FAO recently unveiled a new e-learning course designed to raise awareness about the importance of managing pesticides and ending child labour in agriculture.
The two-hour course which focuses on pesticide risk reduction – and targets agricultural policy-makers – aims to build specific practical skills. It takes participants through a series of scenarios related to the real problematics of working in agriculture and dealing with pesticides.
“This is an invaluable resource, giving all those who sit the course a greater insight into the very real dangers toxic chemicals pose to humans and the environment. If we reach out to those in positions of power in this way, we can have an impact. The difference with this course is that it is interactive and can be followed from any location. So, I believe, it has the capacity to get our message across and for lessons to be learnt,” said Elisabetta Tagliati, Programme Officer for the Rotterdam Convention.
The e-learning course explores themes ranging from how agricultural programmes can help to prevent child labour in agriculture in addition to the national and international legislation aimed at stemming current trends.
We would like to invite all interested parties to watch and work through the course.
Developing countries are awash with pesticides; building public awareness of their risks remains a major challenge.
September 2016, Rome – “Urgent action is needed to secure the future and food security of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) against the disproportionate effects of climate change,” said FAO’s Director-General Graziano da Silva at a recent conference.
For the island states of Cabo Verde, São Tome and Principe, this is just one concern in ensuring food security for all. That security also hinges heavily on developing their capacities to farm independently and thus become less reliant on imported food supplies.
Each country is poor in natural resources and arable land, and prone to drought – building sustainable agriculture systems is therefore no easy matter.
A meeting in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, last year, saw the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP) join forces with the Rotterdam Convention (RC) to agree on a new strategy to monitor the food and nutrition security of countries, in particular the SIDS.
As is the case for farmers around the world, pesticides - including insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides and nematicides - are used to boost crop production. Though they can have negative impacts on the environment and human health, their appeal in increasing crop production is ongoing.
This, despite the fact that a 2012 FAO study analysing data from 1990 to 2009 found that a 1.9 percent increase in pesticide use only led to a one percent gain in crop output.
With little firm research available to establish how widely pesticides were being used on Cabo Verde, São Tome and Principe, FAO began an EU-funded study mission to each island in July, to review the use of pesticides in rural communities. The target of the mission was to first confirm if pesticides were being used, and then later to inform of the dangers associated with their use.
In São Tome and Principe, family farmers across the islands were observed wearing no protective clothing or equipment in their work. A long-term target is to build awareness of the risks associated with the use of pesticides and to promote the use of safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals.
In its undertaking to support the islands through policy advice, analysis and technical assistance, FAO also aims to help achieve sustainable development.
As a further measure to improve pesticide management and to avoid potentially serious poisonings, FAO is calling on all countries to adhere to an International Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management – a voluntary framework that promotes best practices to prevent and reduce exposure to pesticides during handling, storage, transport, use and disposal.
A knowledge-sharing meeting is to be held in January 2017 to review the practices in Cabo Verde, São Tome and Principe and to adopt a framework to introduce alternatives to hazardous pesticides into farming methods.
At the ordinary meeting held in 2015, the respective conferences of the parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) conventions decided to review the synergies arrangements at their meetings in 2017 (BC-12/20, RC-7/10 and SC-7/28). With the objective to gather data to inform this review process, e-surveys have been dispatched to all stakeholders. The e-surveys can also be accessed via the hyperlinks below.
Please click here to access the e-survey for parties. The submission deadline is 5 August 2016.
BCRCs and SCRCs
Please click here to access the e-survey for BCRCs and SCRCs. The submission deadline is 22 July 2016.
FAO country offices
Please click here to access the e-survey for FAO country offices. The submission deadline is 22 July 2016.
Please click here to access the e-survey for partners. The submission deadline is 22 July 2016.
Please click here to access the e-survey for Secretariat staff. The submission deadline is 22 July 2016.