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The Role of Focal Points in Highly Hazardous Pesticides Management

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 of Focal Points in Highly Hazardous Pesticides Management, which took place on 27 July 2022.

Presenters: Nalini Sharma (SAICM Secretariat), Hans-Christian Stolzenberg (UBA), Andrea Rother (UCT)

One of the key roles of SAICM National Focal Points (NFPs) has been the communication on Strategic Approach matters with national and international stakeholders. This communication naturally encompasses matters linked to HHPs, like a strategy to address highly hazardous pesticides in the context of the Strategic Approach. ICCM 4 Resolution IV/3 on Highly hazardous pesticides highlights the role of SAICM stakeholders in addressing HHPs. In the past, the majority of SAICM NFPs have been considered to come from the environmental sector. The involvement of agriculture, health or labour has been less tangible.

Costa Rica is an example of integrating all relevant stakeholders, from agriculture to chemicals management coordination mechanism.- the Technical Secretariat on Chemical Substances (established by Executive Decree 33104). Recently, the Government agencies were engaged in the development of a joint ‘National HHP Action Plan’ in order to reduce the use andrisks associated with the use of pesticides (more information here). Ongoing discussions within the Strategic Approach and sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020 process provide an opportunity to ensure wider stakeholder engagement (i.e., from the agriculture sector) in the future framework as well as encourage integrated chemicals and waste management for issues like HHPs.

An information document has been prepared for the IP4 meeting (initially scheduled for 2020) “Promoting multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral participation – summary of known obstacles and possible incentives” (it will be available for IP4 meeting in Bucharest as SAICM/IP.4/INF/4/Rev.1). It proposes to review the roles of national and regional NFPs in the beyond 2020 instrument, including the possible guidelines for SAICM NFPs as set out in information document SAICM/IP.4/INF/7/Rev.1. It is therefore essential to learn what has worked well and where have shortcomings been found concerning the support of SAICM NFPs to addressing HHPs. IP4 meeting, to be held in Bucharest, Romania, between 29 August and 2 September 2022, creates an opportunity to support better anchoring of integrated chemicals and waste management in the future framework, including in the context of HHPs. During 2022-23, FAO, WHO and UNEP will continue exploring the modalities for international coordination and concerted actions on HHPs. A progress report on addressing HHPs with proposed concerted actions could be submitted to ICCM5 in autumn 2023. This will constitute another opportunity for the SAICM NFPs to get involved in communication with national and international stakeholders on HHPs.