Regional workshop on risk reduction of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) and technical assistance training for implementation of the Rotterdam Convention for selected countries in Southern Africa through the Southern African Pesticide Regulators’ Forum (SAPReF) was held at Holiday Inn in Rosebank, Johannesburg, during the whole week of the 25th to 29th April 2016. Altogether there were 56 participants hailing from all the 15 SADC member states, who were pesticides regulators and Rotterdam convention focal persons, many of whom have been members of the forum since its inception.
The Southern African Pesticide Regulators’ Forum (SAPReF) was formed in 2011 and current membership includes pesticide regulators and/or Designated National Authorities (DNA) of the Rotterdam Convention, pesticide risk managers from diverse backgrounds and disciplines from all the 15 SADC countries (Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe) as technical experts from key supporting institutions (FAO, University of Cape Town, Swedish Chemical Agency, Africa Institute and the SADC Secretariat). Currently there are 83 members on the SAPReF platform registered and participating as members, administrators or observers. SAPReF seeks to achieve sound management of pesticides and bio pesticides used in agriculture, public health and domestic environments. Its members also address policies and practices for sustainable pest management that aim to reduce reliance on chemical pesticides.
The Southern African Pesticide Regulators Forum (SAPReF) has been receiving technical and financial support from FAO and this event was supported through the EC funded Capacity-Building Related to Multilateral Environmental Agreements in ACP Countries – Phase 2 (“ACP/MEAs 2”) The purpose of this regional workshop was to highlight the need for risk reduction of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) and provide technical assistance training for implementation of the Rotterdam Convention for countries in Southern Africa. The overall goal is to foster the harmonisation of HHP regulations by providing regional regulators with the technical skills and knowledge to develop protocols for the identification and risk management of HHPs in line with the Rotterdam Convention. Specific objectives were therefore to:
- provide training to the participating countries in the protocol for identification;
- risk management of HHPs and to follow up on Rotterdam Convention implementation activities as agreed in action plan 2015; and
- assist the participating countries to develop an HHP risk reduction strategy.
During the five day meeting, participants were further and once again introduced practiced deeper the FAO toolkits regarding classification and registration of HHP as well as reporting for Rotterdam convention pursuant to articles 5 and 6;
SAPReF remains highly committed to these objectives and will definitely use all the assistance it can get in these endevours. The forum concluded with an action plan for HHP risk reduction at both regional and country levels: The following steps shall be followed by all countries in drafting the action plan for risk reduction:
- Identify HHPs
- Take stock of current uses of HHPs, and reasons for use
- Import/production statistics
- Use surveys
- Assess actual needs for HHPs
- Take into account available alternatives
- Evaluate risks of HHPs
- Take into account conditions of use
- Select mitigation measures
- Take into account local feasibility and effectiveness
- Establish implementation strategy of the plan
- Monitor and review effectiveness of the plan