The Rotterdam Convention

As more and more industrial chemicals and pesticides enter into the world market each year, many countries, especially developing countries, find it increasingly difficult to determine which of these substances are safe to use under the specific environmental, regulatory and cultural conditions in that particular country. 

There is often a lack of capacity to manage chemicals safely and workers can often be untrained in the proper use and disposal of dangerous chemicals. 


The Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent (PIC) (herein called the ‘Convention’) was established to allow countries to monitor and control the trade and use of certain hazardous chemicals. It puts in place a process where countries that are importing certain dangerous chemicals can refuse them or set out conditions that the imported chemicals must meet.

icon representing Rotterdam ConventionThe basic principle of the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent (PIC) is that the export of a banned or severely restricted chemical which is included in Annex III to the Convention can only take place with prior informed consent (PIC) of the importing party.



The aim of the Convention is to:

  • Promote shared responsibility and cooperative efforts in the international trade of certain hazardous chemicals in order to protect human health and the environment from potential harm;
  • Contribute to the environmentally sound use of those hazardous chemicals, by facilitating information exchange about their characteristics, by providing for a national decision-making process on their import and export and by disseminating these decisions to Parties.

The Convention creates legally binding obligations for the implementation of the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure and entered into force on the 24th February 2004.

The Convention is implemented within the European Community by Regulation (EU) No 649/2012, as amended concerning the export and import of dangerous chemicals.

Parties to the Convention

Countries that are ‘Party to the Convention’ are those which have consented to be bound to the Rotterdam Convention.  ‘Other’ countries are countries which are not Parties to the Convention.  Ireland is a Party to the Convention, having acceded to it on 10th June 2005.

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