Sustainable Use of Pesticides, an EU Challenge: Very few Member States are engaging to reduce their use of pesticides

Brussels

Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN Europe) has sent today a letter to Commissioner Borg questioning Member States’ seriousness in implementing the Directive on Sustainable Use of pesticides, identifying a number of lacking points encouraging the European Commission to take further action, so that we can finally start reducing EU agriculture dependency on external inputs.

To celebrate the One year anniversary for the first and only stakeholder forum on sustainable use of pesticides organised by the European Commission DG Health and Consumers; PAN Europe has today- in close collaboration with our members- sent a letter to Commissioner Borg calling for clarification and asking the European Commission to take actions to ensure serious implementation of the Sustainable Use Directive (SUD).

Back in 2009, SUD (1) was approved aiming at reducing the risks and impacts of pesticide use on human health and the environment as well as  promoting the use of integrated pest management and alternative approaches or techniques such as non-chemical alternatives to pesticides. The national implementation consists of converting this directive into national law by 2011... The second step, in 2012, was developing National Action Plans (NAPs) fixing overall quantifiable objectives, targets and timetables and proposing specific actions.

A first evaluation that PAN Europe has been doing among the NAPs, currently available in English (2), shows that:

  • only one country, Denmark, has set overall quantifiable objective aiming at a 40% reduction in use from 2011 to 2015;
  • two member states have fixed sub-objectives, Czech Republic aiming at a 10% reduction in residues from domestic production from 2010 to 2020, while Lithuania aims at a 2 % reduction in overall MRLs levels from 2010 to 2017, and land use for organic to increase up to 2% between now and 2017;
  • none of the other NAPs in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Finland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary Malta, Spain, and the United Kingdom fix any quantifiable objective at all, even though the Directive is really clear on this point.

Francois Veillerettte, PAN Europe President: Of the many actions proposed, there only seems to be light improvements in Member States willingness to ensure less use of hazardous pesticides in public areas (parks playgrounds, sports area, etc…) and Member States seem little proactive in ensuring the needed change in agriculture. Even though it is clearly proven that there is a number of hidden costs linked to the use of pesticides – See PAN Europe Short Video on this topic-  there is still a long way to go to turn the SUD into something useful

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Further information

PANE's letter to Commissioner Borg: National Implementation of the Directive 2009/128/EC of 21 October 2009.

For background information on the proven benefits of delivering sustainable agricultural practices, see:

For further information please contact:

Henriette Christensen, henriette [at] pan-europe.info,Tel: 00-32-25033137

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