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Rotterdam Convention and Asbestos

Overcoming the blocking attitude of opposing countries with the objective of a functioning international chemical policy and a better protection of the environment and health in countries which use or produce asbestos


Countries: Germany, International
Donors: Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation, Building of Germany (BMUB)and the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA)
Issues: Chemicals & Health
Duration: 03/2014 - 12/2015

Since years, countries from the EECCA region and Zimbabwe, India and Vietnam block the listing of chrysotile Asbestos to the Rotterdam Convention (RC). This damages the health and environment of countless people not only in producing countries, but also in the importing countries.

Asbestos is responsible for more than half of all work-related cancers. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) more than 100,000 people die each year worldwide from asbestos-related diseases and the peak of new cases has not yet been reached. The estimated number of unreported cases is probably much higher as in many countries using or producing asbestos no state registry for asbestos-related disease or cancer registries exit. Asbestos is found in the project countries in many construction materials, such as insulation or roofing materials.

In the project countries there is no or only poor legal regulations and no neutral information on asbestos is available. In this countries governments, science, trade unions and industry propagate that asbestos is harmless as building material.

This project aims to contribute to the breakup the blocking opposing countries and to a listing of chrysotile asbestos to the RC, through awareness raising, information and political work in these states and a strong participation of environmental and health organizations at national level and within the Rotterdam Convention. To this end, WECF is working with NGOs in the opposing countries.

In frame of the 7th Conference of the Parties, COP 7, held in Geneva in May 2015 WECF / ROCA published a position paper to the Rotterdam Convention in English and in Russian and FAQs about Chrysotile and the Rotterdam Convention.

In the framework of COP 7 WECF/ROCA organized a Side Event about “Chrysotile Asbestos – Who pays the Bill?

The invitation can be found here in English and Russian.

The seventh meeting of the Basel-, Stockholm-, Rotterdam Convention, COP7, took place from 4th to 15th 2015 in Geneva. Here you can find a short foto report how NGOs had been active at the COP.

Read more: FAQs zu Chrysotile and the Rotterdam Convention

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