Authorisation processes of plant protection products in Europe

Scientific advice in the area of authorisation processes of plant protection products


Following a request from the College of Commissioners, led by Commissioner Andriukaitis, the European Commission's Group of Chief Scientific Advisors (former High Level Group of Scientific Advisors) adopted at their 7th meeting (23-24 March 2017) a scoping paper (see below) confirming their intention to produce a Scientific Opinion on “Authorisation processes of Plant Protection Products in Europe from a scientific point of view”.

Experts from across Europe nominated by SAPEA (Science Advice for Policy by European Academies) contributed with their knowledge and expertise to this topic. A co-ordination group was established by the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors to which SAPEA experts Professors David N. Coggon  PDF icon 374 KB , Jean Golding  PDF icon 199 KB , Paul Miller  PDF icon 445 KB , Evangelia Ntzani  PDF icon 512 KB , Dominique Parent-Massin  PDF icon 380 KB , Colin Ockleford  PDF icon 439 KB , Susanne Hougaard Bennekou  PDF icon 450 KB and Alan Boobis  PDF icon 91 KB were invited; their declarations of interest are linked. The Commission found that none of the interests declared constituted a conflict of interest. The Group of Chief Scientific Advisors also established a sounding board to which experts Thomas Backhaus  PDF icon 278 KB , Hubert Deluyker  PDF icon 354 KB , Daniel Dietrich   PDF icon 217 KB and Jørgen Schlundt  PDF icon 483 KB , were invited and were involved in fact checking the draft final scientific opinion. Their declarations of interest are linked. The Commission found that none of the interests declared constituted a conflict of interest.

These declarations of interest are published at the same time as the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors’ scientific advice and remain available for consultation for six months.

Declarations of interest are retained by the Commission in line with Regulation 45/2001.

Scientific Output

The EC's Group of Chief Scientific Advisors has published its Scientific Opinion : 'EU authorisation processes of Plant Protection Products'.

The Opinion makes recommendations on how to make the current EU dual system for approval and authorisation of PPP more transparent, effective and efficient. It also calls for a broad dialogue to establish an EU-wide shared vision for food production.

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Related topic activities

Scientific Opinion on EU authorisation processes of Plant Protection Products presented at European Parliament PEST Committee hearing

7 June 2018, European Parliament, Brussels

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Sir Paul Nurse, Member of the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors

The Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) Group of Chief Scientific Advisors were invited to participate in a Hearing of the European Parliament’s Special Committee on the Union’s authorisation procedure for pesticides (PEST), chaired by MEP Éric Andrieu - PEST hearing on EFSA opinion and ECHA classification of active substances.

Sir Paul Nurse, the leading Chief Scientific Advisor on the EU authorisation processes of Plant Protection Products project, presented the recommendations in the Scientific Opinion. He also answered questions from MEPs, together with Professor Rolf Heuer, chair of the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors.

Bernhard Url, the Director of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA); José Tarazona, the Head of the Pesticides Unit in EFSA; Bjørn Hansen, Director of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA); and Christopher Portier (private consultant) also presented their views during the hearing.

The Hearing can be viewed via EPTV.

Editorial in Nature: “Europe’s top science advisers send clear message on food production”

5 June 2018

A day after the publication of the Scientific Opinion “EU authorisation processes of Plant Protection Products”, the scientific journal Nature discussed the Scientific Opinion in an Editorial.

The Nature article highlights several of the recommendations made by the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors with respect to the current system and in the short-term. Furthermore, it also mentions the structural and systemic changes recommended in the Scientific Opinion, as well as underlining the Scientific Advisors’ call for an EU-wide shared vision of how citizens want their food to be produced.

EC's Group of Chief Scientific Advisors held a Stakeholder meeting regarding 'Authorisation processes of plant protection products (PPP) in Europe' topic

23 February 2018, Brussels

This stakeholders meeting was complementary to the Group's consultations of scientific experts and included a presentation of the Evidence Review Report (ERR) prepared by the Science Advice for Policy by European Academies (SAPEA) consortium.

The meeting was attended by, among others, representatives from consumer & civil society organisations; businesses; other relevant interest groups; policy representatives. These participants discussed the HLG’s preliminary recommendations for potential inclusion in their scientific opinion.

More information

Sounding Board meeting

16 February 2018, Geneva

During this meeting, the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors sought the views of a small number of experts, in their personal capacity on the scope, accuracy, clarity, feasibility, and order of importance of the recommendations made in opinion. The meeting was attended by Thomas Backhaus (University of Gothenburg), Hubert Deluyker (retired from European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)), Daniel Dietrich (University of Konstanz), Joergen Schlundt (Nanyang Technological University Food Technology Centre (NAFTEC)), Rolf Heuer (Chair of the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors), support staff from the SAM secretariat and was chaired by Sir Paul Nurse.

Workshop on risk perception and acceptability of human exposure to pesticides

20 December 2017, Berlin

The workshop examined the ways in which public opinion on the risks resulting from pesticide use is formed, the role of media and interest groups and the transparency of the process for their authorisation. The workshop was attended by natural and social scientists, members of the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors and representatives of regulatory agencies who discussed issues, among others, related to risk perception. The workshop was organised by SAPEA with the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) and was chaired by Professor Dr Ortwin Renn with opening and closing remarks by Sir Paul Nurse.

Documents

Expert meeting on the environmental impacts of PPP

19 December 2017, Berlin

The meeting examined the environmental impact of PPP as a complement to the more detailed SAPEA evidence review report which focuses primarily on human health. Participants examined options in the SAPEA ERR for their potential not only to benefit human health, but also the environment. The meeting was attended by experts from academia, representatives of regulatory agencies, members of the SAPEA WG and members of the SAM Group of Chief Scientific Advisors.

The meeting was chaired by Sir Paul Nurse.

Documents

Expert workshop on authorisation processes of PPP in Europe

26 October 2017, Brussels

SAPEA contribution to the evidence review process on this topic is via the production of an evidence review report (ERR), primarily focused on aspects related to human health. The development of that ERR included an expert workshop to examine scientific advances that may enable the improved regulatory risk assessment of PPP in the immediate and longer term future.. Workshop participants included EC's SAM Group members, SAPEA Working Group members and additional invited experts, and was chaired by Dr Evangelia Ntzani and Professor David Coggon with opening remarks by the chair of the SAM Group, Professor Rolf Heuer.

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Coordination Meeting

30-31 August 2017, Brussels

Some of the main points of this coordination meeting were

  • To present and review overall progress on the Evidence Review Report (ERR)
  • Make an evidence exploration including the main findings of the SAPEA Working Group
  • To plan for the completion of the ERR and design of the expert workshops

In particular, the meeting paved the way towards the completion of the ERR that will be presented in summary at the expert workshop on 26 October.

The meeting was attended by the three Members of the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors leading the PPP topic, the SAPEA Working Group and staff core team for this project, members of the SAM secretariat, experts from EFSA/ECHA and observers of interested DGs. Sir Paul Nurse chaired the meeting.

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