This is an exciting time for Integrated Pest Management, a strange thought considering that IPM dates all the way back to the 1950s, writes Marco Barzman (pictured right), ENDURE’s Scientific Officer.
IPM enjoyed much international attention over the 1980-2000 period, with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) engaged in major programmes in developing countries and IPM becoming national policy in Switzerland. It then seemed to lose steam.
However, the European Union’s Framework Directive, along with the other items in the ‘pesticides package’, has put IPM firmly back on the map. There are now reports that researchers from outside Europe are turning to Europe as a source of renewed inspiration for IPM, where its scope has now substantially broadened beyond its original focus on insects.
ENDURE has a major role to play in this respect, both in Europe and maybe now on the international scene. And I think we are doing our fair share.
ENDURE can look back on 2011 with a feeling of accomplishment. Not only did we continue to successfully operate in our new ‘self-funded’ configuration, but we organised some rather major initiatives.
Thanks to Poland’s Presidency of the EU, we were able to co-organise a workshop where researchers and policy advisers from Western, Northern, Central and Eastern Europe shared their views and experiences on IPM implementation.
ENDURE supported the creation of a new SCAR Collaborative Working Group on IPM. This group can help coordinate research funding efforts to support those parts of the National Action Plans which concern IPM implementation, or at the very least it will help to build on existing national research and development initiatives.
We’ve also begun to address interactions between cropping systems, climate change and new and quickly evolving pests via a collaboration with the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), one of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centres. The international workshop we held on this topic at the EC in Brussels last month (more information on this event will soon be available) attracted the attention of the EC’s Directorate-Generals for Research and Innovation and Health and Consumers (Sanco) and opened up the possibility of new links between the previously compartmentalised realms of crop protection and that of regulated exotic harmful organisms, known as ‘plant health’.
We have many new initiatives in store for 2012. We’d like to contribute to European-wide exchanges between farm advisers concerned with IPM. For this we are planning a workshop and a follow-up via the ENDURE Network of Advisers and its associated newsletter.
We are actively opening up to other research and extension projects by publicly promoting our tools and other resources. We will continue to organise the ENDURE Summer School and we will jointly look at the way we run long-term IPM experiments and the results these yield, a first step toward actually running experiments across countries in a coordinated fashion.
We look forward to bringing you further details of these initiatives, and others we are planning, in 2012. In the meantime, we wish you all a happy festive season.