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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'United Nations' Category


22
Dec

Groups Again Call for Urgent Action to Eliminate Pesticide Industry’s Influence at the United Nations

(Beyond Pesticides, December 22, 2022) International health and environmental groups submitted an urgent letter to  the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) late last month demanding “greater transparency and accountability” through termination of the agency’s two-year-old partnership with CropLife International (CLI), a global trade association representing the world’s biggest pesticide manufacturers. Addressed to FAO Deputy Director Beth Bechdol ahead of FAO Council 171 session in Rome and COP15, the letter outlines a unique opportunity for the organization to lead the phaseout of fossil-fuel based food systems and use of agrochemicals while upholding the agency’s responsibility to act in response to conflicts of interest and human rights violations.   The original Letter of Intent (LOI), signed between CLI President and CEO Guilia Di Tommaso and FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu in October 2020, framed the partnership as a means to ensure humanity’s freedom from hunger while advancing Sustainable Development Goals. However, according to PAN Europe Policy Officer Manon Rouby, “While the private sector has been working with FAO for years, this official agreement with CropLife directly threatens FAO’s work on supporting farmers in the transition towards agroecology, while reducing the harms of synthetic pesticides worldwide. With CropLife members being the largest agrichemical […]

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09
Dec

UN Again Calls for Action as Biodiversity Deterioration Worsens Worldwide

(Beyond Pesticides, December 9, 2022) Representatives from more than 195 countries have descended on Montreal for the December 7 start of COP15 — the United Nation’s (UN’s) Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The UN Development Programme sets out the context for this summit: “Despite ongoing efforts, biodiversity is deteriorating worldwide, and this decline is projected to worsen with business-as-usual. The loss of biodiversity comes at a great cost for human well-being and the global economy.” Beyond Pesticides has documented many aspects of this decline in biodiversity, and the implications for ecosystem, human, and planetary health. In this COP15 context, the data points to the importance of broad adoption of organic regenerative / agroecological systems, which can very significantly address the interactive health, biodiversity, and climate crises. Close on the heels of November’s UN COP27 summit on climate, COP15 has commenced, with the goal of adopting a post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (CBF) to provide “a strategic vision and a global roadmap for the conservation, protection, restoration, and sustainable management of biodiversity and ecosystems for the next decade.” The first such summit was called the Convention on Biological Diversity and was held in 1993. Out of […]

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15
Jul

UN: Short-Term Economic Gains Harming Well-Being and Integrity of Nature

(Beyond Pesticides, July 15, 2022) Nature is too often sacrificed to a global and outsized focus on short-term profits and economic growth, according to a new report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). The report warns that policy making, broadly, does not reflect the value of Nature’s roles in supporting human life and activity, never mind all the peripheral benefits (aesthetic, emotional, spiritual) people derive from the natural world. The report calls on leaders in all sectors to integrate the contributions of Nature in development and deployment of policy in a more-comprehensive way — as Le Monde writes, “beyond being ‘a huge factory.’” Beyond Pesticides offers a seminal reminder from Fred Kirschenmann, PhD: the prevailing philosophy of maximum efficient production for short-term economic return at the expense of Nature causes havoc in the world and will not work in the future; instead, we must develop a broad ecological conscience that guides all that we do. The report’s Summary for Policymakers was approved on July 11 by representatives from 139 Member States; the report itself is the culmination of four years of effort by 82 collaborating scientists and experts from multiple disciplines. The same member […]

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17
Jun

Groups Worldwide Tell UN To Rescind Agreement with Chemical Industry for Human Rights Violations

(Beyond Pesticides, June 17, 2022) Hundreds of civil society groups and organizations of indigenous people worldwide have called on the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to end its nearly two-year-old partnership with CropLife International, the trade association for the world’s largest pesticide manufacturers. The organizations’ June 9 letter to the Member State Representatives of the FAO Council was signed by 430 entities, from 69 different countries. The letter asserts that the UN agency’s agreement with CropLife International (CLI) is incompatible with FAO’s obligations to uphold human rights, and urges it both to review the partnership agreement on the basis of human rights concerns, and to “consider directing the Director-General of FAO to rescind the agreement.” The call comes from this huge group of advocates, but it is also coming from “inside the house”: UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Michael Fakhri is one of the signatories; Beyond Pesticides is one among 65 U.S. signatories. CropLife International’s corporate members — BASF, Bayer, Corteva, FMC, Sumitomo Chemical, and Syngenta — are huge synthetic pesticide companies with global reach. CLI also counts as members 11 subsidiary national associations in Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, Europe, Canada, and the […]

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25
Feb

Trillions in Subsidies Worldwide Are Driving Environmental Collapse Instead of Advancing Solutions

(Beyond Pesticides, February 25, 2022) Together, governments of the world over are spending at least $1.8 trillion annually — 2% of global gross domestic product — on subsidies that drive the destruction of ecosystems and species extinction, and exacerbate the climate crisis. This news comes from a study commissioned by The B Team and Business for Nature, and released in a joint brief, Financing Our Survival: Building a Nature Positive Economy through Subsidy Reform. The Business for Nature website offers a remedy to this entropy: “With political determination and radical public–private sector collaboration, we can reform these harmful subsidies and create opportunities for an equitable, nature-positive and net-zero economy.” To that end, the two organizations have issued, in their brief, calls to action to multiple sectors, including one to the governments participating in the coming UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15): “Adopt a clear and ambitious target within the Global Biodiversity Framework . . . that commits governments to redirect, repurpose, or eliminate all environmentally harmful subsidies by 2030 and increase positive incentives to enable an equitable, net-zero, nature-positive world.” A press release from The B Team reports that the fossil fuel, agriculture, and water sectors are the recipients of more than […]

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20
Sep

We Must End the Sixth Extinction

(Beyond Pesticides, September 20, 2021) Scientists warn that humanity is causing the sixth mass extinction in the planet’s history. A series of reports from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) highlights how human activities threaten the healthy functioning of ecosystems that produce food and water, as well as one million species now at risk of extinction. The UNEP report, Food System Impacts on Biodiversity Loss, identifies the global food system as the primary driver of biodiversity loss. The report points to the conversion of natural ecosystems to crop production and pasture, with concomitant use of toxic chemicals, monoculture, and production of greenhouse gases.  In view of the many steps that have been identified to stop both biodiversity loss and global climate change, it is beyond disappointing to see our “Environmental Protection Agency” continuing to allow use of chemicals that it recognizes will contribute to the problems. The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is the international legal instrument for “the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.” It has been ratified by 196 nations—all the members of the United Nations […]

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