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F. International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides: Introduction of the "Prior Informed Consent" Clause

110. The Conference reviewed the proposals for the introduction of Prior Informed Consent (PIC) in the International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides, in response to Resolution 5/87 adopted in its Twenty-fourth Session. It welcomed the actions taken by the Director-General to develop an acceptable modality for PIC and to submit an amended text for Articles 2 and 9 of the Code of Conduct, as well as Guidelines for the implementation of the PIC procedure. It noted with appreciation the financial contribution of one member country and the effective cooperation of various experts in the development of the procedures.

111. The Conference expressed full satisfaction with the proposals made and with the consensus reached. It noted the effective cooperation between FAO and UNEP which had resulted in compatible and complementary proposals concerning the integration of PIC procedures in the International Code of Conduct and in the London Guidelines for the Exchange of Information on Chemicals in International Trade. The Conference welcomed the proposed joint programme between FAO and UNEP for the implementation of the PIC procedure and indicated that this was an excellent example of inter-agency cooperation making efficient use of limited resources.

112. The Conference agreed that the introduction of PIC would enhance the protection of health and environment and also the effectiveness of the Code and re-emphasized full support for its implementation. It stressed the overall importance of active information exchange and emphasized the need for early action by countries concerned to designate focal points for this. Information exchange, as proposed under PIC, would require the full commitment and cooperation of all exporting and importing countries.

113. There was general agreement that pesticide use would increase in developing countries and that infrastructures and technical capabilities in many countries would require substantial strengthening. The Conference, therefore, stressed the importance of technical assistance to developing countries to enable them to implement the PIC procedure as well as other provisions of the Code. Several Member Nations indicated that they had already begun to provide such assistance.

114. The Conference expressed the view that implementation of biological control and integrated pest management programmes should be further promoted as an effective means to reduce pesticide use.

115. The Conference recognized the problems caused by substantial stocks of outdated pesticides in many developing countries. It noted that assistance would be required from exporting countries and from industries to alleviate this situation.

116. Many Member Nations expressed concern about the voluntary non-binding nature of the present version of the Code and felt that it may not provide an adequate framework for the full realization of all objectives of the Code. It was proposed that the Secretariat should explore the possibility of establishing a legally binding instrument and report on progress through COAG (Committee on Agriculture) and Council to Conference.

117. Many Member Nations proposed to broaden the criteria of the Guidelines to include other pesticides under the PIC procedure. In particular, the following categories of pesticides were proposed for review and possible inclusion and were widely supported:

- pesticides in international trade that were never submitted for registration;

- pesticides submitted for registration but rejected for reasons of health or the environment;

- pesticides voluntarily withdrawn from registration by manufacturers for reasons of health or the environment.

118. Furthermore, suggestions were made for additional changes and amendments to Article 9 of the Code and the proposed Guidelines. Proposed additions are underlined in the text below, proposed deletions appear within brackets.


Article 9.1 - The Government of any country that takes action to ban or severely restrict the use or handling of a pesticide in order to protect health or the environment should notify FAO as soon as possible but not later than six months after the action of the action it has taken. FAO will notify the designated national authorities in other countries of the action of the notifying Government.

Article 9.2 - The purpose of notification regarding control action is to give competent authorities in other countries the opportunity to assess the risks associated with the pesticides, and to make timely and informed decisions as to the importation and use of the pesticides concerned, after taking into account local, social, public health, economic, environmental and administrative conditions.

Article 9.5 - Provision of information regarding exports should take place at the time of the first export following the control action, and should recur in the case of any significant development of new information or condition surrounding the control action. It is the intention that the information should be provided prior to export or at the time of export at the latest.

Article 9.10.1 - Decide (on future acceptability) to accept or ban the importation of that pesticide in their country and advise FAO as soon as that decision has been made.


Step 3 - Notification of Control Actions - 4th paragraph Severely restricted -a limited ban - means a pesticide for which virtually all registered uses have been prohibited by final Government regulatory action for health or environmental reasons, but specific registered use or uses remain authorized or a pesticide for which Government regulatory action in force permits only specific registered use.

Step 4 - Selecting pesticides to be included in the PIC procedure FAO will, in cooperation with UNEP/IRPTC and other relevant organizations, review all notifications to ensure conformity with the definitions. Pesticides will be included in the PIC procedure when FAO is advised by a Government that it has taken final control action consistent with the definition of banned or severely restricted for health or environmental reasons in the Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides or that a manufacturer has voluntarily withdrawn a pesticide. Member countries will notify FAO of any pesticide that is not registered in their country but is still traded.

