The Conference of the Parties (COP) to the three key international chemical conventions (the Basel Convention, the Rotterdam Convention and Stockholm Convention) is being held this May in Geneva. The theme of the meetings is “Clean Planet, Healthy People: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste”.

This is an important event that takes place every two years where the representatives from all the signatory countries (Parties) come together to decide whether to take steps to improve controls on particular chemicals of concern. The Rotterdam Convention COP will consider the listing of two new pesticides in Annex III of the Convention, acetochlor and phorate.

Highly Hazardous Pesticides - International Management

PAN-UK is attending in order to support efforts to strengthen controls on Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) and to put forward the case for safer and more sustainable agroecological approaches. HHPs continue to take a high toll on human health and the environment throughout the world, through acute pesticides poisonings and deaths, chronic illness and intergenerational effect, destruction of pollinators and beneficial insects vital to the agroecosystem, and contamination of soils and waterways. Pesticides listed under the Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions are only a small fraction of HHPs in use today. On 9th May, the UK team will support PAN International’s side event at the COP titled ‘Highly Hazardous Pesticides: International Management’, where a panel discussion will share experience from around the world of phasing out such pesticides, adopting safer alternatives and the principles of agroecology.

Agroecology Principle 4 - Promoting complexity over simplicity

While the PAN UK team is in Geneva, it will also take the opportunity to meet with UNEP and MAPx to discuss the management of data concerning chemical pollution and its impacts on health and environment. On Tuesday 28th May, Sheila Willis, PAN UK’s Head of International Programmes, will present a paper on ‘Collecting and using evidence of pesticide poisoning at the national and international level’ to a conference titled ‘Pesticide Politics in Africa’. This interdisciplinary international conference on the use, regulation and health effects of agrochemicals in sub-Saharan countries is hosted by the Tropical Pesticide Research Institute (TPRI), Arusha, Tanzania. This will be an important opportunity to meet key individuals who may support our efforts to encourage the sharing of data from different sectors on the impact of pesticides on human health and the environment.