Eight environmental NGOs left a consultative meeting organized Monday at the Ministry of Agriculture to present avenues for revising the national pesticide reduction plan, “paused” by the government under pressure from farmers, they announced Monday to the press.
The invitation to this Strategic Orientation and Monitoring Committee (Cos) “contained neither agenda nor working documents transmitted in preparation for this meeting”, criticize the NGOs including Générations Futures, WWF France, the Foundation for Nature and Man and the LPO.
“Set up a new indicator”
“The working conditions were not met to begin the dialogue” on the future of the Ecophyto plan, declared Sandrine Bélier, director of Humanity and Biodiversity.
These environmental NGOs sit alongside elected officials, unions, representatives of agriculture and industry within this committee responsible for voting on opinions on the development of the plan to reduce the use of pesticides.
This plan, which aims to halve the use of pesticides by 2030 (compared to 2015-2017), was suspended by Prime Minister Gabriel Attal “time to put in place a new indicator” which would replace Nodu, the main French measuring tool.
According to participants, the NGOs left the COS after being refused the reading of their declaration on the reasons for their departure, at the opening of this meeting held in the presence of the ministers of Agriculture, Ecological Transition, of Health and Research.
“These associations were specifically received by the 4 ministers before the meeting to hear their expectations,” reacted the Ministry of Agriculture.
The ministers “did not want to transform the Cos into a forum where everyone reads a declaration without listening to the others”. “It is not acceptable, when no decision has been taken, to leave an exchange and consultation meeting,” added the ministry.
“We had no reason to participate in this meeting which for us was a charade, even though the decisions had already been announced by the Prime Minister,” declared François Veillerette, spokesperson for the Générations Futures association.
Before the meeting, the NGOs had declared that maintaining the main indicator for measuring pesticide use in France, Nodu, was a “red line”.
Its questioning “is a gift to industrial agriculture more than to farmers in their diversity, while the agricultural world said it wanted support, not pesticides,” reacted Jean Burkard, director of advocacy at WWF.