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European Parliament

1. History of EU Parliament involvement in obsolete pesticides and relation to EU Commission

After 10 years of having organised International HCH and Pesticides Fora, the participants expressed their concern and called for a constructive regional action at the 6 th Int. HCH and Pesticides Forum in March 2001. Thereafter IHPA has approached Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and EU Commission for help and engagement and drawn attention to this problem and the need for solutions, as requested by the 6 th Forum resolution.

This resulted in questions by several MEPs on June 15 th 2001 to EU Commission, DG Environment being discussed in the Parliament. On July 10 th , the Environmental Committee of EU Parliament decided to send letters to the representations in Brussels of all 10 Accession Countries asking the respective governments if they were aware of the problems and if yes, what they were intending to do about it.

Official reactions have been obtained from the Czech Republic ( 12 Dec 2001 ), Latvia ( 18 Sept. 2001 ), Lithuania , Poland ( 3 April 2002 ), Romania ( 3 April 2002 ), Slovak Republic ( 23 Sept 2001 ), Slovenia ( 24 Oct 2001 ).

In May 2002, after the Nitrofen food contamination in former Eastern Germany , due to obsolete pesticides occurred, the dangers of obsolete pesticides became obvious. On 24 th of June MEPs questioned EU Commission again on the dangers for the food due to the obsolete pesticides and what EU Commission planned to do to prevent re-occurrence in the future.

In July 2002, the decision approving 6 th Environment Action Programme was adopted and the Communication ‘Towards a Thematic Strategy on the Sustainable use of Pesticides’ opened another door by stating clearly that ” specific support programmes should be developed which target the safe handling for obsolete pesticides and their safe destruction “.

As a result of the Nitrofen case, DG Environment initiated the execution of the study by COWI Consult on the status of obsolete pesticides in the 10 Accession countries which was published in October 2002

Further the Commission initiated an analysis of the situation on food contamination and obsolete pesticides in former Eastern Germany . A report was made for DG SANCO in February 2003. This report describes the situation as follows:

“Collection and destruction of plant protection products, which became unauthorised after reunification of Germany , were not properly and clearly organised. There is no clear overview at central and Land level of the amount of theses plant protection products and the warehouses where they were stored.” This statement was made, after 14 years of huge West German investments, in this context one should try to consider how (im)possible it would have been for the other CEEC governments to tackle these problems!

At the Stakeholders’ Conference on the Development of a Thematic Strategy on the Sustainable Use of Pesticides, on 4 th of November 2002 in Brussels , Mr. John Vijgen of IHPA requested EU Commissioner for Environment Ms. Margot Wallström to help to solve this problem and Ms. Wallström promised to discuss the issue in the cabinet and bring this issue in each meeting with the new accession countries.

On 4 th of December 2002, 28 MEPs signed a letter to the 10 governments of the Accession countries, indicating the dangers to the food supply and the recommendation to apply to help via the respective PHARE Fund and referred to the statements you have made before.

In March and April 2003, Ms. Wallström and Ms. Day, Director General of DG Environment, both sent letters to IHPA confirming the concern for the issue, however rejecting the idea of a special fund, but encouraging the use of existing funding channels for NIS such as TACIS, ISPA for the set-up of the necessary destruction facilities, as well as the use of the Structural and Cohesion Funds for those countries for the new EU Member States from May 2004 on. The Commissioner also referred to the fact that none of the countries have addressed the issue during the negotiations and that responsibility and initiative has to be taken by the New Member States.

At the 5 th Ministerial Conference, 23-25 May 2003 in Kiev , in the final declaration the issue of obsolete pesticides and chemicals was included for the first time as an important issue to be addressed. During the conference the, “Verchovna Rada” ‘s (Ukrainian Parliament’s) Committee on Ecological Policy, Natural Resources Utilization and Elimination the Consequences of Chernobyl Catastrophe “, organized a discussion on the environmental problems in Ukraine , with main focus on obsolete pesticides. MEP’s Alexander de Roo and Charles Tannock participated in the discussion and confirmed the urgency of the problem in Ukraine .

