A call to Germany’s EU Council Presidency: Strengthen Europe’s pandemic response workforce

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

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It is no secret that the German Council Presidency is faced with an impossible task: with COVID-19 recovery and reinforcement of preparedness at the top of the EU agenda, the Presidency is constrained from the word ‘go’ on more long-term goals such as sustainability.

The recognition of the pest management profession’s potential in public health throughout Europe is a multi-faceted solution which will enable progress to be made in every direction.

Many key professions proved their worth during the recent health crisis, the trained pest management sector being a shining example in this regard.

In a pandemic scenario, it is clear that the skills and expertise acquired by the trained pest management profession is and will remain essential in case of outbreaks of vector-borne diseases spreading from animal to human (as was proven to be the case with previous outbreaks such as SARS, Swine Flu and Avian Flu).

In the context of COVID-19, our sector was also able to mobilise en masse across Europe to fight against human to human transmission of the virus as the sector best equipped to effectively deploy disinfectants in public spaces to fight the spread of the pandemic.

As a result, trained pest managers have been vital in supporting public health across Europe, something which has been recognised by their inclusion in national lists of key workers across the continent.

Trained pest management is also of paramount importance for the effective promotion of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) as a strategy which is essential to attaining a more sustainable environment.

It is only through using IPM that the protection of biodiversity and endangered species can be guaranteed and the impact of pest management on the environment minimised. CEPA has long campaigned for the promotion of IPM through the recognition of the trained pest management profession, and we outline our goals and values in the CEPA Memorandum of Understanding.

Yet the pest management sector remains to a large extent unregulated in the EU, allowing the continuation of ineffective or even harmful activities to be carried out by untrained and unqualified service providers.

For European authorities this effectively is leaving an important public health resource untapped, risking leaving Europe unprepared and ill-equipped for future health crises.

It is for this reason that CEPA calls upon the German Presidency to recognise the work done by Europe’s key workers, including professionally trained pest managers, and to encourage the strengthening of Europe’s public health supporting workforces.

Henry Mott is the President of CEPA #TheGoodPestManager, the European trade association representing 65 national associations and international companies along the whole pest management chain in 23 European countries.

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