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Improving capacities to eliminate and prevent recurrence of obsolete pesticides as a model for tackling unused hazardous chemicals in the former Soviet Union

The European Union and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have joined forces for assisting countries in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA) to eliminate the risks from obsolete pesticides and Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and to develop a more sustainable agriculture in the future. This was done by fostering an environment of cooperation, strengthening capacities, and carrying out measures on the ground to ensure a safe disposal of obsolete chemicals. The project “Improving capacities to eliminate and prevent recurrence of obsolete pesticides as a model for tackling unused hazardous chemicals in the former Soviet Union” started in 2011 and will be completed at the end of 2017. In order to enable project activities, the European Union provided a grant of 6 million Euros to the total project budget of 7 million Euros.

The International HCH & Pesticides Association (IHPA) is partner of FAO in the project, together with Black Smith Institute (now Pure Earth), Green Cross Belarus, Green Cross Switzerland, Milieukontakt International (MKI), Pesticide Action Network UK and the Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention.

IHPA has performed the “Study on the Assessment of Capacity for Environmentally Sound Disposal of POPs and Obsolete Pesticides Wastes in Eastern Europe, Caucasus, and Central Asia (EECCA) countries”. The Study includes an assessment of the existing legal framework for waste management and the volumes of obsolete pesticides, persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and other hazardous wastes. Data on waste quantities, legacy wastes as well as current waste arisings, have been collected from the project countries by national consultants and supplemented by data from Ministries, national statistical institutions and international organisations. It is for the first time that such a detailed inventory of obsolete pesticides, POPs and other hazardous wastes has been carried out in these countries.

Based on its results, a Roadmap has been developed to guide the required improvements in the coming years.

Based on the experiences in other parts of the world, it will take at least 10 to 20 years to fully implement this Roadmap. The international organizations have initiated this process and will continue to support the countries. But it is the responsibility of the governments of the individual countries to make the necessary commitments, to allocate resources, to define principles, to create a firm legal basis, to implement effective enforcement and open communication in order to arrive at a well-managed operational hazardous waste management capacity.

Key findings

  • Annual arisings of hazardous waste are high and there are enormous legacy quantities, especially in the larger economies in Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan;
  • Legacy volumes pose escalating risks for human health and the environment;
  • Short term action for the development of proper hazardous waste management and destruction capacity to start up the elimination of obsolete pesticides and other POPs wastes is needed;
  • There is a serious need to speed up the implementation of proper hazardous waste management;
  • Proper management of both the annual arisings and the legacy quantities will lead to high, and for the three countries mentioned even excessive additional costs.

 
Ways forward

  • Continue to improve policy planning and legal frameworks;
  • Prevent arisings and build up destruction capacity;
  • Strengthen the enforcement of legislation and programs for waste reduction and separation;
  • Replicate experience from “frontrunner” countries;
  • Discuss with international partners ways to speed up progress nationally and regionally, including the development of sustainable models that involve public-private partnerships.

 
Overview of reports:
 
Assessment studies
For each of the 12 EECCA countries a Country report summarizes the main outcomes of the assessment of the existing legal framework for waste management and the main conclusions and recommendations. The basic data, as collected during the assessment on national level of the legal framework and the volumes of obsolete pesticides, POPs and other hazardous wastes, are presented in a Working Document per country. These documents also contain the references to the sources of information used for these assessments.
 
Roadmap
A generic Roadmap was developed based on the knowledge acquired as part of the assessment study. It sets out the steps to establish sustainable capacity for the environmentally sound management of hazardous waste.
The Roadmap addressed:
the roles and responsibilities of the national governments, regional bodies, waste producers, waste disposal contractors and technology providers, donors and other international actors;
and the main and common elements of environmentally sound hazardous waste management.
 
Roadmap brochure
A summary is made in the Roadmap brochure, and sets out the steps for the partner countries to develop sustainable capacity for the environmentally sound management of both historical pollution and current hazardous wastes.
 
All reports can be found in the library of IHPA at http://www.ihpa.info/resources/library/#otherdocuments

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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