Pesticide free towns – Belgium on the move

Yesterday, Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN Europe) has together with Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), Velt, Inter-Environment Bruxelles, Greenpeace Belgium, Inter-Environnement Wallonie, Natagora, Adalia, Pôle de Gestion Differenciée and Apis bruoc Sella from all three regions of Belgium, has organised the first ever conference on pesticide free towns, assisting towns on the move.

Pesticides are not only used to produce food but also in places where people live and work including: in parks, schools, playgrounds, on sidewalks, sport clubs, cemeteries etc. Thus, people, including young children, babies and even pets are exposed to these toxic chemicals during their daily activities against their will.  

In recent years, a positive movement regarding pesticide use in towns is happening, as more and more member states are deciding to make public areas pesticides free, including all three Belgium regions (Flanders, Wallonia and the Region of Brussels), France and Netherlands, following the objective which was set already 20 years ago in Denmark.

PAN Europe welcomes this development which we are following very closely [1] and as we are Brussels based we have found it completely logical to contribute to this years organic week [2] by organising jointly with a number of Belgium NGOs [3] the first ever high-level symposium on ‘pesticide free town – Belgium on the move’, allowing exchanges of experiences between the different Belgium regions, but also sharing experience with France and the Netherlands.

Around 100 participants, mainly political and administrative representatives from Belgium towns and municipalities, took part in today’s event held in IBGE in Brussels, presenting front running towns and municipalities giving a special emphasis to more technical matter on a topic that keeps on coming back in the debate: alternatives ways of fighting invasive species in areas where pesticides no longer can be used. [4]

Rien Klippel, Waterschap Zeeland, Netherlands: ‘Belgium towns could help solving the Dutch problems: When pesticide use in Belgium goes down, it will be easier in the Netherlands to overcome its drinking water problems’

Peter Defranceschi, Head of ICLEI Brussels Office adds: ‘It's impressive how committed national and local governments and citizens are to pesticides free transformation. From a small Italian municipality where most of the inhabitants voted against pesticides on health grounds to the 'Bee Plan' in Genk to national targets, the pesticide free movement is visibly growing in Europe.

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Further information

  1. An overview of progress on pesticides free towns in Belgium, France, and Denmark.
  2. http://www.apaqw.be/Semaine-Bio/Qui-Quoi.aspx?Qui=122
  3. The other NGOs are: Velt, Inter-Environment Bruxelles, Greenpeace Belgium, Inter-Environnement Wallonie, Natagora, Adalia, Pole de Gestion Differenciée, Apis bruoc Sella and Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI).
  4. All presentations are available here

For further information please contact:

Henriette Christensen, PAN Europe, tel: +32 473 37 56 71, or
Francois Veillerette, PAN Europe, + 33 681 64 65 58

Language specific information can be found on:

English  www.pesticide-free-towns.info
Flemish/Netherlands www.gifvrije-gemeenten.info
French  www.communes-sans-pesticide.info

Note to editor: PAN Europe is a network of NGOs working to minimise negative effects and replace the use of hazardous chemicals with ecologically sound alternatives. We work to eliminate dependency on chemical pesticides and to support safe sustainable pest control methods. Our network brings together 35 consumer, public health, and environmental organisations, and women's groups from across Europe.

© PAN Europe, Rue de la Pacification 67, 1000, Brussels, Belgium, Tel. +32 2 318 62 55

PAN Europe gratefully acknowledges the financial support from the European Union, European Commission, DG Environment, Life+ programme. Sole responsibility for this publication lies with the authors and the funders are not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.