Sri Lanka 2011: Rotterdam Convention continues its work against risks caused by use of hazardous pesticide formulations

There are certain formulations of pesticides that cannot be safely used in many developing countries given the socio-economic and climatic conditions. These formulations can result in problems for human health or the environment.  Despite the fact that pesticide poisoning is a widely recognized problem, very few countries have been able to use the opportunity Article 6 of the Rotterdam Convention offers to developing countries and countries with economies in transition. This special provision for developing countries helps them to use the infrastructure of the Convention to report problems with hazardous pesticide formulations. For this reason, the Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention started, two years ago, a programme to assist several countries in different regions to better monitor pesticide poisonings and better report data collected on poisoning, and make stronger links with decision-making institutes. Key for the success of the programme is to build on existing experience and link up to relevant ongoing programmes.

The first country to benefit from this assistance in Asia was Sri Lanka, where an inception workshop was held in September 2011 with the scope of:

  • Strengthening national capacity and collaborative efforts in monitoring and reporting on pesticide poisonings, including building on past experiences and linking up to ongoing work in the country
  • Assisting in the implementation of Article 6 and submitting proposals for severely hazardous pesticide formulations (SHPF) for consideration under the Convention
  • Contributing to pesticide risk reduction in order to protect human health and the environment.

During the three-day workshop, the work focused on increasing understanding of the SHPF-related provisions of the Convention, such as procedures, information requirements and tools, and to strengthen the network among the Designated National Authority for the Convention, health sector, agriculture and environment departments and research institutions, which are considered essential actors. A work plan for field monitoring was developed for five selected provinces and five hospitals were chosen for clinical data collection and field visits by doctors. A fundamental link was built between the overall pesticide risk reduction strategy, the involvement of the regional pesticide risk reduction programme and the promotion of IPM and farmer education.

At the end of the workshop, the participants went back home with a deeper awareness of pesticide impacts on human health and the environment. They familiarized themselves with tools for data collection on incidents caused by pesticides that are available under the Rotterdam Convention and the FAO Code of Conduct. They also strengthened the network among the principal stakeholders contributing to pesticide risk reduction.

The Secretariat will continue its work in this new area by assisting further countries in adopting the programme and with follow-up work in countries already visited.

For further information please contact the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat.


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