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Lusophone African countries held talks on pesticides in Cabo Verde

Vegetables treatment in the INIDA experimental farm, Santiago Island (Photo: ©FAO/Antonio Palazuelos Prieto)
06/03/2017

Praia.- Experts from Cabo Verde, Guinea Bissau, São Tome e Príncipe, Mozambique and Angola, as well as from Brazil, Italy and Burkina Faso gathered in the capital city of Cabo Verde for the Sub-regional Consultation of the Portuguese Speaking African Countries (PALOP) on the implementation of the Rotterdam Convention.

With the theme “Measure the Impact: From the data collection to the national decision-making process”, the five days’ meeting discussed issues of risks related to the use of pesticides and exposure of vulnerable groups such as farmers, women, children, migrants and rural operators, with case studies in Cabo verde, Guinea Bissau and Sao Tome and Principe.

Participants also exchanged views on community empowerment on agro-ecology approach as an alternative to the use of hazardous pesticides and an integrated approach to a legal gap analysis involving key aspects of risk reduction as occupational safety and decent rural employment and environmental as protection of agro-biodiversity.

Key recommendations of the meeting stressed countries’ commitment to increasing the protection of human health and the environment in agriculture production, applying the tools offered by the Convention and supporting needs for technical assistance.

These included, specifically, strengthening the already established rural schools of agriculture in order to make agricultural fields and produce safe and clean in terms of working environment.

Cabo Verde’s Minister for Agriculture and Environment, Gilberto Silva, highlighted the importance of the event to debate and find solutions to enhance the management system of pesticides towards a less chemicals dependent agriculture and the process of implementation of the Convention in the country.

FAO Representative in Cabo Verde, Rémi Nono Womdim, warned that pesticides kill pests as well as their natural enemies, and so their overuse can harm farmers, consumers and the environment.

“The first line of defense is a healthy agro-ecosystem. Pesticides and chemicals should not threaten the welfare, health or lives of farmers and their families. Global overuse of pesticides is still very common. Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions represent a valuable tool to countries in managing hazardous chemicals. It enables them to monitor and control the trade in certain hazardous chemicals. Most importantly it gives importing countries the power to decide which of these chemicals they want to receive and to exclude those they cannot manage safely,” he added.  

Representing the Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention, Elisabetta Tagliati, explained that the meeting aims at identifying and implementing alternatives to the use of pesticides, and provide insights on the work of legal gap analysis.

 

Current status

 

The Rotterdam Convention was signed by Cabo Verde in 1998 and ratified seven years later. The country has defined and communicated its responses related to the importation of the 47 chemical products that are part of the Annex III of the Convention, including 33 pesticides and 17 industrial products. The Rotterdam, Basel and Stockholm Conventions help countries to manage hazardous chemicals throughout their life cycle.

The Rotterdam Convention provides early warning on dangerous chemicals and prevents the unwanted international trade on certain chemicals.

The Stockholm Convention controls and eliminates production and use of certain chemicals, persistent organic pollutants (POPs). The Basel Convention limits “toxic trade” in hazardous wastes and ensures proper disposal of wastes.

 

Additional Information:

Previous Sub-regional Consultation

FAO Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department

 

Contact

Antonio Palazuelos Prieto

Communication Specialist FAO Cabo Verde

Antonio.PalazuelosPrieto@fao.org