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The role and importance of national and regional Highly Hazardous Pesticides strategies

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The role and importance of national and regional Highly Hazardous Pesticides strategies

The SAICM Secretariat, in partnership with the University of Cape Town, established a community of practice on Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) to foster discussions, exchange of best practices, and recommendations to address HHPs amongst relevant stakeholders. This is a summary of the discussion on The role and importance of national and regional Highly Hazardous Pesticides strategies, which took place on 18 May 2022.

Presenters: Fredrick Otieno (CEJAD), Mark Davis (FAO)

The need for action on highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs) has received attention in various international forums, including the governing bodies of FAO and WHO, the stakeholders of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM)-which include FAO, UNEP and WHO- as well as through some of the activities undertaken under the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. The FAO/WHO code of conduct on Pesticides Management (2014) calls for actions to address HHPs, particularly in articles 3.6, 6.1.1, 7.5 and 9.4.1. Furthermore, the FAO/WHO guidelines on HHPs (2016) offer guidance to national and regional pesticide regulators on how to address HHPs. A strategy to address HHPs in the context of SAICM was also developed and adopted by SAICM.

While HHPs’ risk reduction requires a multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral approach, the primary responsibility of pesticide risk reduction lies with lawmakers, i.e., national, and regional pesticide regulators. These institutions are the ones responsible for making decisions on whether a HHP should be used in a country or region. At the national level, most countries, particularly low- and middle-income countries are faced with several challenges in managing risks posed by pesticides. These challenges include: risks’ assessments; post-registration surveillance and monitoring of pesticides use; pesticide policies and legislations; information sharing and awareness; competing interests of different stakeholders; limited resources; compliance and enforcement, etc. These challenges also extend at the regional level due to the increased intra and extra trade among regional bodies. Many countries are harmonizing their pesticide legislations, policies, and pesticide registration schemes to remain competitive in the international market, improve trade and protect their population and the environment. The challenges of pesticides’ risks management thus call for good strategies at national and regional levels to reduce the risks posed by HHPs and to protect people’s health and the environment.