Commitments in new chemicals framework should catalyze strong global action on pesticides
2 October 2023
Pesticide Action Network (PAN) International welcomes significant commitments towards the phase-out of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) in agriculture adopted by governments, the private sector, and other stakeholders at the Fifth International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM5), as well as the establishment of a Global Alliance on HHPs.
On 30 September, the ICCM5 adopted the Global Framework on Chemicals: For a planet free of harm from chemicals and waste, which set forth the direction of global policy on chemicals and waste, including pesticides. Represented by regional centres from Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America, Europe, and North America, PAN went into the negotiations with strong proposals so that by 2030, the world’s most dangerous pesticides would have been phased out of agriculture and exports of pesticides banned nationally would have been prohibited.
At its conclusion, the ICCM5 adopted the following targets:
- “By 2035, stakeholders have taken effective measures to phase out highly hazardous pesticides in agriculture where the risks have not been managed and where safer and affordable alternatives are available; and to promote transition to and make available those alternatives.” (Target A7)
- “By 2030, Governments work towards notifying or regulating or prohibiting the export of chemicals they have prohibited nationally, in line with their international obligations.” (Target A5)
While stakeholders have worked hard during the intersessional process and here in Bonn, the outcome of ICCM5, we believe, does not show the urgency, ambition, and commitment required to address the growing threat by chemical and waste pollution and the increasing need to prevent pollution and to eliminate harm to people and the environment.
We nonetheless recognize that progress has been made, including relating to pesticides – the group of chemicals most widely and intentionally released into the environment worldwide, and directly handled by hundreds of millions of farmers and workers – many of whom have no access to sufficient information and limited or no ability to sufficiently protect themselves or their families from pesticide harm.
We welcome the commitments made by governments to support safer and more sustainable agricultural practices, including agroecology:
- “By 2030, Governments implement policies and programmes to increase support to safer and more sustainable agricultural practices, including agroecology, integrated pest management and the use of non-chemical alternatives, as appropriate.” (Target D5)
Furthermore, we express optimism that the establishment of a Global Alliance on HHPs can build momentum towards the phase-out of HHPs. The Global Alliance on HHPs–a proposal by the African Region and strongly supported by PAN– is mandated to mobilize and coordinate action on HHPs and is to be coordinated by the FAO as the leading agency, along with WHO, ILO and UNEP.
In a letter delivered to ICCM5 President Dr. Anita Breyer, nearly 400 civil society organizations from 74 countries called for strong commitments to phase out HHPs and end double standards in pesticides trade. We regret that our demands were only partially achieved, underscoring that more work needs to be done to ensure that strong actions are taken urgently to address pesticide harms.
While imperfect, commitments made under the new framework are nonetheless significant and should catalyze action for global reforms on pesticide policy. Only when we choose to prioritize the protection and well-being of people and the planet over the interests of profit can we hope to achieve our vision of a planet free of harm from pesticides.
Tadesse Amera, Co-Coordinator, PAN International: email@example.com
Maïmouna Diene, Chair, PAN International; Director, PAN Africa: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarojeni Rengam, Executive Director, PAN Asia Pacific (PAN AP): email@example.com
Susan Haffmans, Senior Advisor, PAN Germany: firstname.lastname@example.org
Maria Isabel Carcamo, Coordinator RAPAL Uruguay: email@example.com