The 18th meeting of the Chemical Review Committee (CRC-18) of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade reviewed a dozen hazardous chemicals and pesticides to determine if they should be listed under the Rotterdam Convention’s PIC procedure. If listed, their trade could be limited if necessary to protect human health and the environment. The CRC considered and approved two draft decision guidance documents for terbufos and iprodione, recommending the Conference of the Parties (COP) list these substances in Annex III to the Convention.
Annex III includes pesticides and industrial chemicals banned or severely restricted for health or environmental reasons by two or more parties and subject to the PIC procedure.
The CRC also reviewed notifications of final regulatory action (FRA) on ten chemical substances – amitrole, carbaryl, carbon tetrachloride, chlorfenvinphos, methidathion, methyl bromide, methyl parathion, mirex, paraquat, and thiodicarb. It concluded that methyl bromide and paraquat meet the criteria for listing banned or severely restricted chemicals under the Convention.
During the opening session of CRC-18, Christine Fuell, Rotterdam Convention Secretariat, highlighted the USD 1.5 million in technical assistance managed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) to help parties comply with the Convention. She also underscored the importance of the CRC’s work by citing a recent study showing that 64% of global agricultural land is at risk, and 30% at high risk, of pesticide pollution.
Stressing the importance of decisions based on sound science, Carlos Martin-Novella, Deputy Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions, recalled that the fifth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) mandated the creation of a chemicals and waste science-policy panel to assist in future work on chemicals.
CRC-18 encountered some “hiccups” when, for example, several FRA notifications from Mozambique were contested by some newer members who cited the need for more time to review them and the lack of sufficient relevant information to determine if the chemicals can be listed in Convention Annex III. In response, however, experienced members affirmed that Mozambique’s assessment was clear and within the CRC’s scope and precedents.
To facilitate effective participation in the CRC’s work, the Secretariat will convene a training workshop from 13-14 July 2023 for Committee members. Other resources offered by the Secretariat include the CRC Handbook and CRC Pocket Guide, along with a self-assessment quiz designed for new members to support their effective participation in CRC meetings.
Noting the large number of FRAs to be addressed, the Secretariat will also consult with the Bureau regarding the creation of a workplan for the Task Groups to review FRAs intersessionally, with a view to completing the reviews by May 2023. Task Groups assess notifications to determine if they fulfill the criteria set out in the Convention, including whether a country’s FRA has been taken as a consequence of a risk evaluation using scientifically recognized methods.
The CRC is a scientific and technical advisory body made up of government-designated experts in chemicals management. They are not supposed to consider political and economic issues, which fall under the auspices of the COP. The COP is the body that decides whether to list the chemicals under the Convention based on recommendations from the CRC.
Convening back-to-back with the 18th meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC-18) of the Stockholm Convention, CRC-18 took place from 19-23 September 2022 in Rome, Italy. CRC-19 is scheduled to convene from 2-6 October 2023 in Rome. [ENB Coverage of CRC-18]