Recommendation 6.14: Toxic chemicals

6th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties
Brisbane, Australia
19-27 March 1996

1. AWARE that adverse impacts of pesticides and other toxic chemicals can threaten the survival of populations dependent upon wetlands, including populations of many bird species, amphibians, reptiles, fish and mammals, through a multitude of lethal and sub-lethal impacts;

2. CONCERNED that some synthetic chemical substances regularly released into the environment have the ability to cause interference with the endocrine systems of wildlife and humans;

3. NOTING the growing global concern regarding the effects of toxic chemicals on the environment;

4. FURTHER NOTING the international consensus on the need for international action on certain organic pollutants; and

5. RECOGNIZING the important risk reduction activities recommended by Agenda 21 such as toxic chemical inventories (Pollutant Release & Transfer Registers - PRTRs) and pesticide reduction, and recent international organization guidelines on their implementation;


6. CALLS on Contracting Parties to recognize that the adverse impact of toxic substances compromises the ecological character of wetlands and that these threats to ecological character are incompatible with the wise use concept;

7. REQUESTS the Bureau to invite appropriate international organizations to accelerate work programmes aimed at collating scientific studies and developing assessment protocols that will further an understanding of endocrine system disruptors;

8. FURTHER REQUESTS the Scientific and Technical Review Panel to report to the 7th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties on the status of the issue of toxic chemicals as they relate to wetlands;

9. URGES Contracting Parties to provide information in their National Reports to the Convention on their efforts to remedy and to prevent pollution impacts affecting Ramsar sites and other wetlands; and

10. RECOMMENDS that Contracting Parties recognize the importance of the communities’ right to know with respect to hazardous and bioaccumulative chemicals, including pollutant release and transfer registers (PRTRs).

Background paper by the late Barbara Rutherford, WWF, Themes for the Future, Ramsar COP6 (1996)

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