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Phasing out highly hazardous pesticides with agroecology: Pesticide Action Network releases book at ICCM4

29.09.2015, PAN International Press Release

Agroecological practices can increase farm productivity and food security, improve rural livelihoods and adaption to climate change, and reduce the environmental impacts of agriculture.

Today, at the 4th International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM4) in Geneva, Pesticide Action Network (PAN) International is releasing its book Replacing Chemicals with Biology: Phasing out highly hazardous pesticides with agroecology.

FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, said in Paris in February this year "The model of agricultural production that predominates today is not suitable for the new food security challenges of the 21st century… Since food production is not a sufficient condition for food security, it means that the way we are producing is no longer acceptable."

The new PAN book was written to address the concerns of policy makers around the world who are faced with the need to replace the use of highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs) with safer and sustainable alternatives.

"Modern agroecological approaches to food production, together with many of the ecological practices that have evolved with farmers working alongside nature through hundreds of years, are proving to be sustainable, economically advantageous and good for food security" says Dr Meriel Watts from PAN Asia Pacific and main author of the book.

Successful cases of agroecological farming in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe and USA, presented in the book, substantiating the long-standing claim that ecological principles applied to agriculture are effective tools in the management of pests, including weeds, and provide sustainable livelihoods to farmers and rural communities.

"There is world recognition that agricultural production cannot continue its business as usual. Agroecology offers a viable strategy to increase agricultural productivity, build farmers' resilience, and protect the environment," says Sarojeni Rengam, executive director of PAN Asia Pacific.

"The experiences in this book show how farmers using agroecological practices benefit from savings on agrochemical inputs and from improving their overall farm productivity. Getting better prices or market options for safer food helps farming households too" says Dr Stephanie Williamson, from PAN UK, and co-author of the book.

The case studies show that agroecological farming can improve food security and strengthen food sovereignty, while providing better adaptation to climate change and reducing harmful environmental impacts.

"Advancing equitable and sustainable development goals in agriculture requires grounding agrifood systems in agroecology as the central strategy," says Dr. Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, Senior Scientist at PAN North America, and one of the contributors to the book. "By integrating state-of-the-art science with local and traditional knowledge, agroecology offers a powerful solution to today's mounting social, economic and environmental stresses of climate change, water scarcity, land degradation and rural poverty."

The book also presents national and international policy recommendations designed to assist policy makers to implement the changes necessary to support widespread adoption of agroecology.

At the ICCM4 meeting in Geneva, Sep 28- October 2, 2015, delegates can decide to take action on a request by the Africa region to formally establish a Global Alliance to Phase-out HHPs. In Geneva, PAN is co-organizing a side event with the global NGO network, IPEN, entitled "Closing the Gap on Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs): Agroecology & the Global Alliance to Phase-out HHPs." The book, Replacing Chemicals with Biology, will be released at this important event, as it provides concrete guidance to government delegates which also support the Africa region's proposal for action.

Media Contact: Sarojeni Rengam, sarojeni.rengam@panap.net, +6 04 657 0271

Available for Interviews:

  • Dr. Meriel Watts, PAN Asia Pacific, merielwatts@xtra.co.nz, + 61-21-1807830
  • Sarojeni Rengam, Executive director PAN Asia Pacific, sarojeni.rengam@panap.net, +6 04 657 0271
  • Dr. Stephanie Williamson, PAN UK, , stephaniewilliamson@pan-uk.org, +44 (0)7890 413204
  • Dr. Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, PAN North America, mie@panna.org, 510 684 6860

Notes for Editors:

Numerous high level studies, including those by the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) and the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food have concluded that the greatest scope for improving food production and food security lies in small-scale, ecologically-based diversified production systems, especially in developing countries.

Replacing Chemicals with Biology: Phasing out highly hazardous pesticides with agroecology will be launched at 6 pm tonight at the Side Event on Phasing out HHPs, at the Centre International de Conférences Genève (CICG), 17 rue de Varembé.

For more about PAN International and over 300 organizations that have joined the global call to ban highly hazardous pesticides and replace them with agroecological alternatives, visit http://pan-international.org/.

Pesticide Action Network (PAN) is a network of over 600 participating nongovernmental organizations, institutions and individuals in over 90 countries working to replace the use of hazardous pesticides with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives.

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