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HomeImplementation of public policies on pesticides in the global South

Implementation of public policies on pesticides in the global South

Mise en œuvre des politiques publiques sur les pesticides dans les Suds

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Published on Friday, February 19, 2021 by Céline Guilleux


Public policies relating to pesticides have been developed and continue to be built, often accompanied by controversies revealing the complex interweaving of political, health, environmental and even economic issues. Existing public policies, supposed to guide and supervise professional practices, are very often implemented only very partially or not at all in African countries and other countries of the South. This Conference aims to analyze the implementation of public policies relating to pesticides in Southern countries, according to different approaches, mainly but not exclusively based on the social sciences.



This Conference at the University Alassane Ouattara (Bouaké, Côte d'Ivoire) is organized as part of the PoPPesCI project (Public Policies and Pesticides in urban Agriculture), a transdisciplinary and multi-institutional research that mobilizes sociologists, anthropologists, jurists and political scientists, economists and geographers. These researchers are attached to the Center for Research and Development (CRD), the Legal, Administrative and Management Sciences Faculty (SJAG), the Faculty of Economics and Development (SED) of Alassane Ouattara University (UAO); the Department of Sociology and Anthropology of the University of Abomey Calavi (UAC, Benin, Southern partner); the Population Environment Development Laboratory (LPED) of the Institute of Research and Development (IRD) and the Center of Research and Studies on International Development (CERDI, CNRS-IRD) of the University of Clermont Auvergne (Northern partners, France).

The Conference follows on from the "Pesticides Politics in Africa" ​​Conference held in Arusha (Tanzania) from 28 to 31 May 2019. The work of this Conference, which brought together scientists, politicians and civil society actors, resulted in a call entitled "Arusha's call for action on pesticides" to decision-makers. The debates during this first Conference and the resulting action proposal have inspired this second conference. This second conference will be an occasion to make the assessment of the "Arusha's call for action on pesticides". . Fruit of the partnerships formed at the Arusha Conference, this Conference of Bouaké will be held in conjunction with the French Embassy in Tanzania (AFRICCAT project: Attractiveness of France, Research and Innovation - Climate Change and Agriculture in Tanzania) and the AVSF Association - Agronomists and Veterinarians Without Borders.


Public policies, from their production or conception to their implementation, are a research subject at the heart of scientific debates that bring connect different fields of research, including anthropology and sociology, which occupy more and more an important place.

Without rejecting the polysemy of the notion of public policy that one may find in Zittoun (2013) with the definitional approaches borrowed from authors such as Simon (1945), Dahl (1949), Lerner and Laswell (1951), Friedrich (1963), Easton (1965), Rose (1969), Jones (1970), Laswell (1971), etc., we adopt the idea of ​​regulation, control, governance of public action (Bayart and Warnier, 2004 ; Bayart, Mbembe and Toulabor, 2008; Hassenteufel, 2011; Zittoun, 2013; Lapeyre and Lemaître, 2014; Eboko, 2015; Paul, Milet and Crovella, 2016). Politically, "this is what governments decide to do or not to do" (Dye, 1972 cited by Zittoun, 2013). In other words, public policies are tools for regulating public action, seeking solutions adapted to the problems of society. Any good public policy, if we take into account its development, dissemination and transformation into a decision, requires specific work on politicization in which the capacity of spokespersons comes into play by making plausible not only its capacity to reduce disturbance in society but also the decision-making capacity of the leaders who put this policy in place (Zittoun, 2013). From this point of view, the transformation of a decision into public policy requires decision-makers’ willingness to ensure, and even to take on its legitimacy through the stabilization of their respective positions and the issues of power present.

Public policies in Africa represent a field lately investigated by social science research. When public policies are addressed by social sciences in Africa they are often confined to areas of public action such as health (Dozon, 2001; Vidal, 1996, 1999; Eboko, 2005; Ridde and Olivier de Sardan, 2012) or “development” (Olivier de Sardan, 1995; Berthelemy, 2016). The analysis of public policies applied to these objects would document the process of struggle, identify dysfunctions, reveal the disparity between texts and their implementation, and rethink public action around these major issues. But, what about the analysis of the implementation of public policies related to pesticides?

