Shaped Global Plan to Address Food Security
In September 2015, the United Nations (UN) launched its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, an ambitious plan adopted by world leaders to strive toward achieving 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. CropLife International played an important role in shaping the outcome of this agenda by working with the UN and like-minded stakeholders to ensure that the goals outlined are achievable and realistic in addressing food security and environmental sustainability concerns.
CropLife International members were involved in many of the negotiations, allowing the plant science industry to demonstrate how supporting continued growth and innovation for farmers and plant science is critical to meeting many of the SDGs, particularly those that deal with ending poverty, fighting global hunger, and supporting programs aimed at sustainable agricultural production.
Moving forward in 2016, CropLife International will continue to be engaged in this broader public and private sector effort, helping global leaders develop the key indicators of success for achieving the agenda’s goals. Many CropLife International members have also already taken the initiative to incorporate actionable goals from the 2030 Agenda into their business plans, reconfirming the plant science industry’s commitment to working with all UN agencies on this global effort.
Promoted Risk-Based Approach to Chemical Management
CropLife International led a strong industry delegation to the fourth session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM4) in September 2015, where it called for global leaders to support risk-based, rather than hazard-based, approaches on highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs) and endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).
The ICCM governs the UN’s international effort to promote the safe use of chemicals, otherwise known as the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM).
CropLife International welcomed the consensus reached by SAICM’s 175 member states to introduce sound scientific language on the approach to HHPs that insists on risk management and risk mitigation. The SAICM member states also rejected attempts to establish a “Global Alliance for the Phase-out of HHPs,” agreeing instead that the management of HHPs already being undertaken by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and supported by voluntary industry commitments and actions is an effective approach.
On endocrine disrupting chemicals, CropLife International united with the International Council of Chemical Associations and the U.S. Council for International Business to call for science-based regulation. CropLife International also took the opportunity to publish and distribute its policy paper on the issue. In a positive move for the crop protection industry, SAICM member states again supported a risk-based approach to regulation and rejected pressure to draw up a blacklist of EDCs or potential EDCs.
CropLife International will continue to engage with the SAICM process, which aims to minimize the adverse effects of chemicals on human health and the environment by 2020.
Sought Simplified Biotech Approvals in China
China has one of the most complex and unpredictable regulatory environments when it comes to approving biotech crops, greatly hindering biotech companies’ ability to share their crop technology with farmers around the world.
CropLife International and CropLife China, together with a coalition of exporting countries — including Argentina, Brazil, Canada and the United States — and value-chain stakeholders submitted formal comments on proposed revisions to the Chinese Food Safety Regulation in 2015. The network also joined together in a global advocacy effort to encourage many governments and value chain stakeholders to submit comments on the proposed revisions during the WTO notification process.
The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture is still considering input on its proposed revisions, but this effort was critical in ensuring that the global biotechnology network’s concerns were heard. CropLife International will continue to stay engaged as this process develops throughout 2016.
Continued Technical and Regulatory Analysis of New Plant Breeding Techniques
Scientists use new plant breeding techniques (NBTs) to improve plants to meet the specific needs of farmers and consumers. Recently, CropLife International has been involved in the discussion on how governments across the globe can properly assess the safety of NBTs within their regulatory structures.
Given the growing public and private sector interest in the topic, CropLife International assembled a team of technical experts in 2013 to examine the status of NBTs worldwide, and they developed an industry position on the regulatory oversight of products developed by NBTs and a technical summary of some of the techniques used around the world.
In 2015, CropLife International and the International Seed Federation (ISF) initiated the Plant Biotechnology Innovation Strategy Task Force. This task force will help frame the regulatory, legal, technical and public acceptance discussions that support continued innovation and facilitate international trade for NBTs.
CropLife International’s NBT technical team and communications staff will continue to support the global biotech network and the national seed associations in their outreach efforts to governments. This work is intended to facilitate common endpoints in national regulations that are both science-based and predictable, giving plant breeders better assurance that their products can make it to—and be traded in—the global agricultural community.
Built Awareness of Plant Science Industry’s Impact on Society
In 2015, CropLife International launched a thought leadership and communications initiative to highlight the industry’s role in a sustainable agricultural system and share its positions on significant global issues. The goal of this project is to build awareness of plant science’s role in corporate social responsibility programs, member engagement in communities worldwide, and technology’s role in creating sustainable agricultural products that protect the environment.
CropLife International launched its first blog in 2015, which features industry perspectives on critical issues, such as the UN’s sustainable development goals, climate change, and ways to support the world’s farmers.
In 2016, CropLife International will focus the project on sharing industry’s experiences in corporate social responsibility projects, stewardship initiatives and farmer trainings to ensure the responsible use of the technology and products, and the positive role plant science innovation has had on food security, farmer livelihoods, and the environment.