The "Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade" (PIC), adopted in September of 1998, is a multilateral environmental agreement intended to protect human health and the environment from potential harm from certain chemicals and pesticides by providing governments with the advance information they need to assess the risk of importing them.
The Convention is a mechanism to supply importing Parties with the information to make educated decisions on which chemicals they wish to accept, and to prohibit those chemicals that they cannot manage safely. The labeling and information distribution requirements for international trade provided for these chemicals and pesticides provide a safer environment with their proper use.
The need for PIC arose because of the dramatic growth in international production and trade in chemicals over the last three decades. Countries, especially developing countries and economies in transition, were at risk for potential harm to the health of both humans and the environment.
The Convention entered into force on February 24, 2004. The "Conferences of the Parties (COP)" have been held in September 2004 in Geneva, September 2005 in Rome and in October 2006 in Geneva.
The U.S. signed the PIC Convention in 1998, but has yet to ratify because we currently lack the authority to implement all of its provisions.