PAN International statement on amendments to the Rotterdam Convention

On behalf of PAN International, Sarojeni Rengam from PAN Asia Pacific delivered the intervention on amendments to the Rotterdam Convention

Thank you Mr President.  PAN would like to thank the Rotterdam Convention secretariat and the Governments of Australia and Lativa for supporting the intercessional process and we appreciated the opportunity to participate in it and contribute positively.

PAN International a network of 600 organisations in over 60 countries is concerned about the situation in recent years, where a small number of Parties have been able to block the listing of certain pesticides and chemicals even though they meet the Convention’s scientific criteria and where a majority of parties have supported their listing. The treaty promotes information sharing for listed chemicals, and in blocking their listing, developing countries are denied the information and technical support to deal with them to protect the health of their people and the environment.

PAN supports amending the convention to allow listing by voting if a small number of countries continue to undermine the integrity of the Convention by using spurious reasons not consistent with the treaty to prevent other countries having access to information on the risks posed by certain pesticides and other chemicals.

Over the last 4 COPs we have urged parties to honour the intent of the Convention and agree listing in a spirit of consensus, but increasingly we see the majority of countries denied their rights, and the rights of the men women and children in their countries, by a very few. That is not the spirit of consensus. Consensus requires all parties to take responsibility for their decision – it does not mean holding the majority to ransom, it means stepping aside even if you don’t agree, especially if your reason is inconsistent with the treaty.

In the absence of a will by all to exercise responsible consensus, we would see an amendment to allow voting as necessary.

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