Outdated pesticides to be managed in EU-UN project
Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia are set to work with authorities to manage their vast quantities of obselete pesticides, which account for nearly half of the world's total stockpile.
There are an estimated 200,000 metric tons (MT) of out-of-date pesticides found around 12 former Soviet Union republics kept in unprotected sites, posing a threat to local people and the environment.
Over the next four years the European Union (EU) and the United Nation's Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) will invest €7 million (US$9.15 million) to help Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan manage their old reserves.
At the same time, the project will build capacity to reduce risks from pesticides used in agriculture and avoid build-up of additional stockpiles.
FAO director general José Graziano da Silva, said over the past decades food production had increased significantly through their use but at a cost to the environment.
"One of the consequences of this chemical-input, intensive agriculture we adopted are the barrels of obsolete pesticides lying abandoned around the world."
He said while pesticides were important for farming, they needed to be used "responsibly" to protect humans and the environment from their adverse effects.
"We also need to take a good look at the different options we have to protect crops and improve productivity. This includes using natural means to protect and improve crop yields through sustainable crop intensification," he said.
The EU is contributing €6 million (US$7.85 million) to the initiative, and FAO, which is to act as an implementing agency, has allocated €1 million (US$1.3 million) in funding.
The initiative aims to be a catalyst for obsolete pesticide and hazardous waste management, by helping provide the resources needed for technical and policy support.