The use of pesticide on the continent significantly increased over the past two decades due to their ability to secure yields and reduce the workload of farmers, but also through the effect of representations of their efficiency and possibility of having “beautiful vegetables” (Yao, 2017; Adou, 2017; Daleb et al., 2018). However, their multiple and serious toxic effects on health and the environment are well documented today (Adigoun, 2002; Soclo et al., 2004; Traore et al, 2006; Ahouangninou et al., 2011; Akogbeto, 2011; Agbohessi et al., 2012; Bonnefoy, 2012; Inserm, 2013; Anses, 2014). These fuel concerns and stir up debates. Pesticides being substances intended to “destroy or fight pests, including vehicles of human or animal diseases, pests, and undesirable species of plants or animals causing damage…” (FAO, 2013) are toxic by definition. The risks associated with their use in agriculture are well established. They are a source of public health problems everywhere, including in Africa (Thiam and Sagna, 2009). They threaten the health of users, but also their families, consumers of products sprayed with these substances, and the population in general (WHO, 1991; Assogba-Komlan et al, 2007). Indirectly, agricultural pesticides contribute to the persistence of vector-borne diseases by generating resistance among some pathology vectors (FAO, 2013; CNEV, 2014; Corbel et al, 2007). In addition, these products not only threaten health, but are also a danger for the environment (pollution of the soil, subsoil, water, air, etc., Cisse et al, 2003; Calvet et al. al, 2005; Traore et al, 2006). They are even a risk factor for suicide (Center for pesticide suicide prevention- https://centerpsp.org/the-problem/; WHO, 1991; Passos, 2006). While the link between the use of pesticides in agriculture, health and the environment has been widely studied, the role of health and environmental considerations in the development and implementation of public policies related to pesticides in Africa and in the South in general has not sufficiently drawn the attention of researchers. Yet, public policies are supposed to guide and regulate the use of pesticides to limit their harmful effects.

Public policies relating to pesticides have been developed and continue to be built, often accompanied by controversies revealing the complex interweaving of political, health, environmental and even economic issues. Existing public policies, supposed to guide and supervise professional practices, are very often implemented only very partially or not at all. With that in mind, research carried out in recent years, particularly in Africa (Alternet Program, Benin 2014; Lupaci Program, Côte d'Ivoire and Benin 2015-2017), and in other countries of the South (Nguyen et al. 2002; Jansen 2003, 2017) have clearly shown that the transposition of public policies into public action in the field is often very limited. The circulation and use of pesticides in agriculture often deviate significantly from recommendations and regulatory frameworks (Salles and Barrault, 2010; Adechian et al., 2015; Doudou and Simon, 2018; Ouattara and; Ouattara and Doudou, 2020). In addition, recent work of two teams of researchers clearly raises the issues related to the circulation of pesticides in Africa and the South in general, and point at the (in) effectiveness of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (Equipements de Protection Individuels (EPI) in French). The first one (Ouattara and Doudou, 2020) indicates that, in Europe, pesticides are subject to controversy, with regard to their effectiveness testified by farmers and their harmful effects on human health, in particular those based on glyphosate (Allemandou, 2019). In Côte d'Ivoire, glyphosate is the most common active ingredient in cotton cultivation. The other one (Garrigou et al., 2020) shows that particularly dangerous pesticides used in Africa are banned in Europe and that practices of wearing PPE / EPI are uncontrolled. The PPE / EPI does not always fulfill the protective function assigned to it in pesticide authorization procedures. Therefore, there is a gap between safety at work in theory and the real practical conditions. These studies reveal an inadequacy of the PPE / EPI for practical field conditions, which exposes users to health risks.

Opening up the debate on innovative perspectives, other researchers explore options for agriculture without synthetic pesticides, which would integrate alternative practices based on the use of natural agents, bio-pesticides, and new knowledge on the development of plants known as damaging (Hagstrum and Subramanyam, 2000; Hossain et al., 2017). Moreover, other research shows that the development of public policies on pesticides not only results from interaction between science and policy makers, but also is a product of civil society activism contributing the development of risks management (Barraza et al., 2013, Bohme, 2014; Arancibia and Motta, 2019; Nikol and Jansen 2020). All this leads to questioning the entire process of conceiving, developing, disseminating and adopting policies promoting various forms of agro-ecology that can significantly reduce the use of synthetic pesticides in the South.

