Can the IOMC Revive the 'FAO Code' and Take Stakeholder Initiatives to the Developing World?

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Abstract:

Over the years hundreds of different chemicals have been introduced as active substances in pesticide products on the international market. Several have become obsolete due to unacceptable health and environmental hazards or problems with resistance. Navigating the wide selection of pesticides is not a simple task and some non-governmental organizations provide information about the most unwanted in the form of 'blacklists'. For decades the principle of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) has been recommended for plant protection, but it is not a trivial task to determine what pesticides could be included in IPM programmes to avoid biological disruption. It is believed that the IOMC – the Inter-organization Programme for Sound Management of Chemicals – is the appropriate forum for provision of additional guidance and leadership with regard to choice of appropriate pesticides. A list of minimum-impact pesticides should be made easily accessible in several languages and a mechanism for updating this list should be developed. In addition, a multi-stakeholder re-evaluation of the International Code of Conduct should be initiated and it may be appropriate to propose a strengthening of the IPM focus of the Code and to include explicitly 'Responsible Care' and 'Product Stewardship' as integral parts of the pesticide industry's voluntary role. Countries without modern comprehensive pesticide legislation are those that would benefit the most from implementing the International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides. However, pesticide control issues currently may not be high on the political agenda. To pave the way for legislation or a generally accepted implementation of the Code it should be made easily available to a wide range of stakeholders in the Developing World.
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