Global and Local NGOs Back the Establishment of Global Alliance to Phase-out Highly Hazardous Pesticides at ICCM4

17 September 2015

Hon. Jonas
Undersecretary for Environment and International Environmental  Affairs

Hon. Juan Miguel Cuna
Assistant Secretary/Director, DENR-EMB

Hon. Norlito R. Gicana
Executive Director, Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority

Hon. Aida V. Ordas
Chief, FPA Pesticide Regulation Division

Dear Colleagues,

We are writing to ask
for your support to establish a Global Alliance to Phase-out Highly Hazardous
Pesticides (HHPs) at the upcoming ICCM4 meeting in Geneva.[1] [2] [3] We believe such an Alliance, building on lessons
learnt by the successful SAICM Global Alliance for the Elimination of Lead in
Paint, is vital for assisting countries to adequately deal with HHPs and their
replacement in a manner that supports the livelihoods of farmers.
In the meeting document4/8
Proposal on highly hazardous pesticides”,
FAO, UNEP, and WHO set out some reasons for taking action on HHPs.[4] They make the link
between exposure to HHPs and the rising incidence of cancer and developmental
disorders. The agencies express particular concern about the impacts on
children who are especially vulnerable to pesticides during critical periods of
development. Finally, FAO/UNEP/WHO point out the costs to society of these
impacts and note that lack of capacity limits the ability of many developing
countries to adequately manage risks from pesticides.
At ICCM2, concerns
about lead poisoning in developing and transition countries led to the
formation of a Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead in Paint coordinated by UNEP
and WHO.[5] This Alliance has
accomplished tangible progress where none existed before with minimal
secretariat burden on the UN agencies. We believe that similar advances should
be made with HHPs. More information on this topic is available in our INF
document, SAICM/ICCM.4/INF/29. In addition, some possible objectives of a
Global Alliance to Phase-out HHPs are shown below. A proposed Terms of Reference
for the Alliance will be an INF document and it is attached to facilitate
Just prior to ICCM4,
the global community will adopt 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs). “Promote sustainable agriculture” is
part of Goal 2 and includes a target to “ensure
sustainable food production systems…that help maintain ecosystems.”
phase-out of HHPs is intimately linked to achieving this goal. Agroecology is
regarded as the basis of sustainable agriculture but countries need assistance
and cooperative work to implement it.
The reality in many
developing and transition countries is that ordinary conditions of pesticide
use are often a source of significant harm to farmer and ecosystem health. HHPs
are not addressed in a comprehensive way in any international cooperative
agreement. More than 1000 civil society
and public interest NGOs from 100 countries strongly support the 2006 FAO
Council call for a progressive ban on HHPs and call for their substitution with
ecosystem-based alternatives. Now is the time to take action.

Thank you very much for your consideration.

Javier Souza
Chair, Pesticides Action Network International

Olga Speranskaya
Co-Chair, IPEN

Manny C. Calonzo
Co-Chair, IPEN

Endorsed by the following public interest groups from the Philippines:

Fr. Max Abalos, Action for Nurturing Children and Environment

Ines Fernandez, Arugaan
Jaybee Garganera, Alyansa Tigil Mina
Joey Papa, Bangon Kalikasan Movement
Ochie Tolentino, Cavite Green Coalition
Esther Pacheco, Citizens Organization Concerned with Advocating Philippine Environmental
Grace Chua, Consumer Rights for Safe Food
Antonio Claparols, Ecological Society of the Philippines
Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste Coalition
Paeng Lopez, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives
Dr. Angelina Galang, Green Convergence
Amalie Conchelle Hamoy-Obusan, Greenpeace Southeast Asia
Ann Fuertes, Interface Development Interventions
Betty Cabazares, Kinaiyahan Foundation
Haidee Amagable, Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng mga Maralita ng Lungsod
Victor Sumampong, Ligdung Sumbanan Alang sa Kabataan sa Sugbo (LISU-Cebu).
Sonia Mendoza, Mother Earth Foundation
Com. Romy Hidalgo, November 17 Movement
Noemi Tirona, Philippines for Natural Farming, Inc.
Bro. Martin Francisco, Sagip
Sierra Madre Environmental Society, Inc.
Irma Percela, Zero Waste Philippines
Go Organic Davao City
Mamamayan Ayaw sa Aerial Spraying

Additional Information:

The Global Alliance to Phase-out HHPs could have the
following objectives:

(a)       To
raise the awareness of government authorities and regulators, farmers and rural
communities, private industry, consumers, workers, trade unions and health-care
providers about the harms of highly hazardous pesticides and the availability
of safer alternatives;
(b)       To
catalyse the design and implementation of appropriate prevention-based
programmes to phase-out highly hazardous pesticides, replace them with
nonchemical alternatives, agroecological and other ecosystem-based approaches
to sustainable food and fibre production, and public health vector control, as
a priority. When processes for phasing-out highly hazardous pesticides are put
in place arrangements must be made to ensure a fair and safe transition that
protects workers’ health and employment;
(c)        To
provide assistance to farmers to enable them to phase out highly hazardous
pesticides while maintaining their agricultural livelihood;
(d)       To
provide assistance to health professionals on identifying and reporting
pesticide poisonings to promote efficient surveillance and identification of
highly hazardous pesticides;
(e)       To
provide assistance to government authorities with identifying appropriate
alternatives, particularly for public health vector control;
(f)        To
promote the establishment of appropriate national regulatory frameworks to stop
the manufacture, import, sale and use of highly hazardous pesticides, as well
as the sound disposal of highly hazardous pesticides;
(g)       To
provide guidance and promote assistance to identify, avoid and reduce exposure
to highly hazardous pesticides including for communities near areas of
cultivation and urban areas.

[1] At ICCM3 more than 65
countries and organisations submitted a resolution that included “a progressive ban on HHPs and their
substitution with safer alternatives
”. This reflected the FAO Council’s
recommendation in 2006 of a “progressive
ban on highly hazardous pesticides
[2] In December 2014,
at SAICM’s Open-Ended Working Group the entire African region called for a
Global Alliance to Phase out HHPs. This call was widely supported and resulted
in an agreement to develop a proposal for such an approach for ICCM4.
[3] Three of the
intercessional regional SAICM meetings held since ICCM3, involving more than
140 countries, reiterated concern about HHPs and called for more information on
ecosystem-based approaches to pest management as alternatives to HHPs.
[4] Meeting documents
in all UN languages are located here: http://www.saicm.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=525&Itemid=700