As part of the ongoing project “A Global Framework for Implementing Consistent Ecological Risk Assessment for Pesticides for Sustainable Agriculture” (IUPAC project 2014-038-2-600), a 3rd Ecological Risk Assessment Workshop was held in Santiago, Chile on 9-10 May 2015, in conjunction with the 5th Latin American Pesticide Residue Workshop (LAPRW2015). Previous Ecological Risk Assessment Workshops were held in Beijing, China and Bogota, Colombia (see Chem Int 35(6) 20, 2013).
Pesticides are a necessary tool in increasing global food production in order to feed the growing population, however, with their use comes the need to ensure that the ecological impact is kept to a minimum. Many countries include an ecological risk assessment in their registration requirements but as risk assessment is an evolving science it is important, particularly in scientifically emerging regions, that the current best practices are understood and implemented properly.
The aim of the Workshop was, therefore, to present the current thinking on ecological risk assessment and to underline the pros and cons of various approaches. Presentations were made by nine lecturers from industry, academia and government which covered principles of good regulation, regulatory risk assessment, protection goals and their implementation, principles of ecotoxicity testing and international test requirements, exposure assessments, risk characterization and uncertainties in risk estimation, risk mitigation, risk perception, communication and management, implementation and enforcement, risk perception and a “road map” for conducting risk assessments with a guide to incorporating local conditions. The presentations were well-received by the 64 participants coming mainly from Chile but also including participants from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. After each presentation, and during breaks in the programme, participants were able to discuss all aspects of ecological risk assessment, including good modelling practices, scenario development and local requirements, in addition they were able to network with the experts present.
Each participant received copies of the presentations and a supplementary guidance document on the development of ecological risk assessments was also made available to them. As with the previous Workshops the participants agreed that much useful information was given which enabled them to better understand the complexities of ecological risk assessment.
Thanks are due to IUPAC, ACS-AGRO and CropLife International for supporting the Workshop.