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Systemic pesticides and the biodiversity crisis: Toxic practices in agriculture, aquaculture and policy making

Welcome to a joint symposium organized by the University of Bergen's BeeCaution project and the International Task Force on Systemic Pesticides.

A silhouette of a man spraying greenery
Photo:
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Over the past decades, evidence has mounted that insect diversity and abundance are in sharp decline globally. One of its key drivers is the large scale use of systemic pesticides. Since the 1990s, so-called neonicotinoids have become the most widely used class of insecticides in the world. As a consequence of their large-scale prophylactic use in combination with their unprecedentedly high toxicity for insects, their use has dramatically impacted pollinators, soil ecosystems and aquatic ecosystems.

Despite a partial ban of some neonicotinoids in agriculture in Europe in 2018, globally their use is still rapidly increasing, with large scale production in and export from Europe. The EU's partial ban also led to regrettable substitution with other, less tested neonicotinoids, increased use of the banned chemicals in other, not yet banned, applications (biocides in cattle breeding, pet flea treatments) and opening of new markets for the banned substances. Norway's 2021 controversial decision to authorise the use of the neonicotinoid imidacloprid in salmon farming (lice treatment) is of particular concern. Neonicotinoids have recently been flagged as contaminants of emerging concern in the marine and arctic environments and scientists are urging for a global phase out of all neonicotinoids.

Action is delayed through regulatory capture by industry lobby. Years of deadlock over how the EU should regulate the impact agrichemicals have on bees have blocked progress in pesticide risk assessment. The recent report on pesticide industry's toxic lobbying tactics exposes key lobbying tactics used by the pesticide industry to undermine and derail the EU's Farm to Fork targets.

This joint symposium of UiB's BeeCaution project and the international Task Force on Systemic Pesticides brought together world leading scholars from a wide range of disciplines to discuss the state of knowledge on the role of systemic pesticides in the biodiversity crisis and explore the prospects for a more precautionary governance of chemical risks.

Recordings from the symposium can be found below:

Program

  9:30

Room opens

10:00

Welcome address
Jeroen van der Sluijs (Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities, University of Bergen)

Welcome address by Jeroen van der Sluijs

Produsent:
SVT

10:05

Opening statement
Maarten Bijleveld van Lexmond (Chairman of TFSP, IUCN's International Task Force Systemic Pesticides)

Opening statement - Maarten Bijleveld van Lexmond

Produsent:
SVT

 

Session 1: Impacts on terrestrial biodiversity and ecosystem services

10:15

The worldwide integrated assessment on systemic pesticides: the emblematic case of neonicotinoids

Jean-Marc Bonmatin (Vice chair TFSP; CNRS Center for Molecular Biophysics CBM, Orléans, France)

The worldwide integrated assessment on systemic pesticides: the emblematic case of neonicotinoids - Jean-Marc Bonmatin

Produsent:
SVT

10:35

Neonicotinoids and pollinators in Norwegian fruit orchards

Bjørn Hatteland (NIBIO)

10:55

Impacts of neonicotinoids on soil biodiversity and aquatic organisms

Alex Aebi (MER en Agroécologie, Université de Neuchâtel)

Impacts of neonicotinoids on soil biodiversity and aquatic organisms - Alex Aebi

Produsent:
SVT

11:15

Discussion

11:30

LUNCH

 

Session 2: Systemic Pesticides as contaminants of emerging concern in the marine environment

12:30

Silent Spring of the Sea - Salmon Pharming Kills Shellfish & Other Marine Life

Don Staniford (SCAMON SCOTLAND/ Scottish Salmon Watch)

Silent Spring of the Sea - Don Staniford

Produsent:
SVT

12:50

Neonics in the marine environment: impacts on shellfish and fish

Craig Downs (Executive Director The Global Coral Repository - ‘A Coral Bank For Reef Restoration' / Haereticus Environmental Laboratory, Clifford USA)

Nenonics in the Marine Environment: Impacts on Shellfish and Fish - Craig Downs

Produsent:
SVT

13:10

Lessons from legacy persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and endocrine disruptors (EDCs) in the aquatic environment

Anders Goksøyr (Department of Biological Sciences, University of Bergen)

Lessons from legacy-persistent organic pollutants and endocrine disruptors in the aquatic environment - Anders Goksøyr

Produsent:
SVT

13:30

DISCUSSION

13:45

MINI BREAK

 

Session 3: Human and policy dimensions

13:50

Available solutions for a pollinator-friendly agriculture in arable crops

Lorenzo Furlan (Chairman TFSP Working group on Alternatives)

Available solutions for a pollinator-friendly agriculture in arable crops - Lorenzo Furlan

Produsent:
SVT

14:20

The war on the EFSA's 2013 bee guidance – why is it still not into force?

Vincent Harmsen (Investigative Journalist, Zembla, Netherlands)

The war on EFSA's 2013 bee guidance - why is it still not into force? - Vincent Harmsen

Produsent:
SVT

14:30

Pesticides and decision-making: public vs. economic interests

Noa Simon Delso (BeeLife)

Pesticides and decision-making: public vs. economic interests - Noa Simon Delso

Produsent:
SVT

14:50

Discussion

15:05

Tea break

 

Closing session

15:15

The systemic pesticide catastrophe: Bridging the gaps between knowledge and action

Jeroen van der Sluijs (Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities, UiB)

The systemic pesticide catastrophe: Bridging the gaps between knowledge and action - Jeroen van der Sluijs

Produsent:
SVT

15:35

Panel discussion

16:00

End