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The text of the Rotterdam Convention was adopted on 10 September 1998 by a Conference of Plenipotentiaries in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The Convention entered into force on 24 February 2004.

The objectives of the Convention are:

  • to promote shared responsibility and cooperative efforts among Parties in the international trade of certain hazardous chemicals in order to protect human health and the environment from potential harm;
  • to contribute to the environmentally sound use of those hazardous chemicals, by facilitating information exchange about their characteristics, by providing for a national decision-making process on their import and export and by disseminating these decisions to Parties.

The Convention creates legally binding obligations for the implementation of the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure. It built on the voluntary PIC procedure, initiated by UNEP and FAO in 1989 and ceased on 24 February 2006.

Major Provisions:

The Convention covers pesticides and industrial chemicals that have been banned or severely restricted for health or environmental reasons by Parties and which have been notified by Parties for inclusion in the PIC procedure. One notification from each of two specified regions triggers consideration of addition of a chemical to Annex III of the Convention. Severely hazardous pesticide formulations that present a risk under conditions of use in developing countries or countries with economies in transition may also be proposed for inclusion in Annex III.

Once a chemical is included in Annex III, a “decision guidance document” (DGD) containing information concerning the chemical and the regulatory decisions to ban or severely restrict the chemical for health or environmental reasons, is circulated to all Parties.

Parties have nine months to prepare a response concerning the future import of the chemical. The response can consist of either a final decision (to allow import of the chemical, not to allow import, or to allow import subject to specified conditions) or an interim response. Decisions by an importing country must be trade neutral (that is, decisions must apply equally to domestic production for domestic use as well as to imports from any source).

The import decisions are circulated and exporting country Parties are obligated under the Convention to take appropriate measure to ensure that exporters within its jurisdiction comply with the decisions.

The Convention promotes the exchange of information on a very broad range of chemicals. It does so through:

  • the requirement for a Party to inform other Parties of each national ban or severe restriction of a chemical;
  • the possibility for Party which is a developing country or a country in transition to inform other Parties that it is experiencing problems caused by a severely hazardous pesticide formulation under conditions of use in its territory;
  • the requirement for a Party that plans to export a chemical that is banned or severely restricted for use within its territory, to inform the importing Party that such export will take place, before the first shipment and annually thereafter;
  • the requirement for an exporting Party, when exporting chemicals that are to be used for occupational purposes, to ensure that an up-to-date safety data sheet is sent to the importer; and
  • labeling requirements for exports of chemicals included in the PIC procedure, as well as for other chemicals that are banned or severely restricted in the exporting country.

What is the Purpose of the Convention?

The purpose of this Convention is to promote shared responsibility and cooperation in the international trade in certain hazardous chemicals. In order to protect human health and the environment from potential harm, the Convention facilitates the sharing of information and prior informed consent among Parties and contributes to the environmentally sound management of certain hazardous chemicals.

What Substances or Chemicals Are Covered by the Convention?

The Convention covers 27 pesticides (including five severely hazardous formulations) and five industrial chemicals. Additional pesticides, industrial chemicals or formulation are added as they meet the Convention’s criteria. What are the likely Scenarios where a Developing Country or Countries with Economies in Transition would use this Convention?

Developing countries or Countries with Economies in Transition can use the Rotterdam Convention to set up a mechanism to ban the import of certain pesticides and industrial chemicals from other countries that are Parties to the Convention. The pesticides and industrial chemicals are those that have been banned or severely restricted for health or environmental reasons in other countries. Developing countries or Countries with Economies in Transition countries are also encouraged to investigate and notify pesticides that are causing health or environmental problems under the conditions of use in their country, even though these pesticides may not be banned elsewhere. What are the Economic and Social Benefits of the Convention?

The Convention improves the flow of information to Developing countries and Countries with Economies in Transition, warning them of health and environmental problems associated with certain hazardous chemicals. The effect is be to prevent unwanted imports of hazardous chemicals into such countries, saving the community and environment from exposure to dangerous chemicals. The Convention can play a central role in developing capacity building initiatives to help governments improve their regulation of chemicals. Parties to the Convention receive six monthly updates that inform of regulatory actions taken by other countries to ban or severely restrict a pesticide or industrial chemical.

What are the Costs Associated with the Convention?

There is an administration fee and some costs associated with the national administration of the Convention.

What Personnel will be Required to Administer the Convention?

A national authority responsible for prior informed consent (PIC) will need to identify at least one person to be the contact point for receiving information on chemical imports. If a Developing Country or Country with an Economy in Transition is a producer and exporter of listed chemicals, they will need to ensure that someone carries out the appropriate notification requirements.

Is National Legislation Required?

Yes. National legislation is required if a country wants to restrict or ban the use or import of certain hazardous chemicals.

Are There Reporting Requirements?

Yes. Each Party is required to report on all chemicals that they have listed as banned or severely restricted substances, if this is a result of human health and environmental concerns. Developing countries are encouraged to report on pesticides causing health or environmental problems because of the conditions of use in their country. Parties need to respond to each chemical included on the Prior Informed Consent List (‘PIC List’) with a decision of whether they prohibit or agree to its import. If a country produces or exports chemicals that it has banned or restricted, they must inform the importing country. If a country produces or exports any chemicals included on the PIC List, they must ensure that the importing country has consented to its import.

Will There be Help in Administering the Convention?

Yes. Parties with more advanced programs for regulating chemicals should provide technical assistance, including training, to other Parties.

What is the Status of the Convention?

The Convention entered into force on the 25th of February 2004.

Are There Other Agreements Associated with the Convention?

