Sixteenth Session

Rome, 26-30 March 2001, Red Room



1. Since its adoption by the FAO Conference in 1985, the FAO International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides (Code) has served as the guiding, globally-accepted document for pesticide management. The Code has been amended once, in 1989, due to the introduction of the provisions for the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure into Articles 2 and 9.

2. These provisions are now covered by the "Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade", adopted in September 1998. In addition to the changes regarding PIC, which will necessitate amendments to the present Article 9, a number of developments have taken place in other areas of pesticides management which would require attention in order to ensure adequate coverage of the major principles and other objectives of the present version of the Code.

3. FAO conducted two worldwide surveys on the status of implementation of the Code in 1986 and 1993, noting not only progress but also continuing shortfalls. For example, while there has been overall progress in the Asia and the Pacific Region, there is still evidence of continuing deficiencies in critical areas of pesticides regulation, management and control. Pesticide legislation has been implemented and/or improved in many countries, in particular developing countries, but corresponding legal provisions are often still lacking.

4. In addition, Agenda 21 of UNCED, the guiding document for environment and development, recognises the exemplary nature and important role of the Code in two areas, namely in Chapter 14 promoting sustainable agriculture and rural development, and in Chapter 19 addressing environmentally sound management of toxic chemicals. The Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety, at its meeting in Brazil "FORUM III", in October 2000, reiterated the relevance of the Code and "encouraged and supported FAO in its efforts to update the Code". The meeting also "encouraged governments to play an active role in the observance of the Code, and, in addition, to work with FAO and all main stakeholders to enable them to play an active role in monitoring progress on implementation of the Code".

5. In order to initiate the review process of the Code, the Organization convened a session of the FAO Panel of Experts on Pesticide Specifications, Registration Requirements, Application Standard and Prior Informed Consent, in December 1999.

6. The Panel unanimously agreed to maintain the structure and nature of the present Code. It considered approximately 40 issues for incorporation into the Code based on new approaches to pesticides management, among which were risk reduction initiatives, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), obsolete pesticides and sustainable agriculture, new international agreements such as the Montreal Protocol and the Rotterdam Convention, and consumer and environmental safety.

7. This revised draft of the Code has been circulated among Panel Members, Industry, Non-governmental and International Organizations involved in the sound management of chemicals, for comments. Following the incorporation of these comments, the Code has been translated and sent to governments for their review and consultation. The process, so far, has indicated that it is unlikely that controversial issues will evolve. Therefore, the comments received will be reviewed by an additional meeting of the Panel to be convened in April 2001. The updated version of the Code could then be considered for adoption by the Thirty-first Session of the FAO Conference in 2001.