Synergies & non-Compliance Top COP-2 Discussions in Rome
The second meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (PIC COP-2) convened in Rome from September 27 to 30.
Adopted in 1998, the Rotterdam Convention entered into force in February 2004. Its prior informed consent (PIC) procedure aims to promote shared responsibility between exporting and importing countries in protecting human health and the environment from the harmful effects of certain hazardous chemicals that are traded internationally. It facilitates information exchange about their characteristics, provides for a national decision-making process on their import and export, and disseminates these decisions to parties.
At the first Conference of the Convention’s member States in September of 2004, ministers and senior officials from 130 Governments agreed to add 14 new hazardous chemicals and pesticides to an initial “watch list” of 27 substances.
The conference also established a Chemical Review Committee that assesses future proposals to add new chemicals and pesticides to the Prior Informed Consent list, so the Convention remains dynamic and up-to-date. Agreements were also reached on a technical assistance strategy, a budget, non-compliance procedures and other systems and processes that have strengthen the Convention’s day-to-day operations.
This year, the Conference of the Parties will discuss the adoption of the programme of work and the budget for 2006, non-compliance, financial mechanisms to enable developing countries to implement adequately the provisions of the Convention, and technical assistance. Other issues to be tackled include: operational procedures of the Chemical Review Committee; the finalization of the arrangements between the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for the provision of the secretariat to the Rotterdam Convention; and cooperation and synergies between the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions’ secretariats.
Speaking at the opening session, Shafqat Kakakhel, Deputy Executive Director of UNEP which jointly manages the Rotterdam Convention with the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), highlighted the links between sound chemicals management and the achievement of the MDGs, noting that the 2005 UN World Summit held in New York in early September reaffirmed an unambiguous commitment by all governments to achieve the MDGs.