Informational pesticide governance: Equivalence as a source of global contention

For a pesticide to be registered, huge amounts of information with regard to chemical identity, efficacy and environmental and health safety have to be submitted to various regulatory authorities.

Currently it is debated whether a pesticide may be registered if it can be demonstrated to be equivalent to another, already registered pesticide. The seemingly simple issue of equivalence is an arena where a number of conflicts between businesses and regulatory bodies come together. These concern: i) claims about ownership and confidentiality of information submitted, ii) the function of science advisory bodies, iii) the level where regulatory decisions are made –national regulatory bodies or, de facto, international advisory organizations, and iv) the involvement of business in the making of informational governance. International governance initiatives (mostly FAO-WHO-UNEP related) that focus on the improvement of pesticide risk regulation in developing countries play a key role in determining equivalence. These initiatives constitute prime examples of multi-level, informational governance. The project aims to answer the following question: Why is equivalence a bone of contention in informational pesticide governance and how do actors at different governance levels shape equivalence rules and improve pesticide risk assessment?