Pesticides: No thanks! The EuroNatur award to the commune of Mals

++ The EuroNatur award 2020 goes to the commune of Mals in South Tyrol ++ It has gained national prominence through its campaign to ban pesticides in the fruit growing region of Vinschgau ++ At long last the EU is planning to reduce the use of pesticides ++

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The citizens of Mals are protesting against the use of pesticides in agriculture.

© Hollawint
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Wine and fruit growing have shaped the landscape of the Vinschgau region in South Tyrol.

© Frieder Blickle/Vinschgau Marketing

Radolfzell, Mals, Brussels. European agriculture is characterised by its monocultures and the massive use of pesticides. The commune of Mals in Vinschgau has shown that this is not the only way. Despite considerable resistance from both politicians and other groups in society, Mals has maintained its goal of banning the use of pesticides throughout the commune. It is for this now famous “Mals initiative”, the implementation of an ecologically-based agriculture, that the EuroNatur award is being awarded to the commune on 8th October 2020. The people of Mals have unequivocally voted in a referendum to ban the use of pesticides.

“For almost six years the people of Mals have been campaigning for a form of agriculture which fulfils the vital goals of health and biodiversity. During this time, the community encountered considerable resistance from the lobby groups of the farmers and pesticide manufacturers. For this reason, it is all the more important to show that civil society supports the Mals initiative, an approach which demonstrates that there are other and more sustainable ways forward,” stated EuroNatur president, Thomas Potthast, explaining the rationale behind the decision regarding this year’s award.

The minimum possible use of pesticides is a central plank in sustainable agriculture and is a key element in the Farm-to-Fork strategy (F-2-F) of the European Commission. The Commission has set a goal to halve the use of pesticides by 2030. The Executive director of EuroNatur, Gabriel Schwaderer says: “The F-2-F strategy is a good initiative. We need a revival of a European agricultural model, which, like the Mals initiative, commits to the principles of land use benefiting both farmers and environment”.

 

Background information

EuroNatur award:
Previous prize winners include Dr. Mario F. Broggi, Jonathan Franzen, Dr. Luc Hoffmann, Gudrun Steinacker and the „brave women of Kruščica“. It is only the second time that a commune has received this award. It is an award without prize money, recognising exceptional achievements in nature conservation which takes account of both people and nature. The 2020 EuroNatur award is to be awarded on the island of Mainau on Lake Constance on 8th October 2020 at 17.00, but this may change according to the situation with the Covid-19 pandemic.

F-2-F Strategy:
After two postponements due to the Covid-19 crisis, the European Commission finally presented its long-awaited food policy (“Farm-to-Fork Strategy”) on 20th May. There was a parallel publication of the EU Biodiversity Strategy. For EuroNatur both strategies are closely linked to one another. Without a new direction in agricultural policy, the loss of species diversity will not be halted.

 

Further enquiries:
Christian Stielow, Email: christian.stielow(at)euronatur.org, Tel.: +49 (0)7732 – 92 72 15

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