Where proposed management of an invasive ant incursion is to be undertaken using insecticide, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) or Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIA) is required to weigh the possible human and environmental consequences of pesticide use against alternative management options and to ensure that every effort has been made to minimise those consequences.
The Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) is the key global agency governing environmental protection.
A number of international and regional treaties and conventions relate to the environment and environmental protection, including a number that relate specifically to the control of hazardous substances such as pesticides:
- Basel Convention on the trans-boundary movement of hazardous wastes and their disposal
- Rotterdam Convention on the prior informed consent procedure for certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade
- Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants
- Vienna Convention on protection of the ozone layer
- Montreal Protocol on ozone depleting substances
- London Convention on the prevention of marine pollution by dumping of wastes and other matter
- Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety
- Waigani Convention to ban the importation into forum island countries of hazardous and radioactive wastes and to control the transboundary movement and management of hazardous wastes within the South Pacific region
The World Bank provides policies and guidelines on pesticide use and pest management.
- World Bank Pest Management Policy
- Environmental Assessment Guidelines for World Bank projects requiring pest management (including a pest management plan)
- Environmental Assessment Handbook – Chapter 8 (includes integrated pest management)
SPREP has recently published guidelines to strengthen environmental impact assessment for Pacific Island countries and territories.
Typically, EIAs/ESIAs for pesticide are required as part of the management process under a country’s HSNO, Conservation, Environmental Protection, Resource Management or Biosecurity Act or equivalent(s) depending where the pesticide is to be used. Often EIA considerations are embedded in multiple forms of legislation.
For example, in New Zealand many Acts require environmental impact assessments even though they might not be called EIAs. The purpose of the Act will dictate whatever the assessment is intended to deal with. However, the following Acts include some sort of EIA process, although the requirements change regularly. Key environmental impact assessments occur under:
- Biosecurity Act 1993: requires that any proposal for a national or regional pest management strategy must include a statement as to actual or potential effects, beneficial or detrimental, that the implementation of that strategy might have on the environment (s 60(k)(i), s 76(1)(k)(I)
- HSNO Act 1996: Although not actually called an EIA, applications under the Act, to import or release a new organism (s 34) must be accompanied with information on the possible adverse effects of the activity on the environment. For various applications under the Act, the EPA may make “rapid assessment” of the adverse effects of the activity for the purpose of determining the application (see s 28A, 35)
Other New Zealand legislative instruments include the Resource Management Act 1991, the Conservation Act 1987 [s 17S(3) and s 17U(1)(e)], the Antarctica (Environmental Protection) Act 1994, the Crown Pastoral Land Act 1998, the Fisheries Act 1996. More information can be found at legislation.govt.nz.
In other Pacific nations legislation is more straightforward. For example the use of pesticide simply requires an environment licence/permit under the Kiribati Environment Act, which requires environmental impact assessment. The Pacific Islands Legal Information Institute provides comprehensive information on legislation for Pacific nations.
Many thanks to Pene Ferguson, Souad Boudjelas, Liliy Reue and Evan Brenton-Rule for providing links to this information.
SPREP. 2016. Strengthening environmental impact assessment: guidelines for Pacific Island countries and territories. Apia, Samoa
content reviewed by Souad Boudjelas November 2016