SIP Forum: The Greens at the European Parliament – a conference

The Greens EFA held a session entitled ‘How to really feed the world? Fighting hunger at the root’ at the European Parliament on 18 October. The session was twofold and held 150 participants (farmers, agronomists, students, journalists and MEPs). In the morning, there were talks on the use of pesticides; the afternoon session aimed at reviewing the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

More concretely, the morning session dealt with the following issues: the effects of pesticides on the right to food; the Stop Glyphosate! Campaign; data and information manipulation from chemical multinationals. Initiatives and proposals were presented by associations fighting for the elimination of glyphosate, indicating alternative methods of use (a Pesticides Action Network report) together with instructions and recommendations by several farmers, which were shown in the following video.

The SIP Forum was also invited to attend the morning session of the conference. Its representative had the opportunity to “give soil a voice’ underlining:

1) Time: a fundamental parameter to take into account is time. In order to grow in a natural manner soil needs between 100 and 200years, to increase by only 1cm;

2) Soil means life: it breathes, pulses, and it is full of bacteria, large and small-scale animals, insects, plant species, vacuum[1]

3) Ways to combat weeds should be decided by taking into account soil and the wildlife inhabiting it, not just by getting rid of weeds.

4) Some methods are particularly dangerous for soil (hot water, electricity, vapour, fire…)

5) The transition time should be respected: we cannot say to farmers that after eliminating pesticides in only a couple of months everything will be good and they will grow pure organic products. The soil must be cleansed beforehand, and after we must allow it to restore its fertility.

The Forum SIP PowerPoint presentation is available upon request, the entire event was recorded, and the online streaming is available.

[1] Technical word indicating the micro spaces inside the soil containing air. Their dislocation, direction and composition are studied to understand the soil conditions.

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Pesticide Action Network (PAN) – Europe

In the European Union there are many organisations fighting for a better society, a future in which our children and grandchildren will not be able to blame us for passivity and incompetence. They are vital for the European Institutions themselves and to make democracy persist. At times, a local perspective on certain issues can make us forget the many organisations which deal with the same issues in other European countries.

Here we will introduce you to Pesticide Action Network (PAN), an organisation which strives to minimise the negative effects of hazardous pesticides and to replace their use with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives. The network was founded in 1982 and has over the years included up to over 600 non-governmental organisations, institutions and individuals in over 60 countries worldwide, which are co-ordinated by 5 autonomous regional centres, one of which in Europe (since 1987). The European centre has its headquarters in Brussels: in this way they are able to more closely follow policy developments at the EU institutions regarding agriculture, environment and health, and their involvement with the use of synthetic pesticides or other toxic chemicals. PAN represents consumer interests and aims at influencing these policies, by making claims in favour of the well-being of citizens, consumers and farmers. PAN – Europe network includes 38 associations, two of which are Italian : PAN- Italia and the Accademia delle Erbe Spontanee, in English ‘Wild Herbs Academy’ which both have headquarters in Ancona. Continua a leggere “Pesticide Action Network (PAN) – Europe”

“Stop Glyphosate” Campaign

Good news: The European Citizens Initiative (ECI) to ban the use of glyphosate and other toxic pesticides has reached 1 million signatures! It is the 4th ECI to have been fully successful. The organizers decided to close the petition early in order to start the analysis procedure the EU institutions are obliged to respond to.

Why the urgency? Because (and this is the bad news) the European Commission sent in a proposal which will re-authorize glyphosate for another ten years. EU Member States ministers met in Brussels on 19 July, surrounded by protests organized by the Stop Glyphosate team near the European institutions

The glyphosate license which was given an 18-month long renewal in 2016, is about to expire again. The first vote is expected to take place in autumn. If we want the precaution to take place, civil society should keep fighting and persuade the institutions not to give in to chemical industry associations.

Campagna Stop Glifosato

La buona notizia: il quorum di 1 milione di firme per l’iniziativa dei cittadini europei (ICE) per il bando del glifosato e dei pesticidi tossici è stato raggiunto! Si tratta della 4a iniziativa ICE che si conclude raggiungendo l’obiettivo. Gli organizzatori hanno deciso di chiudere anticipatamente la data della raccolta delle firme per poter iniziare subito la procedura che obbligherà alla sua analisi da parte delle istituzioni europee.

Perché questa urgenza? Perché la Commissione Europea ha presentato la proposta – e questa è la cattiva notizia – di ri-autorizzazione del glifosato per ancora dieci anni. I ministri degli Stati Membri dell’UE ne stanno discutendo e a Bruxelles il 19 luglio sono stati accolti dalla manifestazione che Stop Glifosato ha organizzato nel cuore delle istituzioni europee.

La licenza per il glifosato, prolungata di 18 mesi nel 2016, sta per arrivare di nuovo a scadenza. Una prima votazione è prevista per l’autunno. Se vogliamo che il principio di precauzione sia rispettato, la società civile deve continuare a far presente alle istituzioni comunitarie di non assoggettarsi alla sola volontà delle società dell’industria chimica.

Stop Glyphosate! ECI

With the Stop Glyphosate! European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), the Commission is asked to introduce a ban on the use of glyphosates in Member States, to reform the procedure on pesticide approval, and set goals on compulsory use of pesticide reduction at EU level.

In the case of Italy, we would like to remind you that the Ministry of Health’s ban on the use of phytosanitary containing glyphosate is not enough (Gazzetta Ufficiale Italiana, August 2016). If the ban is not put in place at European level, products containing glyphosate may still be exported from other Member States.

An IARC report (International Agency for Research on Cancer) of the World Health Organisation defined glyphosate as potentially carcinogenic for human beings. Test results from urine samples carried out – at the Bremen University Medical Centre (Germany) – over 18 Member States confirm that at least 44% of those tested carry traces of glyphosate. Proportions naturally vary from country to country with Malta, Germany, Great Britain and Poland high up in the ranking, with Macedonia and Switzerland among the last,

We would like to remind those who believe the danger is still not scientifically confirmed, that as the precautionary principle regulates – or simply common sense – we are not asking them to cease consuming products containing glyphosate (they are free to keep doing as they wish), but simply not to absurdly force others to do so. Moreover we insist that the danger of pesticides should be evaluated and verified in a transparent manner and not in labs of manufacturing industries or in those financed by these industries.

In February the SIP Forum Newsletter had alerted readers and SIP Forum members on the crucial importance of definitely banning glyphosate, and launching the ECI. The campaign is still ongoing, and over 700.000 signatures collected from January until now, over all Member States.

Unfortunately, the pace is weaker in Italy, and there is the risk not to reach the minimum number of signatures required according to ECI rules.

We would therefore like to ask our readers who have not yet accessed the website, to sign the petition: https://stopglyphosate.org/  .

If you have not already done so please spread this petition to your partners, friends and acquaintances… It is extremely important!