Information exchange, along with Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure, is one of the key provisions of the Rotterdam Convention. The opportunities for information exchange cover a broad range of chemicals, those included in Annex III of the Convention as well as any chemical that has been banned or severely restricted in any Party and hazardous pesticide formulations causing problems under the conditions of use in developing countries and countries with economies in transition.
How information exchange works
The Convention provides opportunities for countries to obtain information on potentially hazardous chemicals and share information and experience with those facing similar concerns. Some of the most important sources of information on hazardous chemicals under the Rotterdam Convention include the:
Notifications of final regulatory actions
Every six months, summaries of notifications of final regulatory actions to ban or severely restrict a chemical submitted by Parties and found to be complete against the information requirements Annex I of the Convention are published and circulated via the PIC Circular.
Summaries of the all complete notifications submitted to the Secretariat after September 1998 may be found in the Rotterdam Convention database searching either by chemical name or by country.
Parties in preparing the submission of notifications of final regulatory actions may wish to consider giving priority to the following subsets of chemicals for which notifications have already been submitted to the Secretariat.
- Appendix V of the PIC Circular contains the subset of those notifications for chemicals that are not listed in Annex III of the Convention. Appendix V consists in a tabular summary of the notifications received for these chemicals including a reference to the PIC Circular in which the summary of the notification was published.
- A further subset of notifications concerns those chemicals which have been considered by the Chemical Review Committee. Where the Chemical Review Committee has determined that only one of the notifications of final regulatory actions in support of a candidate chemical meets the criteria of Annex II of the Convention a rationale is prepared which explains how the criteria have been met. This rationale becomes part of the Report of the meeting of the Chemical Review Committee. The information available for this subset of chemicals includes: notifications of final regulatory actions, supporting documentation and the rationales.
Every six months, summaries of proposals for severely hazardous pesticide formulations causing problems under the conditions of use in developing countries and countries with economies in transition are published and distributed via the PIC Circular and may be found in the Rotterdam Convention database.
The Chemical Review Committee meets annually (generally in February or March) while the Conference of the Party meets every two years (generally October). There is thus potentially as much as 18 months between the completion of the decision guidance document by the Chemical Review Committee and consideration of the recommendation for listing in Annex III by the Conference of the Parties. In cases where the Conference of the Parties is unable to take a decision on its first consideration of a recommendation of the Chemical Review Committee, the time between the conclusion of the work of the Chemical Review Committee and a further consideration by the Conference of the Parties can be in the order of 3.5 years.
In the interest of promoting information exchange among Parties on these chemicals during this interim period the notifications of final regulatory action, relevant supporting documentation, rationale developed by the Chemical Review Committee and draft decision guidance document, are collected here for the individual chemicals.
Annex III contains the of the chemicals subject to the PIC Procedure along with the associated Decision Guidance Documents (in English, French and Spanish). Up to date there are a total 40 chemicals in Annex III: 29 are pesticides (including 4 severely hazardous pesticide formulations) and 11 are industrial chemicals.
A clearing house mechanism was created to provide additional information on Annex III chemicals submitted by Parties after the adoption of Decision Guidance Documents by the Conference of the Parties.
This information includes additional notifications of final regulatory actions to ban or severely restrict these chemicals as well as information on alternatives and national risk evaluations in support of final regulatory actions that resulted in the continued use of one of more of the chemicals submitted by Parties.
In addition evaluations from internationally peer reviewed processes such as those of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)/ Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and safety data sheets are also provided.
Harmonized System Codes assigned to Annex III chemicals by the World Customs Organization may be found here.