UNICRI illicit pesticides, organized crime and supply chain integrity report

A new Report on “Illicit pesticides, organized crime and supply chain integrity” has been published by the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI).

The report, prepared by UNICRI and discussed by experts and practitioners during an Expert Workshop, aims at deepening the general knowledge on current trends related to illicit pesticides, identifying the actors and organized crime groups (OCGs) and networks involvement and their modus operandi, and understanding the supply chain vulnerabilities. Participants included high level representatives from Brazil, Ghana, Finland, Italy, Moldova, Vietnam, Basel Convention Regional Center in China, Uk Intellitech Security Group, EUROPOL, Raoul Wallenberg Institute, Lund University, CropLife, Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC), Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Pesticides Action Network Asia and the Pacific (PAN AP), World Customs Organisation, INTERPOL and Reconnaissance International.

I was honored to be invited to the workshop and to have the opportunity to contribute: a special thanks to entire UNICRI team, especially Vittoria Luda di Cortemilia, Programme Coordinator of UNICRI Environmental Crimes Programme – Emerging Crimes Unit – Elise Vermeersch, Project Associate, and Francesca Bosco, Senior Fellow. The report was drafetd by the UNICRI and Robyn Mace.

Illicit pesticides pose potentially serious threats to human safety and health, economies, businesses and farmers, the environment, and national security. For more than a decade, regulators, industry and farmers in numerous countries have been struggling with the growing market in illicit agro-chemicals and illicit plant protection products (PPPs). Worldwide estimates of trade in illegal and counterfeit markets range from 5-15% for most types of products and commodities. The European Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG-SANTE) indicates that about 10% of the European Union (EU) pesticides market is comprised of illegal pesticides, noting significant variation between Member States. Other sources have indicated that more than 25% of pesticide products in some EU Member States are counterfeit.

This policy paper is divided into four sections. The first presents an overview of the risks and impacts of illicit pesticide use on human health, livestock and food supplies, the environment, and the international agricultural trade.

The second section presents data and information on actors and agents, modus operandi, observed trends, product flows and regional profiles of the pesticides market. This section also considers trade, agricultural and food supply chain characteristics, security vulnerabilities, and protection and defense measures against organized crime groups and networks that have infiltrated international agrochemicals and pesticide markets.

The third section summarizes key regulatory issues, identifies obstacles and indicates concrete actions to prevent and combat the importation, sale and use of illicit pesticides, as well as the role of the actors involved in the control and securitization of the market.

The final section concludes with the role of UNICRI in addressing the issues of illicit pesticides, in particular in facilitating research, raising stakeholders’ awareness, delivering training and technical assistance programmes, supporting in capacity building activities and reinforcing national and international cooperation.

The report contains also an amazing list of cases happened in the last decade, divided by country.

FVO report – Italy – Plant protection products control system flawed

This report describes the outcome of a Food and Veterinary Office audit in Italy, carried out between 26 January and 4 February 2015, under the provisions of Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 on official food and feed controls and Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009.

The objectives of the audit were to evaluate the system of official controls on the marketing and use of plant protection products under Regulations (EC) No 1107/2009 and Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 and Directive 2009/128/EC.

The risk criteria on which operators are selected for controls have resulted in the exclusion of some categories of large scale operators from the scope of controls. Furthermore, the system of controls is hampered by the lack of co-operation and co-ordination between the multiple Competent Authorities involved and by inspectors’ lack of expertise in conducting controls relating to plant protection products. Consequently, the control system on the marketing and use of plant protection products is considered to be weak.

These shortcomings, combined with weaknesses in the programme to verify that the formulation of the product placed on the market complies with the conditions of the authorisation/parallel trade permit, means that the system for detection of illegal and/or counterfeit plant protection products is not effective. There are no official controls to ensure the restrictions related to the use of neonicotinoid seed treatments are implemented. While most recommendations from the previous audit on pesticides have been satisfactorily addressed, two recommendations, relating to formulation analysis and the effectiveness of controls on product labels and records of use, have not been addressed satisfactorily.

Aerial spraying is confined to very localised areas, and only following approval by the Competent Authority for this activity in line with Directive 2009/128/EC. In addition, systems are in place to facilitate growers in the implementation of Integrated Pest Management.

The FVO issued 9 recommendations to Italy and here you can find the answers of the Competent Authority involved.