In response to continued concerns expressed by parties about the inability of the Conference of the Parties to reach consensus on the listing of certain chemicals and pesticide formulations, the seventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties mandated intersessional work on the process of listing chemicals in Annex III to the Rotterdam Convention (RC-7/5).
Under the Rotterdam Convention, the Chemical Review Committee recommends a chemical or pesticide formulation to the Conference of the Parties for listing in Annex III. The Committee recommends listing of a chemical if it considers that two notifications from parties of different regions fulfill the listing requirements of the Convention. The Committee recommends listing of a pesticide formulation if it considers that the proposal submitted by a Party that is a developing country or a country with an economy in transition fulfills the listing requirements of the Convention. The Conference of the Parties then decides by consensus whether to list the chemical or pesticide formulation in Annex III and to subject it thereby to the prior informed consent procedure.
At its third meeting, the Conference of the Parties did not reach consensus on the listing of a chemical recommended for listing by the Chemical Review Committee for the first time. In light of this, the Bureau of the Rotterdam Convention requested the Secretariat to prepare a paper describing opportunities available for exchanging information on chemicals that had been found to meet the listing criteria, but for which the Conference of the Parties had not yet taken a decision (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.4/12). The Bureau also requested the Secretariat to prepare a paper outlining possible approaches within the framework of the Convention for enabling the inclusion of chemicals in Annex III other than by consensus (UNEP/FAO/RC/COP.4/13). Both documents were considered at the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties. The latter was, however, unable to reach a decision on the matter.
Since then, the Conference of the Parties has repeatedly been unable to reach consensus on the listing of certain chemicals or pesticide formulations, with many parties expressing concerns on the negative implications for the Convention’s continued effectiveness. In an attempt to address some of these concerns, the sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties encouraged parties, with regard to pesticide formulations containing paraquat, to use the draft decision guidance document and to exchange information on import decisions in the absence of consensus for listing (RC-6/8).
Subsequently, the seventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties mandated an intersessional working group to carry out interesssional work on the process of listing chemicals in Annex III to the Rotterdam Convention, including to review cases in which consensus had not been reached, to develop options for improving the effectiveness of the listing process, and to develop proposals for improved information flows (RC-7/5). The intersessional working group is expected to report back to the Conference of the Parties at its eighth meeting.