At this year’s Rotterdam Convention meeting in June in Geneva (COP 10), Solidar Suisse is calling for an improvement of the convention.
Since many years and together with numerous partner organisations, Solidar Suisse is fighting for a regulation of trade with hazardous chemicals and pesticides. Most importantly, we are fighting for a global ban on asbestos. With the “Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade”, there is an international agreement which would provide for such a regulation. While it does not ban hazardous substances from trade, it requires exporters to inform importing countries about certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides which are crossing their borders. Deliveries of chemicals contrary to the wishes of the importing country are not permitted.
The convention, which is binding under international law, intends to reduce environmental and health risks that may be caused by certain hazardous chemicals, such as asbestos. Already in 2006, the Chemical Review Committee (CRC) of the convention decided that chrysotile asbestos meets all requirements for listing into annex III of the convention. However, the Rotterdam Convention has a fatal design flaw: The inclusion of a hazardous substance into the annex requires the consent of all parties to the agreement. Ever since, a small group of countries, led by Russia, has blocked the listing of chrysotile asbestos and four other substances at every conference of the parties (COP). And what’s even worse: The asbestos lobby uses the fact that asbestos is not covered by the Rotterdam Convention as a sales argument. In Asia and other regions of the world, they are advertising their deadly product as harmless.
The consequences are deadly: According to recent estimates over 200,000 people die every year of asbestos-related diseases. This makes asbestos the most common occupational cause of death. More people die each year from asbestos than in armed conflicts.
We demand: Toxic substances must be declared
From June 6–17, the 10th conference of the parties (COP 10) is being held in Geneva. Together with our partner organisations we want to use this platform to call on all Parties to the Rotterdam Convention to:
List onto Annex III of the Convention, all CRC recommended hazardous chemicals and substances blocked until now
Redouble efforts to improve the effectiveness of this important Convention
Implement the right to know for all Parties to the Convention and respect the scientific recommendations by the CRC
We are dealing with a ticking time bomb. Any waiting will continue to lead to untold suffering, which would be avoidable with little effort.
We demand: All hazardous chemicals and pesticides must be listed in the Rotterdam Convention!
In focus: demand for worldwide ban
Read all about asbestos in our current issue of Solidarity magazine and find out why the building material kills and why it should be banned worldwide. Read also our open letter to the delegates of the 10th COP of the Rotterdam Convention.
Every year, over 220,000 people die worldwide from the effects of asbestos. In partnership with a global network of activists and trade unions, Solidar Suisse is fighting for a worldwide ban on asbestos.