Press releases

Thursday 17 Feb 2000

Review committee to consider adding pesticides, industrial chemicals to PIC

Geneva/Rome/Nairobi, 17 February 2000 - The 29- member Interim Chemical Review Committee established by the Rotterdam Convention on trade in dangerous chemicals will consider mechanisms for adding hazardous pesticides and industrial chemicals to the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure during its meeting in Geneva from 21- 25 February 2000.

It will also consider the addition of four pesticides to PIC: bromacil, ethylene dichloride, ethylene oxide, and maleic hydrazide. Each is linked to harmful effects to human health and the environment.

The work of the Interim Chemical Review Committee is crucial for the successful operation of the Rotterdam Convention during the interim stages. Its recommendations will guide future action to implement the Convention and so offer greater safeguards for the well-being of people living today and generations to come.

The Interim Chemical Review Committee was established as a subsidiary body of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for the Rotterdam Convention during its sixth session, held in Rome in July 1999.

Its purpose is to recommend on inclusion of banned and severely restricted chemicals or hazardous pesticide formulations in the PIC procedure. The Committee's recommendations go to the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for final decision. Chemicals and pesticides subject to the PIC procedure cannot be exported unless the importing country is made aware of their dangers and gives explicit consent, thereby protecting human health and the environment.

"States that developed and reached agreement on the Rotterdam Convention did so in record time because of their clear concern for health and the environment," says Maria de Azevedo Rodrigues, the Brazilian diplomat who chairs the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee. "For the same reason, they decided it was vital to start its operation immediately, and are now implementing the PIC procedure in the Convention on a voluntary basis until it comes into effect. This is exercise of environmental leadership at its best."

The Convention was adopted in Rotterdam in September 1998 and has been signed by 73 States. It will enter into force when it has been ratified by 50 States, which is expected in 2002. Binapacryl and toxaphene were added to the PIC procedure during the meeting in Rome, bringing the number of pesticides and industrial chemicals subject to it to 29.

The formal name of the agreement is the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade.

The Interim Secretariat of the Convention is provided jointly by the United Nations Environment Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN.

Note to journalists: Official documents and other information on the PIC procedure and Rotterdam Convention are available on the Internet (http://www.pic.int).

For followup or to arrange interviews, please contact at UNEP Chemicals:
James B. Willis
at tel: (+41 22) 917 81 83; fax: (+41 22) 797 3460;
e-mail: pic@unep.ch;
or
at FAO:
Niek Van der Graaff,
Plant Protection Service, Plant Production and Protection Division,
at tel: (+39 06) 5705 34 41; fax: (+39 06) 5705 63 47;
e- mail: pic@fao.org.

In Nairobi, please contact:
Tore J. Brevik,
UNEP Spokesman and Director of Communications and Public Information,
P.O. Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya.
Tel.: (254-2) 623292; Fax: 623692;
e-mail: cpiinfo@unep.org

UNEP News Release 00/16

Thursday 17 Feb 2000
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