Rotterdam Convention planning meeting in Vientiane, Lao PDR, concludes with key steps taken

Hosted by the Pollution Control Department of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, this 4-day workshop intended to facilitate a dialogue between relevant stakeholders and identify key elements of a national plan for implementing the Convention.

Altogether 32 participants took part including officials from ten line ministries and specialist agencies of government, the academic sector, and representatives from civil society.

Discussions highlighted the difficulties in regulating and enforcing legislation aimed at protecting human health and the environment from the possible impacts of pesticides within a context where an estimated 95% of pesticide products currently available do not have labelling in the national language, and where capacity constraints - financial and human - are severe.

Christine Fuell, from the FAO part of the Rotterdam Convention, noted that “participants were extremely motivated and established a functioning communication channel across Ministries and Conventions, including also the spectrum of chemicals and wastes issues together with the Basel Convention and Stockholm Convention focal points. Lao PDR aims at becoming an excellent example for addressing synergies on a national level.”

Concrete outputs from the workshop included:

  • The elaboration of a national action plan with concrete tasks and timelines;
  • Established network among all ministries involved and the FAO office with its pesticide management programme in Lao PDR;
  • Increased understanding of synergies and SDGs (post 2015 agenda);
  • Awareness-raising on national level through coverage in the local newspaper and TV channels.

Next steps will include the administrative support for the nomination of the two new designated national authorities, the Secretariat’s support in the submission of notifications of final regulatory action (FRA) for the 55 pesticides recently banned in Lao PDR as well as the planning for a pilot project on severely hazardous pesticide formulations.

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