UN experts shed light on the impact of pesticide use

Friday, 10 March 2017

A report presented to the UN Human Rights Council this week analyzes the devastating consequences of pesticide use on flora, fauna and human beings. 

In the light of studies that link pesticide use among others to diseases such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, cancers and respiratory diseases, the UN's Special Rapporteur Hilal Elver states in the report: "Reliance on hazardous pesticides is a short-term solution that undermines the rights to adequate food and health for present and future generations". According to the report, acute pesticide poisoning already accounts for some 200.000 deaths every year.

While regulations on pesticide use do exist, enforcement is still a challenge and most regulatory frameworks do not go far enough, especially in developing countries. The main reason for these shortcomings is the lobbying of multinational pesticide corporations that exercice "extraordinary power over global agrochemical research, legislative initatives and regulatory agendas", as the report makes clear. Future policies should therefore focus on how to hold these multinationals accountable for their actions. 

However, in the long run, the report sees only one solution: "moving away from industrial agriculture".