Environmental groups launch EU campaign to ban all pesticides by 2035

File photo
File photo
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

A new campaign has been launched by EU environmental groups to ban all pesticides by 2035.

Civil society organisations from across the EU have submitted a proposal to the European Commission for a European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) calling for new legislation to phase out pesticides.

The campaign has been started by a cross-sector alliance of civil society organisations covering the environment, health, farming and beekeeping. Amongst others, the organisers include the European networks Friends of the Earth Europe and the Pesticide Action Network (PAN) as well as the Munich Environmental Institute, the Aurelia foundation (Germany), Générations Futures (France) and GLOBAL 2000/Friends of the Earth Austria.

The proposal calls on the European Commission to introduce legal proposals to:

  • Phase out synthetic pesticides by 2035: Phase out synthetic pesticides in EU agriculture by 80pc by 2030, starting with the most hazardous, to become 100pc free of synthetic pesticides by 2035
  • Restore biodiversity: Restore natural ecosystems in agricultural areas so that farming becomes a vector of biodiversity recovery
  • Support farmers in the transition: Reform agriculture by prioritising small scale, diverse and sustainable farming, supporting a rapid increase in agroecological and organic practice, and enabling independent farmer-based training and research into pesticide- and GMO-free farming

"We are facing an emergency with nature disappearing at an unprecedented rate, said Adrian Bebb, food and farming campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe.

"We are launching this campaign to show that the public supports decision makers to take much bolder steps to transform our agriculture, save nature and support sustainable farmers that protect our countryside," he added.

It comes as governments are meeting to approve a special report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is set to be published on Thursday.

The report will look at the climate impacts of land, such as agriculture and deforestation, which account for around a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions, and the effects of rising temperatures for landscapes and society.

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It is also expected to look at ways that the land can help tackle climate change and deliver other benefits such as food security and wildlife protection, for example through reforestation and sustainable agriculture.

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