As a follow-up to the Arusha Conference, held in 2019, this Conference aims to analyze the implementation of public policies relating to pesticides in Southern countries, according to different approaches, mainly but not exclusively based on the social sciences. The presentations will focus mainly on Africa. Analysis of public policies concerning other countries of the South will be welcomed to allow comparisons and future prospects. The Conference will be structured around four tracks. Presentations, whatever the chosen track, could pay particular attention to the logics of interacting social actors and to the enforcement of recommendations of Arusha's call in different countries.

Track 1: The social life of public policies from their conception to their implementation: history, methods of construction, and content

Historical, legal or political sciences and many other disciplines are invited to help understand the history, construction methods or the current content of public policies relating to pesticides and their uses in different countries.

Track 2: Transfers, transformations, political uses, and local variations of public policies related to pesticides

Attention will be paid to public policies at different levels: international, regional, national or local. Paper could address, for example, transfers of public policies (policy transfer), uses of public policies at national scales, or even local variations of international recommendations (glocalization).

Track 3: Contradictions and antagonisms at the crossroads of agricultural, health, economic, and environmental or ecological spaces

This track invites research focusing on contradictions, even antagonisms, in public policies developed in different political spaces (health, agricultural, economic or even environmental). Particular interest will be given to civil society activism opposing public policies on synthetic pesticides. It deals with the activities of actors promoting agro-ecology with a view to considerably reduce the use of synthetic pesticides. Research on agro-ecological alternatives and their inclusion in policies, negotiations for their adoption and implementation in the South will be welcomed. This could include research on farming communities, in particular young people, who support the reduction or removal of chemical pesticides as desired by advocates of agro-ecology.

Track 4: Marketing authorizations and safety at work

Here, the focus is on research on the circulation in the South of pesticides banned elsewhere, particularly in Europe. It may analyze links between marketing procedures and worker safety (pesticide sellers, farmers, etc.). Particular attention will be paid to the effectiveness of PPE / EPI and other technologies, guidelines or mechanisms developed for protecting workers in contact with synthetic pesticides. Presentations may examine marketing policies and relationship with use of protection equipment in field conditions.

Target audience

Researchers from various social sciences, human sciences, public health and public policy, specialists in environmental and health exposure, members of government agencies or NGOs involved in the regulation of pesticides, farmer organizations, agro-ecological associations, and industrial firms.

Application timeframe

  • Opening of the call for applications: January 15, 2021
  • Abstract submission: March 31, 2021

  • Evaluation of proposals: April 2021
  • Notification to authors of acceptance of papers: May 30, 2021
  • Preliminary program: July 31, 2021
  • The full papers for the Conference must be submitted electronically no later than September 15, 2021.

Abstract format

Title of the paper, Name, first name and email address

Function and institution, Address of the home institution

Size: 400 words

File format: Ms Word format

Languages: French and English

  • Questions and papers should be submitted to the following addresses:
  • Doudou Dimi Theodore : theodoredoudou@uao.edu.ci
  • Kouakou Konan Jérôme : jeromekouakou@uao.edu.ci
  • Djoman Judith Epse Meite : crd.dir@gmail.com

