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Rotterdam Convention
 

The Rotterdam Convention works through involving several mechanisms and players, as described below.


The objective of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade is to promote shared responsibility and cooperative efforts among Parties in the international trade of certain hazardous chemicals, in order to protect human health and the environment from potential harm and to contribute to their environmentally sound use by facilitating information exchange about their characteristics, providing for a national decision-making process on their import and export and disseminating these decisions to Parties.

The governments are obligated to make an export notification a priori before actual exports of chemicals to other states, as part of the regulatory action they take in order to ban or greatly restrict a chemical, for reasons of protecting environmental and human health, according to the Pre Informed Consent procedure jointly implemented by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme, under the framework of the Rotterdam Convention, which was adopted and opened for signature in 1998 and entered into force in 2004 for states which have become parties thereto.

As of now, the total number of States Parties to this Convention has risen to 154 with a great participation. The Rotterdam Convention was signed by Turkey on 10th of September 1998 at the Diplomatic Conference of the PIC Convention. The “Draft Law on Ratification of Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade” was referred to the Turkish Grand National Assembly in July, 2010. The Draft Law in question was adopted by the Environmental Commission of the Turkish Grand National Assembly on 26th of November 2011, following discussions. 

The text of the Rotterdam Convention was adopted on 10 September 1998 by a Conference of Plenipotentiaries in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The Convention entered into force on 24 February 2004.

The objectives of the Convention are:
· to promote shared responsibility and cooperative efforts among Parties in the international trade of certain hazardous chemicals in order to protect human health and the environment from potential harm;
· to contribute to the environmentally sound use of those hazardous chemicals, by facilitating information exchange about their characteristics, by providing for a national decision-making process on their import and export and by disseminating these decisions to Parties.

The Convention creates legally binding obligations for the implementation of the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure. It built on the voluntary PIC procedure, initiated by UNEP and FAO in 1989 and ceased on 24 February 2006.

The Convention covers pesticides and industrial chemicals that have been banned or severely restricted for health or environmental reasons by Parties and which have been notified by Parties for inclusion in the PIC procedure. One notification from each of two specified regions triggers consideration of addition of a chemical to Annex III of the Convention. Severely hazardous pesticide formulations that present a risk under conditions of use in developing countries or countries with economies in transition may also be proposed for inclusion in Annex III.

Once a chemical is included in Annex III, a "decision guidance document" (DGD) containing information concerning the chemical and the regulatory decisions to ban or severely restrict the chemical for health or environmental reasons, is circulated to all Parties.

Parties have nine months to prepare a response concerning the future import of the chemical. The response can consist of either a final decision (to allow import of the chemical, not to allow import, or to allow import subject to specified conditions) or an interim response. Decisions by an importing country must be trade neutral (that is, decisions must apply equally to domestic production for domestic use as well as to imports from any source).

The import decisions are circulated and exporting country Parties are obligated under the Convention to take appropriate measure to ensure that exporters within its jurisdiction comply with the decisions.

The Convention promotes the exchange of information on a very broad range of chemicals. It does so through:
· the requirement for a Party to inform other Parties of each national ban or severe restriction of a chemical;
· the possibility for Party which is a developing country or a country in transition to inform other Parties that it is experiencing problems caused by a severely hazardous pesticide formulation under conditions of use in its territory;
· the requirement for a Party that plans to export a chemical that is banned or severely restricted for use within its territory, to inform the importing Party that such export will take place, before the first shipment and annually thereafter;
· the requirement for an exporting Party, when exporting chemicals that are to be used for occupational purposes, to ensure that an up-to-date safety data sheet is sent to the importer; and labeling requirements for exports of chemicals included in the PIC procedure, as well as for other chemicals that are banned or severely restricted in the exporting country.

The Mechanisms

To achieve its objectives the Convention includes two key provisions, namely the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure and Information Exchange.

The Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure – 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. more...

Information Exchange - The Convention facilitates information exchange among Parties for a very broad range of potentially hazardous chemicals. The Convention requires each Party to notify the Secretariat when taking a domestic regulatory action to ban or severely restrict a chemical. more...

The Players

Parties and their Designated National Authorities (DNAs) – Parties are countries or regional economic integration organizations that have ratified, accepted, approved or acceded to the Convention. Each Party must designate one or more national authorities, which are the primary contact points for matters related to the operation of the Convention and are authorized to perform the administrative functions required by the Convention. DNAs are also the key contact point for matters related to the Convention for other Parties and the Secretariat.

Conference of the Parties (COP) - The Conference of the Parties oversees the operation of the Convention and makes decisions regarding amendments to the Convention, including the addition of chemicals to Annex III.

Chemical Review Committee (CRC) - The Chemical Review Committee is a subsidiary body of the COP. Its members are government designated experts in chemicals management. Its responsibilities include reviewing notifications and proposals from Parties, and making recommendations to the COP on the addition of chemicals to Annex III.

Secretariat - The functions of the Secretariat include making administrative arrangements for meetings of the COP and its subsidiary bodies, verifying information accompanying notifications and proposals, disseminating import responses provided by the Parties, facilitating assistance to developing country Parties, facilitating information exchange between Parties and fostering collaboration and cooperation with other international organizations.

 
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