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Food Safety

Sustainable use of pesticides

About the sustainable use of pesticides

Directive 2009/128/EC aims to achieve a sustainable use of pesticides in the EU by reducing the risks and impacts of pesticide use on human health and the environment and promoting the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and of alternative approaches or techniques, such as non-chemical alternatives to pesticides. Many of the actions taken by Member States under the Directive are also relevant to the Biodiversity Strategy and the Farm to Fork Strategy, which includes the adoption of pesticide reduction targets. EU countries have drawn up National Action Plans to implement the range of actions set out in the Directive.

The main actions relate to training of users, advisors and distributors of pesticides, inspection of pesticide application equipment, the prohibition of aerial spraying, limitation of pesticide use in sensitive areas, and information and awareness raising about pesticide risks.

EU countries must also promote Integrated Pest Management, for which, general principles are laid down in Annex III to the Directive.

The main purpose of this web-portal is to provide:

  • key information on the sustainable use of pesticides and
  • links to relevant information contained on official websites in the Member States.

There is a search function to help find the links you are looking for.

Evaluation and Impact Assessment

The Commission has commenced an evaluation of the sustainable use of pesticides directive and an impact assessment of its possible future revision. This work will be carried out in line with the Commission's guidance on Better Regulation.

On 29 May 2020, the Commission published a combined evaluation roadmap and inception impact assessment for this initiative. This document aims to inform citizens and stakeholders about this initiative and allow them to provide feedback and participate actively in future consultation activities. Citizens and stakeholders were invited to provide their feedback on this document for a period of 10 weeks from its publication. The public feedback period closed on 7 August 2020 and the Commission will take the feedback received into account throughout the evaluation and impact assessment.

The Commission organised a Better Training for Safer Food (BTSF) remote workshop with Member States’ competent authorities on the topic: “Sustainable use of pesticides Directive (SUD) 2009/128/EC Experiences on its current implementation and possible future policy options". The workshop ran from 17-19 November 2020. Additional details concerning the event are available via the event website.

Additional consultation events, also with other relevant stakeholders, will be organised in due course, including via a planned external study to support the evaluation and impact assessment. A contract for this 41 week duration supporting external study was signed in December 2020. On 4 May 2021 a workshop was organised by the external study contractor to discuss the findings of their evaluation work with stakeholders.

The presentations from the workshops can be accessed using the two links below:

On 18 January 2021, the Commission launched an online public consultation/(have your say) for this initiative which was open for responses until 12 April 2021. A total of 1,697 online responses to this consultation were received which are now being analysed. The consultation responses, documents annexed to the responses and a summary report of the responses have been published on the Commission’s Better Regulation Portal.

The Commission organised a first remote stakeholder event on 19 January 2021, to consult and receive input to the planned work. A recording of the event and relevant presentations are available here. In March 2021 a contract for a 6 month Foresight study was signed aiming to develop future vision scenarios for the sustainable use of pesticides and, in particular, achieving by 2030 the pesticide use and risk reduction targets announced in the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies.

The Commission organised a second remote stakeholder event on 25 June 2021, to give an update on the work underway and to further consult and engage with stakeholders. The event agenda, recording and presentations are available on the Commission events website.

A third remote stakeholder event is planned for 5 October 2021. Further details, including how to register for the event, are available on the event website.

Reports from the Commission

Second Report from the Commission (May 2020) and Annex to the European Parliament and the Council on the experience gained by Member States on the implementation of national targets established in their National Action Plans and on progress in the implementation of Directive 2009/128/EC on the sustainable use of pesticides.

First Report from the Commission (October 2017) to the European Parliament and the Council on Member State National Action Plans and on progress in the implementation of Directive 2009/128/EC on the sustainable use of pesticides.

Harmonised Risk Indicators

Harmonised Risk Indicators established under Directive 2009/128/EC show the evolution in the risks to human health and the environment from pesticide use.

The European Commission is obliged to calculate and publish the Harmonised Risk Indicators for the European Union, while each Member State is obliged to calculate and publish the Harmonised Risk Indicators for their territory. Member States must also identify trends in the use of certain active substances, and identify priority items or good practices.

There are currently two Harmonised Risk Indicators. The Commission plans to extend the number of Harmonised Risk Indicators in the future.

Click here for more information on Harmonised Risk Indicators.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

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Click here for an overview of IPM, definitions and key principles.

Search Member States' Information

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The search tool gives access to Member State websites on the sustainable use of pesticides.

Access the tool

Related links

Recent events

Further information

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

IPM is one of the tools for low-pesticide-input pest management, and IPM must be implemented by all professional users.

Main Actions

Directive 2009/128/EC aims to achieve a sustainable use of pesticides in the EU by reducing the risks and impacts of pesticide use.

National Action Plans

National Action Plans per Member State