Geneva and Rome to host Rotterdam Convention secretariat
14 new hazardous chemicals and pesticides added to trade watch list
24 September 2004,Geneva/Rome -- Geneva and Rome have won the competition to host the permanent secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention.
The decision was taken at the first Ministerial Conference of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, which ended today in Geneva.
The secretariat will continue to be jointly managed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) office in Geneva.
Ministers and senior officials from 130 Governments also agreed to add 14 new hazardous chemicals and pesticides to an initial "watch list" of 27 substances. There was no consensus on adding a 15th chemical, chrysotile asbestos, at this time.
"By increasing the number of hazardous chemicals and pesticides that require prior informed consent before being exported by almost 50 percent, governments have given the Rotterdam Convention an enthusiastic vote of confidence," said FAO Assistant Director-General Louise Fresco.
The conference also established a Chemical Review Committee that assesses future proposals to add new chemicals and pesticides to the Prior Informed Consent list, thus keeping the Convention dynamic and up-to-date.
Agreements on a technical assistance strategy, a budget, non-compliance procedures and other systems and processes will strengthen the Convention's day-to-day operations.
"Technical assistance for developing countries will be vital for the Convention's long-term success," said UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer. "Both national and international resources will be needed to maintain momentum and ensure that the Rotterdam Convention achieves a universal membership," he added.
The next ministerial conference will be held in about one year.
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