United Nations experts call for a global treaty to phase out the use of dangerous pesticides in farming, and urge a transition to agroecology to feed and nourish the world.
The new report (attached) highlights the catastrophic impacts of pesticides on the environment, human health, and society as a whole. Pesticides kill 200,000 people each year, 99% in low-income countries, mostly farm workers, children and indigenous peoples. They contaminate the soil and water sources, destroy beneficial insects and pollinators. Despite their widespread use, chemical pesticides have not achieved reduction in crop losses in the last 40 years. The report names and shames three powerful corporations: Monsanto Bayer, Dow Dupont, and Syngenta ChemChina who together control more than 65 per cent of global pesticide sales.
The UN experts say the most effective, long-term method to reduce exposure to these toxic chemicals is to move away from industrial agriculture, and adopt agroecological approaches, which are capable of delivering sufficient yields to feed and nourish the entire world population.
AFSA agrees and calls upon national governments and the international community to provide the political leadership and full support to establish policies, programmes and plans charting the journey to truly sustainable food systems in Africa based on agroecological principles, values and practices for the health and well-being of current and future generations.
(Detailed report in UNA/HRC/34/48. Only the opening paragraphs are shown here.)
United Nations A/HRC/34/48 General Assembly Distr.: General 24 January 2017 Original: English
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food
Human Rights Council Thirty-fourth session 27 February-24 March 2017 Agenda item 3 Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development .
Note by the Secretariat
The Secretariat has the honour to transmit to the Human Rights Council the report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, pursuant to Council resolutions 6/2, 31/10 and 32/8. The report was written in collaboration with the Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes. In the report, a clearer account is provided of global pesticide use in agriculture and its impact on human rights; the negative consequences that pesticide practices have had on human health, the environment and society, which are underreported and monitored in the shadow of a prevailing and narrow focus on “food security”, are described; and the environmental and human rights regimes are examined to determine whether the constituent rules are sufficient to protect farm workers, consumers and vulnerable groups, as well as the natural resources that are necessary to support sustainable food systems.