Reducing negative impacts of pesticides and fertilisers

Exposure of pesticides and fertilisers can have serious effects to human and environment health. This report provides new insights on actions stakeholders could take to minimise these adverse impacts.

The Environmental and Health Impacts of Pesticides and Fertilizers and Ways to Minimize Them report, published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in December 2022 and written in close collaboration and consultation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), highlights the need for transformative actions and better management of pesticides and fertilisers as global demand and use of the products increases. 

The report outlines six priority transformative actions to strengthen pesticide and fertiliser management:

  • Incentivise healthy and sustainable consumer choices and consumption.
  • Fundamentally change crop management and adopt ecosystem-based approaches.
  • Promote circularity and resource efficiency.
  • Use economic instruments to create a level playing field for greener products and approaches.
  • Adopt integrated and life cycle approaches for sound pesticide and fertiliser management.
  • Strengthen standards and adopt corporate policies for sustainable supply chain management.

Alongside the transformative actions are 13 priority actions to boost pesticide and fertiliser management. These include among others, prioritising the development of, and access to, low-risk pesticides and bioprotectants, and scaling up training of all relevant stakeholders in fertiliser and nutrient management.

The development of this report was done at the request of Member States, as stated in resolution 3/4 adopted at the third session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA). 

The resolution requested UNEP’s ‘Executive Director to present a report on the environmental and health impacts of pesticides and fertilisers and ways of minimizing them, given the lack of data in that regard, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and other relevant organisations by the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly.’


Read more and download the report at the UNEP website

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