Just 2 weeks later from 5-7 June 2003 again in Kiev, 150 participants of the 7 th International HCH and Pesticides Forum expressed unanimously in a declaration the need to work towards the establishment of a POPs and Obsolete Pesticides Programme for Central European and EECCA Countries for the environmentally sound management of unwanted stocks of POPs and other obsolete pesticides. Also it was recommended to establish a Working Group to develop such Programme of Action in co-operation with all stakeholders. Additionally, support letters have been received from the highest governmental organizations in Ukraine :the Ukrainian Parliament , the Cabinet of Ministers, the Minister of Agricultural Policy, the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources and 31 Ministers of European, Caucasian and Central Asia governments inclusive United Nations Mission Interim Kosovo, Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning, 8 international organizations. Special attention deserve the individual support letters of Members of the European Parliament David Robert Bowe, Ms. Kathleen van Brempt, Alex de Roo, Ms. Catherine Stihler, Philip Whitehead and an answer from the Dutch State Secretary for Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment, to Member of European Parliament Ms. Ria Oomen-Ruijten.

Further a joint letter from four former Ministers of Environment Svend Auken ( Denmark ), Ms. Satu Hassi ( Finland ), Jan Pronk (The Netherlands) and Ms. Dominique Voynet (France) addressing to the 5th Ministerial Conference “Environment for Europe” the need for official support for the establishment of an Obsolete Pesticides Stockpile Programme for Central European and EECCA Countries.

On June 24 th the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Policy included in virtually all parts related to EU Extension to the East the need for additional funds for obsolete pesticides and the Committee explained the need as follows:

“In order to effectively implement the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs Convention), and specifically the problem of obsolete pesticides, there needs to be a European focus combined with a real programme of action for the whole region of Central and Eastern Europe as described in the Kiev Declaration on the establishment of a POPs and Obsolete Stockpile programme for Central European and EECCA Countries for the environmentally sound management of unwanted stocks of POPs and other obsolete pesticides. Although both the European Commission and national governments have stated their willingness to act, especially by including the elimination of stocks of obsolete pesticides in its 6th Environmental Action Programme (Decision No 1600/2002/EC; art. 7(2d)), in practice extra efforts are needed from both sides to find sufficient funds under the existing instruments, either in funds not yet programmed or allocated to specific measures or, where there is scope for it, through re-programming”

On the 3 rd of October 2003 , the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Policy, amended the issue of obsolete pesticides in virtually all programmes for the Eastern EU Extension.

Also on 23 October, the EU Parliament Budget Committee amended the Draft General Budget of EU for 2004, which includes a specific paragraph 73: Notes the danger to the environment resulting from persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and, in particular, from stocks of obsolete pesticides; urges the Commission to make the extra effort needed to find sufficient funds under existing instruments for elimination or environmentally sound management of unwanted stocks of POPs and other obsolete pesticides ;

From 24 to 26 November 2003 , former Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of

Ukraine, and Deputy Head of the Committee on Environmental Policy, nature Resources, Utilization and Elimination of the Consequences of Chernobyl Catastrophe of the Ukrainian Parliament, Ivan Zayets visited the EU Parliament and discussed with a number of MEPs ( Dorette Corbey, Robert Goodwill, Marie Isler Béguin, Patricia McKenna, Bart Staes, Jan Marinus Wiersma, Alexander de Roo and Elisabeth Schroedter), Mr. Francis Jacobs (secretary of the Environmental Committee), Dag Sounders secretary of the Delegation to the EU-Armenia, EU-Azerbaijan and EU-Georgia Parliamentary Cooperation Committees, as well as representatives of the EU Commission (Jaime Pérez Vidal of the European Commission ‘ s DG RELEX and Martin Pohlmann of DG Environment) the issue of obsolete pesticides in Ukraine, dealing with 25000 tons of pesticides spread over 5000 locations. This visit has made it very clear that there is a strong interest by many groups within the Ukrainian society to solve this problem and to get the necessary support from the EU Commission. A full communiqué of the visit has been issued by Mr. Alexander De Roo and John Vijgen.

