Pesticide Action Network International Intervention on Sustainable Development Goals

Pesticide Action Network International is a global network with 600 citizens groups working towards eliminating the impact of highly hazardous pesticides and advancing food production with agroecology.

We face a multitude of problems which are now compounded by the severity of the ecological crisis, acknowledged by the UN and many experts. A contributing factor to this crisis is the current agricultural practices of monocultural production that encourages the overuse of fertilizers and highly hazardous pesticides which reduce biodiversity and soil fertility, contaminate the environment and adversely impact human health.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognize the need for sustainable food production and resilient agricultural practices in reducing hunger. Targets under goal 2 include ensuring genetic diversity of seeds and other genetic resources. This new goal and associated targets clearly puts as a priority the needs for more ecological solutions for food production that protects biodiversity and increases productivity. Moreover, consumer demand and support for such safe ecologically-produced food is also increasing in both developed and developing countries providing impetus for farmers to produce food ecologically. In 2013 the UN Special Rapporteur on Right to Food, Olivier de Schutter emphasized that “agroecological methods have been shown to improve food production and farmers’ incomes, while at the same time protecting the soil, water, and climate” as well as to protect the “right to food” of the most marginalised groups.

In reality, we already have millions of women and men farmers in all countries already practicing sustainable agroecological farming, showing that it is possible to reduce pesticide use, increases yields and profit, and to improve food security/ sovereignty, farmer health, biodiversity and resilience to climate change. However despite their proven success, these methods are still not the norm for agricultural production. The challenge for the global community is to magnify their efforts and mainstream these proven sustainable production methods. We also like to suggest the need for an indicator on the number of countries that have taken action to identify and replace HHPs.

We believe the importance of SAICM contributions to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal #2 Target 4 on sustainable food production systems and resilient agricultural practices lies in the need to have concerted work to progressively phase out the highly hazardous pesticides and advance agroecological food production. Tonight PAN is releasing its new book on “Replacing HHPs with Agroecology” which we believe will assist countries to meet Goal 2, to “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”. Further we believe that meeting this goal would be greatly facilitated by this conference taking concrete steps to assist countries to phase out HHPs and replace them with safer alternatives particularly agroecological practices.