Home > In Focus > A coalition of scientists, doctors, jurists and economists against art. 6 and 8 of the new Italian ‘Emergency Decree’

The Legislative Decree no. 152/2006, also known as ‘Emergency Decree’, dated March 2018, which contains the Italian Environmental rules, has been challenged by a coalition of researchers, experts and NGOs.

On 17 April, a call launched by ISDE – International Society of Doctors for the Environment and Navdanya International, collected almost 2000 signatures in a few days. The open letter, which calls for the amendment of Articles 6 and 8 of the Italian Emergency Decree (D.lgs 152/2006, of March 2018), has witnessed in a few hours the endorsement of hundreds of leading academics and experts in the fields of science, economics, law and agriculture, as well as the participation of a large number of civil society associations and  organizations.

The open letter, addressed to all Italian Parliamentarians, specifies  that: ‘the practice of treating critical situations as emergencies has often allowed public authorities to act in derogation of important regulations on environmental protection standards, and contrary to all principles of sustainability and science’. The letter continues: ‘with this Decree the characteristics of necessity and urgency would become the practice. In effect the exception would become the norm. To affirm  that “official phytosanitary measures and any other activity connected to them are implemented in derogation of any existing provision” means to impose exceptions to the Constitution, as well as to national and regional laws aimed at safeguarding the health of people, the environment and personal freedoms – not  to protect citizens but instead protect  agro-industrial and economic sectors, with very serious consequences as agriculture and plant-disease management are now inseparable from social, environmental, climatic, food, health, landscape and economic considerations ”.

‘If articles 6 and 8 of the Decree are not urgently modified, from today on, with the pretext of another agronomic emergency, it will be possible to override a constitutional civil principle as fundamental as it is elementary : the right of all people to a safe, clean and healthy environment and an intact landscape (art. 9 and doctrine), and by consequence, the right to live a healthy life (art. 32 and doctrine)’, in the economic interest of a few. The coalition’s signatory parties affirm that they will do everything in their power ‘to avoid these dangerous democratic drifts to occur – such as the neglect of the obligation to evaluate the environmental effects of plant protection plans – and to bring this tragic situation to light and to the attention of the national and international community’.

Translation kindly provided by Arianna Porrone and Navdanya International