John Vijgen (2 nd left), Wim Kersten (assistant Alex de Roo) (3 rd left), Ivan Zayets in the middle, Frank Schwalba-Hoth (1 st right), Jeff .Rival (assistant Marie-Anne Isler-Béguin) (2 nd right)

After that meeting, on January 13 th 2004 , MEPs Dorette Corbey, Jan Marinus Wiersma, Robert Goodwill and Alexander de Roo strongly questioned Commissioner Patten on the Ukrainian issue which was answered by the Commissioner as follows: “I can only repeat that we will raise this issue with the Ukrainian authorities. We will be willing, if they wish, to consider ways in which we could assist through the TACIS programme. However, the need for funds for the overall elimination of pesticides in Ukraine is beyond the present budgetary resources of the European Union, though we can encourage Ukraine to turn to other possible financing sources in order to deal with what is a horrendously difficult problem.”

The draft budget has been adopted in February 2004 and a report “Implementation of the 2004 budget, Working Document, on requests made to the Commission in resolutions relating to the 2004 budget, Committee on Budgets, Rapporteur: Jan Mulder” included the request for budget under ” Elimination of pesticides”.

In July 2004, the new elected parliament started its works and Mr. Wieslaw Kuc MEP from Poland visited the 8 th International HCH and Pesticides 2005, in Sofia , Bulgaria . He had discussions with delegations from Ukraine , Poland and Georgia on the extent of the problem and how to find ways to solve obsolete pesticides issues in the EECCA region. He was very impressed on the special exhibition on obsolete pesticides in Georgia , that showed clearly the real impact on humans and environment.

Following the Sofia Forum, Mr. Kuc established a Working Group on Obsolete Pesticides in the EU Parliament consisting of MEPs, their assistants and other committed persons.

In September 2005 the Working Group had its first meeting with presentations by Mr. Kuc, John Vijgen and Ludwig Krämer as specialists on this issue.

Polish MEP’s left to right Mieczyslaw Janowski,Wieslaw Kuc, Leopold Rutowicz and Bogdan Golik during the WG meeting, February 2006

In the spring of 2006, Mr. Kuc introduced the idea of the organization of a special exhibition to be held in the EU Parliament in order to confront politicians on the real danger of obsolete pesticides and to convince them that actions must be taken as soon as possible.

Wieslaw Kuc and John Vijgen

The Exhibition with the title “Danger Obsolete Pesticides” will be held from 30 th of April to 4 th of May 2007 in Brussels in the EU Parliament. Additionally a book will

It is also Mr. Kuc’s intention that the exhibition should be brought to all European Capitals to commit politicians and to show the EU population the real situation and the dangers stemming from obsolete pesticides in Central and Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia .

If your government has interest to have the exhibition in your country, please contact:

Mr. Wieslaw Kuc at: wskuc-assistant@europarl.eu.int

or

Mr. John Vijgen at john.vijgen@ihpa.info

2. Wieslaw Stefan Kuc –Member of the European Parliament

Why am I committed to the solution of the obsolete pesticides problem in Central and Eastern Europe ?

Dear friends,

After getting in touch with the organisers of the International HCH and Pesticides Forum, just a couple of days before their Forum, on 20 May 2005 in Sofia, they convinced me of the importance of this issue and therefore I decided to change my travel arrangements in order to join this till then Forum.

When I then arrived in Sofia the Polish representative explained the situation in my own country and in the first moment I could not believe that Poland had these huge problems inherited from former Soviet times.

During the forum I had extensive discussions with the Delegations from Ukraine and Georgia and discussed how to find a way forward for their countries. And again I was struck by the extent of the problem being present in virtually all countries being related to the former Soviet Union . A large exhibition set up by the Georgian Delegation, with

representatives of the Ministry of Environment showed how serious the issue is. Pesticides are laying around everywhere as former pesticides stores had been demolished due to the lack of building materials for the poorest. Pesticides are freely accessible to playing children, grazing cattle and so bringing obsolete pesticides in our food chain. Due to rain and wind pesticides are spreading to neighbouring areas and entering ground and groundwater polluting precious ground water and surface water where the poor people extract their drinking water from simple wells. And the worst is that rural population and their governments often are not aware of these “hidden” dangers.

So I decided to carry out all possible efforts to make my colleagues in the EU Parliament aware of this problem, but also to convince them of the need to act.

Therefore I have initiated in September 2005 the first meeting in the Parliament and invited MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) to discuss the issue and the ways towards solutions. During this meeting it was decided to establish a Working Group of MEPs that then could help to move the issue forward and to define clear and achievable goals.

