In recent years, Kazakhstan has come to the forefront of countries moving towards truly sustainable development: in 2013, Kazakhstan launched the Green Economy Plan, one of the most ambitious in the Europe and Central Asia region. By 2050, the country is aiming to meet 50 percent of its energy needs from alternative and renewable sources.
Along with this important energy transition, Kazakhstan has been taking bold steps in waste management. As well as ratifying the Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam conventions, Kazakhstan has made strides in waste recycling, with the country’s share of municipal solid waste recycling increasing to 11.5 percent in 2018, compared to 9 percent the year before.
To help support Kazakhstan on this journey towards the cutting edge of environmental sustainability, the country is partnering with the Chemicals and Waste Management Programme on an exciting two-year project to strengthen its national capacity for regulating chemicals in compliance with international multilateral agreements.
The project's first goal is to identify the major barriers and priority measures needed to strengthen national legislation on chemical management. Currently, Kazakhstan has no direct prohibitions for the export and transport of hazardous waste, and also lacks key chemical management guidelines such as a register for hazardous chemicals, effective measures to eliminate historical pollution, and an overall lack of regulation for handling specific chemicals.
To solve these issues, Kazakhstan will assemble a team of experts to analyze possible problems, shortcomings and barriers of the country’s legislation for the implementation of all chemical conventions. The findings of this analysis will be presented in a report and discussed with relevant stakeholders and presented to decision-makers. This report will form the basis for key recommendations on the necessary changes to Kazakhstan’s legislation so the country may better comply with implementation of the relevant conventions. The report will also support the Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan in reducing the volume of waste produced through preventive measures, processing and reuse.
The project’s second key aim is to strengthen the institutional capacity of JSC Zhassyl Damu, a structural subdivision of the Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan , and therefore improve reporting on progress and implementation of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, while also laying the groundwork for ratification of the Minamata Convention.
Kazakhstan will also establish a Working Group, including leading experts on all chemical conventions, which will organize and develop an action plan to ensure the successful implementation of key international agreements.
The project will also have an important awareness-raising component, with national seminars, courses, and workshops on the risks and required mitigating measures of hazardous chemicals to be conducted across the country. This will ensure a more effective information exchange regarding the reduction and destruction of hazardous wastes, and improve professional training of scientific, teaching, technical and managerial staff on hazardous chemicals.
Special consideration will be given to the specific needs of women during project implementation. The Ministry of Health will be provided with expert assistance to strengthen measures that reduce the impact of hazardous substances on women, while the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection will receive support to improve compliance monitoring on labor laws with regard to women's right to work.
For the successful implementation of the project, the Inception workshop was held in February, which created an interactive platform for all stakeholders: state and local authorities, industrial enterprises and NGOs. The goals and objectives of the project, necessary measures for the interaction of the stakeholders, and proposals for amendments to the legislation on the management of chemicals and waste were presented and discussed. All of this work will allow Kazakhstan to continue on the path it has set towards sustainable environmental development, ensuring that effective chemicals and waste management becomes an integral part of the country’s bold plans for a brighter, greener future.