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Sustainable use of pesticides

In 2009, Directive 2009/128/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a framework for Community action to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides was adopted.

Together with this directive, two other legal regulations were adopted by the Community, which are crucial for the authorisation of plant protection products and for their placing on the market - Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Regulation (EC) No 1185/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning statistics on pesticides.

In practical terms Directive 2009/128/EC (hereinafter the “Directive”) is particularly important, the content of which goes beyond agriculture and concerns human health and the protection of all components of the environment. The Directive defines the concept of the sustainable use of pesticides as “reducing the risks and impacts of pesticide use on human health and the environment and promoting the use of integrated pest management and of alternative approaches or techniques such as non-chemical alternatives to pesticides”.

In accordance with the requirement of the Directive, the Ministry of Agriculture established an inter-ministerial Coordination Working Group to prepare a draft of the Czech National Action Plan to ensure the sustainable use of pesticides. From June – July 2012 the draft was placed on the website of the Ministry of Agriculture for public discussion.

On 12 September 2012, the Government of the CR approved the draft with Resolution No. 660 as the “National Action Plan to Reduce the Use of Pesticides in the Czech Republic” (hereinafter the “NAP”). The Czech NAP sets out two main objectives:

  • reduce the risk resulting from the use of plant protection products in the areas of health, water protection and the protection of the environment, and
  • optimising the use of plant protection products without limiting the scope of agricultural production and the quality of plant products.

To ensure the main objectives of the NAP are met it contains 13 milestones and 69 measures in a set period from 2013 to 2020, which are aimed at reducing the risks and limiting the impacts of the usage of plant protection products on human health and the environment, in particular to encourage the development and implementation of integrated plant management, so as to reduce the dependence on the use of plant protection products. When setting the milestones and measures, the NAP is based on the conclusions of an evaluation of the current state in the areas of protecting human health, water and the environment against the negative effects of the plant protection products and an assessment of the availability methods of plant protection that favour less risky technologies, including farmers’ awareness of these methods in the CR. Thus the milestones notably consist of strengthening the existing professional advisory system in plant protection, raising the awareness of professional users of the plant protection products about their potential risks to non-target components of the environment and how they can be prevented. Additional milestones of the NAP aim for a better linking of existing measures, even among departments, particularly in terms of ensuring the prevention of the risks from the use of plant protection products before they arise.

To ensure the implementation of the NAP it is estimated that the necessary specific non-investment costs will come to about 34.5 million CZK annually. It is assumed that the main source of finance to cover the costs for transferring professional information and completing the professional advisory system in the protection of plants will be funds from the Rural Development Programme for the CR for the period 2014–2020.

The NAP will be implemented from 2013. Continual assessment on meeting the NAP is assumed to be twice a year and once a year an annual report on meeting the NAP will be prepared and presented at the level of the ministers of agriculture, health and the environment for information. The NAP update will be prepared on the basis of a draft submitted by the ministers of agriculture, health and the environment to the government for approval by resolution every 5 years at the latest.