India is remaining silent on the listing of endosulfan under the Rotterdam Convention at the fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties which opened in Geneva on Monday.

The Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade requires exporting countries of listed chemicals to provide the importing countries with data on effects of the pesticide in advance so that the importing country could opt to reject or prohibit the imports.

The Convention agreed, in principle, to list endosulfan under the Convention. However, final decision had been delayed because Cuba would not agree to the listing unless decision included need for technical and financial assistance. An agreement might be worked out before the closure of the conference on Friday.

Meriel Watts, who is attending the Convention as representative of Pesticide Action Network (Asia-Pacific) said in an email message that the conference had already decided to list alachlor and aldicarb under the Convention.

India, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Vietnam and Sudan objected to listing of Chrysotile asbestos besides Zimbabwe and Russia which are non-members. So, a decision had been postponed until after discussion on how to deal with chemicals for which consensus could not be reached.

Later the conference formed a contact group to discuss the issue and attempted to work out a consensus on chrysotile asbestos.

In its opening statement at the Conference, India noted the importance of achieving Convention objectives within the framework of sustainable development. It called for development of alternatives to listed chemicals, and emphasized the importance of consensus-based decision-making, according to Earth Negotiations Bulletin published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development.

China called for consensus-based decision-making and a gradual approach in listing chemicals under the Convention, it said.

Opening the conference, President Noluzuko (Zukie) Gwayi expressed optimism that participants would use the conference to improve the effectiveness of the Convention. She noted that support for the attendance of all parties was not available because of the Convention’s extreme financial constraints.

Jim Willis, Joint Executive Secretary of the Basel, Stockholm, and Rotterdam conventions, highlighted the successes of the Rotterdam Convention, including listing 40 chemicals and establishing the Chemical Review Committee as a strong, science-based subsidiary body.