The sub-regional workshop entitled "TOWARDS A TOXIC FREE
FUTURE” (Impact of Toxic Chemicals on the Environment and Public Health in
Central Asia: Ways to Address Problems) was held on 11-13 February 2007 in
The workshop was attended by representatives of environmental ministries, sanitary and epidemiological units, scientists, business structures, Central
Asian NGOs, and international organizations.
The participants discussed the state of chemical pollution in Central Asia
(including problems related to
the implementation of the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants
(POPs), Basel convention on control of transboundary transportation of hazardous
wastes and their removal, and other corresponding conventions for Central Asian
countries; the state of preparation of national chemical pollution profiles,
public role in the fulfillment of conventions commitments and public
participation in ensuring regional chemical safety.
The republics have accumulated obsolete and valueless pesticides (chemicals used
to protect plants from pests and to destroy weed); there is no reliable system
for monitoring and maintaining the environmental control over use and import of
harmful toxicants or repositories that would meet qualification requirements for
burying harmful chemicals.
One of the major goals of the workshop was to analyze the capacity of Central
Asian countries to attain a task “Towards toxic free 2020”. This global
environmental task was set by the delegates of the World Summit on Sustainable
Development in Johannesburg (SAR) in 2002.
As a necessary intermediate phase in attaining the goal set and in order to
develop a uniform coordinated approach to chemicals management at all levels,
the governments together with the concerned stakeholders developed a Strategic
approach to international chemicals management (SACIM).
The workshop also demonstrated the international experience and projects of
different organizations on how to address chemical safety issues. Activities
implemented by the International POPs Elimination Network and The Women Network
for the Common Future were presented.
Central Asian NGOs took part in the International POPs Elimination Project (IPEP)
in the EECCA region. The main results of the project were provided during the
workshop by Olga Speranskaya, the head of Eco-Accord Program on Chemical Safety
and the coordinator of the International POPs Elimination Project (IPEP) in the
The workshop participants learnt practical skills of conducting public inventory
of stocks with obsolete or banned pesticides.
During the workgroup sessions, the priorities were identified for further
preparation of plans of actions on expansion of Central Asian NGOs involvement
in chemical safety processes and the appeal of participants of the sub-regional
workshop entitled “TOWARDS A TOXIC FREE FUTURE” (Impact of Toxic Chemicals on
the Environment and Public Health in Central Asia: Ways to Address Problems)
addressed to concerned ministries and departments, donors and international
TOWARDS A TOXIC FREE FUTURE!
Ministries of Environment,
Ministries of Health,
Ministries of Agriculture,
Ministries of Industry, Science and New Technologies,
Committees for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring
of Kazakhstan. Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan
Appeal of Participants of the Sub-regional Workshop
entitled “TOWARDS A TOXIC FREE FUTURE!” (Impact of toxic chemicals on the
environment and public health in Central Asia: ways to address problems)"
We, the non-governmental organizations of Central Asia, appealing against
toxic chemicals production and use, call on the governments of our countries
to take an active part in fulfilling the goal set at the World Summit on
Sustainable Development in 2002: “to minimize by 2020 the harm inflicted by
chemicals use and production to health and environment …”.
Fulfilling the tasks set at the World Summit, in February 2006 the global
community approved the strategic approach to international chemicals
management (SAICM), which is an agreement that calls on the countries to “….
Attain chemicals production and use by 2020 in such a way that would lead to
minimization of serious negative effects on public health and the
The strategic approach covers all the chemicals: from agricultural to
industrial; all the chemicals lifecycle stages, and every aspect of chemical
safety. The global action plan developed within the strategic approach is a
comprehensive set of potential initiatives aiming at SAIPM fulfillment. This
international strategy ensures a multi-sectoral approach to chemicals
management and ensures an active involvement of civil society in fulfillment
of its provisions.
Since chemical safety issues are a sore point in Central Asia, we call on
the government to:
Support the fulfillment of the strategic approach and
quickly start its implementation both nationally and regionally by
developing intersectoral partnership relations with representatives from
the industry, nongovernmental and international organizations;
Develop plan of events aiming at achieving the goal of
Create national coordinating agencies charged with the
fulfillment of the strategic approach in their respective countries,
ensure that their activity is transparent, and the active involvement of
We call on Central Asian governments to pay special
attention to the need for:
quickest ratification of the Stockholm Convention and
other appropriate chemical conventions and Protocols, inclusive of PRTR
to the Aarhus Convention on access to environmental information, public
involvement in decision-making process and access to justice on
guaranteeing effective public involvement in activities
connected with chemicals management (policy drafting, law drafting,
action plan drafting, program and project development);
ensuring full and timely public awareness on chemical
safety and considering public opinion in decision-making on chemicals
paying special attention to the dialogue between
representatives of industrial enterprises, public nature conservation
agencies, and general public in the area of chemical safety;
facilitating the development of cooperation between
local and foreign companies on introduction of environmentally safe
technologies for production and consumption waste handling;
developing cooperation with UNEP, International Forum
for Chemical Safety and other international agencies dealing with
facilitating the development of educational programs on
chemical safety for representatives of public agencies, non-governmental
organizations, local administration, company directors, and mass media.
Approved by participants of the workshop entitled "Towards a
Toxic Free Future" (Impact of Toxic Chemicals on the Environment and Public
Health in Central Asia: Ways to Address Problems),
Almaty, 11-13 February 2007.
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