A technical assistance project on the rational management of hazardous chemicals was launched in Uzbekistan on 1 May, as reported by the press service of the Ministry of Ecology, Environmental Protection and Climate Change.

Among the event participants were the minister of ecology Aziz Abdukhakimov and representatives of the project partners, including Wim Riepma, head of cooperation of the delegation of the European Union Delegation to Uzbekistan, and Sherzod Umarov, assistant representative of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Uzbekistan.

pesticides, ministry of ecology, european union, food and agriculture organization

“This is the first time a project aimed at rational handling of hazardous chemicals is being implemented in Uzbekistan,” said minister of ecology Aziz Abdukhakimov. “Previously, highly dangerous pesticides were used in growing cotton in our country. Over 450 small airfields where huge amounts of hazardous substances were accumulated, in addition to some enterprises also storing chemicals. The project focuses on introducing technologies to extract these harmful substances from water and soil and recycle them.”

The sixth UN Environment Assembly adopted a resolution calling on member states to take action to phase out highly hazardous pesticides in agriculture and to promote a switch to alternatives.

To improve agro-ecological practices and their integration, presidential decrees have adopted several initiatives including:

  • The Environmental Protection Concept until 2030;
  • The Agriculture Development Strategy until 2030;
  • The Concept for the Development of Organic Agricultural and Organic Food Production, and a roadmap for implementation.

In recent years, Uzbekistan has decommissioned eight sites where stocks of obsolete or banned pesticides, along with pesticide containers, were buried, begun decommissioning two more sites, and reconstructed one site.

“Our partnership with the government of Uzbekistan and FAO is an example of our joint commitment to environmental and public health protection by cleaning up obsolete waste, improving waste management, and reducing pesticide waste production. Integrated pesticides management and awareness of health and environmental risks are key to a healthier, greener, and economically viable agricultural sector,” said Wim Riepma.

pesticides, ministry of ecology, european union, food and agriculture organization

The implementation of a joint project worth €4 million aims to improve the efficiency of mechanisms and tools for managing harmful chemicals and waste, while also reducing the use of hazardous pesticides in agriculture. This includes the introduction and promotion of alternative methods, the report mentioned.

Special emphasis will be placed on raising awareness among agricultural workers regarding the need to reduce the use of highly hazardous pesticides. “At the same time, the project will make it possible to understand the scale of existing issues associated with the use of harmful chemicals in agriculture, including the quantities of obsolete pesticides that have caused soil contamination,” the Ministry of Ecology shared.

pesticides, ministry of ecology, european union, food and agriculture organization

“The project will facilitate the development of a National Waste Management Strategy, establish a better database on hazardous waste in agriculture, and authorize the creation of hazardous waste treatment facilities. In addition, the project will contribute to scaling up the promotion of sustainable practices in agriculture, which will reduce risks from pesticide use for farmers and consumers,” noted Sherzod Umarov.

At the end of the workshop, the speakers reviewed the work plan and agreed on the terms of its implementation.