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International Documents on Corporate Responsibility

Edited by Stephen Tully

International Documents on Corporate Responsibility includes the principal international, regional and national instruments drafted by intergovernmental organisations or states as well as codes of conduct formulated by industry associations, trade unions and non-governmental organisations. The coverage includes the fields of human rights, international criminal and environmental law, labour standards, international trade, armed conflict, sustainable development, corruption, consumer protection and corporate governance. Each document is accompanied by a brief explanatory commentary outlining the historical origins of the instrument, the principal actors involved, controversial negotiation issues, applicable implementation procedure, and identifies further reference material.
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Chapter 53: UNEP: Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, 1998


Commentary: The Rotterdam Convention (UN Doc UNEP/FAO/PIC/CONF/5 (1998), entry into force 2004) builds upon Agenda 21 Chapter 19, UNEP’s Amended London Guidelines for exchanging information on chemicals in international trade, UNEP’s Code of Ethics on the international chemicals trade and the FAO’s International Code of Conduct on distributing and using pesticides (see below). Prior informed consent (PIC) requires exporters trading in specified hazardous substances to obtain importer consent before proceeding with trade. Importing governments require tools and information to identify potential hazards and exclude chemicals they cannot safely manage. Where a government imports chemicals, the Convention promotes safe use through labelling standards, technical assistance and other support. In addition to the extracts below, Article 6 provides that developing country Parties or those with transition economies can propose listing a severely hazardous pesticide formulation under Annex III, drawing upon ‘technical expertise from any relevant source’. Article 7 envisages a draft decision guidance document being prepared by the Chemical Review Committee for chemicals recommended for listing under Annex III. The Conference of the Parties ultimately decides whether chemicals become subject to the PIC procedure. Article 9 contemplates removing chemicals from Annex III, Article 12 provides for export notifications and Article 17 envisages a non-compliance procedure. Annexes specify the information required for notifications pursuant to Article 5 (Annex I), the criteria for listing banned or severely restricted chemicals under Annex III (Annex II), identified chemicals subject to the PIC procedure (Annex III), information and criteria for listing severely hazardous pesticide formulations under Annex...

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