Press contact: Ahna Kruzic, firstname.lastname@example.org (510) 927-5379
For immediate release: December 3rd, 2021, 1AM PT
ROME, ITALY: Today, food and agriculture advocates delivered over 187,300 petition signatures from over 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, a trade association representing agrochemical companies. The global petition was facilitated by Pesticide Action Network, Friends of the Earth, SumOfUs, and the Center for International Environmental Law.
In their petition, advocates argue that FAO is charged with reducing hunger and supporting the livelihoods of farmers and rural communities globally, therefore it is inappropriate and a conflict of interest for this UN agency to partner with an agrochemical trade association whose purpose is to market the products of member companies such as Bayer and Syngenta.
The petition states that “this collaboration with CropLife, an association of corporations which produce and promote dangerous pesticides, directly undermines FAO’s priority of minimizing the harms of chemical pesticide use worldwide.” This petition delivery follows a November 2020 letter to Director-General Qu, in which over 350 international civil society and Indigenous peoples’ organizations from 63 countries expressed concern regarding the CropLife partnership. A subsequent letter signed by over 250 scientists and academics expressed similar concerns. Pesticide Action Network and a coalition of 11 global networks followed up with formal requests to meet with the Director-General to discuss this partnership as civil society stakeholders, but have not received any response.
Simone Adler, PAN North America Organizing Co-Director and co-coordinator of the PAN International campaign to stop the FAO-CropLife partnership, provided this statement:
When 44% of the global population working on farms is acutely poisoned by pesticides every year, it is completely inappropriate for FAO to partner with the world’s largest agrochemical companies. This partnership with CropLife is in direct conflict with FAO’s mandate as a UN institution to fulfill human rights to health, adequate food, clean water and environment, and safe working conditions.
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.
Please see this link for a copy of the petition signed by 187,300 advocates and sent to FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu.
Pesticide Action Network works to create a just, thriving food system. PAN works alongside those on the frontlines of pesticide exposure — from farmworkers to rural communities to beekeepers. PAN links local and international consumer, labor, health, environment and agriculture groups into an international citizens’ action network. Together, we challenge the global proliferation of pesticides, defend basic rights to health and environmental quality, and work to ensure the transition to a just and viable food system.
Photo courtesy of PAN Europe.