The WGP meets annually at the OECD Secretariat in Paris. A departmental officer helps to coordinate the Australian input for the WGP.
The OECD Agricultural Pesticides Program first began as an exchange of assessment reports among member countries to enable them to streamline and improve their own reviews. The program has broadened its scope to focus on:
- assessing chemical products
- informing countries of alternative pesticide risk reduction activities
- contributing to environmental health and safety efforts to develop and harmonise OECD test guidelines and assessment methods
- developing common guidelines
- developing guidance for registration requirements.
The Ag Vet Chemicals and Farm Leadership Program branch participates in the OECD Pesticide Program and views it as complementary to managing agricultural and veterinary chemicals through the National Registration Scheme.
The department's involvement is important as agricultural production continues to expand in developing countries. In Australia, grower associations and research and development corporations are seeking to establish quality assurance systems for chemical use to enhance export trade capabilities and to meet demands for increasing food quality standards. Pesticide risk reduction is also linked to natural resource management.
The department plays a significant role in the following sub-groups of the Working Group on Pesticides: