Rotterdam Convention works with stakeholders to address risks of severely hazardous pesticide formulations

Samut Sakhon, Thailand, May 2012. More than 30 representatives from the Ministry of Environment (MOE), Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), Ministry of Health (MOH), provincial government officers and occupational health officers, farmers, students, NGOs (the Education Foundation, the Field Alliance) and the Thai pesticide industry association, participated in an inception workshop on severely hazardous pesticide formulations (SHPFs) in Samut Sakhon (Bangkok area, Thailand).

The workshop served to prepare participants for the monitoring and collection of data on severely hazardous pesticide formulations, as well as to follow-up on an activity that Thailand indicated interest in working on in the development of its National Action Plan for the implementation of the Convention.

Severely hazardous pesticide formulations (SHPFs) are chemicals formulated for pesticidal use that produce severe health or environmental effects observable within a short period of time after single or multiple exposure, under conditions of use.

The Rotterdam Convention gives a special opportunity to developing countries and countries with an economy in transition to make the world aware of environmental or health incidents they have faced with regard to such hazardous pesticide formulations. This opportunity allows for these countries, to propose that the hazardous formulation be listed in Annex III of the Convention, making it subject to the prior informed consent (PIC) procedure.

Once listed, action has to be taken by all countries who are Party to the Convention to ensure that import and export of the pesticide formulation follows agreed rules and provides the necessary information regarding hazards of the formulation to enable all stakeholders to understand the risks. It also allows countries to make informed decisions on whether imports of the formulation into the country will be accepted, thereby preventing further health or environmental incidents with the formulation.

The prevailing use conditions in developing countries, such as climatic conditions, use patterns and infrastructure are very important to consider as these are not the same as in developed countries. Many farmers may be exposed to chemicals due to leaking equipment or the lack of personal protective equipment.

Key outcomes were the development and agreement of a draft work plan for field monitoring and awareness raising campaign. A multi-stakeholder ad hoc working group on SHPF has been established to further elaborate and implement this work plan. Further, it was agreed that the information collected in the pilot project should be integrated in the national pesticide policy decision process in order to contribute to pesticide risk reduction measures. The progress and results of the SHPF pilot activities will be reported to the national sub-committee for the Rotterdam Convention.

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