Members of the Environment Committee (ENVI) adopted yesterday an own initiative report on the implementation of the EU Directive on the Sustainable Use of Pesticides. While the report does contain some interesting recommendations, it falls short in one essential way: defining what Integrated Pest Management really is and providing concrete proposals on ways forward!
Members of the Environment Committee of the European Parliament adopted yesterday an own initiative report on the implementation of Directive on the Sustainable use of Pesticides (SUDP) (1). This report is expected to go to a plenary vote in March 2019.
The report was meant to be a reaction to a report prepared by the European Commission last year (2). The European Commission report concludes: "Integrated Pest Management is a cornerstone of the Directive, and it is therefore of particular concern that Member States have not yet set clear targets and ensured their implementation, including for the more widespread use of land management techniques such as crop rotation".
While a few of the amendments adopted yesterday have helped to clarify the way forward, for instance: ‘promoting the development of alternative procedures or techniques to reduce dependence on conventional pesticides and to deal with the rising threads of resistances to conventional plant protection products’, the report as adopted falls short in giving concrete proposals on how to integrate the SUDP and the concept of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) into EU’s best-funded policy, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
PAN Europe, BeeLife and Arche Noah regret that the report lacks details proposals on how to integrate the SUDP, especially the concept of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) into the CAP. The timing would have been right as not only is the CAP in the process of being reformed, but a number of reform proposals contain key ideas on how to promote Integrated Pest Management.
Henriette Christensen (PAN Europe) points the finger at how the CAP strategic plan being discussed is integrating the idea of mandatory crop rotation for arable farmers as part of the reinforced conditionality. She adds that also the SUDP is being proposed to be added to the statutory mandatory requirements while pesticide use is proposed as one of the 28 result indicators. She calls for that these aspects are being reinforced during the negotiations in Council and the European Parliament.
Gonçalo Macedo (Arche Noah) highlights that discussion on new resilient wine varieties as being proposed as part of the reform of the Common Market Organisation on wine is another aspect which can help to reduce farmers’ dependency on fungicides.
BeeLife recalls that the European Commission has recently introduced a partial ban on certain neonicotinoids and that the implementation of the Directive on the Sustainable Use of Pesticides is not optional! Francesco Panella president of BeeLife urges the EU Member States to start stopping unjustified derogations to this ban and highlights that it is unacceptable that first pillar payments are offered to those member states who keep using banned neonicotinoids. (3) (4)
The three organisations jointly call for the Members of the European Parliament to reinforce the links between the SUD and the CAP in the own initiative report when voted in plenary in the month of March 2019.
- ARCHE NOAH: ARCHE NOAH (Noah’s Ark) is a seed savers’ association based in Central Europe. With over 17.000 members and supporters, we have over 25 years’ experience in the conservation, development and promotion of crop diversity. In our offices in Vienna and Brussels, we work for policies that support a more biodiverse, sustainable agriculture. www.arche-noah.at Contact us: goncalo.macedo [at] arche-noah.at + 32 (0) 497 068 396
- BeeLife: BeeLife European Beekeeping Coordination is an association formed by professionals of the beekeeping sector from different countries of the European Union. Its main activity is the study of the impact on bees of environmental threats such as pesticides, climate change or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). BeeLife works for the protection of bees and biodiversity through its network of over 20 beekeeping associations from several countries of the EU. www.bee-life.eu Contact us: Andrés SALAZAR comms [at] bee-life.eu
- PAN EUROPE: Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN Europe) was founded in 1987 and brings together 42 consumer, public health, environmental organisations, and women's groups from across Europe. PAN Europe is part of the global network PAN International working to minimise the negative effects and replace the use of harmful pesticides with ecologically sound alternatives. www.pan-europe.info Contact us: henriette [at] pan-europe.info + 32 2 318 62 55
(1) Draft REPORT on the implementation of Directive 2009/128/EC on the sustainable use of pesticides (ENVI_PR(2018)618102) and amendments are available here.
(2) REPORT FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL On Member State National Action Plans and on progress in the implementation of Directive 2009/128/EC on the sustainable use of pesticides (COM(2017) 587 final).
(3) The problem of the lacking IPM implementation and an example of un-justified derogation is explained well in the SUD overview report done by the European Commission, here saying: ‘Member States have not converted the IPM principles into prescriptive and assessable criteria. They see IPM mainly as an education tool for farmers, and have no methods in place to assess compliance with IPM principles. While Member States take a range of measures to promote the use of IPM, this does not necessarily ensure that the relevant IPM techniques are actually implemented by users. Farmers are economic operators, and while IPM techniques are sustainable from a long-term perspective, IPM can mean a higher economic risk in the short- term. For example, it may be seen as preferable to grow maize or wheat in monoculture for economic reasons. However, this short term approach to land management comes at considerable risk of longer term cost, for example due to increasing populations of pests or weeds in monoculture. Ultimately, monoculture can cause loss of biodiversity, soil erosion and even desertification. As an example of a short-term approach, Romania granted emergency authorisations for using neonicotinoids as seed treatment in an undefined area of maize, without investigating the potential of crop rotation as an alternative.’ The Commission warned Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Lithuania about their neonicotinoids use.
(4) For an overview of Member States applying derogations see PAN Europe’s Report “Bee Emergency Call”.