Additionally, an FAO Expert Panel will consider the problem of acutely hazardous pesticide formulations, i.e. those that pose particular handling problems, to determine if there exists a need for a list of such products to supplement the pesticides already subject to the PIC procedure. This Panel should include national pesticide registrars and representatives from WHO and UNEP. They may call upon expertise as they deem necessary and will review formulations which are included in WHO Class 1(A) and in addition they will keep the issue of acutely hazardous pesticide formulations under continuing review after completion of their initial task. If the Panel concludes that there are acutely hazardous pesticide formulations of concern to developing countries that are not already included in the PIC procedure, a supplemental list of such formulations will be recommended for inclusion.

Step 6 - Footnote to paragraph 1. (An import order by a Government designated official authority will be assumed to have the consent of the Government and, thus, to have precedence over the PIC procedure).

Step 6 - paragraph 5. National Control on Imports. At the time an interim or final decision to ban importation for health or environmental reasons is made, the national agency responsible for controlling imports will be instructed to take the relevant import control actions. Where it exists, (local) production for domestic use will also be subjected to the control action. Importing countries would take all necessary measures to prohibit importation and (local) production for domestic use.

Step 8 - Actions to be taken by exporting countries National authorities of exporting countries would inform the appropriate authorities and the pesticide export industry of decisions by importing countries. Governments would (implement) take appropriate (procedures) measures, within their (authorities) authority and legislative competence designed to (help) ensure that exports do not occur contrary to the decision of the participating importing country.

119. The Conference agreed that it was essential to maintain a consensus on the proposals made for the inclusion of PIC in the Code. The Conference, therefore, decided that additional changes and amendments should not be included in the Code and Guidelines at this stage but should first be considered by the appropriate Panel of Experts and subsequently submitted through COAG and Council to Conference for its review and decision, together with a progress report on the implementation of the Code and PIC.

120. In order to provide for immediate implementation of the PIC procedure, the Conference adopted the following Resolution:

Resolution 6/89



Considering Resolution 5/87 of the Twenty-fourth Session of the Conference in which it was decided that "in the Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides" the principle of "prior informed consent" should be incorporated within the next biennium,

Taking note of the action taken by the Director-General to implement the Conference decision which included an Expert Consultation and a Government Consultation, which had reached general agreement on the operation of the Prior Informed Consent procedure and of the amendments required for the inclusion of Prior Informed Consent in the Code,

Noting the decisions of the Governing Council of UNEP to amend the "London Guidelines for the Exchange of Information on Chemicals in International Trade" to include Prior Informed Consent, and the emphasis placed by the Governing Council on the necessity of cooperation between UNEP and FAO on the implementation of Prior Informed Consent,

Considering the recommendations of COAG to Council and the recommendations of the Council to the Conference,

1. Decides to amend Articles 2 and 9 of the Code as indicated in Section A of Appendix E;

2. Authorizes the Director-General to establish a programme to implement Prior Informed Consent procedures, as outlined in Section A of Appendix E;

3. Requests the Director-General to seek to establish such a programme jointly with UNEP.

(Adopted 29 November 1989)

G. Plan of action for the integration of women into agricultural and rural development

121. The Conference considered the Plan of Action for the Integration of Women in Development and the Progress Report on its implementation. It recalled that preparation of the Plan had been requested by the Twenty-fourth Session of the Conference and was subsequently approved by the Ninety-fourth Session of the Council, which had also requested the Conference to approve the Plan. The Conference also noted that the Progress Report was prepared upon the request of the Ninety-fourth Session of the Council for its Ninety-sixth Session but was forwarded by the Council directly to the Conference for its consideration as it could not discuss it due to lack of time.

122. The Conference noted with satisfaction the approval of the Plan by the Ninety-fourth Session of the Council and endorsed the Plan unanimously. In doing so the Conference observed that the Plan was a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary document designed to guide the Organization and its Member Nations in an area where national and international action was much needed. It agreed that the implementation of the Plan required efforts by both Member Nations and FAO. The Conference requested the Secretariat to monitor the implementation of the Plan and to report, at the departmental and country-level, on its progress to the Conference in 1991.

123. The Conference endorsed specifically the objectives and the strategy of the Plan. It confirmed FAO's three basic functions with regard to women in development, namely (1) the general assessment and monitoring of the women in development situations and needs, (2) elaboration and promotion of suitable policies and (3) the preparation, support and implementation of appropriate programmes. It approved the Plan's thrust towards raising women's agricultural productivity and income-producing capacity and emphasized the need for supporting and promoting women's contribution to agricultural and rural development, including forestry and fisheries, and their participation in population programmes.

