Controversy for Appointment of Advisor to the MAG as Representative of Costa Rica before the Rotterdam Convention

Rotterdam Convention Is an International Treaty Dedicated to Regulating Highly-Hazardous Pesticides

The Rotterdam Convention is an international treaty in the field of the management of hazardous chemicals. According to FAO, the Convention establishes a “rapid alert system” to help countries protect themselves against certain dangerous chemicals that are the subject of international trade.

The “revolving doors” in the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) allow representatives of the agrochemical industry to draft regulations and provisions directly related to their economic interests at the expense of the health of the people.

Since the Government of Laura Chinchilla, you can see the influence of lobbyists of these cameras in the drafting of ministerial guidelines and executive decrees (1) and (3). It is very important to point out that all this procedure was developed without the participation of other sectors and with very little transparency or citizen control. A process that culminated with a result evidently favorable for the interests of the pesticide importing industries and endangering the public and environmental health of the country, according to the same Office of the Attorney General of the Republic, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Environment (5).

Environmental organizations have warned from the beginning of the Government of Carlos Alvarado the conflict of interests of people who are one day representatives of companies and the other is public officials stipulating pesticide controls (2). But the MAG further radicalizes its imposition by sending one of these business lobbyists as a diplomatic representative to a summit where controls on dangerous pesticides are stipulated.

Warning ban against careless use of agrochemicals

Through the official letter DM-DGPE-0359-2019 (attached) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship, the designation as representative of Costa Rica before the Rotterdam Convention of Mr. Sigurd Vargas, former director of the National Chamber of Producers, has been officially certified de Agroquímicos Génicos and current advisor to the MAG. In the environmental movement, we believe that it is a serious threat to public health and a conflict of interests that Mr. Vargas is designated as the representative of Costa Rica before the Rotterdam Convention.

The 9th Conference of States Parties to the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent Procedure applicable to certain pesticides and dangerous products subject to the international agreement will be held in Switzerland from April 29 to May 10, 2019.

At the same time, in Costa Rica, 3 pesticide regulations face legal proceedings in Chamber IV because they are contrary to human rights and the Political Constitution. These regulations are found under decrees 39995, 40059 and 41481; which allow to introduce pesticides to Costa Rica without previous toxicological studies and neither tests of agricultural effectiveness, which means significant risk in terms of public and environmental health.

Several organizations will take to the streets next April 25 at 4:00 pm to demand before the Courts of Justice that the control of pesticides is carried out in a responsible manner, attached to science and technology. In addition, it is important to eliminate conflicts of interest within the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock due to the presence of lobbyists of agro-toxic sellers who at the same time serve as public officials.

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