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The Rotterdam Convention

The "Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade" was adopted on 10 September 1998 by a Conference of Plenipotentiaries in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and was entered into force on 24 February 2004. The aim of the convention is to improve the international regulation of trade in hazardous chemicals and pesticides in order to protect human health and the environment, and to promote the environmentally sound use of such substances. Due to the dramatic growth in chemicals production and trade during the past decade, the potential risks posed by hazardous chemicals and pesticides has become ever apparent, including the awareness that many countries lack the adequate infrastructure to monitor the import and use of such substances and are thus particularly vulnerable.

The Convention was signed in order to control the import and export of hazardous chemicals. The list of chemicals covered by this convention includes pesticides and pesticide formulations, as well as some industrial chemicals. The Convention promotes the exchange of information on a very broad range of chemicals through:

  • a requirement for a party to inform other parties of each national ban or severe restriction of a chemical;
  • the possibility for a party that is a developing country or a country with economy 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;
  • a 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;
  • a 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.

For more information on the Rotterdam Convention, please visit: http://www.pic.int/.