EU member states are failing to implement sustainable use of pesticides

Tractor spraying pesticides on a field
By Zeynel Cebeci
A recent report by the European Commission has found that member states have not made enough progress in applying measures to reduce the risks and impacts of pesticides.

The directive on the sustainable use of pesticides offers the potential to reduce the risks derived from pesticide use, incorporating measures such as banning aerial spraying, minimising or banning pesticide use in public parks, hospitals and schools, and protecting aquatic environments. Findings from the report suggest insufficient implementation of the directive, in part due to a lack of measureable targets in most states’ National Action Plans.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM), defined by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as emphasising the growth of a healthy crop with the least disruption to agro-ecosystems and encouraging natural pest control mechanisms, is highlighted as one area which is underused by EU member states. ISEAL members have long been aware of the importance of IPM and in 2016, ISEAL members formed a coalition to work together towards reducing pesticide use and eliminating highly hazardous pesticides.

Phasing out highly hazardous pesticides that are still widely used in agriculture and forestry is a complex issue. These pesticides are readily available, alternative pest control methods are scarce, and access to information is limited. The ISEAL IPM Coalition believes in the value of offering open, accessible and useful information in order to further the use and development of Integrated Pest Management. That is why, over the past year, the coalition has created a comprehensive online platform with the support of the ISEAL Innovations Fund. The platform contains two databases: one with information about the hazards associated with each pesticide, and the second with a description of alternative IMP methods per crop and forestry species. The coalition welcomes feedback on the platform to ensure it meets the needs of different users.

Visit the ISEAL IPM Coalition platform.

Read an interview with the IPM Coalition about this project.

Find out more about the ISEAL Innovations Fund.

Read the full article about the EU Commission report.