Regulation in the ECOWAS Area
During the sixtieth ordinary session of the Ministerial committee held in Abuja, Nigeria, in May 2007, the Ministers in charge of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), expressed the need of harmonizing the rules governing the registration of pesticides with their member states. During this session the Regulation C/ REG.3/08/2008 for harmonizing the rules governing the registration of pesticides in the ECOWAS area was signed. This regulation is common to all 15 ECOWAS member states including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea (Conakry), Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
Objectives of the Regulation
The common regulation aims at the approximation and harmonization of the laws of the Member States concerning pesticides. It applies to all activities relating to the experimentation, authorization, release on the market, use and control of pesticides and bio-pesticides in the Member States. The objectives of the regulation are:
- to protect populations and the West African environment from the potential dangers of pesticide use;
- to facilitate interstate and intrastate trade of pesticides through the application of regionally agreed principles and rules that minimize barriers to trade;
- to facilitate access to the best pesticides for farmers at the appropriate time and place;
- to ensure the rational and judicious use of pesticides;
- to contribute to the creation of an environment conducive to private investment in the pesticide industry;
- to promote public-private partnership.
Pesticide Management Institutions and Instruments in the ECOWAS Area
The regulation provides through its 9th article, the establishment of a West African Committee for Pesticides Approval (WACPA). This regional institution is responsible for the implementation of common regulations for the account of the ECOWAS Commission. WACPA is supposed to work with national pesticide management committees to develop the sector. To this end, each Member State must have an operational National Pesticide Management Committee (CNGP).
The CNGPs are responsible for the pre-approval (experimentation) and the post-approval (control) in their respective countries.
The ECOWAS zone comprises 15 states of different agro-ecological zones. To improve the functioning of the COAHP, the institution was subdivided into two different entities: the Sahelian zone entity to the north and the wetland entity to the south. For better management of pesticides within the Community and within the Member States, five lists of pesticides are established:
- list of approved pesticides or Provisional Authorization for Sale (PVA);
- list of severely regulated pesticides;
- list of pesticides under toxico-vigilance;
- list of prohibited pesticides;
- list of registered pesticides maintained in each Member State.
The law stipulates that these lists shall be drawn up on the basis of pesticides registered in the various Member States. They therefore constitute an official instrument for the management of registered pesticides in all Member States. However, a Member State may refrain from authorizing the release on the national market a pesticide registered or having been provisionally authorized to be sold in another country. To this end, it must send the Commission a reasoned request justifying the refusal. The ECOWAS Commission shall inform the Member State of its decision (art. 10).
In most of ECOWAS countries, the CNGP are not yet fully operational. The CNGP of Niger is very advanced in these activities of pre-approval and post-approval in particular the drafting of legal texts and the creation of conditions for their application.
Evaluation of the implementation of C/REG.3/ 08/2008
The ECOWAS Regulation is similar to the Common Regulation in the CILSS zone, in that it has a single registration office: common registration. Pre-approval (experimentation) and post-approval (placing on the market, use, monitoring, analysis and disposal) activities are within the responsibility of individual States. The ECOWAS Commission, for its part, holds the registry and approval of pesticides that are authorized for the protection of crops in 15 countries.
There are various impediments to the application of the common regulation. This phenomenon may be linked to the non-functioning of CNGPs in some countries. However, to date there are at least 10 ECOWAS member countries that have set up their CNGPs. These include: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
CEDEAO, 2008. Règlement C/Reg. 03/05/2008 du 18 mai 2008 portant harmonisation des règles régissant l’homologation des pesticides dans l’espace CEDEAO. Journal officiel de mai 2008 de la CEDEAO, 53, 3-13.
Diarra, A., 2015. Revue des politiques sur les pesticides et les produits vétérinaires dans l’espace CEDEAO. USAID/WA, N° West Africa-JSR-2015-2.