Below is an important statement from the Rotterdam Convention Alliance (ROCA). The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization congratulates ROCA and our colleagues in Geneva on their momentous efforts to secure India’s support to include Chrysotile (white) asbestos in the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) list.
“Members of the Rotterdam Convention Alliance, an alliance of more than 500 environmental, health and labour groups from across the globe, join the governments and parties to the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent in congratulating India for supporting the inclusion of Chrysotile (white) asbestos in Annex III (PIC list).
This is a major breakthrough in ending the deadlock over the inclusion of Chrysotile in the PIC list; chrysotile has twice before been recommended for inclusion by the Chemical Review Committee of the Convention and is now being considered for the 3rd time by delegates to the 5th Conference of the Parties (COP5). In the COP 3 and COP 4 India, along with a handful of other countries, had obstructed the inclusion of chrysotile under the pretext of inadequate health data. This entrenched position meant that the spirit and principle of the convention, which is based on consensus, was seriously undermined by a small minority more interested in defending the financial interests of a powerful industry than in protecting public health.
Yesterday, when Chrysotile came up for listing at the plenary session, opposition was raised by Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, India, Vietnam on the grounds of lack of data documenting the health risks of asbestos. This entrenched position was taken by a handful of countries despite an overwhelming appeal by African nations for their right to be informed of the hazards of chemicals in order protect their people from harm.
India’s change in position will have considerable influence in changing the opinion of the remaining dissenting countries and hopefully before the end of the day Chrysotile will be included on the PIC list by COP 5.”