Rome, 12-23 November 1999
OUTCOME OF THE ROTTERDAM CONFERENCE ON PRIOR INFORMED CONSENT (PIC)
NEGOTIATIONS ON A PIC INSTRUMENT
1. In 1989, the UNEP Governing Council and the FAO Conference included the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure for pesticides and other chemicals that are banned or severely restricted in the "Amended London Guidelines on the Exchange of Information on Chemicals in International Trade" and the "International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides", respectively. Since then, UNEP and FAO have jointly executed the voluntary PIC procedure.
2. In 1992, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Agenda 21, Chapter 19, made recommendations for the conclusion of a legally-binding instrument on PIC. In para. 19.39d UNCED recommended that governments and relevant international organizations, with the cooperation of industry, "should implement the PIC procedure as soon as possible and, in the light of experience gained, invite relevant international organizations such as UNEP, GATT, FAO, WHO and others in their respective area of competence to consider working expeditiously towards the conclusion of legally-binding instruments".
3. The FAO Council at its Hundred-and-seventh Session in November 1994 " agreed that the Secretariat should proceed with the preparation of a draft legally-binding instrument on the operation of the PIC procedure as part of the joint FAO/UNEP programme on Prior Informed Consent and in cooperation with other international and non-governmental organizations concerned."
4. The Council also "agreed that the Organization should seek resources, jointly with UNEP, to finance the process for the preparation and conclusion of the legally-binding instrument. The Council was informed that progress on the instrument would be dependent on the availability of such resources. In the development of the instrument, close cooperation should be maintained with the Commission on Sustainable Development."
5. The Governing Council of UNEP, at its Eighteenth Session in May 1995, discussed the progress made and action required for the development of a legally-binding instrument. In Decision GC.18/12, it authorized the Executive Director to prepare for and convene, together with FAO, an intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC/PIC), with a mandate to prepare an international legally-binding instrument for the application of the Prior Informed Consent procedure for certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade.
6. In line with the guidance provided by their respective governing bodies, UNEP and FAO convened five meetings of the INC/PIC between March 1996 and April 1998. Governments, inter-governmental organizations and non-governmental organizations attended the negotiating sessions. The negotiations were chiefly funded through voluntary contributions by a number of negotiating parties.
7. In considering the status of the negotiations, the Twenty-ninth Session of the Conference of FAO in 1997 and the fifth special session of the Governing Council of UNEP in 1998:
- authorized the participation of the UNEP and FAO Secretariat in an Interim Secretariat and in a Secretariat to the Convention, if so desired during the negotiations and adopted by the Diplomatic Conference (that would adopt the Convention), provided that such arrangements were satisfactory to the Executive Director and the Director-General and that costs additional to the implementation of the present voluntary procedure be met from extra-budgetary resources.
- agreed to accept changes in the voluntary procedure PIC procedure, if so decided by the Diplomatic Conference, provided that costs additional to the implementation of the present voluntary procedure be met from extra-budgetary resources.
8. The negotiations were concluded at the fifth session of the INC/PIC in March 1998 and a final Convention text was drafted. This text was subsequently adopted as the "Rotterdam Convention on the prior informed consent procedure for certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade" by a Conference of Plenipotentiaries on 10 September 1998 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Sixty-two parties signed the Convention and 80 parties signed the Final Act.
9. The Convention will enter into force on the ninetieth day after the date of deposit of the fiftieth instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession. The first meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) must be held not later than one year after the date of entry into force of the Convention.
10. The Conference of Plenipotentiaries also considered work to be performed during the interim period between the adoption of the Convention and the first meeting of the COP. It adopted a resolution that changed the voluntary PIC procedure to a voluntary interim procedure that closely resembled the procedure identified in the Convention text. It also created the mechanisms for work during the interim period and indicated activities for the interim period. The Conference invited the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme and the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to convene such further sessions of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC/PIC), during the period between the date on which the Convention is opened for signature and the date of the opening of the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties, as are necessary to oversee the operation of the interim PIC procedure and to prepare for and service the Conference of the Parties until the end of the fiscal year in which the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties takes place. It also requested the Executive Director and the Director-General to provide secretariat services for the operation of the interim PIC procedure.
