JIS News

Senator Aundre Franklin, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Environment will lead a delegation to the Rotterdam Convention at the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome, Italy from October 30 – 31, 2008. The theme identified for the two day meeting is “Sound Chemicals Management: Relieving the Burden on Public Health.”
“Jamaica has an important role to play at the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade”, said Mr. Franklin.
The Rotterdam Convention is an early warning system that empowers poorer nations to make their own informed decisions on the importation of toxic and industrial chemicals. These chemicals pose death, disability, birth defects and environmental threats. Under the convention there are 41 chemicals subject to Prior Informed Procedure (PIC) for Certain Hazardous Chemicals in International Trade. The Convention’s approach is to stop problems with hazardous chemicals before they start, by impeding exports of unwanted hazardous chemicals to countries that cannot manage them throughout their life cycle.
According to Senator Franklin, “Jamaica’s participation in this convention is critical as we will be advocating for several hazardous chemicals to be added to the Annex III of the convention which poses a significant health risk here in Jamaica and elsewhere. These identified hazardous chemicals to be included in the Annex III of the convention are Chrysotil, Asbestos, Endosulfan and Tributlytin compounds. Senator went on to point out that “Jamaica intends to amend and strengthen the convention by advocating for a voting system of 2/3 majority in decision making of the Rotterdam Convention Conference of Parties.”
He added that Jamaica would be lobbying for a meaningful and more proactive financial and technological mechanism within the Convention from which Caribbean countries could obtain assistance in establishing modern chemical analyzing facilities equipped with the latest technology aimed at protecting our people from harmful chemicals.
The convention text was adopted by governments in Rotterdam in September 1998 and entered into force on 24 February 2004. The aims of the convention include reducing: . Accidental deaths and injuries among users who too often are unequipped to handle hazardous chemicals safely, . Damage to the environment, . The creation of dangerous, forgotten stockpiles of obsolete and unwanted hazardous chemicals, particularly pesticides and; . Growth in the world’s toxic waste disposal problem.