On International Day of No Pesticide Use, December 3, Pesticide Action Network (PAN) and our partners from around the world delivered over 187,300 petition signatures from more than 107 countries to United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)’s Director-General Qu Dongyu. The petition demanded an end to the partnership between FAO and CropLife International, the global trade association representing agrochemical companies.
For over a year, you’ve been hearing about our Stop the #ToxicAlliance campaign, co-coordinated by PAN North America Co-Organizing Director Simone Adler and PAN Asia Pacific’s Communications Officer Ilang-Ilang Quijano. This delivery was the culmination of those months of international organizing, and sent a strong message to FAO beyond what was written in the petition: our global solidarity is strong, and we will not stand for our public agencies bowing to seed and pesticide corporations.
An outrageous proposal
FAO first announced their intention to create a formal alliance with CropLife International in October 2020, and immediately received pushback from peasant movements, Indigenous peoples and civil society organizations around the world. CropLife represents the world’s leading manufacturers of harmful and unsustainable agrichemical technologies, who all have long track records of poisoning farmers, workers, food, air, and water.
So it’s seemingly obvious that an alliance with this type of industry group would fly in the face of the mission of the FAO — to reduce hunger and support the livelihoods of farmers and rural communities globally. This clear contradiction is highlighted in the petition.
The December 3 delivery followed two prior letters to Director-General Qu Dongyu signed by 350 international civil society and Indigenous peoples’ organizations from 63 countries, and over 250 scientists and academics, respectively. PAN and a coalition of 11 global networks followed these up with several formal requests to meet with the Director-General to discuss this partnership as civil society stakeholders, but had not received any response.
You really, really showed up.
So? We went even bigger, and very, very public. In addition to submitting the petition, folks in our networks around the world showed up and shouted their outrage at FAO, and support for safe food and farming systems and food sovereignty. Check it out:
Our partners from PAN Europe outside of the FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, with the strong message to get the pesticide industry out of the United Nations.
Farmers of the Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women in the Philippines made themselves heard, a critically important voice as women may be be more susceptible to the harms of pesticide exposure during hormonal-based processes such as pregnancy, lactation, and menopause.
Farmers and partners in India shared that more poison is NOT an option, and that to protect biodiversity and their way of life, FAO must immediately stop its partnership with CropLife International.
PAN Asia Pacific staff in Malaysia and the Philippines urged FAO to give agroecology a chance, and stop the #ToxicAlliance.
We’ll keep pushing
So what’s next? Simone Adler, co-coordinator of the campaign, said it best:
“A global movement of hundreds of thousands of farmers, fisherfolk, agricultural workers, Indigenous peoples and activists is urging FAO to halt this partnership with CropLife, immediately. This toxic alliance facilitates the corporate capture of our global food systems, and directly undermines FAO’s own Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management. Now that the Director General has the clear demands of nearly 200,000 people in front of him, we hope he will respond appropriately by putting the brakes on this partnership, and prioritizing instead the well-being of farmers, workers and food producers, and the planet.”
We’re waiting, Mr. Director-General.