11. During the Conference of Plenipotentiaries, the Group of African countries and several other delegations expressed their concern about technical and financial assistance necessary for the implementation of the Convention, as well as technical and financial assistance during the interim period. Furthermore, the Group of African countries expressed the view that there was a need to consider issues such as dispute settlement, illicit trafficking and responsibility and liability at an early stage. The President of the Conference expressed his view that those issues might be more appropriately dealt with by the INC/PIC and the COP.
12. In line with the request of the Conference of Plenipotentiaries, UNEP and FAO provide the Interim Secretariat serving the INC/PIC and implementing the Interim PIC procedure. In this procedure, FAO, through the Plant Protection Service, deals primarily with pesticides, while UNEP, through UNEP Chemicals in Geneva, Switzerland, is primarily concerned with other chemicals. Jointly, the FAO and UNEP secretariat prepare for the first COP. Meetings of the INC and its subsidiary bodies are foreseen to alternate between Geneva and Rome.
13. The sixth session of the INC/PIC was held at FAO, Rome, from 12 to 16 July 1999. The INC reviewed the following items of business:
- the activities of the secretariat and the situation with regard to extra-budgetary funds;
- the implementation of the interim Prior Informed Consent Procedure, including the establishment of an Interim Chemical Review Committee and the inclusion of new chemicals in the procedure;
- preparation for the Conference of the Parties;
- issues arising out of the Conference of Plenipotentiaries comprising support for implementation, dispute settlement, illicit trafficking and responsibility and liability; and
- the location of the Secretariat (See paras 17 - 20 below).
14. The INC/PIC agreed on interim PIC regions based on FAO regions; it established an interim Chemicals Review Committee; and included two additional pesticides in the PIC procedure. It also requested the secretariat to draft a number of papers in preparation of the first COP. Many countries indicated that they had initiated procedures for the ratification of the Convention.
15. The INC/PIC established an Interim Chemicals Review Committee as a subsidiary body. It is foreseen that the first meeting of this committee will be held in late 1999 or early 2000. The seventh meeting of the INC/PIC is foreseen for late 2000. The convening of these meetings is subject to the availability of financial resources.
16. As requested by the Diplomatic Conference, the Interim Secretariat is provided by UNEP and FAO. A budget as agreed by the sixth INC is provided in annex I. The contribution from FAO and UNEP is estimated to be US$ 140 000 per annum from each organization; however, this does not include certain contributions in kind such as legal advice, and infrastructures like offices and meeting rooms.
17. The Secretariat of the Convention is provided for in Article 19 of the Convention:
"19.3. The secretariat functions for this Convention shall be performed jointly by the Executive Director of UNEP and the Director-General of FAO, subject to such arrangements as shall be agreed between them and approved by the Conference of the Parties.
19.4. The Conference of the Parties may decide, by a three-fourths majority of the Parties present and voting, to entrust the secretariat functions to one or more other competent international organizations, should it find that the Secretariat is not functioning as intended."
18. Switzerland and Italy jointly and Germany have announced that they wish to host the Secretariat. The offer of Switzerland and Italy would aim at continuing the present arrangements between UNEP and FAO, whereby the secretariat continues to be physically located jointly in UNEP and FAO headquarters, making use of existing capacities and infrastructures, and using synergies between the Secretariat functions and other programmes of FAO and UNEP. On the other hand, the offer of Germany aims at the establishment of a unified Secretariat in Bonn. The Conference of Plenipotentiaries:
- welcomed with appreciation the generous offers to host the secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention received from Germany and from Italy and Switzerland jointly and invited the said countries to provide full and detailed information on their proposals;
- called upon the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme to consider the offers received from Germany and from Italy and Switzerland jointly, as well as any other offers, and to provide a comparative analysis of those offers regarding the physical location of the secretariat for consideration by the Conference of the Parties at its first meeting. The preparation of such analyses should be carried out in consultation with the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee.
