Side event at SPREP annual meeting, on ecosystem services and biodiversity in agriculture in the Pacific Islands
There is considerable scope in the Agriculture Sector Policy/Plan of the abovementioned PICs to address the priority concerns of excessive use of agrochemicals and other poor farming methods through the promotion of ecosystem-based approaches to improvements in soil fertility and to pest and crop management – replacing chemicals with biology. For example, several Agriculture Sector Policies/Plans in the region promote organic farming and organic certification of agricultural products, which promote natural forms of soil fertility management (compost management, legume inter-cropping). In these same countries however, farmers often refer to pesticides and herbicides, such as paraquat as their ‘friend’, primarily to reduce labour time and cost and increase productivity in the short term.
The panelists will provide 5-7 minutes presentations, and will address some of the following questions:
- What is the curent level of awareness, and level of concern by policy-makers and local communities on the environmental and human health risks of highly hazardous pesticides?
- While there is mounting scientific evidence across the world of the damages inflicted by highly hazardous pesticides to human health and the environment, there is only anecdotal evidence available in the Pacific islands with very limited data and research. Are there any existing or planned activities at the national level that could contribute to filling this gap?
- What are the opportunities for strengthening the synergies between the implementation of the cluster of Multilateral Environment Agreements related to sound chemicals management (Stockholm Convention, Rotterdam Convention, Basel Convention, and Waigani Convention) and the Convention on Biological Diversity, to promote alternatives to, and support minimize the dependency on, agro-chemical use?
- What are some of the policies and initiatives as case studies at the national level that address the priority concerns of excessive use of agrochemicals and other unsustainable farming practices, and support and promote the enhancing of agricultural biodiversity and ecosystem services.
- What are some of the key efforts at the national level to facilitate the involvement of the agriculure sector and farmers in the NBSAP process, and vice versa, environment/conservation sector in Agriculture Sector Plans/Policies process?
- What would be the key areas of technical support that can be provided by regional organizations and international partners to promote agricultural practices that are based on established ecological principles and processes to reduce reliance on chemical inputs in the Pacific islands?
See Draft Programme Attached