[You are here: News > Press Release ]

Press Release

Pesticide Tributyltin Added to Trade 'watch list'
03/ 11/ 2008

Pesticide Tributyltin Added to Trade 'watch list'Over 120 countries party to the Rotterdam Convention agreed to add the pesticide tributyltin to a global trade "watch list", but were unable to reach consensus on the inclusion of chrysotile asbestos and the pesticide endosulfan during negotiations here this week.

No consensus on chrysotile asbestos, endosulfan
Rome, 31 October 2008  - Over 120 countries party to the Rotterdam Convention agreed to add the pesticide tributyltin to a global trade “watch list”, but were unable to reach consensus on the inclusion of chrysotile asbestos and the pesticide endosulfan during negotiations here this week.
The conference reaffirmed that governments have an obligation to use the Convention’s information-sharing mechanism to inform others about their national decisions on the import and management of hazardous chemicals.
“Trade comes with rights and responsibilities, and the discussions this week have shown the strong commitment of many countries to this spirit of reciprocity,” said Bakary Kanté, Director of the Division of Environmental Law and Conventions, United Nations Environment Programme. UNEP, along with FAO, jointly manages the Convention secretariat.
The Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade promotes transparency and information sharing about potential risks to human health and the environment. Its so-called PIC list currently contains 39 hazardous substances, including all other forms of asbestos.
“International instruments such as the Rotterdam Convention are tools to assist countries in sound chemicals management; they are not an end in themselves but a means to an end,” said James Butler, FAO Deputy Director-General at the opening of the high-level segment of the meeting.
Under the Convention, exports of chemicals and pesticides on the PIC list require the prior informed consent of the importing country. This gives developing countries in particular the power to decide which potentially hazardous chemicals they want to receive and to exclude those they cannot manage safely.
Exporting countries are responsible for ensuring that no exports leave their territory when an importing country has made the decision not to accept the chemical or pesticide in question.
“Clearly the chemical footprint of our modern economies is expanding exponentially today,” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.
“The transition towards a greener economy touches upon the responsibilities that we have as societies, as governments and as international institutions to look at how the use of chemicals empowers development and not undermines it, not least through the impact it has on the health of our societies.”
During the conference, many governments expressed serious concern about the failure to list chrysotile asbestos. The World Health Organization made a statement reminding participants that chrysotile is a human carcinogen and that at least 90,000 people die every year of asbestos-related diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer directly linked to asbestos.
Chrysotile asbestos is the most commonly used form of asbestos, accounting for around 94 percent of global asbestos production. It is widely used in building materials, such as asbestos cement, pipe and sheet, and in the manufacture of friction products, gaskets and paper.
Tributyltin (TBT) compounds are pesticides used in antifouling paints for ship hulls and are toxic to fish, molluscs and other aquatic organisms. The International Maritime Organization has moved to ban the use of antifouling paints containing TBT compounds.
Endosulfan is a pesticide widely used around the world, particularly in cotton production. It is hazardous to the environment and detrimental to human health, particularly in those countries where safeguards are not adequate.
Some 70,000 different chemicals are available on the market today, and around 1,500 new ones are introduced every year. This can pose a major challenge to regulators charged with monitoring and managing these potentially dangerous substances. Many pesticides that have been banned or whose use has been severely restricted in industrialized countries are still marketed and used in developing countries.
Further information is available at http://www.pic.int or by emailing pic@pic.int
Please Contact Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson, on Tel: +254 20 7623084 or E-mail: nick.nuttall@unep.org
Teresa Buerkle, Media Relations FAO (Geneva), Tel: +41 22 917 2770 or +41 78 900 43 93 E-mail: teresamarie.buerkle@fao.org
Marcella Carew, Public Awareness Officer, Tel: +41 22 917 8103, E-mail: mcarew@pic.int

Further Resources
The Rotterdam Convention
Three Chemicals Considered for Trade 'watch list'
UNEP Press Release - October 2008



University of Finland and UNEP - 12th Course on Multilateral Environmental Agreements
2-12 November 2015, Shanghai, China

The Special theme of the Twelfth Course is Climate Change.

2nd UNEP-INTERPOL Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Committee Conference
16-17 November 2015, INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation, Singapore

At the 2nd ECEC in Singapore, INTERPOL and UNEP brought together Chief Executives from Environmental Security and Enforcement agencies from INTERPOL member countries, as well as Chief Executive Officers from international and non-governmental organizations, to design and debate strategies to tackle environmental crime and achieve sustainable development goals.

Annual Meeting UNEP- EUROCLIMA (EC Programme to support Policy Dialogue on Climate Change issues in Latin American countries)

Special session of the Commission on Environment of the PARLATINO(Latin American Parliament) on Climate Change law.

27-28 October 2015, Panama

Global Training Programme on Environmental Law and Policy for Mid-career Government Officials

05-13 October 2015, Nairobi, Kenya

Meeting of the Senior Government Officials Expert in Environmental Law on Mid-term review of the Montevideo Programme IV

7-11 September 2015, Montevideo, Uruguay

Montevideo Programme Environmental Law Seminar: Laws to Promote environmental sustainability of oceans and seas
9-10 July, Panama City, Panama

Montevideo Programme Environmental Law Seminar: Legal Foundation for Environmental Sustainability

13-14 July 2015, United Nations Headquarters, New York

Meeting of Eminent Legal Experts on the Midterm review of the Montevideo Programme IV

15-16 July 2015, United Nations Headquarters, New York

Regional Training on Negotiations for Multilateral Environmental Agreements Focusing on UNFCCC and CBD as they relate to Regional Seas Convention
11-13 May 2015, Jeddah Kingdom, Saudi Arabia

Meeting of Climate Change Negotiators of Latin America and the Caribbean
14-15 May 2015, Santiago de Chile 

Regional Meeting of negotiators in preparation for Climate Change multilateral negotiators (exchange of views and discussion of key topics for the region towards COP21)

International Day for Biological Diversity 2015
22 May 2015

Biodiversity for Sustainable Development

This year’s theme reflects the importance of efforts made at all levels to establish a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the United Nations Post-2015 Development Agenda for the period of 2015-2030 and the relevance of biodiversity for the achievement of sustainable development.

Launch of The UNEP Sourcebook 

officially launched at a side event in the margins of Ramsar COP 12 - 8 June 2015, Punta del Este, Uruguay

The aim of the Sourcebook is to provide National Focal Points of the major Biodiversity-related Conventions as well as other stakeholders working on these conventions, with options to achieve enhanced implementation of the conventions through enhanced cooperation.

Preparatory Workshops for Paris UNFCCC COP for 2015 for Least Developed countries

June 2015, Bonn, Germany

Second Congress on Environmental Policy, Law and Justice Seminar on Environmental Crimes

6-10 July 2015, La Habana, Cuba

Inter-American Congress on the Environmental Rule of Law(OAS website)
30-31 March 2015, Montego Bay, Jamaica 

The Organization of American States (OAS) co-organized the First Inter-American Congress on the Environmental Rule of Law in Montego Bay, Jamaica, an event that concluded with a call to strengthen the rule of law on to address environmental challenges in the Americas.

Environmental Justice and Sustainable Development

4 May 2015, UN Headquarters, New York, Conference Room 11