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EU citizens' initiative calls for adherence to binding pesticide reductions

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A bee sits on a yellow flower.
The initiative "Save Bees and Farmers" appeals to the German government to continue to support the goal of binding pesticide reductions in Europe. Picture © iStock / K_Thalhofer

In a letter published on Wednesday, the German representatives of the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) "Save Bees and Farmers" appeal to the German government to continue to support the goal of binding pesticide reductions in Europe. The initiative, which is made up of more than 140 environmental NGOs, farming and beekeeping organizations, non-profit foundations and scientific institutions from across the European Union, believes there is a risk that climate and environmental goals already agreed to in Europe will be called into question again in the wake of the Ukraine war.

"We ask you to ensure that Germany takes all necessary steps to implement the pesticide reduction targets of the Farm-to-Fork Strategy in a legally binding way at the European as well as the German level," the alliance writes to Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir, Environment Minister Steffi Lemke and Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, among others. "This includes clearly opposing possible dilutions or further delays in the revision of the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive (SUD)."

According to the initiative, the consequences of the Ukraine war clearly showed how important it is to minimize external fossil fuel dependencies in agriculture as well. "Pesticide reduction is an important step towards a more resilient agriculture that ensures healthy soils, clean water and biodiversity for long-term food security and independence from fossil fuels."

The EU Commission most recently delayed the publication of a draft regulation to revise European pesticide legislation by several months. This long-awaited regulation is intended, among other things, to make the Commission's target of halving pesticide use in Europe by 2030, as set out in the Farm-to-Fork Strategy and the Biodiversity Strategy, legally binding for all EU member states. The draft regulation is now expected to be published on June 22, 2022. However, the citizens' initiative warns that the draft could still be watered down by then.

Parallel to the letter to the German government, similar letters were written in other countries by representatives of the citizens' initiative to their national governments. (mis)


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