EU and FAO Aid Uzbekistan’s Management of Hazardous Chemicals

On 1 May, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Ministry of Ecology, Environmental Protection and Climate Change of Uzbekistan held an inception workshop in Tashkent on technical assistance for the sound management of hazardous chemicals.

The joint venture, implemented with financial support from the European Union, is designed to enhance the effectiveness of mechanisms and tools for the management of hazardous chemicals and related waste. A key goal cited by the EU Delegation to Uzbekistan, is to reduce the use of dangerous pesticides in agriculture, through the introduction and promotion of alternative methodologies amongst farmers.

Aziz Abdukhakimov, Minister of Ecology, Environmental Protection and Climate Change, stressed that by actively striving to reduce the use of highly hazardous pesticides, Uzbekistan aims to lower their adverse impact on the nation’s health and environment, in addition to making a significant contribution to  UN Sustainable Development Goals. Regarding plans to address the issue, he  announced, “We need to revise our inventory of contaminated areas of former agricultural airfields and other sites, the last of which, was carried out in the ‘90s when more than 450 former agricultural airfields were identified.”

Praising the move, Wim Riepma, Head of Cooperation Section, EU Delegation to Uzbekistan, stated: “Our partnership with the Government of Uzbekistan and FAO exemplifies a collective commitment to protecting the environment and public health, by cleaning up legacy waste, by improving waste management, and by reducing pesticide waste production. Integrated pest management and awareness of health and environmental risks are key to a healthier, environment- friendly and economically viable agriculture sector.”

Sherzod Umarov, Assistant FAO Representative in Uzbekistan, likewise emphasized, “The project implementation will enable an improved institutional capacity for sound pesticide management and better data on hazardous wastes in agriculture allowing development of a national waste management strategy. The project also aims to scale up green practices in the agricultural sector leading to reduced risks to farmers and consumers from the use of pesticides and to food production relying on less toxic pesticides and biological protection tools.”