From 17 to 21 of March 2014, the FAO/EU partnership project on "Improved pesticides and chemicals management in the Former Soviet Union" held a training on awareness raising and communication in Chisinau, Moldova.
The course brought together representatives of national NGOs and press officers from the Ministries of Agriculture and Ministries of Environment from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine to work jointly on developing communication and awareness raising strategies following their countries’ priorities as defined in the FAO/EU partnership project.
The training was aiming to strengthen the capacity of specialists to contribute to the reduction of risks to public health and the environment from pesticides. The issue on awareness with regard to exposure to hazardous pesticides of vulnerable groups in agriculture will be one of the crucial points in the agenda of the training. In addition, special attention was dedicated to the need to strengthen data collection at field level on the use of pesticides and related poisoning incidents in order to create awareness among and a link to decision-making institutes at the national level, such as pesticide registrars.
The project is covering twelve countries in the European Neighborhood, Central Asian and Russian Federation regions and co-funded by the EC Europe Aid with technical implementation by FAO in partnership with a range of development partners including international NGOs (Blacksmith Institute, Green Cross Belarus and Switzerland, Milieukontakt International, Pesticide Action Network UK, and the International HCH and Pesticide Association) and the Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention.
The European Union and the Food and Agriculture Organization have invested €7 million to assist these countries and to foster an environment of cooperation and capacity development to eliminate the risks from obsolete and POPs pesticides and to develop a more sustainable agriculture in the future. It is estimated that over 200,000 metric tons of these hazardous chemicals exist in the region and a concerted international effort is needed now to prevent contamination of water and soil used for production of food.