OVERVIEW OF THE CONVENTION
The growth in chemical materials trade over the past three decades and the hazards caused by these materials raised the concerns from the use of industrial chemical materials and pesticides especially in developing countries that have limited ability to ensure proper use of chemical materials.
The voluntary procedures on the distribution and use of pesticides was promoted by FAO in 1983. UNEP in collaboration with other organizations prepared London Guidelines on the exchange of information on chemical materials in international trade in 1987.
After detailed discussions by the two organizations, the two international documents were amended to include prior informed consent procedure – PIC in 1989. The Program, at which UNEP and FAO took part in its implementation , secured providing governments with the information needed about hazardous chemical materials so that they can take proper decisions to control them.
The convention was drafted in 1998 and came into force on 24 February 2004. The UNEP and FAO act as the Secretariat of the Convention.
The convention is the first defence line against any future problem as it bans the undesired import of hazardous chemical materials in the developing countries. The convention will enable proper monitoring and control in hazardous chemical materials by spreading important information on the effect of these materials on health and environment. This will enhance the safe use of these materials. The convention includes 53 articles and appendixes. Copies of the convention are available at the Ministry.
Based on the convention, export of chemical materials should be according to a prior approval by the importing countries. The procedure comes in a bid to share responsibility between the exporting and importing countries.
As per the provision of article 14 of the Convention Each Party shall, as appropriate and in accordance with the objective of this Convention, facilitate the exchange of scientific, technical, economic and legal information concerning the chemicals within the scope of this Convention,including toxicological, ecotoxicological and safety information;
The provision of publicly available information on domestic regulatory actions relevant to the objectives of this Convention; and the provision of information to other Parties, directly or through the Secretariat, on domestic regulatory actions that substantially restrict one or more uses of the chemical, as appropriate.
The Sultanate joined the Convention vide the Royal Decree No 81/99 issued on 25/10/1999.
There are certain measures of high importance that should be taken by countries that seek to ensure effective implementation of the convention. These measures include enhancing the national infrastructure and institutions. The Conventions represents the minimum requirements that should be met as well as the national legislations that should serve the purpose of the convention.
In the Sultanate, the Regulation on the handling and use of chemical materials issued by the Royal Decree 46/95 provided the basics for proper handling of chemicals. To this end, national Record and Database has been established in addition to chemical materials safety factsheet.