124. The Conference appreciated the general direction and substantive concerns of the Plan. It recognized the usefulness of the linkages of the Plan to the Nairobi Forward-Looking Strategies and the UN System Wide Medium-Term Plan. The Conference stressed that legislative action was a precondition of advancement and consequently merited particular attention but recognized that attitudinal changes and the improvement of socio-economic conditions were also required. The Conference emphasized that activities covered by the Plan of Action should particularly aim at strengthening the production and income producing roles of women as an integral part of the family. In this connection it noted the increasing number of women heads of rural households all over the world and underlined the necessity to design special programmes to assist them. It recognized the useful role of sociological and anthropological expertise for adequately assessing the country-specific social and cultural factors.

125. As to the approach to be taken in considering issues on women in rural and agricultural development, the Conference underlined the advantages of integrating women in development concerns into FAO's mainstream programmes and projects. The Conference recommended full integration of women in development concerns into the work of the Organization as well as in national activities, while recognizing that positive discrimination and thus specific projects or project components aimed at women - might be needed to achieve certain objectives. The Conference noted that special treatment of women in development concerns could result in their marginalization and agreed therefore that women in development concerns should be systematically integrated in the on-going work of the Organization.

126. The Conference stressed the fundamental importance of the active role of governments in implementing the Plan of Action. In this connection it noted several key areas requiring urgent attention, such as, the elaboration of national policies on women in development, and the modification of legislative measures to improve women's access to land, credit, extension, rural services, and improved technology. Special emphasis was placed on training of rural women as a prerequisite for their full participation in development.

127. As regards the Progress Report, the Conference commended the progress achieved since the approval of the Plan of Action by the Council in November 1988. It agreed with the priorities proposed in the Progress Report and noted that, in accordance with the Council recommendation, the highest priority was proposed to be given to training FAO staff in women in development. Other priorities specifically endorsed included policy advice to Member Nations, project development and monitoring, preparation of guidelines and manuals, reorientation of home economics and agricultural curricula, data collection, and population education. The Conference also endorsed the administrative priorities proposed in the Progress Report including the strategy to increase the access of women, especially those from developing and underrepresented countries, to professional posts in FAO with a view to making progress towards reaching the UN target of 30 percent by 1995, and to encourage the promotion of women within the organization, without affecting the principles of professional quality and equitable geographic distribution. The Conference recognized that the Plan would be implemented by Regular Programme resources, to be complemented by extra-budgetary funds, as indicated in the Progress Report

128. The Conference welcomed the collaboration that FAO had established with other agencies and institutions within the UN System in order to share experiences in promoting programmes and projects for rural women and to avoid unnecessary duplication. The Conference stressed the importance of involving NGOs in the implementation of the Plan of Action. It emphasized the need to strengthen the participatory approach and to link closely the programmes for women with the FAO People's Participation Programme.

129. The Conference adopted the following Resolutions

Resolution 7/89



Recognizing the vital role of women in agricultural production and rural development,

Recalling Conference Resolution 3/87 which, inter alia, requested the Director-General to prepare a Plan of Action for the Integration of Women in Development,

Recalling also Council Resolution 1/94 which endorsed the Plan of Action, defined certain key issues and requested the Director-General to present a Progress Report on implementing it,

Noting with appreciation the information provided in the Progress Report on implementing the Plan of Action,

1. Approves the Plan of Action for the Integration of Women in Development, as endorsed by the Council;

2. Endorses the priorities and programmes as identified in the Progress Report for implementing the Plan of Action during 1990-1995;

3. Requests the Director-General to make efforts to maintain the level of resources allocated for this sub-programme within the Regular Programme, and to:

(a) continue efforts to integrate women (especially rural women) into all aspects of FAO's regular programmes and field activities;

(b) carry out the two-year staff training plan, as envisaged in the Progress Report;

(c) make all efforts to achieve significant results in the execution of the priorities; and

(d) implement the strategy suggested in the Progress Report to increase the access of women to professional posts at all levels, without affecting the principles of professional quality and equitable geographical distribution;

4. Requests Member Governments to make all efforts to implement the Plan of Action on Women in Development and to inform periodically on progress achieved in this field at national level and in the rural environment, as a part of reporting on WCARRD progress;

5. Urges Member Governments to provide extra-budgetary resources in order to contribute to the implementation of the Plan of Action as suggested in the Progress Report;

6. Requests the Director-General to present to the Conference in 1991 a report on the progress made in implementing the Plan of Action.

(Adopted 29 November 1989)

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