Wednesday, 22 June 2011

What is Brazil's position on Asbestos?

This week, Brazil, the third largest producer and exporter of asbestos in the world, participates again in the Conference of the Parties of the Rotterdam Convention with a big delegation (8 or 9 members) without anything NEW to say so far.

Russia is the largest producer and exporter in the world, but it has not the right to give its opinion in the meeting, as it has not ratified the convention. Brazil is in second place among the countries present and parties of the conference, only after China as producer and Kazakhstan as exporter. Due to this fact, Brazil has a higher status in this conference and its position should therefore influence the decision of the other 142 countries.

However, the Brazilian taxpayers’ money is financing the bureaucrats delegation tour, led by the Ministry of Foreign Relations, just to say that there is no consensus in the country on wether or not to list asbestos in the PIC list.

This old story is being repeated in 3 consecutive meetings (each one is held at each 2 years), and only 2 Brazilian ministries are against such inclusion: Mines and Energy, and Development, Industry and Trade.

The first question here is: if it is to repeat this mantra for the third time, why the delegation consists of 8-9 members, when only one officer could do the task?

According to UN rules, civil society has to have a say in preparation. It is interesting to note that the civil society organizations in Brazil were not invited or heard by the Ministry of Foreign Relations in the previous meeting held by the Brazilian Government in May 2011.

With all these characteristics, is or is not Brazil a strong candidate to the Cancer Culprit award?

To know more about the award, see

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