Sunday, May 5, 2013

COP 6 Stockholm Convention, Headway achieved – ecosystem based approaches to pest management made priority

May 2, 2013
Chela Vázquez

Government delegates and observers at ExCOPs-2, Geneva
It was rather an exhilarating moment when the delegation from PAN and IPEN witnessed 164 governments agreed that ecosystem-based approaches to pest management be made a priority. Governments recommended this approach when choosing alternatives to endosulfan, a dangerous insecticide targeted for global elimination. This pronouncement appears to signal that international policies may start to change as governments begin to take action to rid agriculture of toxic chemicals.

“This is a great move forward”, said Dr. Meriel Watts of Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific. “Ecosystem-based approaches to pest management have been shown to improve farmers’ income, food security and health, and to be better for the environment. Farmers become less reliant on expensive inputs and their production systems are more resilient in the face of climate change and other stressors. So this decision is very supportive of farmers, and we call on all governments to now rapidly assist their farmers to change from endosulfan-dependent chemical intensive farming to ecosystem-based approaches such as agroecology and organic farming.”

Dr. Meriel Watts delivered a statement on ecosystem-based alternatives to endosulfan
Tiffany Immingan from Saint Laurence island in Alaska making a statement at COP 6 of the Stockholm Convention.

Indigenous people from the Arctic pleaded with governments to stop releasing toxic persistent organic pollutants (POPs) that reach their traditional food and endanger their way of life. People in the Arctic have been found to have the highest concentration of POPs in their blood and breastmilk. POPs, such as endosulfan and DDT, bioaccumulate in high quantities in the Arctic due to a global phenomenon that carry and deposit these toxic chemicals in the Arctic, thousands of miles away from the place of application. 

The 6th. conference of the Parties (COP 6) to the Stockholm Convention met in Geneva, in simultaneous and back to back meetings with COP 11 of the Basel Convention and COP 6 of the Rotterdam Convention, April 28-May 10, 2013

New persistent organic pollutants have been ‘virtually’ approved for listing in the convention (awaiting official adoption on Thursday), such as the flame retardant HBCD and a proposed recycling exemption for HBCD was rejected. These are victories in the struggle to protect human health and the environment.

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