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Fourth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (COP 4)

26/08/2008More than 300 delegates from the 122 Parties to the Rotterdam Convention as well as observers from civil society, the chemical industry and others will gather in FAO Headquarters in Rome from 27 to 31 October 2008 for the Fourth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention. It is ten years since the text of the Rotterdam Convention was adopted in Rotterdam, the Netherlands in September 1998.

A high level segment on the theme Sound Chemicals Management: Relieving the Burden on Public Health is planned for 30-31 October 2008. Ministers will be invited to consider this theme in preparing their official statements and to participate in a series of related Panel discussions and side events. The challenge is how the implementation of the Rotterdam Convention might contribute to enhancing sound chemicals management and reducing the real costs on public health in countries.

Some of the key items up for discussion at COP 4 include the following:

- inclusion of three new chemicals: chrysotile asbestos, endosulfan and tributyltin compounds in the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure;
- issues and proposed actions aimed at ensuring the continued effectiveness of the Convention;
- adoption of procedures and institutional mechanisms for determining non-compliance with the provisions of the Convention;
- adoption of a recommendation on enhancing coordination and cooperation among the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions;
- technical assistance activities for the next biennium 2009-2010;
- Programme of Work and Budget for the next biennium 2009-2010.

Several Side Events will also take place throughout the week. Some of these will include a special focus on the implementation of the Convention from the perspective of Parties. Others will focus on the work of international organizations relevant to the sound management of chemicals including the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as well as the Green Customs Initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

A series of Interactive Workstations will allow direct access to the broad range of information on hazardous chemicals available under the Convention. Parties will also be able to obtain a report on the status of implementation of the key operational elements of the Convention in their countries. These workstations will be supported by information documents as well as guidance and training materials on the Convention.

Information materials and exhibits from a range of other organizations and interest groups relevant to the sound management of chemicals will also be available and include the Pesticide Action Network (PAN), Crop Life, Rotterdam Convention Alliance (ROCA), Foundation for Advancements in Science (FASE), the World Health Organization (WHO), Basel and Stockholm Conventions.

For further information on COP 4, please visit the Rotterdam Convention website at: www.pic.int.

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