The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Southern African Pesticide Regulators Forum (SAPReF) was established in 2011 in Cape Town, South Africa subsequent to the 4th Work and Health in Southern Africa (WHASA) Regulator Workshop following the identification of a need for improved regional collaboration on pesticide risk management and risk reduction in SADC Member States.
The role of the Forum is to promote regional information exchange, and collaboration on pesticide and pest management as well as regulation. SAPReF seeks to achieve sound management of pesticides and biopesticides used in agriculture, public health and domestic environments. SAPReF is a sub-committee under the Plant Protection Technical Committee of the SADC Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Annex VIII to the SADC Protocol on Trade, Article 14 (6) working on pesticides (i.e., plant protection products, agricultural remedies, public health pesticides, etc.) and pesticide related issues.
SAPReF seeks to continuously promote sound life cycle management of pesticides and promotion of less toxic alternatives to pesticides e.g. through Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and Integrated Vector Management (IVM).
- To promote regional collaboration and harmonization as far as possible for pesticide regulation
- To implement the objectives of the Plant Protection Technical Committee and the SADC Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Annex VIII to the SADC Protocol on Trade, Article 14 (6).
- To provide some technical training to support implementation of the Rotterdam Convention;
- To promote networking and information sharing within the region;
- To strengthen regulatory capacity and promote better pesticide management policy and systems within Southern African countries through SAPReF members;
- To assist Member States in developing and implementing national Highly Hazard Pesticide risk reduction plans and strategies;
SAPReF has identified a number of areas where collaboration would benefit the region, individual countries, pesticide traders, users and the general public. These are summarised as follows:
- Legislation, policies and strategies - harmonization among the countries will permit closer collaboration and hence more effective control of pesticides. Application of similar laws, regulations and policies across Southern Africa will strengthen their application and enforcement.
- Registration of pesticides - harmonising procedures among countries with the view of establishing a single regional mechanism for evaluating and registering pesticides. This will permit scarce resources to be shared among countries and facilitate better control of pesticides being traded and used.
- Post registration management of pesticides - to strengthen the capacity of countries to enforce legislation and regulations as well as the registration process through a range of actions that will include:
- Harmonization of import, export and transit requirements and procedures;
- Quality control of pesticides imported, manufactured and traded;
- Inspection of pesticides being traded and used;
- Training and awareness of policy makers, traders and users.
- Coordination of relevant projects and activities - to ensure better synergies among relevant activities as well as more efficient use of resources that contribute to common or associated national and regional objectives;
- Awareness raising, education and public information - to inform stakeholders and different audiences (policy makers, traders, users and the general public) about various aspects of pesticide management and use.
To be a proactive, consistent and relevant Forum for Leadership on pesticide risk management, training, capacity development and expertise in pesticide regulation.
Identification of common issues in managing and reducing pesticide risks, as well as the fact that all countries have a general lack of human and financial resources to address these individually.
SAPREF seeks to continuously identify and solve common challenges in managing and reducing pesticide risks through a regional approach against individual countries human and financial constraints.
Since its establishment, SAPReF have recorded the following main achievements since 2011:
- Established a portal administered by the University of Cape Town on ‘Vula’ for information exchange including online meetings, pesticide discussion forum and information sharing;
- Managed to have six physical meetings in 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016 and several online meetings. In a meeting in June 2015 a Strategic Action plan was developed, where SAPReF members identified a number of areas where collaboration would benefit the region, individual countries, pesticide traders, users and the general public.
- Presented at the SADC Food Safety Awareness Seminar and the ESA regulatory workshop in 2016.
- Established a working group to further develop a regional strategy for HHP risk reduction, along the lines agreed by the Meeting;
- Established a working group to review the SADC Regional guidelines for the regulation of plant protection products;
- Developed and distributed Policy briefs to stakeholders.
Current membership includes pesticide regulators and/or Designated National Authorities (DNA) of the Rotterdam Convention, pesticide risk managers from diverse backgrounds and disciplines from all the 15 SADC countries (Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe).
SAPReF is led by a steering committee of six members selected by the full membership. The steering committee meets virtually regularly and aims at having physical meetings annually. The steering committee, with assistance of an interim Secretariat comprising the Coordinator and Administrator (sponsored by FAO and UCT respectively) provides oversight of SAPReF activities and implementation of its agreed action plan. The current Chair of SAPReF is Botswana, the Vice Chair is Zambia, the Secretary is Zimbabwe and the Treasurer South Africa.
SAPReF is supported by a number of institutions, namely: the Swedish Chemical Agency (KemI); the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and University of Cape Town (UCT).