19. At the Sixth INC/PIC: "The representatives of Germany, Italy and Switzerland reaffirmed their respective Governments' offers to host the secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention. The Committee agreed that the secretariat would prepare a list of elements of information required for further consideration of the issue of the location of the secretariat by the Committee at its next session".
20. In view of para 19 of the Convention, and the guidance provided by the FAO and UNEP governing bodies, the Conference of Plenipotentiaries and the sixth INC/PIC, a comprehensive plan for the Secretariat cannot be drafted at present; a unified Secretariat would require different arrangements between FAO and UNEP than a continuation and expansion of the present secretariat arrangements. The seventh INC/PIC may approve a list of elements of information, after which offers may be considered at the first COP, based on these elements.
21. No additional obligations are foreseen for the Regular Programme over those indicated in Para.16. In this respect the Conference may wish to consider para 33 of the report of the 15th session of COAG, which states that:
"The Committee highlighted the key role of plant, animal and commodity protection in production efficiency and product quality. It endorsed the priority given to pest and disease prevention including IPM, the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), and the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent (PIC), noting the need for adequate Regular Programme resource allocation to the interim PIC secretariat."
22. The Conference of Plenipotentiaries appealed to States and regional economic integration organizations to make voluntary contributions to the trust fund established by the United Nations Environment Programme in order to support the interim arrangements and the operation of the Conference of the Parties until the end of the fiscal year in which the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties takes place, and to ensure the full and effective participation of developing countries and countries with economies in transition in the further work of the Committee. The Sixth INC/PIC called on donors to provide additional resources to facilitate the full implementation of the interim work programme and agreed, in addition, to keep the matter of resource mobilization under review at its future sessions. Although several countries committed funds during the sixth INC/PIC, substantial additional funding is required.
23. The financial arrangements to implement the PIC procedure and other elements of the Convention, when the Convention comes into force, will be determined by the first COP.
24. The Conference may wish to :
- note the successful conclusion of the negotiations of the Convention, its adoption and its implementation during the interim period;
- note the role of FAO in the interim secretariat and the Convention secretariat;
- provide guidance on the funding of the activities of the interim secretariat and the Convention secretariat.
BUDGET FOR 1999 AND 2000 AS AGREED BY THE SIXTH INC/PIC.
BUDGET FOR 1999 AND 2000
|Estimated costs||Allocated amount e/||Estimated costs||Allocated amount|
|One session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee in Rome or Geneva a/||$678,000||$540,140||$678,000||$0|
|One meeting of the Interim Chemical Review Committee in Rome or Geneva b/||$150,000||$0||$150,000||$0|
|Facilitation of implementation and ratification c/||$180,000||$0||$503,000||$0|
|Office automation and databases||$132,450||$67,800||$0||$0|
|Core Secretariat costs d/||$989,000||$601,995||$989,000||$280,000|
a/ The figures in table 1 are identical to figures presented to the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee at its fourth session in the background document UNEP/FAO/PIC/INC.4/INF/1. By fully utilizing the facilities in Rome and Geneva, conference-servicing costs might be reduced by approximately $75,000-$100,000, thereby freeing funds that might be used to support further participation from developing countries.
b/ This figure has been revised, following the establishment of the Interim Chemical Review Committee by the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee at its sixth session, and is based upon a meeting held in Geneva or Rome, with English as the working language, 20 participants from developing countries and countries with economies in transition and the preparation of four draft decision guidance documents in all six official languages.
c/ The scheduling of the workshops and other activities, and hence the funding needed in 1999 and 2000, has been adjusted on the basis of the guidance provided by the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee, but still depends on available funding.
d/ Core secretariat costs include the contributions by UNEP and FAO to the operation of the secretariat.
e/ Does not include additional pledges and contributions made by Finland, France, Japan, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom at the sixth INC/PIC.