Key decisions regarding pesticides at the Conferences of Parties of the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions

Contributed by Melanie Bateman, CABI Switzerland

Key decisions regarding pesticides were made at the Conferences of Parties of the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions. Picture taken by BRS MEAS

Key decisions regarding pesticides were made at the Conferences of Parties of the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions. Picture taken by BRS MEAS

In May, the Conferences of Parties of the Rotterdam, Basel and Stockholm Conventions (Triple COPs) met in Geneva, Switzerland. These are the three major international conventions dealing with chemicals and hazardous waste at a global level, and one thing that they do is to list chemicals which the international community has found to pose a serious risk of harm to human health and the environment. Prior to this year’s COPs, hazardous pesticides already featured prominently in the lists of the Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions, and the COPs in May considered the inclusion of additional pesticides in the lists of these two Conventions.

What chemicals are listed in the Annexes of the Stockholm Convention?
The annexes of the Stockhom Convention list chemicals which are persistent organic pollutants (POPs). These are chemicals that remain intact in the environment for long periods, become widely distributed geographically, accumulate in the fatty tissue of humans and wildlife, and have harmful impacts on human health or on the environment. The 178 countries that are members of the Stockholm Convention have committed to eliminating most POPs from the environment, and therefore must take measures in this regard for the POPs listed in the Stockholm Convention Annexes.

At the meeting in May, the Stockholm Convention COP agreed to add the pesticide/disinfectant pentachlorophenol and its salts and esters to its list of POPs.

What chemicals are listed in Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention?
Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention lists hazardous chemicals which its 154 member countries should only trade with a countries’ prior informed consent. Annex III chemicals have been banned or severely restricted for health or environmental reasons by two or more member countries and the Rotterdam COP has decided to subject the chemical to the prior informed consent procedure. Annex III lists pesticides by active ingredient, e.g. azinphos-methyl, and it also lists specific “severely hazardous pesticide formulations”, e.g. dustable powder formulations containing a combination of benomyl at or above 7%, carbofuran at or above 10% and thiram at or above 15%. Severely hazardous pesticide formulations are proposed for inclusion in the Rotterdam list by developing countries or countries with economies in transition and they are pesticide formulations that the countries have found to produce severe health or environmental effects under the conditions of use in their country, e.g. where safety equipment is not readily available.

At the meeting in May, the Conference of Parties of the Rotterdam Convention considered adding methamidophos and trichlorfon as well as severely hazardous formulations of fenthion and paraquat dichloride to Annex III of the Convention. In the end, only methamidophos was added. (Previously, severely hazardous formulations of soluble liquid methamidophos that exceed 600 g active ingredient/l were already listed in the Rotterdam Convention. Now the active ingredient is listed without reference to specific formulations.)

For those pesticides where consensus could not be reached for listing (trichlorfon and the formulations of paraquat and fenthion), Clayton Campanhola, FAO Executive Secretary of the Rotterdam Convention, commented that “hazardous pesticides are not helping countries to produce more food with less, on the contrary: if badly managed, they cause negative impacts on natural resources and the health of rural communities and consumers.”

What next?
As indicated above, listing a pesticide in the Annexes of either Convention implies action. The inclusion of a chemicals in the annexes of the Stockholm or Rotterdam Conventions can prompt policy makers in governments to take further steps such as updating the list of pesticides registered for use in the country. Likewise, Plantwise has updated its own Pesticide Red List – http://www.plantwise.org/pesticide-restrictions. Per Plantwise policy, plant doctors should not recommend the use of chemicals on the Plantwise Pesticide Red List.

For more information on the outcomes of the Triple COPs, visit the BRS Synergies website.

Honduras- Jornada de salud de plantas en Belén, Ocotepeque

Jaime Guerrero, Doctor de plantas, dando el mensaje a productores

Jaime Guerrero, Doctor de plantas, dando el mensaje a productores (Carlos Barrera, SENASA Honduras)

Texto escribido por Carlos Barrera, Coordinador de distrito y Doctor de plantas (SENASA Honduras).

English summary follows

La organización ALDEAS GLOBALES, en el municipio de Belén, Ocotepeque, está apoyando en coordinación con el Servicio Nacional de Sanidad Agropecuaria (SENASA)  y el Centro Internacional de Bio ciencias Agrícolas (CABI), la iniciativa PLANTWISE, atendiendo la Clínica para plantas, la cual es atendida por los doctores para plantas Jeremías Vásquez y Jaime Guerrero.

Aldeas Globales, da asesoría Técnica y en mercadeo, a la Asociación de Productores de Celaque (APROCEL), entre los diferentes cultivos que los miembros de APROCEL están cultivando, es el de la lechuga, dicha producción va dirigida los principales supermercados del país, por lo tanto el producto debe de tener altos estándares de calidad, para que el mismo sea aceptado.

Tomando en cuenta lo anterior y considerando que la plaga de la babosa en el cultivo de lechuga, está afectando a los productores, la Clinica para Plantas de Aldeas Globales decidió realizar una jornada de salud de plantas en la plaza principal del municipio en el día 7 de junio, donde los días domingos vienen los productores de todas las aldeas a comercializar sus productos, ahí llegan productores de APROCEL, como también no asociados a la misma,  el tema que se abordo fue “La Babosa en el Cultivo de Lechuga”.

