Amendment to Rotterdam Convention pushed to address “veto mechanism”

Coinciding with the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention (RC COP-11) which started on 1 May and will conclude on 12 May, Thirty five (35) advocates from  BWI, other global unions, social movements and environmental organisations held an action today to call on the COP to adopt an amendment to the Convention that addresses a “veto mechanism” that has maliciously evolved regarding the listing of highly hazardous substances. 

The groups said that the Rotterdam Convention is a critical tool that seeks to protect human health and the environment, especially workers, from harm from the use of hazardous chemicals and pesticides. They asserted that a “small group of parties” is being allowed to successfully continue to block the listing of recommended highly hazardous substances. This practice, they argued, is undermining the science-based work of the Chemical Review Committee (CRC) which has determined that these substances meet all the criteria for listing.

The aforementioned amendment presents a fresh and straightforward approach to enhancing the efficiency of the Convention that builds on the work done thus far by the Parties and safeguards the consensus principle at its foundation. It makes it possible for Parties to keep exchanging knowledge on dangerous chemicals. An important new component is the requirement for specific consent for the listing, which means that the protocols for substances listed will be more stringent.

Read the groups' joint statement.