ECCHR and its partner organizations urged the FAO/WHO in an open letter and monitoring report to implement urgently needed changes to effectively address the widespread mismanagement of pesticides worldwide. The report shed light on the deficient labeling of products, the widespread failure to provide protective clothing, and insufficient training of vendors.
The Panel of Experts on Pesticides Management of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Orgnisation (WHO) assessed the monitoring report during its annual meeting in April 2017 in New Delhi. The experts at the FAO/WHO, however, failed to deliver specific recommentations for business behavior that fully adheres to the International Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management. Therefore, ECCHR and its partner organizations urged the FAO/WHO in an open letter to implement urgently needed changes to effectively address the widespread mismanagement of pesticides worldwide.
Based on the evidence from farmers in Punjab, it was possible to show how Bayer and Syngenta sell highly hazardous pesticides but fail to ensure that farmers are adequately informed about the dangers of the products or the necessary protective measures. The ECCHR report also questions whether the companies do enough to monitor their business practices and the consequences of these practices for human health and the environment in the region. ECCHR and its partner organizations are calling on Bayer and Syngenta to immediately halt sales of dangerous pesticides such as Confidor and Larvin (Bayer) and Gramoxone and Matador (Syngenta) in India. The FAO Panel of Experts is called on to conduct a comprehensive and independent investigation of the allegations against Bayer.
The International Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management was introduced by the FAO in 1985 to globally regulate the risks associated with pesticides. The current version of the Code of Conduct (2013) is officially supported by the World Health Organization. The Code stipulates that risk management is the joint responsibility of governments and pesticide producers. Bayer and Syngenta have publicly pledged to adhere to the Code. The monitoring report was submitted in October 2015. ECCHR compiled the report with support from Brot für die Welt (Germany), Public Eye (Switzerland), the Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific (Malaysia) and Kheti Virasat Mission, an organic farming movement based in Punjab (India). The five organizations from Europe and Asia say the report is a clear indication that these companies' business practices in India are in breach of the FAO/WHO Code of Conduct.
Q&A: Pesticide products contain hazardous chemicals that are known to cause severe damage to human health and the environment. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), pesticide poisoning affects 3 million people around the world and accounts for 20,000 unintentional deaths a year. A large number of the chemicals found in pesticides are internationally recognized as causing serious diseases such as cancer and reproductive disorders.