Resilience and Adaptivity of EU Pesticides Law - Assessing Theory and Legal Capacity
Abstract: The utilisation of pesticides within agriculture may contribute to a transgression of the ecological boundaries of the Earth. However, pesticides play an essential role in sustaining human welfare by providing food security. This thesis explores how this regulatory challenge may be handled, and potential ways of improving EU pesticides law from the perspective of ‘planetary boundaries’. More specifically, this thesis investigates in what ways social-ecological resilience theory can inform EU pesticides law, whether adaptive and resilience capacity are currently reflected within these legal instruments, and how these capacities can be improved. Regulation 1107/2009 and Directive 2009/128/EC are evaluated against a set of adaptive law criteria measuring adaptive and resilience capacity of regulatory instruments. The main conclusions are that social-ecological resilience theory can provide guidance on how to make EU pesticides law capable of handling regulatory challenges, significant for pesticide usage. This theory may be a tool for establishing legal structures that enhance an informed balancing of different regulatory aims, and for including features within EU pesticides law that are necessary for building resilience within social-ecological systems – including the ability to avoid transgression of ecological thresholds. Adaptive capacity, contributing to social-ecological resilience, is currently rather well reflected within these legal instruments. Hence, EU pesticides law may serve as a reference for the making of laws having adaptive and resilience capacity. Certain features of these instruments however, could be improved. Additional theoretical concepts and tools are also likely to be required to ensure that pesticide usage does not actually contribute to transgression of ‘planetary boundaries’.
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