Se elaboró una hoja técnica sobre el tema y se les dio el mensaje y entrego mini hojas técnicas con las medidas de control de la plaga a unas 120 personas, las cuales se mostraron muy interesados de conocer sobre el tema, al consultarles sobre que otro tema les gustaría conocer la mayoría respondió sobre el Gusano Cogollero en Maíz, por lo que se programó otra jornada sobre este tema para el día 2 de agosto.

On Sunday 7th of June, in Belén (Ocotepeque), Carlos Barrera, Jeremías Vásquez and Jaime Guerrero, three plant doctors associated with SENASA and Aldea Global in Honduras, took advantage that every Sundays producers from all surrounding villages come to market their products in the main square of the town to run a Plant health rally. The plant doctors have developed a technical factsheet on how to control slugs in lettuce crop, an important cash crop of the region, and gave mini technical factsheets providing control measures of the pest to 120 persons during the day. The producers were really interested and the majority of them asked if it was possible to have more information on other pests such as the armyworm (Spodoptera sp.) attacking maize crop. Thus, responding to farmer’s needs, another Plant health rally has been scheduled for the 2nd of August to provide information and recommendations on how to control the armyworm.

Update: New Pest & Disease Records (10 Jun 15)

Panama wilt has been isolated from Dwarf Cavendish bananas in Pakistan © David Jones

Panama wilt has been isolated from Dwarf Cavendish bananas in Pakistan © D. Jones

We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this fortnight include the first report of Panama wilt disease of banana caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense in Pakistan, the first report of dieback of olive trees caused by Neofusicoccum australe in Tunisia and the first report of Pestalotiopsis menezesiana causing leaf blight of coconut in Hainan, China. 

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How global hunger distribution has changed over the last 25 years #datavis

The FAO has published its annual report on global hunger statistics. The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015 declares that the number of hungry people in the world has dropped to 795 million – 216 million fewer than in 1990-92, despite a global population increase of 1.9 billion people. The full report can be accessed here: The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015

The FAO report's chart showing the changing distribution of hunger in the world.

The FAO report’s graphic showing the changing distribution of hunger in the world, 1990-92 and 2014-16, using pie charts

The report has many statistics and charts that support the key messages. Many of the charts give a good visualisation of the numbers. However, I noticed a couple of pie charts that didn’t make it particularly easy to identify the differences between regions (image on the right).

Below is a slopegraph that depicts the change in the regional distribution of hunger between 1990-92 and 2014-16. This makes it a lot easier to compare the change, rather than the viewer having to compare between two pie charts.

Immediately, differences between regions start to jump out at you. Eastern and South-Eastern Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean have reduced hunger and achieved the Millennium Development Goal 1c target (“Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger”). Southern Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa now account for larger shares of global undernourishment, with numbers of undernourished having only slightly reduced in Southern Asia, and having increased in Sub-Saharan Africa, since 1990-92. All of the in-depth data and analyses can be found in the report: The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015

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For better plant health in Africa: New strategy receives thumbs up

This week in Douala, Cameroon, the General Assembly of the African Union’s InterAfrican Phytosanitary Council (IAPSC) gave the thumbs up to IAPSC’s new strategic plan. IAPSC Director Dr Jean Gerard Mezui M’Ella thanked all the organisation’s partners who had assisted in the preparation of the plan, especially FAO’s Regional Office for Africa for funding the work. Titled “For Better Plant Health in Africa” [pdf], the plan identifies four key impact areas, and names a number of partners, including CABI, whose support will be important in its operationalization.

Following on from earlier discussions with IAPSC, CABI Africa’s Roger Day made a presentation on “A Plant Health Management System (PHIS) for IASPC”, corresponding to output 2.3 of the strategy. The ideas were well received by the General Assembly, which immediately appointed a small task force to develop a proposal as a basis for mobilising resources. The General Assembly also adopted a resolution saying it “Welcomes the cooperation between CABI and IASPC on Plant Health Information Systems, and urges them to develop further the ideas for putting in place an effective PHIS, and calls upon international partners to avail financial and technical resources for implementing such an important project”.

For further information contact IAPSC (au-cpi@au-appo.org) or CABI (Africa@cabi.org).

Science Fair at the Triple COPs emphasizes the scientific basis of the major chemical conventions

Contributed by Melanie Bateman, CABI Switzerland

Dozens of events, hundreds of partners, and thousands of conversations: the Science Fair at the Triple COPs (Conferences of Parties of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions) underlined the scientific basis for the three major international conventions dealing with chemicals and hazardous waste at a global level.

One speaker at the pesticides booth spoke about growing coffee without endosulfan. Picture taken by BRS MEAs

One speaker at the pesticides booth spoke about growing coffee without endosulfan. Picture taken by BRS MEAs

MAS-ICM student volunteers at the Science Fair along with delegates to the Triple COPs. Picture taken by BRS MEAs

MAS-ICM student volunteers at the Science Fair along with delegates to the Triple COPs. Picture taken by BRS MEAs

Update: Plant Health News (03 Jun 15)

Coffee is one of the crops that is vulnerable to the effects of climate change © Neil Palmer (CIAT)

Coffee is one of the crops that is vulnerable to the effects of climate change © Neil Palmer (CIAT)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the use of maize to protect Colombian coffee from the effects of climate change, floods affecting rice in Kabuye, Rwanda and the role of urban farms in the fight for food security in Kenya.

Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news!
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