Scientific committee

  • Fall Abdou Salam (Pdt), Research Director, Sociology, Research Laboratory on Economic and Social Transformations (LARTES-IFAN), University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar, Senegal.
  • Abe N’doumy Noël, Professor of Universities, Anthropology and Sociology, Alassane Ouattara University, Bouake, Côte d’Ivoire.
  • Audibert Martine, Emeritus Research Director and FERDI Senior Fellow, Economics, Economic Evaluation of Health Policies, CERDI, CNRS-IRD, Clermont-Ferrand, France. Bayili Bazoma, Research Engineer, Applied Biology, Environmental Toxicology, Insecticide Testing Laboratory, Health Sciences Research Institute, Western Regional Management (IRSS / DRO), Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso.
  • Bekoin Tanoh, Associate Professor, History, Alassane Ouattara University, Department of History, Bouake, Côte d’Ivoire.
  • Bureau-Point Eve, Associate Researcher , Social and Cultural Anthropology, Norbert Elias Center, CNRS, Marseille, France.
  • Doudou Dimi Theodore, Senior Researcher, Sociology of Health, Laboratory of Health, Nutrition, Hygiene (L-SNH), Research Center for Development (CRD), Alassane Ouattara University (UAO) Bouake, Côte d’Ivoire.
  • Egrot Marc, Associate Researcher, Anthropology, Population Environment and Development Laboratory (LPED), Institute of Research and Development (IRD), Marseille, France.
  • Ferdinand Malcom, Associate Researcher, Political Science (political ecology), IRISSO / Paris Dauphine-PSL University, Paris, France.
  • Folley Ellen, University Professor, Anthropology, Klark University, United States of America.
  • Fournet Florence, Associate Researcher, Entomology, GIS, UMR 224 Mivegec, IRD, Montpelier, France.
  • Garrigou Alain, Professor of Universities, Ergonomics, EPICENE team (Epidemiology of cancers and environmental exposures), University of Bordeaux, Department of Hygiene, Safety & Environment, IUT & Bordeaux Population Health Center - Inserm U1219, Bordeaux, France.
  • Houngnihin Roch Apollinaire, Professor of Universities, Anthropology, Laboratory of Applied Anthropology (LAMA), University of Abomey Calavi, Cotonou, Benin.
  • Hunsmann Moritz, Researcher, Sociology, Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Social Issues (IRIS), National Center for Scientific Research, Paris, France.
  • Jansen Kees, Associate Professor, Agrarian Sociology and Political Ecology, Rural Sociology Group - Wageningen University, Netherlands.
  • Kouassi N'goran François, Research Director, Anthropology and Socio-economics of Development, Laboratory of Agro-economics and Rural Development (LADR), CRD, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, Alassane Ouattara University, Bouake, Côte d'Ivoire.
  • Martin Thibaud, Associate Researcher, Entomology, Agro-ecology, Cirad, Deputy Director UR Hortsys, associate researcher at the Wascal UFHB Center of Excellence, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.
  • Theoua Pelagie-N'dri, Associate Professor, Public Law, Center for Research and Study on Law and Public Finances (CREDFiP), Alassane Ouattara University, Bouake, Côte d’Ivoire.
  • Valentin Bauval, Agronomy and retired farmer, member of AVSF and of the editorial board of the journal Agriculture, Environment and Society of the AFA (French association of agronomy) - Former consultant of CIRAD and various NGOs and Professor of agro-ecology at the Higher School of Agriculture in Angers, France.

Organizers committee

Doudou Dimi Theodore (Pdt), Aba Atse Eric Noël, Adje Anoh Felix, Coulibaly Brahima, Dayoro Kevin, Diobo Kpaka Sabine Doudou, Djezou Baudelaire, Fondio Lassina, Gbahoui Nicaise, Mazou Gnazebo Hilaire, Akmel Meless Simeon, Ilboudo Sylvain, Jas Nathalie,  Kossonou Komoe, Kouadio Kouassi-Kan Adolphe, Kouadio M’bra K. Dieu-Donne, Konan Kouakou Blaise, Kouakou Konan Jerôme, Kouassi Edouard, Kra Gerard Landry Konan, Kra Walter, Mathieu Bertrand,Niamke Bobele Florence, Tuo Donoupkoro, Ouattara Zie Adama, Oura Kouadio Raphaël, Wognin Joël Anicet, Yao Esther Doris Kra; Adou Affoua Toutouwa Marie, Djoman Judith-Meite, Edehi Edess Jean, Gbegan Pascal, Kouablan Adjoua Jeanne d’Arc, Kouadio Adjoua Rachelle, Kouadio Aime Charles, Kouadio Laure, Kouadio Lorraine Nadia, Kipre Armand Maxim, Adou Bini Kouabenan Arnaud, Ouattara Kadidia Mah Soko,Yao Koffi Richmond.


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  • Université Alassane Ouattara
    Bouaké, Côte d'Ivoire (01)


  • Wednesday, March 31, 2021


  • politique publique, pesticide, Afrique, pays du Sud, mise en œuvre, controverse, mobilisation sociale, sécurité au travail, alternative écologique, vie sociale, transfert de politique, usage de politique


  • Dimi Théodore Doudou
    courriel : theodoredoudou [at] uao [dot] edu [dot] ci
  • Konan Jérôme Kouakou
    courriel : jeromekouakou [at] uao [dot] edu [dot] ci
  • Judith Djoman Epse Méité
    courriel : crd [dot] dir [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Dimi Théodore Doudou
    courriel : theodoredoudou [at] uao [dot] edu [dot] ci

To cite this announcement

« Implementation of public policies on pesticides in the global South », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Friday, February 19, 2021, https://calenda.org/845658

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