30 May 2021
Manifesto
International Network, Stop Pesticides March

 

All the Organizations in charge of monitoring our Earth’s state of health say that the situation is dramatic, and that one of the changes we urgently need if we are to improve is the agriculture model.

As citizen, consumer and manufacturer associations belonging to the network, we intend to devote the last Sunday in May every year to reminding the Institutions about sustainable agriculture for our environment and health’s sake.

The huge variety of our planet’s plants, animals, fungi and micro-organisms comprise the biodiversity that enables life on Earth. Interrelating with one another, the many species create natural ecosystems that provide us with food, water, shelter and medicines - all vital to our survival.

However, today some 1 million animal and vegetable species are in danger of disappearing forever.

Our presence here, our acts and activities have altered the balance of natural systems. Over 1/3 of the world’s land surface and almost 75% of freshwater resources are nowadays being used to produce crops and cattle. 3/4 of the land environment and roughly 60% of the oceans have been significantly impaired. Add to this the climate change that our human activities have brought about, and which is now worsening the impact of many factors on nature and our wellbeing. Millions of people throughout the world are daily exposed to hazards connected with the use of pesticide and weedkiller in agriculture. 2020 saw publication of the latest edition of the Living Planet Report. Its findings as to the health of our biodiversity revealed the loss of about 60% of the world’s population of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians since 1970. The report calls on governments to make a determined effort to invert the trend.

The use of synthetic chemicals to control “pests” (hence the name pesticide) has flooded the market with hundreds of active principles and formulations dangerous to man’s health, and all without proper study. This has played a major part in triggering chronic diseases such as Parkinson’s and cancer, altering the endocrine system and hence increasing related pathology such as diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, and impaired neurological and sexual development.

People who live and work in areas of intensive agriculture using synthetic chemical products – typical of monoculture – are the most exposed, especially pregnant women, children and the elderly.

In the long term, pesticides damage agriculture itself, since they weaken the agro-ecosystem and jeopardize the productivity of the land and the quality of crops by destroying the animal and vegetable biodiversity. They pollute the air, the land and the aquifers, which places the survival of many animal species at risk (for instance, pollinators, earthworms and insects). Intensive monoculture based on chemicals gradually impoverishes that precious resource, the countryside.

As an alternative to the present conventional agricultural model we of the Network support agricultural practices like organic and biodynamic agriculture and short supply chains. In the last few years such methods have proved able to ensure respect for public health and the environment, while producing wholesome food, boosting employment, enhancing the variety of local produce, restoring biodiversity in the ground and water, fostering resilience and offsetting climate change, and thus protecting the health and wellbeing of our children and every living species.

We need to support a transition in the ecology via local diversified, ecological food systems: it is a social, economic and democratic imperative. Our commitment is to spreading information and promoting European schemes geared towards eco-sustainable agricultural practice and consumer awareness about organic produce.


WHAT WE ASK OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION:

1 – Gradual elimination of synthetic pesticides

By 2030 the use of synthetic practices needs to be gradually reduced by 80% in EU agriculture, and banned altogether a few years later.

2- Measures to restore biodiversity

Natural habitats need to be revived, while agricultural areas need to serve as a vector of restored biodiversity.

3- Support for farmers

Farmers need support during this much-needed transition to eco-agriculture. Small, diversified, sustainable farms require special help and incentives, while research needs support in promoting an agricultural model free from pesticide and GMOs.


WE CALL ON THE GOVERNMENT, REGIONS AND MUNICIPALITIES FOR A PRECISE COMMITMENT:

1- To health: to apply the precautionary principle and ban the use of dangerous pesticides, meaning synthetic molecules and also formulations (which may be more dangerous, their composition often shrouded in industrial secret); to set up controls and appropriate penalties; to ban once and for all non-compliant substances enjoying a waiver, and to set targets for reducing all others.

2- To the land: to boost control measures safeguarding the land, avoiding excavation, clear-felling, marring of the landscape, illegal dumping and changes of intended use: to ban pesticides harmful for wild species and ecosystems from being used in all protected areas and catchment basins for wetlands of international importance.

3- To agriculture: to defend and support Food Sovereignty; to annul incentives for industrial agricultural produce and monoculture; to support and incentivize eco-agriculture (organic and biodynamic) in deference to biodiversity and typical local traditions. We demand that the National Action Plan (PAN) on pesticide use be reviewed, that pesticides be eliminated forthwith from urban areas and where the population congregate, that suitable safety distances be set from habitations, from land under organic or biodynamic cultivation, from parks and public or private gardens, from roads, footpaths and cycle tracks.

 

IN PARTICULAR, MARCH STOP PESTICIDES FOR 2021 HAS TWO MAIN TARGETS :

Save the bees and the farmers”, collecting signatures for the ICE campaign

Stop glyphosate” : sensitization towards fund-raising for www.glyphosatestudy.org so as to be able to conclude and publish the study that will put a halt to the European authorization to manufacture and use glyphosate, which falls due in one year’s time