Another major development within PAN AP is the acceleration of the development of the Community Pesticide Action Monitoring or CPAM. Developed as a tool for community documentation of the impact of pesticides on health of communities, this tool has become a method not only to document but also to organise communities to take action against pesticides. The training workshops have also provided the impetus for developing action plans that are now being implemented. PAN AP and its team of trainers have also progressively improved the training methodology and information documentation so that it is easily adapted to different situations and cultures.
In the interest of fostering greater awareness, understanding, sharing and collaboration of the issue of pesticides, we are happy to make available the contents of our on-line CPAM Resource Centre. We welcome visitors to this Resource Centre to look through, download, use and provide feedback to us, and help us improve on the various sections of information provided.
Community-based Organisations to use the materials for training and campaigns; Communities to submit incident reports of pesticide poisoning; Scientists to share their research related to pesticide impacts on human health and the environment;
Community-based Pesticide Action Monitoring (CPAM) is a comprehensive programme for awareness-building and empowerment of local communities, which at the same time delivers valuable documentation for the powerful parallel strategy of networking and advocacy work at the national and international levels. Community monitoring fills the information gap on the impact of pesticides on human health and the environment. Armed with this information, communities are better able to take action.
CPAM is based on Participatory Action Research. It involves the community members who undertake the research, and encourages organising and action. The self-surveillance monitoring and recording of the impacts of pesticide use on health raises awareness of the hazards of pesticide use, encouraging changes required to reduce the use of pesticides, adopt more ecological and sustainable practices; and pressure governments to implement better pesticide regulations and international conventions on pesticides. CPAM aims to empower communities to address their situation themselves and get actively involved in solving their problems.
CPAM aims to:
- To increase awareness among farmers and agricultural workers of the adverse impacts of pesticides on their health and the environment
- To facilitate the organising of communities and workers to take action to reduce risks due to pesticide use and to adopt ecological agricultural practices
- To establish the rapid alert response system PQRST (Pesticide Quick Response and Surveillance Team)
- To document the practices and impact of pesticide use at the local level
The CPAM programme has in fact evolved over a 10 year period. When PAN AP initially assessed the pesticides situation in the early 1990s, the extent of pesticide misuse in Asia was hardly known, let alone documented. First case studies within PAN AP’s Women and Pesticides Project 1991-1993 had disturbing results. At the same time, the organisations involved in the research found it necessary not only to gather data, but to educate the involved farmers and workers about the adverse effects of pesticides on health and the environment. This knowledge led to the need to provide the communities also with skills to organise themselves in order to be able to take action for change of their situation.
In 1994, a regional South East Asian group came together and designed a project to address community level needs for education and organising. The initiative began with the development of various Community Pesticide Action Kits (CPAK) dealing with different aspects of pesticides. In the following years, the CPAKs were field tested and modified. They also include simple tools enabling communities to record immediate adverse health effects after spraying, and to record the more evident effects on the environment and biodiversity.
While two monitoring projects continued in Malaysia and the Philippines, PAN AP decided in 2000 to expand the programme to a total of ten countries, namely Sri Lanka, India, Cambodia, Bangladesh, China, Korea, Indonesia and Thailand. Since then, training workshops were conducted in all of these countries. Sri Lanka, Cambodia, and Korea have completed a first phase of monitoring projects.
The successes and importance of the programme can be seen at the local, national and international level. An early example was the addition of five pesticides to the list subject to the PIC procedure in 1997, as they were included because of the problems identified under the conditions of use in developing countries – the documentation which led to the nomination of these pesticides was published by PAN. Another example is Malaysia: the report on severe poisoning of palm oil plantation workers was instrumental in the banning of paraquat by the government in 2002, while many sprayers refused to continue spraying and a strong a campaign by workers has evolved to ensure that the paraquat ban is not rescinded in Malaysia.