Adequate waste management is one of the biggest environmental challenges facing Tajikistan, a Central Asian country of some 9 million inhabitants. On average, the country generates nearly a kilogram of waste per person per day, creating almost 2 million tonnes of waste across the country every year. There are some 70 landfills in Tajikistan containing about 12 million tonnes of waste.
Meanwhile, inadequate regulation and management mean that hazardous chemicals continue to pose a considerable threat to the environment and to public health. There is little data available on chemical incidents, or the number of chemical-induced poisonings. Obsolete and banned pesticide stockpiles also represent an increasing environmental hazard.
Despite these challenges, Tajikistan has taken steps to better manage its chemicals and waste. This includes ratification of the Basel and Stockholm conventions as well as setting the groundwork for accession to the Rotterdam and the Minamata conventions.
In order to support these efforts, Tajikistan is partnering with the Chemicals and Waste Management Programme on an ambitious two-year project. The objective of the project is to enable Tajikistan to lay the foundation for coordinated implementation of the Basel and Stockholm conventions and to strengthen the country’s capacity to become a party to the Rotterdam and the Minamata conventions.
The project will see Tajikistan establish an inter-ministerial chemicals management committee to strengthen the coordination of activities between governmental agencies responsible for chemicals and waste management at the national, regional and local levels, and improve the involvement of private and non-profit sectors working on chemicals and waste. This will strengthen the country’s long-term approach to this pressing issue.
Tajikistan will also establish a technical and legal working group to identify the gaps in national legislation that have prevented the country from accessing the Rotterdam and Minamata conventions. This group will then draft the necessary legal instruments and documents to become a party to these international treaties.
To improve the implementation of the Stockholm and Basel conventions, Tajikistan will also create a national tool for information exchange on sound chemicals and waste management, such as an online platform. This will further improve interagency cooperation among relevant government ministries, as well as increased cooperation with the private and non-profit sectors.
In order to ensure that chemicals and waste management becomes a national priority, Tajikistan will also launch an important awareness-raising programme to strengthen knowledge and skills within government ministries and agencies, and help mainstreaming these issues into national development plans and policies. Training and roundtable discussions will also take place with private sector representatives and civil society groups.
Gender issues will be front and centre across the project through the equal participation of women in all activities, including project staff. Women will also be empowered through training programmes and the publication of targeted information. The project’s outreach component will also work to raise awareness about the effects of chemicals on women and girls.
Through these efforts, Tajikistan’s chemicals and waste management will become a core component of long-term public policy, allowing the country to continue its important strides in environmental protection and ongoing efforts in safeguarding the public health of its citizens.
For further information please contact the Special Programme Secretariat at [email protected]