Pesticides are inherently hazardous, and among them, a relatively small number of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) cause disproportionate harm to the environment and human health including severe environmental hazards, high acute and chronic toxicity.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) code of conduct (FAO and WHO in 2013) and the Guidelines on Highly Hazardous Pesticides (FAO and WHO 2016) adopted the following definition:
“Highly Hazardous Pesticides means pesticides that are acknowledged to present particularly high levels of acute or chronic hazards to health or environment according to internationally accepted classification systems such as WHO or Global Harmonized System (GHS) or their listing in relevant binding international agreements or conventions. In addition, pesticides that appear to cause severe or irreversible harm to health or the environment under conditions of use in a country may be considered to be and treated as highly hazardous”.
Many stakeholders have called for action, guidance and support to address HHPs. These stakeholder groups include regulatory authorities, agricultural extension and public health advisory services, health services and poison control centres, farmers and farmer associations, trade unions and agricultural workers’ organizations, private sector, civil society. Since then, there have been some initiatives to address HHPs by various stakeholder groups including Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), academia, the private sector and Governments, which in some cases have collaborated regionally through their respective Regional Economic Communities (RECs). The common goal of all these efforts is to eliminate the short and long-term health and environment impacts of HHPs.In 2015, SAICM Fourth International Conference of Chemicals Management (ICCM4) adopted a resolution that recognizes HHPs as an issue of international concern and calls for concerted action to address HHPs.