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Chemicals & wastes

3 main international agreements protect the developing world from hazardous chemicals and waste:

Basel convention
Rotterdam convention
Stockholm convention

Basel convention- regulates exports/importsof hazardous wastes

  • before exporting waste, countries must apply in writing for permission from the importing country
  • hazardous wastes may not be exported to or imported from any country not party to the convention
  • hazardous wastes must be managed and disposed ofin an environmentally sound manner.

EU rules ban exports to non-OECD countries of all forms of hazardous waste intended for recovery and final disposal (Regulation 259/93).

Rotterdam convention - hazardous chemicals and pesticides can be exported only with the consent of the importing country. Other provisions:

  • sharing information on potentially hazardous chemicals ? e.g. exporting countries must notify all exports of domestically prohibited or severely restricted chemicals
  • labelling dangerous chemicals (convention lays down minimum requirements)
  • chemicals management assistance (technical and administrative) for developing countries
  • international code of conduct on distribution and use of pesticides - to reduce threats posed by agro-chemicals in developing countries.

EU rules in this field are even stricter (Regulation 304/2003).

Stockholm convention - aims to eliminate - persistent organic pollutants(pesticides)

Highly toxic, these chemicals persist in the environment and accumulate in most living organisms.

Mostly banned in OECD countries, some of the 12 chemicals covered by the convention are still used in the developing world. The agreement provides for technical and financial assistance to help developing countries eliminate existing stocks and develop appropriate alternatives.

Since 2003, the Commission has been financially supporting the World Bank's Africa stockpiles programme, which also aims to eliminate obsolete pesticides in Africa.


Last update: 17/02/2012 | Top