Relaunch of the signature collection of the European Citizens' Initiative to reinforce the objectives
of the EU Strategies "Farm to Fork" and "Biodiversity 2030" and ask for a coherent renewal of the
National Pesticide Action Plan.
The "European Week for Alternatives to Pesticides" closes tomorrow and the "Save Bees and
Farmers" ECI (European Citizens Initiative) national coordination sends an open letter to Italian
policy makers to remind them of our country's commitments to reduce pesticide use. The National
Action Plan for the sustainable use of plant protection products expired in February 2018 and the
new text presented for public consultation in 2019 has been overtaken by the objectives of the EU
Strategies "Farm to Fork" and "Biodiversity" which indicate the target of a 50% reduction in the use
of pesticides in Europe by 2030.
More than 30 associations and citizens' committees, coordinated in Italy by the WWF, are writing an
open letter to the three Ministers (Patuanelli, Cingolani and Speranza), to the Presidents of the
Parliamentary Committees on Agriculture, Environment and Health, and to the President of the
Conference of the Regions, all of whom are responsible for regulating the use of pesticides, asking
them to take courageous and far-sighted positions and initiatives in Europe to strengthen the
objectives of the two EU Strategies "Farm to Fork" and "Biodiversity 2030" and to adopt coherent
Plans and Programmes at national level. Italy must make up for the serious delays in updating the
pesticides National Action Plan (NAP), drafting the post-2023 CAP National Strategic Plan and
approving the National Organic Farming Act, all of which are indispensable tools for protecting
pollinators, agriculture, the environment and citizens' health.
The European Citizens Initiative (ECI) Save Bees and Farmers was launched in November 2019
considering that the time was ripe to make ambitious policy demands regarding the link between
agriculture and biodiversity (IPBES rapport, IPCC 2019). If the ECI is successful by collecting 1 million
signatures, the European Commission will be legally obliged to examine the demands made and
propose binding legal acts for Member States to implement the objectives of the EU Farm to Fork
and Biodiversity Strategies. More than 533,000 European citizens, including 20,000 Italians, have
already signed the ECI "Save Bees and Farmers", supported by more than 250 organisations across
Europe, and the signature collection will continue until next June.
The harmful impacts of pesticides on the environment and human health should have already been
reduced with the implementation of the EU Directive (2009/128/EC) on the sustainable use of
pesticides adopted in 2009 and agriculture's dependence on synthetic chemicals significantly
reduced long ago. An audit by the European Court of Auditors showed that the implementation of
this Directive is inadequate in many member states, including Italy.
Collecting signatures for the ECI is important to urge EU Member States to draw up National Action
Plans with concrete targets to significantly reduce pesticide use in the coming years and to turn the
50% pesticide use reduction target set by the "Farm to Fork" and "Biodiversity 2030" strategies into
a binding rule for national governments.
The main objectives of the Week for Alternatives to Pesticides, from 20 to 30 March, were to inform
citizens about the health and environmental risks of synthetic chemicals used in agriculture, to
promote alternative solutions and to build an international network for a pesticide-free Europe. This
week was an opportunity for organisations and citizens to remind European and national policymakers
of the need to reduce the use of toxic chemicals. More than 1,000 events were organised in
various European countries, including Italy, by citizens, associations, trade unions, regional and local
authorities. The European public has realised how important it is to choose alternatives to pesticides
in order to protect both health and the environment for future generations.
For more information: http://www.pesticideactionweek.org/
To sign the ECI "Save Bees and Farmers": https://www.savebeesandfarmers.eu/ita/
Rome, 29 March 2021
Press release sent by WWF Italy Press Office
on behalf of the Italian ECI Alliance "Save Bees and Farmers".
The Italian ECI alliance "Salviamo Api e Agricoltori" is a coalition of Associations and citizens'
committees born in 2019 to promote the collection of 1 million signatures in at least 7 EU countries
to ask at European level for stricter and more effective legislation to reduce the use of pesticides.
Made up of over 30 civil society organisations, it is coordinated by WWF Italy and includes the main
Italian environmental and organic associations (Annemarie Gluderer, Associazione Borghi Autentici
d'Italia, Associazione Gruppo Promotore Terre della Biosfera, Associazione Italiana Agricoltura
Biodinamica, Assobio, BeeLife European Beekeeping Coordination, Comitato Promotore United
Peacers Foundation - The World Community for a New Humanism, CONAPI Soc. Agricola, Difesa
Consumatori e Contribuenti, Égalité Onlus, Federazione Nazionale ProNatura, Federbio, Forum
Nazionale Salviamo il Paesaggio Giacche Verdi Bronte, Gruppo Mamme Revine Lago, ISDE Italia,
Associazione Medici per l'Ambiente, Istituto Ramazzini Bologna, Italia Altrove, Legambiente, LIPU,
Marcia Stop Pesticidi, NaturaSì, Navdanya International, No Pesticides Azzano Decimo, Pesticide
Action Network (PAN) Italy, Più Eco - Ecologisti Confederati, Rete Api Urbane, Rete Contadina,
Unaapi - Unione Nazionale Associazioni Apicoltori Italiani, Unipax - Unione Mondiale per la Pace e i
Diritti Fondamentali dell'uomo e dei popoli, , Slow Food Italy, WWF Italy)