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Field work in Mexico

Last May and June, I went to Mexico to conduct field work trying to understand some of the socio-ecological and economic impacts that Mayan beekeepers are facing with the introduction of GM soy in their territory, and their struggle to defend themselves against it.

Below you can see some pictures of these days. Hopefully you will hear soon about the results of this research!

Black spring for bees: Press note by Bee Life

Our project partners Bee Life, the European Beekeeping Coordination just released the following press release.

Brussels, 20.03.2015

Black spring for bees: National governments blocking appropriate risk assessment of pesticides on bees

On the 20th of March, while spring is coming, representatives from the national ministries and from the European Commission met in Brussels at the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health[1]. Since 2013, they have been negotiating on the EFSA Guidance[2], the most appropriated science-based protocol enabling to keep out of the market toxic pesticides to bees and to other pollinators. While the Commission (DG SANTE) has pushed for the Guidance implementation, the position of national governments has continued unclear and not transparent, leading to a deadlock of the decision. Bee Life European Beekeeping Coordination urges the national governments to say YES to the EFSA Guidance on bees.

The new EU legislative framework on pesticides[3] obliges the pesticide industry to furnish much more data on bee toxicology when applying for an active substance or formulation.

With the purpose to enforce in an adequate and harmonized way the EU law, the EFSA, following the European Commission mandate, has published the Guidance on bees. This Guidance is the result of an independent and scientific work. If approved by member states, this scientific methodology would enable risk evaluators to assess properly the set of data and application dossier provided by the pesticide industry. Such methodology would support political decision-making on pesticides at EU and national level.

Despite the efforts of the European Commission (DG SANTE) to take better into account the risks of pesticides to pollinators, member states continue blocking the approval of the EFSA Guidance. Based on the fact that the Guidance would improve our understanding of the risks and effects of pesticides on pollinators and on the environment, and that it would offer a harmonized interpretation of the risks in the EU, Bee Life questions the fact of such blockage by national governments.

Bee Life urges member states to take a decision in favor of quality of life and public health. We urge member states to keep a critical eye on the arguments and pressure of the agrochemical industry that tries in an insidious way to oppose to the EFSA Guidance.

Bee Life will continue extremely active in following this dossier and will work until the European law on the risks of pesticides to pollinators is properly implemented. This means until the EFSA Guidance is approved and enforced.

Francesco Panella, president of Bee Life said: “It is sad to see that science is everywhere within the European legal logic until it meets the economic interests of member states or pesticide industry. Besides, this blocking shows a worrying fact: member states do not trust the scientific competence of the EFSA. For Bee Life, the sooner the Guidance is implemented, the earlier the marketing of pesticides toxic for pollinators will be avoided. The support of every citizen will be essential to maintain pollinators on European territory and to ensure the quality of life all of us.”

EN VERSION: http://bee-life.eu/en/article/82/

FR: VERSION: http://bee-life.eu/fr/article/82/

(1) Agendas et minutes of the SCOFCAH meetings in the Brussels http://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/standing_committees/sc_phytopharmaceuticals/index_en.htm

(2)  EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) Guidance on risk assessment of pesticides on bees – http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/3295.htm

(3) Regulation 1107/2009 – http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/?uri=CELEX:32009R1107

Regulation (UE) n ° 283/2013 – http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/?uri=CELEX:32013R028

Regulation (UE) n °284/2013 – http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/?uri=CELEX:32013R0284