Boîte à outils pour l’homologation des pesticides

Introduction to identifying and evaluating alternatives

The availability of alternatives to a pesticide may need to be assessed as part of the decision making process. This can be the case if a new pesticide product is submitted for registration, but also during the re-registration of a pesticide product or active ingredient.

An alternatives assessment may then need to be conducted, either before a decision is taken to register or re-register a pesticide, or in parallel with the decision making process.

Assessing alternatives will in particular be relevant if:

  1. The registered pesticide product, or the pesticide product submitted for registration or re-registration, is a highly hazardous pesticide (HHP).

    After a regulator has identified a pesticide product as an HHP, an important step in the risk reduction process is assessing whether appropriate alternatives are available, as outlined in the HHP module of the Toolkit. It will be easier to decide on restricting or banning the use of an HHP if effective alternatives are – or can be made – available. Nonetheless, taking measures to reduce risks of HHPs should not be delayed while viable alternatives are being sought.

  1. The registered pesticide product, or the pesticide product submitted for registration registration or re-registration, poses agronomic, economic, human health or environmental risks which are difficult or impossible to manage or mitigate under local conditions of use.

The focus of this module is on finding alternatives for HHPs, in particular in agriculture. However, the process described here is very similar for other cases where an alternatives assessment is justified. Further advice is available on when a regulator may need to look for an alternative.

Alternatives assessments are not easy to conduct, because few if any formal assessment procedures have been elaborated so far, even in registration systems with sufficient resources. This module proposes a consultative, multi-stakeholder process of identifying viable alternatives and facilitating their introduction into farming systems.

However, even though the process of identifying alternatives is a multi-stakeholder process, whenever regulatory decisions have to be taken, e.g. about the registration or re-registration of a pesticide or biocontrol agent, the national authority should take such decisions independently on the basis of existing legislation and regardless of specific stakeholder interests.

The identification and evaluation of alternatives as discussed in this module is, in principle, intended to operate at national or regional scale. It does not directly apply to choosing alternative pest management approaches at the local or field scale.

The process outlined in the module is linear, but adaptations of the steps described may be required, and certain steps may need to be repeated several times, depending on the specific situation in the country. The process for assessing alternatives should therefore be seen as guidance rather than an inflexible set of steps.

More general policy guidance on alternatives to HHPs is available from UNEP {INSERLINK new guideline}