On 1st of February 2006, the first meeting of the Working Group on Obsolete Pesticides took place in Brussels . During this meeting we were happy to find more and more MEPs of the New Member countries, as it may be clear that we have to take the lead if we seriously want to eradicate obsolete pesticides from our countries.

We know that there is still not enough done to protect us against the risk related to obsolete pesticides. Various reports and presentations demonstrated the potential impact of obsolete pesticides and other hazardous chemicals on the environment and on problems of soil and groundwater contamination. WHO has estimated that in 2050 every second human being will die from cancer due to contamination in food, water and the environment. There are thousand of tons of obsolete chemicals placed in the Southern and Eastern European countries, which are located without any protection against wind or precipitations.

This broad and important theme requires more attention and action on the international agenda in order to reduce risks to the global environment and to communities. The economic consequences of not taking action could lead to a loss of opportunities for exports in the agricultural and fisheries sectors and for reduced opportunities for the development of sustainable tourism.

The main objective of our meeting on February 1, 2006 was to create an actively functioning Working Group which would create and enforce new harmonised EU policy on defining, registering and destruction of forbidden obsolete pesticides.

What do I want to achieve?

The following actions must be taken by the WG:

1. We need to create a hand book with the best practices (we must compare the state of the art in the world) and all results must be used to give recommendations for environmental sound POPs management procedures. There must be set up a different approach to new EU countries, EU Candidate countries, the neighbouring States from South and East of Europe, as well as ex-Soviet Union Republics (here we will be thankful for analysis from MEPs who are members of certain EU delegations and from NGOs.)

2. We should establish Guidelines and supporting measures to make inventory of pesticides and to control their destruction. There are technologies, but are they optimal and fully effective? There must be new facilities established which would support the control of pesticides on their life-chain: from the producers till the end-users.

3. We have to develop and implement education and awareness raising tools. Series of events should be planned to support the environmental issues and to explain the danger of obsolete pesticides.

The outcome of the meeting brought the following action plan:

1. Talks with MEPs who are the coordinators of AGRI and ENVI Committees to bring the issue into their agendas

2. Bringing the issue to the agenda of AGRI or ENVI Committee with the purpose of making a resolution in the committee for the creation of the budget line.

3. Exchange of opinions and closer cooperation among Rapporteur, Shadow and EP advisors

4. Organisation of a special photo-exhibition in the European Parliament by one of the MEPs.

The talks with the MEPs and the EU Commission’s officials should follow in next weeks.

What have we realized till present?

Since the February meeting, we have now achieved the first results of our efforts and we have agreed upon to organize an exhibition “Danger obsolete pesticides” in the European Parliament from April 30 th to May 4 th 2007 in Brussels. We will invite all politicians and representatives from the concerned countries and involve press and TV.

Further is the plan that the exhibition will go around Europe so all citizens in the countries and politicians have the chance to see the real situation and can act together with us.

We have now also decided to publish a book with interviews of politicians and specialists in this field in order to document clearly the urgency of the problem.

And finally we have to engage donors to solve this problem as soon as possible.

I will inform you regularly on actions and progress

Yours,

Wieslaw Kuc

Brussels , September 2006

3. Mini-Hearing on Obsolete Pesticides in Eastern European Countries, the Caucasus and Central Asian Countries in the European Parliament on 29 of June 2010

Please find the Conclusions of the mini-hearing on “Obsolete pesticides” and other presentations according to programme:

4. MEP Dan Jørgensen visits Azerbaijan in March 2012!

Mr. Dan Jørgensen, Member of the European Parliament, Vice Chair of the Committee for Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, visited Azerbaijan from 8 to 11 March 2012, and met several Members of the Milli Majlis (Parliament), and Mr. Ismat Abasov, the Minister of Agriculture, as well as Dr. Shahin Panahov, Chairman of the UNEP-Ecores National Committee working on POPs issues in Azerbaijan, to discuss the pesticide activities in the country. At the end of the meetings, a group has visited the refurbished obsolete pesticide burial site in Jangi village located in ~50 km from Baku.

MEP Dan Jørgensen meeting  Mr. Ismat Abasov, the Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Azerbaijan .

About IHPA

The International HCH & Pesticides Association (IHPA) is an independent and non-political network of committed individuals that wants to draw international attention on the world-wide problems stemming from the production and use of HCH and other obsolete pesticides and its dangers for human health and the environment.

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