The FAO-EU partnership project on pesticide management in the former Soviet Union has now been active for two years. This initiative aims to act as a catalyst for the development capacity linked to the improved management of obsolete pesticide and hazardous waste and by helping provide the resources needed for technical and policy support related to the improved management of new pesticides to enable countries to help themselves. it is estimated that over 200,000 metric tonnes of obsolete pesticides are stored in the region and large amounts of pesticide continue to be used in food production.
The EU has allocated €6 million in support of this initiative. The project is implemented by FAO in partnership with national and international NGOs. FAO is also providing a contribution of €1.1 million in support of the project
The project is currently operational in Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Ukraine. Negotiations have also progressed with Azerbaijan and Tajikistan. The project has also fostered closer cooperation with Ministries of environment and agriculture in all countries through a number of regional meetings and training events. Such events will continue throughout the project.
The project activities focus on supporting the implementation of the FAO Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management and the activities of the Rotterdam Convention in the region. The project also promotes convergence to EU standards in terms of legislation and regulations in key areas linked to waste management and agriculture. Specifically the project has:
- Completed a regional training on the development of Environmental Assessment and Environmental Management Plans which was attended by representatives from 9 of the project countries.
- Completed a national inventory of obsolete pesticides in Kyrgyzstan and developed an environmental risk assessment based on FAO technical guidelines. This is to be used as a model to be followed by other countries.
- Developed plans for completion of national inventories in Armenia and Georgia in the first quarter of 2014.
- Completed a detailed site risk evaluation in Moldova;
- Completed a preliminary review of pesticide container management needs in Belarus and Ukraine and this work will be expanded into a region review of needs to be completed in 2014.
- The project has also completed reviews of national pesticide legislations in 10 countries and further reviews on the national life-cycle management and the potential alternatives to the most highly hazardous pesticides used in the region has been completed in 9 countries.
In the coming two years the project will look to remove over 1000 metric tonnes of obsolete stockpiles from the stores posing the highest risk to public health and the environment. A regional register of contaminated sites will be developed and a targeted awareness campaign focusing on vulnerable groups such as women and children will also be implemented in line with FAOs focus on Family Farming in 2014. Work will continue on the promotion of lower risks alternatives to the most highly hazardous pesticides and support will be provided to development of updated legislation to assist countries in preventing mis-use of pesticides in the future. The work fits into the new FAO Strategic Objective 2 aimed at making food production sustainable.
Russian version of this article.