The European Union and the Rotterdam Convention

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Description

International trade in certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides
Environment policy and protection of the environment
Community Treaties, agreements and conventions
External trade
Target audience: General public

Informations

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Financial and technical assistance
The EC Treaty establishes that one of the key objectives of Community policy on the environment is to promote international measures to deal with worldwide environmental problems. The aim is to promote stronger international environmental governance and to promote coherent international policy development including by improving the understanding of the state of the environment. To this end the EC financially aids the UNEP to implement decisions of its Governing Council on assistance to developing countries and to support the PIC Secretariat in implementing the work programmes agreed by the Parties.
In addition the European Community supports specific projects initiated by the PIC Secretariat and aiming at assisting Parties in implementing the Rotterdam Convention. These projects mainly focus on capacity building in developing countries and information exchange between Parties.
Further information Website of the European Commission on PIC: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/chemicals/pic 
European Database on Exports and Imports (EDEXIM): http://edexim.jrc.ec.europa.eu Website of the Rotterdam Convention: http://www.pic.int
Contact: Unit Biotechnology, Pesticides & Health Directorate-General Environment European Commission B-1049 Brussels Fax (32-2) 29-67617 E-mail: ENV-PIC@ec.europa.eu
Photos credits : Photodisc
The Rotterdam Convention
Hazardous chemicals and pesticides represent a risk to the health of many people all over the world. They also endanger the natural environment and damage many wild animal species. In particular, many developing countries lack sufficient capacity to effectively regulate and control such substances.
The international community started to address the problem of trade in dangerous chemicals and pesticides with developing countries in the 1980s by establishing a voluntary Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure, which gives countries the right to refuse imports of certain chemicals which they cannot control effectively once they are imported. It was decided later to transform the voluntary system into a legally binding instrument. The Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure (PIC) for certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade was adopted in 1998 and entered into force on 24 February 2004. It was signed by the Community and all the Member States in 1998 and was ratified by the Community in 2002.
The aim of the Rotterdam Convention is to promote shared responsibility and co-operative efforts among the Parties in the international trade of dangerous chemicals in order to protect human health and the environment from potential harm and to contribute to their environmentally sound use. It does this 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.