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Work in the Pacific
- Harmonisation of pesticide legislation
The proposal to harmonize pesticide legislation and registration for the Pacific Island countries was firstly presented at the 4th Regional Meeting of Heads of Agriculture and Forestry Services (HOAFS) in 2010 and was since discussed in 3 large regional consultations. In May 2015, the representatives of twelve countries endorsed a proposal outlining the scope, objective, institutional arrangements and operational mechanisms of a regional scheme and recommended its inclusion in the agenda of the next HOAFs meeting. The overall aim of the scheme is to reduce pesticide risks and ensure their efficacy and quality. A Technical and Legal Working Group on Harmonisation of Pesticide Registration has been established with the endorsement of the participating countries.
The Concept Note and the Working Group’s composition and terms of reference were subsequently presented at the meeting of the Pacific Plant Protection Organization in September 2015. The PPPO endorsed the Working Group to develop a full proposal for the regional pesticide registration scheme. The 8-member Working Group on Harmonization of Pesticide Legislation in the Pacific Islands was established in early 2016. The WG has developed a more comprehensive document outlining the technical and legal Elements for a Regional Scheme. The first physical meeting of the WG is scheduled for 30th May to 3rd June in Suva, Fiji to finalise the proposal for submission to HOAFs in August/September 2016.
- Biodiversity and Agriculture: minimising agrochemical use
Work is also ongoing on the aspect of synergies between the chemicals and biodiversity conventions in the Pacific. In January 2016, FAO held meeting with the Ministry of Environment of Fiji, IUNC and SPC on the revision of the NBSAP. Subsequently, the Fiji NBSAP underwent a peer review by FAO experts to better integrate the role of the agricultural sector, in particular in achieving Aichi targets 7, 6, 13, and 14 in the NBSAP. The revised NBSAP is oriented towards preserving and enhancing the services that ecosystems provide to agriculture (such as soil fertility, natural pest control, pollination and water retention) rather than increasingly depending upon external inputs that compromise ecosystems and their benefit to production. Based on the work carried in Africa, the SPC and SPREP in collaboration with FAO are developing a “Technical Guidance Document and National Training on Mainstreaming Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity into Agricultural Production and Management to Minimise the use of Agro-chemicals in the Pacific islands”. The Document will highlight policy entry points for ecological agriculture in NBSAPs and other relevant policies in countries within the region.