention, and therefore subject to the PIC procedure, a decision guidance document (DGD) is prepared and sent to all Parties (Article 7). The DGD is intended to help governments assess the risks connected with the handling and use of the chemical and make more informed decisions about future import and use of the chemical, taking into account local conditions.
  • Parties are required to take a decision as to whether they will allow future import of each of the chemicals in Annex III (Article 10). These decisions, known as import responses, are published by the Secretariat and made available to all Parties every six months through the PIC Circular and on the Convention’s website in the section Import Responses. In this way, Parties are informed prior to an export as to whether or not there will be consent to import.
  • Import decisions taken by Parties must be trade neutral. That is, if the Party decides not to accept imports of a specific chemical, it must also stop domestic production of the chemical for domestic use and refuse imports from any source, including from countries that are not Party to the Convention.
  • All exporting Parties are required to ensure that exports of chemicals subject to the PIC procedure do not occur contrary to the decision of each importing Party (Article 11). They should ensure that import responses published in the PIC Circular are immediately communicated to their exporters, industry and any other relevant authorities, such as the Department of Customs.

In the section titled Annex III Chemicals, the list of chemicals contained in Annex III of the Convention and subject to the PIC procedure is provided, along with the associated Decision Guidance Documents (in English, French and Spanish). This section also provides additional information on Annex III chemicals submitted by Parties after the adoption of Decision Guidance Documents by the Conference of the Parties.

This information includes additional notifications of final regulatory action to ban or severely restrict these chemicals and, information on alternatives and national risk evaluations submitted by Parties in support of final regulatory actions that resulted in the continued use of one of more of the chemicals. In addition, evaluations from internationally peer reviewed processes such as those of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)/Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and safety data sheets are also provided.

In the section titled Import Responses you will find the decisions of Parties on future import of the chemicals listed in Annex III, how to submit such an import response to the Secretariat as well as the relevant forms and instructions developed to facilitate this process.