Hundred and Twenty-seventh Session
Rome, 22-27 November 2004
Progress Report on the Implementation of the International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides
1. The revised version of the International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides (Code) was adopted at the Hundred and Twenty-third Session of the FAO Council in November 2002, on behalf of the FAO Conference. In this document, the Organization would like to inform the Council of the progress made in relation to the promotion of the revised Code and the initiatives taken to enhance implementation of the new provisions of the Code. This document also responds to the comments made by members of the Council during its Hundred and Twenty-third Session.1
2. The Code is the worldwide guidance document on pesticide management for all public and private entities engaged in, or associated with, the distribution and use of pesticides. It was first adopted by the Twenty-fifth Session of the FAO Conference in 1985. The revised version of the Code constitutes an up-to-date standard for pesticide management, in particular for government authorities and the pesticide industry. It embodies a modern approach leading to sound management practices, which focuses on risk reduction, protection of human and environmental health and support for sustainable agricultural development by using pesticides in an effective manner and applying Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies.
3. Upon its adoption, the revised version of the Code was translated into all official languages of the Organization. It was widely distributed to governments either directly or through the FAO network of regional and country offices. Over 20 presentations of the new features of the Code have been given at national and international fora in Africa, Asia, North America, Latin America and Europe to further increase awareness of this new guidance document. Representatives from the goverments of Germany, Indonesia and Japan have indicated their intention to publish the revised version of the Code also in their national languages.
4. In 2003 the FAO Regional Office for the Near East sent out a questionnaire to 30 countries based on the new provisions of the Code. This questionnaire encouraged the countries to assess their national capabilities regarding pesticide management. As of June 2004, 18 countries had replied; answers are still expected from others. This strong response clearly indicates the interest of countries in the Code and the value it has for them. In a number of Latin American countries, e.g. Ecuador, El Salvador and Peru, the revised version of the Code has been publically launched by the Ministries of Agriculture. This year, Peru has revised its pesticide legislation in line with the new Code.
5. International organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) have incorporated the implementation of the revised version of the Code into their new technical guidelines on the management of public health pesticides. WHO has also proposed to develop a joint programme on pesticide management with FAO. The Intergovernmental Forum of Chemical Safety (IFCS) recommended at its recent Forum IV (Bangkok, November 2003) that governments should “fully implement the revised version of the Code as the basis for a comprehensive life cycle approach to pesticide management at national level.”
6. Participation of the pesticide industry was confirmed when CropLife International, the global association of pesticide manufacturers, assured FAO in a formal letter in June 2003, that adherence to the Code remains a condition of membership in the association. A practical guide for industry, including a checklist for the implementation of the Code, was published and distributed by CropLife International, targeting its regional and national associations and its individual member companies. CropLife Latinamerica did a reprint of the full original text of the revised version of the Code to expedite its promulgation.
7. The Pesticide Action Network (PAN), an international public interest group on pesticide matters, made a clear supportive statement immediately upon the adoption of the revised version of the Code at the FAO Council in 2002. PAN will play an active role in support of the implementation of various provisions of the Code, whose articles 1,3,11 and 12 specifically address NGOs.
8. Based on recommendations made by the FAO Panel of Experts on Pesticide Specifications, Registration Requirements, Application Standards and Prior Informed Consent, in its 18th session in October 2003, FAO is in the process of developing a Strategic Plan for the implementation of the Code.2 The Strategic Plan is to provide a comprehensive framework for programmes, projects and activities that the Organization intends to carry out in the period 2006 – 2011. It should also guide funding agencies in determining priorities for financial inputs in pesticide management.
9. The meeting in October 2003 was the last FAO Panel of Experts on Pesticide Specifications, Registration Requirements, Application Standards and Prior Informed Consent. It was replaced by a new statutory body, the FAO Panel of Experts on Pesticide Management. The Director-General issued a call for experts for the new Panel in mid-2004.
10. The technical guidelines that were produced under the original Code have been an important component for its successful implementation. However, with the Code having been revised to better reflect recent developments in pesticide management, the FAO Panel of Experts on Pesticide Specifications, Registration Requirements, Application Standards and Prior Informed Consent considered it necessary to review the extent to which the existing supporting guidelines still reflect the needs of stakeholders. Several reasons for such a review were identified, including new technical, social and economic developments, the adoption of new international instruments (such as the Rotterdam Convention), new elements in the Code, consistency of presentation and contents, and continued relevance to major stakeholders.
11. This review resulted in a new framework for technical guidelines supporting the Code, which will ensure that the guidance provided by FAO to its Members continues to respond to their needs, is pertinent and continues to be of high quality. The full realization of this new framework and of the guidelines will not be possible given the present financial resources of the Plant Protection Service; therefore extrabudgetary funds would be required in support of the implementation of the revised version of the Code.
12. A limited number of new guidelines under this framework are now being elaborated or revised. The guidelines on monitoring and observance of the Code are particularly important. Through these guidelines the Organization will establish a regular reporting mechanism for governments, the pesticide industry, NGOs and other interested parties as foreseen in article 12 of the Code. The outcome will be presented to FAO’s Governing Bodies, so as to review the relevance and effectiveness of the Code as foreseen in article 12.
1 CL 123/REP-Revised, paragraph 40.
2 Report of the FAO Panel of Experts on Pesticide Specifications, Registration. Requirements, Application Standards and Prior Informed Consent, Eighteenth Session, FAO, Rome, 2003.