The Rotterdam Convention is complementary to the Stockholm Convention in that they deal with some similar chemicals. The Rotterdam Convention provides information on chemicals which may support the effective implementation of Basel, Bamako and Waigani Conventions, which deal primarily with hazardous and chemical waste, as well as the assessment of new POPs under the Stockholm Convention.

The dramatic growth in chemical production and trade during the past three decades has raised concerns about the potential risks posed by hazardous chemicals and pesticides. Countries lacking adequate infrastructure to monitor the import and use of these chemicals are particularly vulnerable.

In response to these concerns, UNEP and FAO developed and promoted voluntary information exchange programmes in the mid-1980s. FAO launched the International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides in 1985 and UNEP established the London Guidelines for the Exchange of Information on Chemicals in International Trade in 1987. In 1989, the two organizations jointly introduced the voluntary Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure into these two instruments. Together, these instruments helped to ensure that governments had the necessary information to enable them to assess the risks of hazardous chemicals and to take informed decisions on their future import.

Seeing the need for mandatory controls, officials attending the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in 1992 in Brazil (Rio Earth Summit) adopted Chapter 19 of Agenda 21, which called for a legally binding instrument on the voluntary PIC procedure by the year 2000. Consequently, the FAO Council (in 1994) and the UNEP Governing Council (in 1995) mandated their Executive Heads to launch negotiations.

Talks started in March 1996 and concluded in March 1998, after a series of seven meetings of the Inter-Governmental Negotiation Committee and two years in advance of the deadline set by the Rio Earth Summit.

As a clear testimony to the urgency attributed to addressing international trade in hazardous chemicals, between the adoption of the Convention and its entry into force, governments also agreed to operate the Convention on a voluntary basis as the Interim PIC Procedure.

The text of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade was adopted and opened for signature at the Conference of Plenipotentiaries held in Rotterdam on 10 September 1998.

During the interim period, over 170 countries designated some 265 national authorities (DNAs) to act on their behalf in the performance of the administrative functions required by the Convention.

The Convention entered into force on 24 February 2004 and became legally binding for its Parties.

Download the Rotterdam Text Of Convention PDF

The Rotterdam Convention for certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade.

The text of the Rotterdam Convention was adopted by the Conference of the Plenipotentiaries (Rotterdam, 10 September 1998). The text was subsequently amended by the First Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (Geneva, 20 – 24 September 2004), the Fourth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (Rome, 27 – 31 October 2008), the Fifth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (Geneva, 20 – 24 June 2011) and the Sixth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (Geneva, 28 April – 10 May 2013).

The text contained in this site is published for information only. It does not substitute the original authentic texts of the Rotterdam Convention and amendments thereto as deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations acting as the Depository of the Convention.

In this section you will find the list of chemicals contained in Annex III of the Convention and subject to the PIC procedure along with the associated Decision Guidance Documents ( DGDs) as well as any additional information.

The chemicals listed in Annex III include pesticides and industrial chemicals that have been banned or severely restricted for health or environmental reasons by two or more Parties and which the Conference of the Parties has decided to subject to the PIC procedure.

There are a total of 47 chemicals listed in Annex III, 33 are pesticides (including 4 severely hazardous pesticide formulations) and 14 industrial chemicals.

Pesticide – (Annex III Chemicals)

  • 2-4-5-T and its salts and esters
  • Alachlor
  • Aldicarb
  • Aldrin
  • Azinphos-methyl
  • Binapacryl
  • Captafol
  • Chlordane
  • Chlordimeform
  • Chlorobenzilate
  • DDT
  • Dieldrin
  • Dinitro-ortho-cresol (DNOC) and its salts (such as ammonium salt
  • Potassium salt and sodium salt)
  • Dinoseb and its salts and esters
  • EDB (1
  • 2-dibromoethane)
  • Endosulfan
  • Ethylene dichloride
  • Ethylene oxide
  • Fluoroacetamide
  • HCH (mixed isomers)
  • Heptachlor
  • Hexachlorobenzene
  • Lindane (gamma-HCH)
  • Mercury compounds - including inorganic mercury compounds - Alkyl mercury compounds and alkyloxyalkyl and aryl mercury compounds
  • Parathion
  • Pentachlorophenol and its salts and esters
  • Toxaphene (Camphechlor)
  • Tributyl tin compounds

Industrial – (Annex III Chemicals)

  • Actinolite asbestos
  • Anthophyllite
  • Amosite asbestos
  • Crocidolite
  • Tremolite
  • Commercial octabromodiphenyl ether (including Hexabromodiphenyl ether and Heptabromodiphenyl ether)
  • Commercial pentabromodiphenyl ether (including tetrabromodiphenyl ether and pentabromodiphenyl ether)
  • Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid - Perfluorooctane sulfonates - Perfluorooctane sulfonamides and perfluorooctane sulfonyls
  • Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBBs)
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
  • Polychlorinated Terphenyls (PCTs)
  • Tetraethyl lead
  • Tetramethyl lead
  • Tris(2-3 dibromopropyl)phosphate

Severely hazardous pesticide formulation – (Annex III Chemicals)

  • Dustable powder formulations containing a combination of benomyl at or above 7% - carbofuran at or above 10% and thiram at or above 15%
  • Methamidophos (Soluble liquid formulations of the substance that exceed 600 g active ingredient/l)
  • Methyl-parathion (Emulsifiable concentrates (EC) at or above 19.5% active ingredient and dusts at or above 1.5% active ingredient)
  • Phosphamidon (Soluble liquid formulations of the substance that exceed 1000 g active ingredient/l)